FLY­ING HIGH WITH A SNAPPY TAL­ENT

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - ANGIRA BHARADWAJ

AT the age of 17, an ac­ci­dent on a WA beach left Jaimen Hud­son a quad­ri­plegic — but it also opened the way for him to fly.

To­day his drone photography and videos are ad­mired world­wide.

His footage of a sin­gle pad­dle­boarder alone in the ocean but for two south­ern right whales by his side has more than 6.5 mil­lion views on YouTube.

Be­fore he sus­tained his lifechang­ing in­jury when he ca­reered over the bars of his mo­tor­bike on a sand dune at Wylie Bay, east of Esper­ance, 10 years ago, Hud­son had been nur­tur­ing a pas­sion for photography.

But when the full ex­tent of his in­juries be­came ap­par­ent he didn’t think he would ever pick up a cam­era. He still re­mem­bers the sick­en­ing crunch of his neck on im­pact.

“It was like an elec­tric shock went through my body,” the 27year-old Esper­ance lo­cal said.

As a teenager trapped in a wheel­chair while his mates went surf­ing, a dis­con­so­late Hud­son never thought he would be able to share their love of the ocean again.

How­ever, the ar­rival of the chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer of drone man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany DJI at his fam­ily’s char­ter busi­ness changed every­thing and reignited his in­ter­est in photography.

“I be­gan watch­ing YouTube videos on how to op­er­ate the re­mote con­trol be­cause I was wor­ried I wouldn’t be able to op­er­ate the re­mote with my re­duced hand func­tion,” Hud­son said.

“I haven’t re­ally looked back since.”

Now when his friends go surf­ing he is right there with them, cap­tur­ing their ev­ery move. “The dron­ing al­lows me to ac­cess the ocean like I did be­fore,” Hud­son said.

He has be­come such an ex­pert that com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing McDon­ald’s and Na­tional Geo­graphic, have en­listed his skills to shoot footage.

Hud­son has re­leased a 2018 calendar fea­tur­ing his best work. The funds raised will go to­wards a ve­hi­cle that he can drive from his wheel­chair.

“(It) will give me a whole new level of free­dom,” he said. “It will cer­tainly be life-chang­ing and al­low me to ac­cess so many more places.”

Money raised from the sale of his work will help pay for a mod­i­fied car so he can drive him­self to shoot­ing lo­ca­tions.

To buy the 2018 calendar or prints, go to: www.jaimen.com.au and see more images at instagram.com/jaimen­hud­son/

Ea­gle eye: Clock­wise from top, Lake Louise, Canada; Venice Beach, Cal­i­for­nia; a lone whale and dophins; and Esper­ance’s Jaimen Hud­son back on the beach. Pictures: Jaimen Hud­son.

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