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Talladega National Forest | Cheaha State Park

November 26, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I recently travelled through Talladega National Forest while shooting several aerial photography projects in the North Alabama area.  I decided to go back to the summit at Cheaha State Park to stay at the park lodge one evening.  


Located in the middle of the Talladega National Forest, the park is ideal for access to the Kentuck ORV-ATV Trail. Additionally, the park is home to the Cheaha Trailhead of the Pinhoti Trail, which connects with the Appalachian Trail and accesses the Odum Scout Trail, and the Chinnabee Silent Trail. Here hikers can experience tranquility, native wildlife and beautiful waterfalls.


Delicious, country-style food combined with panoramic views of the Talladega National Forest and valley below are found at the park’s restaurant. A traditional Sunday buffet is also available.  Catering is available in the park for pavilions and Bald Rock lodge contact our sales staff 256-488-5885 (let us handle the grilling or cooking, so you can enjoy the park!).  


In addition to lodge rooms, cabins and A-frame chalets, we also offer improved camping in the park’s campground, semi-primitive camping near the highest point, and primitive camping near Cheaha Lake.  In addition, there is primitive camping along mountainside trails, offering campers numerous options for getting close to nature.


The perfect atmosphere for a wedding, Cheaha Resort State Park staff can provide couples with everything needed for their special day.

Area Attractions

Nearby attractions include the Talladega National Forest, the Talladega Super Speedway, the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure, and the historic Kymulga Grist Mill Covered Bridge and Park.

Links of interest:


CastlePost | Martin Castle | The Kentucky Castle - Lexington, Kentucky

November 21, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I recently had a chance to photograph and stay at CastlePost just outside of Lexington, Kentucky.  CastlePost is often referred to as "Martin Castle", or "The Kentucky Castle."  It was a surreal experience and one of the most beautiful places I've ever photographed.

Martin Castle was built by Rex and Caroline Bogaert Martin in 1969 after returning from a German vacation.  They were inspired by the architecture and many famous buildings that they'd visited while in Europe.  The Martins divorced before the castle was completed and it sat unfinished for many years.

The structure was sold to a Miami attorney in 2003 but the structure burned during renovations during 2004.  Reconstruction was completed in 2008.

The castle was purchased again in 2017 by a group of investors.

Links of interest:

I stayed in a "chalet", often referred to as a "turret":

The castle sits on working 55 acre farm and has a farm-to-table restaurant.  The food was excellent.   

The rooftop terrace is perfect for weddings, parties, and any other large gathering:

Here is a collection of images taken while walking the grounds that evening and the next morning:


Brown Builders | North Village Plaza Apartments | Ruston, Louisiana

October 24, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Brown Builders teamed with former NBA star Karl Malone and other investors to build Ruston’s newest luxury apartment homes, North Village Plaza Apartments.

The 120-apartment unit includes six multi-unit buildings along with clubhouse, garage buildings, in-ground pool with pool house, paved parking and access drives.

The community clubhouse will include a business center, 24-hour fitness center, kitchen, covered patio, ping pong patio, fire pit and dog park. The in-ground pool, pool house and cabana includes volleyball courts, bocce courts and a shaded pergola at the pool.  There is also a set-aside outside area for children to play.

The luxury apartments have gourmet kitchens with stainless steel appliances, and stone counter tops. Bathrooms have garden tubs. Plank flooring finishes the luxurious 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartment homes. There are 11 floor plans from which to choose.

The apartments are designed to meet the national green building standards and criteria. As a green certified project, the following must meet specific criteria: lot & site development, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency, environmental quality, and home owner education.

For more information, visit:



Louisiana Tech University vs. Mississippi State - 9/9/17

October 20, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Louisiana Helicam was proud to serve our alma mater for the Louisiana Tech University vs. Mississippi State game at Joe Aillet Stadium on 9/9/17.

A full collection of aerial photos, aerial panoramic images, and aerial video clips were gathered for Louisiana Tech University's photography department.

For more information, visit: 







Drones for Agricultural Spraying

September 21, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

The following is from our September article for a national pulp and paper publication


I can remember my first radio-controlled airplane project like it was yesterday.  The small kit consisted of balsa wood, monokote covering, and a small glow fuel engine.  My goal was not to become an RC enthusiast.  You see, I grew up on a sugar cane farm and the local crop dusting service was less than a mile from our home.  I spent much time riding my old BMX bicycle to and from the airport.  I was fascinated with the two Air Tractor planes that took off many times during the course of the day.  The goal that I had in mind as a ten year old was to provide a spraying service for local gardeners.

I had it all planned out.  Straws were glued to the wing tips and several “TeeJet” spray nozzles were taken from my family’s farm shop (thanks to the help of my trusty BMX bike).  An extra RC fuel tank would be used for chemical storage. 

The project, however, never left the ground.

Fast forward thirty years later.  We now have the ability to spray small-acreage tracts with both single and multi-rotor aircraft.  This can be done manually (by row) or by flying an automated GPS grid.  Most states require a commercial applicators license in addition to an FAA Part 107 certification. 


The Yamaha RMAX, a single rotor autonomous helicopter, has been used for spraying crops since the 1990’s.  The RMAX is almost 12ft in length, weighs just over 200lbs, and has a chemical tank capacity of up to 68lbs.  The machine has an average flight duration of 1hr.

In 2016, DJI introduced the Agras MG-1, a large octocopter with a 2.6ga chemical tank.  The MG-1 has a hovering time of 10 – 24 minutes depending on payload. 

The Gaia 160 is another large multirotor spray drone.  The 160 has a 6 gallon chemical capacity and a flight duration of around 18 minutes.

Stay tuned for more articles as well delve into the world of crop spraying with unmanned systems.


Feel free to contact me at mark@louisianahelicam.com if you have any questions about our services.  


The Assembly West Monroe | Church Construction Update - August 2017

August 28, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This blog post contains construction progress aerial photos of the West Monroe Assembly church facility project.





Baton Rouge Flood - 2016

August 28, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Our thoughts and prayers are with those that are going through hard times with Hurricane Harvey devastation.  

We will be providing South Louisiana and possibly South Texas flood coverage from both unmanned aerial systems and full scale aircraft.

This video contains leftover footage from the 2016 Baton Rouge flood:

The Assembly West Monroe | Church Construction Update - July 2017

August 26, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This video contains construction progress aerial photos of the West Monroe Assembly church facility project.




Construction: In-House Drone Program vs. Drone Services Provider

August 16, 2017

This is a good article by Gene Blinkov regarding the outsourcing of drones in the construction industry.  The original article can be found HERE


As drones have grown in popularity the affordability of drones for day-to-day use has greatly improved. Yet, to complete the type of work expected on construction sites and analyze the collected data appropriately, companies should know that initial costs for drone operation could reach up to $50,000. After the initial cost companies will incur additional time & expenses for the operation, data processing software subscriptions and insurance to name a few.

Companies need to consider the type of equipment they need, as well as the needed accessories for monitoring and surveying. Accessories include camera sensors, batteries, tablets, protective gear etc. And the costs don't stop there. In addition to the drones and accessories, companies will need to find the right kind of software to analyze the data being collected. The primary four areas of expense are equipment, accessories, software and pilot training.

Taking on such responsibilities as a company in order to have an in-house drone program can be a huge burden that hinders momentum. In addition to the initial start up costs of developing an in-house drone program and operator costs, companies will have to consider liability and litigation risk. The Federal Aviation Administration requires a commercial insurance policy that covers liability up to one million dollars. Companies would have to check with their insurance carriers if they even offer commercial drone liability insurance, as it's a relatively new area. Insurance, if it is available, can be expected to run another $2,000-3000 a year.

How the FAA Is Getting Involved

If the cost of operation and gear isn't enough, new Federal Aviation Administration operating rules add to cost and training time for commercial operation of drones. A commercially used drone can only be operated by a certified UAV pilot or observed by one. Drone operators must man the drone within their visual line of sight, without any aid such as the use of binoculars. Training for certification includes an exam for the applicants' knowledge of regulations, airspace classifications, aviation weather sources and emergency procedures. The exam itself is not difficult - but knowing your way around flying a drone above a ton of expensive equipment and other obstacles takes a lot of practice.

In-house vs. Service Provider Partnership

With so much cost to consider and the need for trained individuals, partnering with drone professionals eases a lot of the stress and can save companies money. By working with outside company professionals, companies will save money every month, the liability will remain with the drone professionals and there's no need to train or hire personnel to operate the drone. Flights and inspections can be planned ahead of time and the data collected and analyzed can be delivered to project managers, lenders and investors incredibly fast!


*  On a personal note, the work that I've seen from in-house drone operations is quite bland and lifeless when compared to that of a professional.  


Louisiana State University | Nicholson Gateway Drone Panoramic Image

August 10, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

The following is a panoramic aerial image of the new Nicholson Gateway development near Louisiana State University.  


For more information, visit: