Aerial Photography By Mark Watson

Mark Watson is an 'extreme sports photographer' and in this video he has teamed up with Red Bull hanglider Jon Durand to produce some amazing photos as well as video. The idea was to mount a D300s camera to his hang glider to shoot both video and still shots while he sails through the Morning Glory cloud. The results are absolutely stunning! I hope Nikon includes the remote video hack described in this video in their next series of cameras.

Here is an email Mark sent me with some details about this shoot:

Hi Pat,

The hanglider is a single person high performance racing hanglider.... therefore only carrying one person.

The concept was to design a system to get footage from the nose.

To do this the internal circuitry of the camera had to be rewired as well as a magic black box, splitter and two separate 10-pan cables to fire the video and stills. It is something we may see in future cameras however is not a simple cable, plug or software alteration. Anybody trying this will definitely void all camera warranties and potentially damage their camera (which is why I teamed up with Nikon to do it).

This system was designed and completed by myself, Nikon NPS and Nikons head tech boffins here in Australia as well as with the pilot's input... it was a joint project based on a concept I approached Jon and nikon with a few years back.

I then utilised a previous mounting system the hanglider pilot and I had designed a year earlier to mount it on his glider.

Once all this was in place the only remaining question was should it be fired using radio-remote (very complex) or should Jon fire it from the hanglider (very simple)

Using the KISS rule I decided to throw my ego out the door on realising the system was best used as a hard wire system and so it was designed to simplify all actions so the pilot could fire the camera... therefore I would set it up every morning and when the morning glory cloud came Jon simply had to press the button at the right time.

This was a combined effort between myself, Jon Durand (Pilot) and Nikon Australia.


Mark Watson takes on the Red Bull Glorious Days Project - Nikon D300S from My Nikon Life on Vimeo.

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Lucas RIdley's picture

Excellent post - Jonny Durand is an outstanding guy and I've flown hang gliders with him! He's in Spain now for the European Championships for hang gliding.

I do my own hang gliding photography and videos! I've been using a Canon 7D, but these NIkons look great too.

Craig Bolen's picture

Gorgeous! And Nikon or someone really needs to get that info out on how to do that! That would be invaluable!

David Peacock's picture

I absolutely love this work, and am *so* glad to have discovered Mark Watson!

Mark, if you're reading this, this is *incredible*. Great job! :-) (The rest of your folio is super too.)

c.d.embrey's picture

Good to see a first class video that wasn't shot with a Canon DSLR. Video neophytes claim that you can't do good video with 720P, but those of us who didn't discover video yesterday, know that they are wrong.

Never heard of this phenomenon before, but this it what is really meant by the word awesome. Good work by all involved.

Donnie Bell Design's picture

Fantastic video and quality. If Nikon includes this on the remote hack on their next set, I think we'll see more Nikon users.

foo's picture

should have used Canon gear, you can shoot HD video and stills out of the box.

Rafael Ribeiro's picture

Amazing. I'm speechless. This Morning Glory Cloud it's outstanding!

Rafael Ribeiro's picture

i'm loving my D300s even more right now!