In the 21st century mobile phones are also cameras and almost everyone is a photographer. Yet, not everyone is a great photographer. Felix Massey is not only a great photographer, he is also only 15 years old!
People come into our lives at the most unexpected times. While sitting on the beach watching a high school volleyball tournament, I met Felix. During the afternoon, our conversation turned to one of my favorite subjects, photography.
In between volleys we talked about his passion…aeriel photography. I was astounded that someone so young knew so much and was deeply committed to his art. Most of the time we chatted, I was thinking that I needed to share this amazing young man with you, dear readers of Neworld Review. Hoping your pleasure in reading this month’s portfolio is as great as was mine in learning about the extraordinary work of Felix!
When did you first become interested in photography?
I first picked up a camera when I lived in NYC. I was 7 years old and in second grade. I enjoyed holding the camera and shooting anything, mostly my sister and my family. But later I would shoot toys, buildings, anything outside the car window on road trips, and other interesting things in a big city.
Can you please explain to our readers about Quad-copter. What is it, and how does it work?
I use the DJI Phantom 2, Quad-copter with the Zenmuse H3-2D Gimmble stabilizer, The Gopro Hero 3 Black Edition camera and a Black Pearl Monitor for First Person Viewing. The Phantom 2 flies approximately 1000-ft in any direction, and with my range extender, I can take it another 3 miles. I like to test the limits of my drone by exposing it to all types of terrain and weather. If I'm flying over waves or flying through difficult reaching places, between precarious wires or dense vegetation, I always like pushing the limits to get the best photo or video I can achieve. It's a lot of fun!
What drew you into drone/aerial photography?
I had a big interest in remote control planes and cars. At 10 years old, I wanted a remote control plane. My family took me to RC flying parks to see real RC planes fly with mostly adult flyers. The planes where expensive and could break easily. My parents took me to some RC/Hobby specialty shops and the owner at one store suggested not to buy one until I got good on a simulator. That year, my holiday gift was a 3D flight simulator. That's all I wanted! My parents would not buy me a RC plane until I mastered flight on screen. I practiced for about eight months and when I was going to get my first plane I decided to get a car instead - I Ioved the speed of the car, especially on dirt and I could take it with me anywhere and it would not break so easily. I kept watching more and more action filled Youtube videos and I began to see more aerial videos (drone type carrier for the Gopro camera body) It was the coolest thing for me -- It is a perfect match - RC flight and filming.
Where do you hope to take this?
I love both photography and filming. I especially love to film. I have made some very short films on my own and have been asked to help film some other people’s shots for their own video/film projects. I think it's really cool that I can now shoot aerial shots and combine them with my new DSLR. I can get really great perspectives from all angles with both cameras. The quad-copter technology is great and I hope to use my skills mostly on filmmaking. I will also continue photographing images. I am a contributing photographer for my local newspaper, The Palisadian Post, and people really seem to like my perspective from above.
Have you taken classes? Who has inspired you?
No, I've never taken a class, but over the years I've learned through my own trial and error. On my own, I've discovered the importance of many things like perfect lighting, ISO, frame rates, aperture, shutter speed, controls, and the use of different types of lenses. At an early age, I pretty much picked up my family's point and shoot camera and started to shoot on my own, usually going through hundreds of images in a very short period of time.
Many of my photos where blurry, not framed well and were deleted, but I really enjoyed taking lots and lots of pictures. I also love taking videos.. My Mom and Dad have always encouraged me to keep shooting. My dad would always lend me his heavy SLR cameras (with some big lenses) if I wanted to try shooting with big cameras.
My Mom and Dad are both really into the arts. When I moved back to LA when I was 10 years old, my family was involved with a non-profit public art project. I began to shoot a lot of the non-profit - Portraits of Hope, Lifeguard Towers and Lifeguards with a borrowed Canon SLR camera.
Later, the Gopro came out! I began seeing lots of Gopro Youtube videos and that really inspired me to shoot action shots. I saved money and purchased my own Gopro when I was thirteen.
I got helmet mounts, chest mounts and board mounts so I could document in video and shoot stills of anything I did in action, swim, skate, snowboard, bike ride, car rides, ping pong and more. Gopro was really the game changer for me. The camera is all in one! It's video, stills, waterproof, mounting on all sorts of things with no focusing or fuss necessary. It's really easy, fun and the quality is excellent! I also love cinematography and I worked on a short film this past summer.
If you could be any place in the world taking photographs, where would that be and what would your subject be?
This is the hard question for me because I'm young and there is so much of the world I haven't seen. For fun, I would love to one day document with my drone ("The Festival of Colors" ). I really can't wait to travel all over the world, experience and photograph different cultures, traditions and cityscapes.
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