The Sunday Times

FLYING HIGH WITH A SNAPPY TALENT

- 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.
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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