Aerial Footage Makes Remote Locales Look Like Other Planets

Squint and these drone-shot vistas could easily be Mars.

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Feb 8 2016, 10:30pm

Factory Butte, Caineville, UT. Images courtesy the artist

The most remote reaches of the American West are barren, deserted, and beautiful. Exploring the deserts of Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, photographer Reuben Wu captures the strange behavior of these remote landscapes from on high in a new drone video and photo series called Human + Solo, premiering today on The Creators Project. 

Wu traveled with a crew—including his wife, a buddy named Cody Cobb, and a semi-automated 3DR Solo drone—to find bizarre natural phenomena like the Raplee Anticline or man-made miracles like Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty. Wu managed some incredible shots, partly because the drone's interface allowed Wu to plot courses and issue commands, rather than the standard joystick-style remote controls.

One of the locations Wu visited is called the Mars Desert Research Station, in Hanksville, UT. If the skies weren't blue, Wu's footage would look like B-roll from The Martian. Capturing it from the drone left him floored. "I'd feel completely insignificant within the world, but also compltetely in awe of the grandeur of nature," he tells The Creators Project.

Part of what makes these images and video so thrilling is Wu's eye for turning a simple high angle shot into something that feels truly alien, which we saw in spades throught the video he directed for SoCal rock group Xu Xu Fang's "Friend to the Unknown." "I was obsessed with space from an early age, and I feel like this kind of exploration on Earth shows how alien the landscape really is," he says. "I feel a bit sad that I probably won't be live to do this on Mars or something."

Check out Wu's images and video below.

Mars Desert Research Station, Hanksville, UT

Reuben, at Factory Butte, Caineville UT

Reuben, at the Mars Desert Research Station, Hanksville, UT

Spiral Jetty, Rozel Point, UT

Reuben, at the base of Shiprock, NM

Shiprock, New Mexico

Shiprock, New Mexico

Raplee Anticline, UT

White Pocket AZ

Panorama of Goosenecks, UT

Panorama of the Raplee Anticline, UT

See more of Reuben Wu's work on his website.

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