Whirlwind 14 Days

On November 12th, my friend, fellow adventurer, and filming partner, Arek, sent me an email letting me know we had been given permission to film in the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Complex again and, more importantly, we were also given permission to film on the actual construction site of the New Safe Containment Facility (aka. Sarcophagus 2), where we have not been permitted to film before.

I scrambled to make arrangements for the trip, including acquiring a DJI Osmo, DJI x5, and some bigger batteries for my Inspire. Thanks to Cliff Whitney and the amazing team at Atlanta Hobby (www.atlantahobby.com), I was able to receive the equipment less then 24 hours before I departed. I don't think Amazon Prime can even do that!

 Check Point Dytyatka on the Southern end of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Check Point Dytyatka on the Southern end of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

 Mirion Technologies DMC 3000 Dosimeter reset to zero for the trip

Mirion Technologies DMC 3000 Dosimeter reset to zero for the trip

On the 7th day of this expedition, we got word that we had been granted permission to film in several of the Red Zone towns in the Fukushima Exclusion zone. So... within 4 days of my return to the United States, I was back on a plane headed to Japan to film for the first time in Fukushima.

I arrived in Japan with about 50 lbs less gear then I had lugged to Chernobyl; this time trying to travel as lightly as possible (not an easy task). A large part of the weight reduction was in the remote aerial vehicle. I love shooting with the ever-smooth DJI Inspire 1 and the x5 has introduced some real excitement in the realm of aerial photography for me, but on this trip, I decided to pare down and just pack the DJI Phantom 3 Professional instead.

In addition to the Phantom, I rented a Canon 5Ds. Unfortunately, my trusty 5D Mark III had some major issues in Chernobyl and after nearly 150,000 shots it might need to be retired. I packed my 16-34 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8, and my 70-200 f2.8 along with my Metabones E to EF adapter, so I could exchange lenses between my still camera and my Sony FS7. I packed my Panasonic GH4 as my back-up camera just incase something didn’t work. I've learned that at least one back-up option for everything is a good idea on trips like this.

I left early Thursday, December 3rd from Denver, Colorado and one connection and 20 hours later, landed at Narita Airport, Japan with successful receipt of all gear. I checked into my hotel in Tokyo for a restless night's sleep before departing for the Fukushima Exclusion Zone early the next morning. Fukushima vs. Chernobyl. Certainly an interesting topic of research!