Editor’s note: Jeffry J. Weldon and his wife Carolyn, live on Wellesley Island, from May through October. The rest of the year they reside in Watertown, NY. They spend some time each weekend, throughout the year in the Islands.
Jeffry is a senior consultant at Strategies for Wealth, with offices in Watertown, Rye Brook and Manhattan. For the last 25 years he has provided financial services, estate planning, retirement planning and investment services to a variety of clients and organizations.
Throughout the year, Jeffry shares his unique photographs and videos with “TI Life.”
There are two quotes that explain to me the thrill of drone photography.
"Your true pilot cares nothing about anything on earth but the river, and his pride in his occupation surpasses the pride of kings.” - Mark Twain,” Life on the Mississippi,” Ch. 7
If you go to my You Tube channel and watch the aerial videos I have done of the St. Lawrence River, you may understand how the Mark Twain quote resembles the deep love that generations of families, including my own, have for “our River” and the 1000+ islands it meander through.
I have been a photographer of the River most of my life and, in the last few years, a maturing passion for remote control helicopters has turned into a full-fledged hobby of drone photography. Rarely will you find me without my DJI Phantom drone in hand, in the car, or carefully stowed on the boat to take advantage of our unique River views.
I have registered my drones with the FAA and check the FAA app B4UFLY each time - before I fly - to determine if there are any restrictions or requirements in effect. I even check in for hospital heliports, including Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, and and airport control towers, including Greater Rochester International Airport, to learn of any restrictions.
While visiting Washington D.C., I learned that the National Capital Region is governed by a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) within a 30-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. This restricts all flights in the greater DC area, making it a “no drone zone.” So, I only use my phone to take pictures and video,
Despite the evolving rules and regulations, and the continually growing technological sophistication of drone photography, getting pictures from an altitude of 200 plus feet is challenging yet extremely enjoyable.
The drones I use have stabilizers, gyroscopes, cameras, obstacle avoidance technology, and a GPS that enables them to hold position if they are flying in heavy winds. That’s how you get steady, balanced shots, from a drone. Add a River, high winds, and a low battery to the equation, and I am sure you will believe me when I tell you there is already a drone at the bottom of the St Lawrence River. In fact, when you pass just down river of Bouy 212 take a look over the stern. With superman vision you may see one of my drones that is enjoying its time in 100 feet of water with some of our spectacular aquatic life. And, by the way, if you want to dive down and grab it, it’s yours.
“You have to take the good with the bad, smile when you're sad, love what you've got and remember what you had...Always forgive but never forget, learn from your mistakes but never regret, people change, things go wrong, just remember, life goes on.” Joel Osteen
“…Even when you drop a drone in a deep River.” Jeffry Weldon
Thanks for watching.
Aerial of Gar Wood Antique Boat, cruising the 1000 Islands and Boldt Castle
Published on Oct 19, 2015
1929 28' Baby Gar, "Messenger", cruising the 1000 Islands, from Boldt Castle to Keewaydin State Park. Model 28-30’ Baby Gar - Manufactured by Gar Wood
Aerial of Super Yacht Big Eagle, near the US span of the Thousand Islands Bridge
Published on May 28, 2016
172 foot super yacht, Bi Eagle, with 2 - 1400hp Cummins engines goes up-river in the 1000 Islands. She carries 27,590 gallons of fuel. Among its outdoor toys are a 4.5 Nautica Tender, with a 50hp outboard, a 10M Regulator tender with twin 300hp engines, 4 WaveRunners, ocean kayaks, dive gear and water skis.
Cloudless Aerial of Boat Ride ,by 1000 Islands Bridge and Boldt Castle
Wicked Aerial of Kayaking, at Hole Brothers, on the Black River
Published on May 8, 2016
Aerial view of Kayakers at Hole Brothers, on the Black River, in Watertown NY
"Hole Brothers is a nice hole allowing any kind of trick. The wave above is ideal for wavewheeling into it. At high water levels, the hole turns into a wave and blunts are easy on the surfers' left shoulder. There is good eddy access from either side. Note that there is a little 'pocket' on surfers' right ideal for throwing ends both sides. (from Playak.com)"
Comment by: Michael Joyce Left at: 8:33 PM Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Jeffery Weldon’s videos remind me of the old proverb, “When one door closes, another opens.” I remember how sad I was when I learned that after the September 11, 2001 disaster in the US Ian Coristine would no longer be able to fly around the islands in his ultra light aircraft any more. His photography was magical, truly art, and we all realized it was the end of an era. And then, as often happens, new technology appears that brings new solutions, and suddenly we all became aware of Jeffery Weldon’s drone video photography. In short order we recognized that Jeffery had a unique sense of style and composition, and an understanding of what is interesting to his viewers. How lucky we are to have this newest addition to the history of the Thousand Islands.
Comment by: Jeffry Weldon Left at: 7:49 AM Thursday, June 16, 2016
Thank you for your kind and generous words. The fact that others enjoy the results of my hobby make it that much more fun to pursue. Jeffry
Comment by: Gavin Weldon Left at: 1:52 PM Thursday, June 16, 2016
Nice work, Cousin Jeffry and the music is great as well.
Comment by: Tony Pietrafesa Left at: 7:23 PM Friday, April 27, 2018
Jeff, your videos are superb! Fromantic October to May we speak of "one day closer to the River." Your art carries us through the winter. Keep it up...and come to Clayton.