Description: Batad, the queen of all rice terraces, was one of the highlights during my stay in the Philippines and one of the top destinations for my photography work. It is a spectacular place, over 2000 years old, built unlike any other by the Ifugao people. I wanted to do something special with Batad, to not only get a few nice photos and some drone shots, but to really dedicate some time to this place to capture it to the best of my ability doing (panoramic) photography and create time lapses and aerial movie. I planned the best week of the year at the end of April during the time when the rice terraces are at their prettiest green and when the Milky Way would be in perfect position and visibility would be the best.
But things don’t always go as planned. This is summer time, so it’s not supposed to rain. But it rained every day, mostly in late afternoons. Skies were expected to be clear and sunny, but it was extremely cloudy most of the time. Some of my main goals were to shoot beautiful sunset photos, clear sky Milky Way scenes, and sunny aerial footage. So I had a hard time finding the right conditions to shoot my footage and ended up staying 11 days to get the footage I was after. I had to sacrifice exploring Banaue, visiting Sagada, and checking out Vigan. The cloudy, rainy weather cost me almost every sunset and each opportunity to shoot the Milky Way. My goal of capturing time lapses and a panorama of Batad with the Milky Way was never achieved the way I planned, unfortunately. But I succeeded in getting other great footages. What the weather did bring me though, was some of the most incredible thunders I have ever heard, almost every single day. The rumbling through the mountains was beautiful!
Batad has electricity, which I desperately needed to charge all my gear. But during my stay there were 4 brownouts (power failures), which lasted 1 to 2 days each. So during part of my stay I couldn’t charge any of my gear. Since a brownout might last up to a week, I was very selective at those times with my footage and couldn’t shoot as much as I wanted to.
But worst of all, my drone landed itself. While flying vertically down, it went into landing mode by itself. It didn't respond to anything and in those few moments of terror it never crossed my mind to hit the emergency button, which might have stopped it. With a 99% chance of landing straight in a rice field, it actually headed straight for a walking path, but ended up landing on the edge, falling sideways into the shallow ricefield. Half of the drone was in the water, half was sticking out. Water came out of the body, but at least it wasn't soaked completely. I cleaned it and put it in a bag of dry rice for 3 days, keeping in the sun as much as possible and it was still working! Phew..
Altogether I shot quite a bit of footage, but unfortunately don't have the time right now to edit a proper version. This is a quick edited version to at least have some footage to publish, but I'll make a proper version some time later. It's a long one, I know, but the location is worth, hope it's worth your time ;)
Music by Simon Wilkinson, www.thebluemask.com