Srosh Anwar – Field Test with Drones in North Syracuse

I wanted to do my field test with drones because I think it is an amazing tools for journalists to capture video and photos from an unusual perspective.

 

I wanted to shoot something meaningful and I drove around Syracuse area to find an interesting place to shoot. During my research I found a couple of very interesting things including a mud boil at Onandaga Lake and an SU professor creating Lava on campus. However I was not able to shoot the mud boil because it was prohibited to film there. The professor creating Lava allowed me to shoot but due to some technical issues that didn’t happen.

 

Shoot Site:

I decided to do my drone shoot in North Syracuse which is a bustling city center with a very diverse population. Currently there are almost 12,000 current and former refugees settled in Syracuse. Only last year more than 1000 came and settled in Syracuse. During the last two semester I worked on a beat for refugees in Syracuse and I found out that most of newly arrived refugees arrive in the North Side. Some come there because they already have family there and some come here because their case workers rent their house in that area.

 

On one hand because of the refugee population the area is becoming very diverse and international grocery stores and food places are popping up. Last summer a local church was bought and converted into a mosque – which was a big controversy.

 

It is a great side to see so many cultures brought together and people walking in traditional clothes however you can’t help noticing how shabby and run down those places are. You can feel the putrid air when you enter some of the houses with roofs which are about to cave in. You can’t help feeling the contrast from the other wealthier part of Syracuse – with some people not even aware of that area. Just recently a law suit was filed against a landlord on Butternut Street because of dangerous living conditions of the building.

 

On The Field:

I wanted to film and photograph North Syracuse from the drone to compare and contrast it with rest of the Syracuse. Kyle found a park near Butternut Street to shoot from. We used a Freely Alta with a Movi M5 gimbal and a Nikon D800 camera. Kyle was operating the drone while the photographer was controlling the camera through another remote. Freely Alta is a powerful drone with the ability soar really high. We were able to have a bird eye view of whole North Syracuse area.

 

Lessons Learnt:

 

  • I wanted to show the life in North Syracuse. The streets are busier than other part of the Syracuse. The Streets and houses are very shabby and run down. However, our footage could not portray that – everything looked very beautiful. So I realized that drone footage could be deceptive. Or I could have rather used a zoom lens as compared to a wide angle lens for shooting.
  • Drone is best for architectural photography – we shot a few pictures of Masjid Eesa in North Syracuse – which was a part of huge controversy last year because it used to be a church. The pictures of the church came out great.
  • Although drone is a great tool for journalists but still it is hard to get access and permission to shoot at most places.

 

Little Mo Apartments on Butternut Street. The residents recently filed a case against the landlord because of the bad condition of the building

Little Mo Apartments on Butternut Street. The residents recently filed a case against the landlord because of the bad condition of the building

The church building in North Syracuse which was converted into a mosque

The church building in North Syracuse which was converted into a mosque