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Drawing With Drones Over the Salt Apartments of Bolivia


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Drawing With Drones Over the Salt Apartments of Bolivia

Reuben Wu has photographed some of the world’s most remote and extreme places: Chile’s Atacama Desert, the Bisti Badlands of New Mexico, the Arctic tundra of Norway, Peru’s Pastoruri glacier. But few locations compare to the site of his latest project, Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni. Stretching across more than 4,000 square miles of South America’s…

Drawing With Drones Over the Salt Apartments of Bolivia

Reuben Wu has photographed one of the most valuable realm’s most far away and low locations: Chile’s Atacama Desolate tract, the Bisti Badlands of Contemporary Mexico, the Arctic tundra of Norway, Peru’s Pastoruri glacier. However few locations compare to the site of his most modern mission, Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni. Stretching all the scheme in which thru better than 4,000 square miles of South The US’s Altiplano (high horrid), Salar de Uyuni (literally, the salts of Uyuni, the closest metropolis) is the realm’s ultimate salt flat, a with regards to featureless white panorama left behind by the evaporation of prehistoric lakes.

Within the course of the rainy season, the residences are submerged in 6 to 20 inches of perfectly smooth water, turning the shallow lake into the realm’s ultimate ponder. Within the dry season, when Wu visited, the salt crystals dry into an intricate latticework of tile-love polygons stretching away to the horizon in every course. “I was as soon as without a doubt taken by this composition of pure horizon,” Wu says. “It’s precise the sky and the panorama.”

Shooting the salt residences was as soon as the culmination of per week-lengthy Bolivian motorway outing Wu and two companions took final July. Between the freezing heart of the night temperatures, high altitudes (the Altiplano averages 12,000 toes above sea stage), and lengthy drives, the team got little sleep. “We had been icy, we had been gentle-headed, and doing something physical was as soon as very onerous,” Wu recalls. “There own been instances after I without a doubt struggled.”

However the hardships paid off when the crew finally reached the salt residences. Because it was as soon as the dry season, a lot of the Salar de Uyuni looked love a geometrically patterned moonscape. Tranquil, Wu was as soon as lucky ample to search out a standing puddle shipshape ample to grab the rainy-season ponder smash, too. Besides extra worn panorama pictures, Wu created several of his signature aeroglyphs—beautiful geometric shapes that drift mysteriously within the sky. Wu draws the aeroglyphs by piloting LED-equipped drones in staunch patterns while preserving his shutter open to form a lengthy publicity.

Over the course of the motorway outing Wu documented hundreds of Bolivian landscapes starting from sandy deserts to rocky palisades, nonetheless the Salar de Uyuni emerged because the highlight. “If it had been within the US, it’d be swarming with vacationers,” he says. “As a alternative, we had the entire ingredient to ourselves with the exception of the occasional farmer and a cow.” The salt residences are rich in deposits of lithium, a key ingredient in smartphone and electrical automobile batteries, nonetheless lithium mining operations are smooth in their infancy thanks to the build’s inaccessibility and the reluctance of recently ousted president Evo Morales to greenlight foreign funding.

Within the course of the outing, Wu former a Segment One XT, a compact medium-layout digital digicam that allowed him to prefer ultrahigh-decision photos on the depart. Support in his studio, he former tool to tinker with the photos till arriving at the final product. Wu thinks of pictures as “painting with gentle” and doesn’t fetishize authenticity. “For me, all the pieces’s a tool,” he says. “The digicam’s a tool, the pc’s a tool. Correct as lengthy because the know-how and the instruments don’t overwhelm the imaginative and prescient.”


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