This year, the helicopter that visits for Arkalalah each year had to share the airspace above downtown Arkansas City.
The man supervising the recording was Bryson Michael Hasty, who was born and raised in Arkansas City.
He has an appreciation for Kansas and calls it “a really cool place.”
“Visually, our town is clean and beautiful from the air,” Hasty said. “Now add lights from the carnival and the people of this town, and the emotional connection people have with the smell of the food, the sounds of the bands and kids cheering.
“It’s any creative person’s dream to capture that in their own hometown.”
Taking photography to the next level
Hasty’s love of film isn’t new by any means.
“I won an award in high school at the Kansas Association of Broadcasters for a movie I made and edited,” he said.
However, the availability of small drones to the general populace sparked an interest for him.
“When drones came out, the kid in me who loves remote controls wanted to fly one bad,” Hasty said, “and the creator in me was thinking of everything it could do visually.”
The first drone he purchased came from Stage. Because it was only a toy-grade drone, he used it to learn how to fly.
While that first drone had the capability to record, it only recorded “really bad video.” Since then, Hasty has upgraded five times.
The professional drone he used Oct. 29 — a DJI Phantom 3 — can reach distances of up to 3.1 miles away from the pilot when it is unobstructed and there is no interference. It can be controlled with a simple app on an iPhone or Android phone.
“Arkalalah is an event I’ve wanted to film since the moment I got the Phantom 3,” Hasty said. “No joke — I mentioned Arkalalah to my wife to help sell her on letting me get the drone. It’s no cheap venture.”
“I’ve made a lot of videos,” he added, “but none were nearly as loved as the first video I released the first night of Arkalalah.”
Just a kid at heart
Local children were one of the most interesting finds on the footage Hasty recorded last week.
“The first night, when filming the night parade, the weather was perfect — no wind,” he said. “I was able to fly it really low. I was surrounded by kids. A lot of them.”
The video shows the children’s eyes lighting up as the drone passes by them. They asked a lot of questions, according to Hasty.
“None of them took the time to listen to the answers before asking another,” he said.
“I have two kids. And I’m a kid at heart. So that was really cool.”
Viewing the video
Hasty plans on making one big Arkalalah video, but he hasn’t had time to go through all of the footage yet.
“I’ve only made these three quick nightly videos,” Hasty said. “I’m sure when I actually take the time to make the final cut, I will see some really interesting stuff.”
Birds Eye Photography is the name of the Facebook page that Hasty has set up to share his material with the public.
All of the drone video he has uploaded so far can be viewed at www.facebook.com/BirdsEyePhotoVids.
Other drone projects
Hasty has taken video from locations all across Kansas.
“I put it (the drone) up in the air 500 feet in Greensburg, 10 years after the EF-5 tornado hit, and you can still tell the exact track the tornado took,” he said. “It’s wild.”
He’s also making a Travel Kansas video that will have footage from several places in Kansas.
“Kansas belongs to everyone and everyone should be able to see it,” he said.
Anyone who would like Hasty to record events for them can contact him on Facebook or by calling (620) 446-4893.