NORMAL — Rural landscapes have always captured the imagination of photographer Ronald Douglas Frazier, but he said “once I got off the ground” with a drone-based camera, his interest truly soared.
Now, an exhibit of his photography from an aerial point of view, is on display at the Joe McCauley Gallery at Heartland Community College through Feb. 15.
“I've always been a Central Illinois photographer. I've always liked rural landscapes,” said Frazier, who grew up in Maroa. But once he started combining digital photography with a drone about three years ago — initially helped by a friend who was a “computer geek” — Frazier said he got a new perspective.
“What I use is an actual flying camera,” he explained. Specifically, he uses DJI Phantom 4 and DJI Phantom 3se camera drones.
The biggest challenge, he says with a laugh, is “flying the darn thing.” But he's only crashed one drone.
Frazier said he likes “the view it gives me of the Illinois landscape,” whether it's the iconic grain elevators or “the texture of the fields.”
“Sometimes it's abstract,” he said. “There's a lot of majesty to the Illinois landscape.”
His drone photograph recently was shown at Joann Goetzinger's Studio and Gallery in downtown Bloomington.
Photos in the new exhibit were shot along the Illinois River and around McLean County.
The Joe McCauley Gallery is located in room 2507 of the Instructional Commons Building of Heartland's Normal campus at 1500 W. Raab Road. It is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays when the college is open. The gallery will be closed Dec. 24 through Jan. 1 during winter break.
There will be an artist's reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at the gallery.
Frazier made a presentation on drone photograph at the recent drone conference at Heartland and will be teaching a continuing education course on drone photography in May at the college.
“I'm really pushing drone photography as fine art,” he said.