Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Valle Vista Staging Area (EBMUD Park) - Moraga, CA (Aerial Photography)

On May 28, 2016, I did a flight with my DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter through the East Bay MUD Park at Valle Vista Staging Area in Moraga, CA to shoot photos of aerial scenery. I also took some photos with my DSLR. You can view my DSLR photos here. In this blog post, I am here to share the aerial photos I took that day, but please read through the following before you go on to viewing the photos.

Please note that the operation of aircrafts and quadcopters are not allowed in East Bay MUD parks (at least at the time these photos were taken). I was not aware of this rule when I performed this flight and I didn't see the rule posted anywhere when I arrived at the park.

Here is the entire story for that day. I saw this park and huge lake on Google Maps and thought it would be a great spot to fly. At the time, I was not aware that the "lake" is actually the Upper San Leandro Reservoir. If I had known that, I would not have done the flight. I also saw that it was not a East Bay Regional Park, which I know has banned the operation of quadcopters and remote aircrafts. I did take a general look around after I arrived at the staging area, but didn't notice any signs that banned quadcopters so I thought I was in the clear. Around the same time, East Bay Regional Park Police and a park ranger were called in for some other stuff. Either way, they saw me bring my quadcopter into the park. I set up my quadcopter at a picnic table and waited for several minutes to see if one of them was going to come talk to me about a rule I might not have been aware of. They did eye me a few times and I eyed them a few times but they didn't come over. By that point, I thought it was fine and started my flight. It wasn't until after I finished my flight and packed away my quadcopter that a East Bay Regional Park Police officer came to talk to me. He told me that I wasn't suppose to fly my quadcopter here and said that he's letting me off with a warning.

I would like to thank the ranger that day and the East Bay Regional Park Police for helping me learn the rules of the park and for being kind enough to let me off with a warning. I won't do this again in East Bay MUD parks as long as the rule is in place. With this in mind, if any one running the East Bay MUD parks, rangers, or East Bay Regional Park Police would like a copy of any of these aerial photos I took in this East Bay MUD park for publications, websites, etc..., contact me and I'd be happy to provide a high resolution copy for use as a show of gratitude.

As for everyone else reading this, I would also like the following to be known. I've been diagnosed with generalized anxiety issues. Getting in trouble or crashing my quadcopter is definitely not something I want or willing to do. I generally do a thorough look through of the area I'm going to be flying in on Google Maps before the flight. Sadly, Google Maps did not have the reservoir labeled at the zoom level I was at on the map. I do a detailed review of the satellite imagery of the area I'm going to be flying in before my flights to check for potential obstacles & hazards (such as high voltage power lines). I also check distances during my planning and conservatively calculate how far I'm willing to fly my quadcopter and attempt to factor in wind resistance that might be expected on the day of the flight. When I get to the area I'm going to fly in, I also spend some time looking around before the flight to check for potential obstacles. During my flights, I generally only fly forward so I can see what is in front of the quadcopter by the video feed. Now and then, I will do a 360° spin around to check for other potential obstacles. During my flight, I also keep a constant watch on my battery power, flight speed, distance, and other factors. I take many precautions before and during my flights to ensure the flight is done safely.

Full Resolution Photos: If you want to see full resolution photos of any of the photos you see here, use the following links. Due to federal regulations, I cannot sell these aerial photos. If you wish to support my photography hobby and help me offset some of the costs, please consider bookmarking my Amazon Affiliate link and use it when you shop on Amazon. It won't cost you anything extra. If you do, thank you very much for your support! If you want prints of these photos, I may offer you at cost prints of the photos and you can contact me here. If you want to print the photos yourself, please email me to get permission and high resolution copies of the photos. To view my best aerial photos for 2016, use this link. To see all of my aerial photos I shot on this flight, use this link.

Aerial scenery of the East Bay MUD Park at Valle Vista Staging Area, Upper San Leandro Reservoir, and the forest and hills that surround the reservoir.

Black and white process of the photo above.

Aerial scenery of the Upper San Leandro Reservoir. 

Black and white process of the photo above.


Aerial scenery on top of a hill. The hill and the land to the left is the East Bay MUD Park at Valle Vista Staging Area. On the right is Moraga Country Club and Moraga, CA. 

Black and white process of the photo above.

Aerial scenery of Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School and Moraga, CA. 

Black and white process of the photo above.


Aerial scenery of the East Bay MUD Park at Valle Vista Staging Area facing Redwood Regional PArk in Oakland, CA. 

Black and white process of the photo above.

Aerial scenery of the East Bay MUD Park at Valle Vista Staging Area facing Redwood Regional PArk in Oakland, CA. 

Black and white process of the photo above.


Aerial scenery of East Bay MUD Park at Valle Vista Staging Area with Moraga, CA right over the hill. 

Black and white process of the photo above.

Aerial scenery of East Bay MUD Park at Valle Vista Staging Area with Moraga, CA right over the hill. 

Black and white process of the photo above.


Aerial scenery of the East Bay MUD Park at Valle Vista Staging Area and Upper San Leandro Reservoir. I took this photo because it looked sort of like a canine's mouth. 

Black and white process of the photo above.

This is all the photos for today! I hope you have enjoyed the photos! Please don't forget to share with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Google+. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.
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