Alex Kavanagh here, the founder and creative director at DRONEGEAR Productions. It's been a while since I've last written a blog post, but I'm thrilled to be back to share some incredible news with you all.
Earlier this year, we had the privilege of winning our first daytime Emmy Award for a short episode on Patagonia we produced. This episode was shot and edited for Making It Media, and it was featured in the series "Wonderful Places" on Amazon Prime Video. The journey to this achievement was both challenging and rewarding, and I'd like to share the story behind it with you.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, a remarkable opportunity came our way. Director Robert Parks-Valletta was on the hunt for nine filmmakers, each tasked with creating an episode about a destination that held a special place in their hearts. Our task was to weave a short story using pre-pandemic footage we had in our archives. After a conversation with Robert and his team, I knew that Patagonia was the ideal destination for my episode, having visited it twice in the previous two years.
With newfound determination, I delved into my hard drives, fired up Premiere Pro, and began the laborious yet passionate journey of creating this episode. None of this would have been possible without the incredible work of my dear friend and director of photography, Hugo Bordes, who captured the essence of these locations in a raw and cinematic manner back in 2018. Hugo, thank you for your invaluable contribution.
During my second trip to Chile and Argentine Patagonia, I was granted access to a private property just outside Torres del Paine National Park, thanks to my then-girlfriend and now wife, Lesley Murphy, a travel writer at The Road Les Traveled. This property was none other than the breathtaking Tierra Hotels Patagonia. The hotel manager generously allowed me to legally fly my drone here, which led to the shot that defined this episode.
On a particularly windy day, with gusts reaching 50-60mph, I had almost given up on flying my drone after a long day inside Torres del Paine National Park, where drone usage requires a permit. However, as we arrived at Tierra Patagonia, something extraordinary happened. Lesley's friend, Emily, spotted a single guanaco perched on a small grassy knoll. Miraculously, the wind seemed to calm instantly, and the sun emerged from behind the clouds, casting its golden light on the breathtaking Torres del Paine.
I swiftly set up my drone, and as I approached the single guanaco, it quickly noticed the drone and started to walk away. But as I raised the drone higher, an astonishing sight unfolded. Twenty more guanacos appeared just 40 feet away. With a safe distance of 70 feet, I tracked the herd of guanacos as they began running in formation. I slowly flew from right to left, capturing one of the most awe-inspiring drone shots I've ever seen. It wasn't just the guanacos' mesmerizing run; it was the entire scene: Torres del Paine's majestic mountains in the background, the sun setting, and the light filtering through the patchy clouds, with a tranquil lake in the foreground behind the galloping guanacos.
In that moment, tears of joy welled up as I witnessed this breathtaking spectacle. It was an
emotional high, a singular experience that I will cherish for a lifetime. The beauty of that fleeting moment was captured and preserved for all to witness, and I'm grateful to have had the privilege of recording it legally.
Flying drones overseas can be a daunting task due to strict local laws, especially in places like national parks where permits are notoriously hard to obtain. It's essential that we respect these laws to protect these extraordinary locations. I felt privileged to capture a moment of such remarkable beauty while adhering to the rules and regulations.
This is the story behind the Emmy Award-winning episode that we produced, shedding light on the challenges faced by drone pilots and the beauty of being ready when the moment unfolds. You can watch our full "Wonderful Places" episode on our Instagram account through this text link.
If there's one thing this episode motivates you to do, it's to embark on a journey to Patagonia. Leave your phone behind, immerse yourself in the beauty of one of the numerous National Parks, and as the day comes to a close, savor an El Calafate beer while you witness the mesmerizing sunset
Thank you for stopping by and reading the story of our Emmy Award-winning achievement. Stay tuned for more blog posts, where we'll be sharing exciting productions we've been working on recently.
Cheers, Alex Kavanagh