Staff Spotlight: Dillan Murray

Mr. Murray pursues amateur photography in his free time—both on land and in air. His interest in photography began in a high school digital photography class and developed over the years on family vacations, where he was afforded ample subjects to photograph. He enjoys exploring and documenting landscape scenery or urban streetscapes exactly as he finds them using his phone, DSLR camera, or drone.

From the air, Mr. Murray uses a drone equipped with a 12-megapixel camera to view the beautiful and varied landscapes of Ventura County, from the coastline to the foothills and inland to the geometric shapes of the agricultural fields. He follows the wooded barrancas from their origins in the hills of Ventura to their termination on the coast, circles the pier, and time lapses the flow of vehicles on the 101 freeway.

Mr. Murray enjoys drone photography not only for the stunning visuals, but for the cognitive shift it can provide as well. His favorite professional drone photographer, Benjamin Grant, has made it the mission of his work to inspire a shift in thinking amongst his viewers through the angle by which his photos are positioned. Taking a cue from how astronauts first described their feelings of looking at earth from the moon, the “Overview Effect,” as Grant calls it, can work to enact subtle change in our thinking. By providing viewers a new vantage point in seeing the Earth from above, viewers can better grasp the enormous complexity of human systems and our footprint on the planet.