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Marketing Bastrop ‘from the sky’

By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer/photographer

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a wide-angle video of Bastrop’s impressive vistas taken from 200 feet or so above the Colorado River at sunrise ought to be priceless.

The Bastrop Economic Development Corporation is bolstering the city’s marketing appeal – for both businesses and visitors – by utilizing drone photography to capture the area’s natural beauty teamed with its business-friendly environment. On a recent Thursday morning BEDC Executive Director Shawn Kirkpatrick was teaming with drone-photography professional Brian Aiken of Dallas to capture footage of more than 30 locales from the air. Aiken reviewing footage from Fisherman's Park. (Photo by Terry Hagerty)

“The EDC has been planning for some time to add video to our marketing program,” Kirkpatrick said. “The opportunity to engage Neon Cloud Productions, one of the best aerial drone photography companies in the country, is going to showcase Bastrop from a completely new angle. The final product will be available in a few weeks and everyone should be really excited about the outcome.”

Mid-flight. Photo by Terry HagertyDrone use in the U.S. has been growing exponentially in popularity for both recreational and business purposes. Approximately 300,000 drones were registered within the first month after the FAA initially opened its registration site, according to Business News Daily.

Aiken, getting input from Kirkpatrick at his side, was a study in concentration as he prepared his white propeller drone for aerial taping of the Colorado River from a launching point in Fisherman’s Park. It would be the first of 30-plus Bastrop sites/locales he would be capturing from the air this day. Aiken also shot ground video, using a separate hand-held camera inside several locations, such as at Deep in the Heart Art Foundry, Lost Pines Art Center and Relics Emporium.  He also got to meet Foundry owner Clint Howard.

Catching the drone as it comes in for retrieval. (Photo by Terry Hagerty)

After photographing from Fisherman’s Park, Aiken and Kirkpatrick headed to the BEDC’s Business & Industrial Park on Jackson Street, then back to the Colorado and the Bastrop River Company. Owner Lee Harle had arranged for several friends to be part of canoe/kayaking shots from the drone. At one point Aiken had his drone hovering 10-15 feet above the river and just yards away from the group of canoeists. He was also making sure to capture the famous Old Iron Bridge in the background.

During the course of the day, other Bastrop business-support entities – such as the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce and the Main Street Program – supported the video shoot.

Aiken had already done some pre-scouting of Bastrop to get the feel and layout of the town and its environs. He commented to Kirkpatrick what a visual treasure the town is. Aiken also gave some details about his nifty white drone. Its viewing perspective is slightly wide angle – the equivalent of a film camera’s 35-millimeter lens. He said his drone also warns him with a signal when it’s too windy to fly.

Aiken filming at the Bastrop Business Park. (Photo by Terry Hagerty)

Although Aiken said he found Bastrop gorgeous, he said sometimes filming other business projects/locales from the sky can be challenging: “Sometimes the hardest part is making something look beautiful. We’re not filming waterfalls all the time. It can be a challenge on how you make this visually appealing.” But he seemed to be doing quite well, as evidenced from the monitoring screen he used to help him guide his drone.