ALISO BEACH VISIT
It seemed like a normal day at Aliso Beach. Special it was but this South Laguna gem is always that way for me. In between phone calls, I noticed a group with what I deem significant equipment, readying a drone. As I completed my calls I walked across the parking lot to see what was going on. There were a couple of guys in the posse and significant others there to take in the experience. A tall man in a hat and sunglasses maneuvered the drone off the ground and spent some time negotiating the coastal winds and seagulls at the beach this day. He would test the distance and maneuverability of the device and expertly guide the drone back to a safe landing area. He would then take the drone and set it on a heavy duty camera equipment case and then go to the back of a cargo van before returning and sending the drone to the air once again. I was a little intimidated. This seemed a little more serious than a hobbyist flying an inexpensive drone. I am not sure if there is such a thing as an inexpensive one from prices I have seen and heard, but this thing was larger and clearly customized as opposed to entry level drones which start at $500.00. The feeling I got by watching them was that they were there very purposefully. This wasn’t screwing a round or passing the time. It looked like business to me. If it weren’t for another gregarious old surfer who came up and struck a conversation up with him, I might of passed on interacting them at all and I am glad I didn’t. The tall man seemed to be intent on getting whatever he set out to do finished. He just had that eye of the tiger look and everything they did seem to have a technical aspect to it. I confirmed that with one of the dudes in his crew that this indeed was a customized model drone and that they were testing to see the quality and beauty of the footage they could get. I am partial to Aliso Beach, so before they edit the footage I would be confident in saying you guys did just fine.
As I always do when I talk to someone interesting at Aliso Beach, I tell them I will feature them on this website and that I am happy to feature any special projects they may have. I heard him say his name was Leigh (although in my mind I spelled Lee making it harder to find him online) in an Australian Accent. The vintage surfer dude next to me who dropped stories of surfing with Gerry Lopez and having a house on the hill looking out over Pupukea (I have no reason to doubt him ) recognized the name and there was talk of work featuring very well known Australian surfers. I was a huge fan of the names of current star and historic surfers that I heard and while I found myself interested in that conversation, I felt like I was intruding. I quietly ducked out of the conversation and let old surfer dude take over the conversation. He clearly had bigger names to drop than I did but I did not want to get in Leigh’s way anyways! He seemed intent on doing his testing and that was something I completely understand. I did manage to pry his website name Loose Cannon out of him before I departed the conversation with a promise to feature him. It’s an honor truthfully. I knew by looking at the equipment he was no joke but I had no idea how well this guy is regarded in his industry. I know I have heard Loose Cannon on several occasions and perhaps that is from his ties to a country that adores surfing and his work in the surfing industry.
The Leigh I have mentioned above is Leigh Hubner. He is a professional camera man, lighting specialist and cinematographer currently based in Los Angeles, California by way of Australia. I will let you read more about him on his website and yes I think you should or I wouldn’t have put this story here. He has done some really interesting things. Highlights from his website are the story of a young Australian boy who with the aid of specialized hearing aids is dancing in the clouds and the following of a child in a refugee camp in Ethiopia that the Australian breakfast show “Sunrise” has sponsored for many years. In that camp Leigh was described as doing whatever was necessary to get the shots including putting himself in perilous situations with incredible dedication. Anyways, his website tells volumes and the video section is great. The video shorts on the site give you a really good idea of how talented he is and how well received he is in media. It sounds like to me Los Angeles acquired a huge talent and at least for now, Australia misses him dearly. Given his work though, there seems to be a fair amount of demand and travel. As far as I am concerned he is a guy from a country and culture that loves the ocean and ocean sports which has always made Australian people fascinating to me. Yesterday he was just an interesting stranger at Aliso Beach doing something I thought was fun. Today he is a really accomplished camera man and cinematographer that is exploring the possibilities with aerial footage from drones and per his website a guy that enjoys baseball and has adopted the Los Angeles Dodgers! That is awesome. Check out his website!
You can see some short clips of his drone flights later today on Facebook Fan Page Aliso Beach