New drone pilot flies Iceland’s volcano with impressive results

The Fagradalsfjall volcano has already had more than its 15 minutes of fame. But just when we think we’re done posting about drone videos that capture its majesty and power, a new one comes along that adds something new to the mix. This one really does.

You might well think: Seen one volcano video, seen ’em all. And sure, not everyone’s into seeing multiple volcano drone videos. We keep taking a look as they come along because many of them bring some new angle or discovery that we simply hadn’t seen before. And the one we’ll feature today is really worth watching for a couple of key reasons: It was flown by a first-time drone pilot who’s an excellent photographer, and he used those photo skills to tremendous effect.

Let’s take a look.

The pilot

He’s Oklahoma-based Alex Spahn (whom we follow on Twitter here). His Twitter profile describes him as a “KTEN Storm chaser. Professor of Physics, Astro, & Earth Science. MS Physics, BS Astrophysics. Mineral collector. Nature photographer.” We’ve always enjoyed his posts and his photography.

We’d been watching his adventures in Iceland recently, where he captured amazing stills like these:

But we also knew Alex had taken a drone with him for this trip. So we were waiting to see what he’d produce. Now, the unveil.

Drone volcano video

A few things Alex has done here really differentiate his video from many of the others we’ve seen. For example, he reveals his subject in the opening shots, giving us perspective as he moves in. Most vids get so wrapped up in the lava that they start right at the volcano. We appreciate this more narrative approach, drawing us slowly in as the might of this thing is revealed.

Alex Tweeted when he posted his video, with the following description:

4K VIDEO: Fagradalsfjall – Earth’s Newest Volcanic Eruption Here it is! The 1st video I’ve ever made using Premier Pro, and literally my 1st time ever flying a drone. While the video isn’t 100% what I envisioned, I’m damn proud of what I’ve put together.

And so he should be.

Let’s watch it!

You’ve got it:

That…is just fantastic.

Alex’s description

His YouTube description is well worth reading. Here’s an excerpt:

This is the first video I have ever made using Premier Pro, and the footage shot via drone was the result of my second time every flying a drone (the first time was a 20 minute trial flight the day before I left). While the video isn’t 100% what I envisioned, I am damn proud of what I’ve put together, especially considering all of the firsts involved in the process. If you enjoyed this, please share it.

And share it we will.

What else we like

Alex has chosen a great music selection, using the folk band Heilung. Though its members are from Denmark, Norway and Germany (not Iceland), it’s a perfect fit.

But what we really like is that Alex uses the drone, in some shots, truly like a camera. It’s not a constant blur of movement. Some hovers, using slow creeps, really allow us to simply stop and take in the wonder of this thing. We are also incredibly impressed with how quickly Alex took to drone piloting. As he noted, he’d had only one 20-minute flight before leaving on his trip.

In other words, the opening shots of that video were captured during only his second drone flight ever.

And that, like the volcano, is super impressive. (In case you’re wondering, Alex was flying DJI’s AIR 2S.)

Well done, Alex: We can’t wait to see what you do next.

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