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Railay from Above


Pierson’s last day in Thailand was open. There was time for exploration and hanging out before he and his companions were set to head back to the States the next day. Little did he know that this would be his last international trip before the pandemic hit.

“We made no plans, so it was either explore something new or just hang out. Railay Beach was about two hours away from where we were, and I’d been researching it on Google Earth. I really wanted to see it.”

Railay, also known as Rai Leh, is on Thailand’s Andaman Sea near the Krabi Province capital city of Krabi, in southern Thailand. Railay Beach sits on a limestone cliff-blocked peninsula and can only be reached by boat. Its remote location makes it popular with rock climbers as well as beachgoers looking for a quiet, rustic alternative to better-known destinations.

Pierson sent his drone up to capture the shoreline at sunset. “This was the sketchiest drone flight of my entire life. I was about 3 miles away from where the drone is in this shot. According to the controller, the winds were blowing at 38 mph, and the 2-pound drone was fighting hard to get this angle. Suddenly the drone warned me with a “Landing Now” alert. I turned the drone back, and I’m watching the battery level drop from 20% to zero. It was coming down about 60 feet in front of me into the water. I raced out and caught it before it hit the water. I was so happy to have this shot. It was worth the scare.”

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Pierson Oglesby


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