German Photographer and filmmaker Martin Heck from Timestorm Films has captured the eye of Resource Travel with some amazing footage a few times before. His love for the Dolomite Mountains in neighboring country Italy was stunningly depicted in this time-lapse, for example, as well as in this dramatic winter film. But Heck has also traveled to a lot of other places, like when he was fortunate enough to be there when Calbuco volcano exploded.
Somewhere along the way, Heck purchased a DJI Phantom 4, and now, his “debut film in aerial cinematography” is finally ready. “AERIS ACUTI” – a reference to Dolomite rock formations reaching into the sky – is nothing less than an aerial masterpiece. Heck’s breath taking images instantly bring zen to even the most restless soul.
Reaching out to Heck, Resource Travel was more than curious to hear how hard it is to get a drone up in these desolate, inaccessible and inhospitable landscapes, let alone maneuver it without mishaps.
Shooting in the mountains is indeed quite rough for equipment and people. Fast changing weather conditions and exposed locations require great research and attentiveness. Though the Dolomites are very well developed (high pass-roads, cable cars…), it still requires to break down the equipment to “hikeable” levels. Luckily, the Phantom 4 can easily be strapped on a backpack, alongside my time-lapse equipment.
While shooting “AERIS ACUTI,” I was usually able to use Alpine refugios (shelters) to spend the night, have great food and meet people. But I also slept in the tent I always carried with me. Shrouded in clouds at zero degrees Celcius can be very hard, but it’s all worth it when you see a crescent moon rising from the fog between the rocks, or when warm sun rays warm you up while drawing marmots out of their den.
What’s with the love for the Dolomites?
I have known and loved the Dolomites for as long as I can remember. Since I have family there, it was a regular place for me to spend my holidays – I still do. There was a time when I just took the great landscapes for granted. It’s quite like my second home.
After starting my career with a long trip to New Zealand, followed by Patagonia and Norway, I started to appreciate it more and more to have such an incredible scenery basically on my doorstep. So whenever I had time between larger projects, I liked to just explore it bit by bit, re-visiting places from hikes I did when I was younger and just shooting these great places with new technologies I didn’t had access to before.
You call this your “debut film in aerial cinematography.” What’s next? And what your ultimate destination?
Although I was strongly focusing on time-lapse production these past years, I also wanted to establish a second foothold in image making: aerial productions. I think aerial cinematography can be very well combined with my time-lapse workflow. So the idea is to further improve the quality of my aerial footage to eventually match the level I’ve achieved in time-lapse. And if I get the opportunity I would love to dive into slow-motion work too.
Pretty soon, I will leave to New Zealand again, for a seven week road trip on the South Island. In the longer term, more remote and less traveled places like Kamchatka, western China and Bolivia/Peru are on the top of my bucket list.