SAVED BY A TAXI DRIVER
Liberia isn’t the easiest (or quickest) place to get to, but it is where our nameless drone-hero lives.
It took us 36 hours to fly from Johannesburg, to Kenya, to Nigeria before we finally landed in Liberia and then we still had a significant drive to our shoot location.
But there was no good news awaiting us weary travellers. Our purpose for being there was to film a hydroelectric dam construction – an entirely outdoor shoot – and the weather forecast showed a downpour of rain for the entire time we were there.
We didn’t want to have come all this way for nothing, so soldiering on, we did the shoot as scheduled. The Phantom 4 proved to be waterproof and besides the occasional drop on the screen and the general muddy scenery – you probably wouldn’t have guessed the downpour by the clarity of the photos and footage!
Triumphant from our shoot success, we decided to explore a little bit of Liberia on the way back to the airport. We had noticed the run-down hotels along the beach front – their derelict state had an appealing beauty. And we were also fascinated that the beach, rather than lined with sun-tanning holiday-makers, was highly populated with shacks and makeshift houses. Being the photographers that we are, we wanted to capture this on film. So, we asked our taxi driver to drop us off and, piled high with all our equipment, we went to find that picture perfect moment.
As our taxi driver was driving away, he noticed that it was us who seemed to have caught everyone’s attention – and not in the good way. So he parked his car and come running after us. Completely oblivious to what was happening around us, we were surprised to see him again, but quickly followed him back to his car when he pointed out how we were being stared down and sized up.
If the taxi driver had not come back, if we had stayed any longer, we would have quickly found ourselves without our drones and other equipment, our phones, our passports and wallets and with no way of getting back to the airport.
In our panic, we never asked the taxi driver his name, but we will always be grateful to him to rescuing us and our drones.