Churun-meru (Dragon) and Cortina falls, Venezuela • 360° Aerial Panorama
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In May of 2011 Dima Moiseenko left for Venezuela to shoot the highest waterfall in the world — the Angel Falls. The shooting took two days and was very complicated both in its technical aspect and because of the weather. Dima shot the Angel Falls itself, a few neighboring waterfalls in tepuys and spheres over the gold mines on his way back. Now we represent the first part of the shooting — a virtual tour in Venezuela over the Angel Falls' surroundings, the Churun-meru (Dragon) and Cortina Falls as well as over the gold mines.
And now the author tells:
Several years long we have been shooting the aerial panoramas of the world's most famous and extraordinary waterfalls: the Iguazú in Brazil and Argentina, the Victoria in Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Black waterfall in Iceland...
And, of course, when I had got an opportunity to buy the tickets to Venezuela, to Margarita Island (the Mecca for windsurfers and kiters), at low fare, Salto Angel (the Angel Falls) became the place where easy to get to. And the fact that it's the Highest in the World is evident!
The total height of the waterfall is 979 meters and the altitude of the endless water fall is 807 meters. The fall altitude is so high that before reaching the ground water sprays with the tiny drops and changes into a fog.
It's worth to mention that Venezuela is a unique country. In addition to Hugo Chávez and oil prices (an off-road vehicle's tank full of gasoline will cost approx. USD 3.30) there are tepuys.
Tepuys are a kind of the strange view mountains with the flat tops and famous all over the world as "table top mountains" (perhaps, because they are flat like a table). Just imagine: in deep jungle there are 1 kilometer high rocks with the vertical walls and flat tops. That is why water accumulates there after every single rain and then falls down changing into numerous waterfalls. The Angel Falls is just one of them but with the highest altitude of water fall which is almost 1 kilometer. From the same Auyantepui Mountain the more full-flowing rivers fall down but the altitude of their vertical fall is maximum 200-300 meters.
At the same time there is a problem: in a hot, dry season the Angel Falls changes into a thin water stream and in a rainy season vice versa — into a real waterfall. But the weather is so changeable there that watching after the Angel for a month it might be hard to view and enjoy all its beauty...
This season is dry but I was told that it had recently rained and I had a chance to see the real waterfall. I couldn't afford to waste time!
Right near the waterfall (in the Canaima National Park) there are no charter helicopters but only small light jets. For that reason since the first day of my staying on Margarita Island I had been trying to find any. The Angel Falls is located in the wild nature of Venezuela and it is reachable only by air or river. On the third day of my staying I found the telephone number of a company which deals with the gold mines and has a Bell-206 helicopter in its fleet. It is situated 100 miles from the waterfall. And for dear Russian friends it's absolutely possible to supply the machine for visiting the waterfall in the morning.
Well, just to get there from Margarita Island I had to change two airplanes, cross the Orinoco River and then 8 hours long drive...
On the first day we flew up at 7 a.m. and at 8:15 were standing at the Angel's foot. The helicopter landed near a camp which is a start point for the walking tours to the waterfall. Falling 1 kilometer down, water changes into spray and on the ground there is a cloud of water fog and the river appears from nowhere which then flows down...
We take off the helicopter doors there. The machine was ready to start up but the whole sky over the Auyantepui Mountain, from which the Angel flows, was covered with clouds although the waterfall itself was freely viewed.
I decided to fly up and wait there. It was hard to find a pad to land among plenty of rocks covering the table mountain top. Aside the waterfall from time to time during the hour the sky became partly blue but then again was covered with clouds.
Unexpectedly, in five minutes a cloud appeared from below and we were standing in a thick fog that moment. Several hours long the fog was so thick that a pilot refused not only to shoot but he even didn't think of flying up. We got stuck on the mountain top...
Finally, by the noon the sky seemed us blue in the valley and we flew up. We found a gap and flew down to the camp. After we had landed and had been ready to put the doors back, the waterfall, as if it was jeering at us, can be viewed again!
Though the clouds over the Auyantepui Mountain had still been existing, I decided to shoot spheres at current light. As a result, the first day photos, had been shot from every planned point, were successful although without sunlight but with parts of clouds and fog.
In the evening I stitched the panoramas' previews but I still had no feeling of the job done.
On the second day I decided to visit the Angel again. That day we started our flight from the miners' village named "88 km". It is located 1 flight hour from the waterfall.
The sky was gloomy but nobody knew what the weather was like 90 miles far from there, near the waterfall. At 8 a.m., when we arrived near the camp, the waterfall wasn't seen at all. Even the Auyantepui's wall was completely covered with the clouds which were appearing from nowhere
At 10 a.m. we were able to see a half of the waterfall, at 11 the top appeared. I thought it would be a good idea to shoot the waterfall with a cloud in the middle of it and ordered to fly up.
I left the second camera down, on the tripod with a teleobjective, in order to shoot the helicopter against a background of the Angel.
The camera was programmed to shoot the waterfall automatically with 5 seconds intervals.
The sky was grey above us. While we were flying up and coming closer to the waterfall, the top was disappeared in the fog again... But, anyway, I made the sphere... Going the second circle I felt something wrong with the camera. Indeed, the shutter was failed. We had to fly down, change the camera and ... wait again.
Suddenly, the sky began to clarify and by 12:30 almost the whole sky became blue except of the Angel and the Auyantepui Mountain's tops as if it was Murthy's Law. Then I decided to shoot at least the neighboring waterfalls. We flew around very beautiful waterfall with a scary name Dragon which is 300 meters high and then directed to the Salto Cortina with two cascades of 200 meters high each one. And from that place I saw that the cloud was leaving the Angel's top. We fast returned. In a couple of minutes the haze disappeared and I began to shoot the Angel form its top.
At 1 p.m. only the very top was lighted when the bottom was in shadow. It lasted 15 minutes. I was able to fly down 800 meters from the very top, along the stream, till the foot and shot about a dozen of spheres until the fog appeared again. Being on the ground, in the camp, while the pilot was putting the helicopter door on, I turned and saw a next cloud completely covered the waterfall... That was the way the nature favored us with a quarter of an hour for two days!
On our way back we flew over the gold mines. After some arrangements with the pilot he, finally, agreed for a small fee to fly around the mines with the helicopter door off although let me know beforehand that we could be at gun sight if somebody saw a cameraman.
Either the gold miners were tired due to the hot weather (40 grades above zero) in wet jungles or the rain accompanied with a rainbow forced them go, anyway, nobody paid us attention and we safely returned to the base.
That was the end of our complicated shooting of the Angel Falls — the highest waterfall in the world.
Written and shot by Dmitry Moiseenko
23 August 2011
"Awesome! Nice work! Thanks"
Eugene Hristov, Bulgaria
"Me di el lujo de bañarme en sus aguas, al final de su caída, la cual parece una regadera. Por donde baja el maravilloso salto se llama "LA GARGANTA DEL DIABLO" es muy impresionante, de igual forma permanecí quince días rescatando la Avioneta de Jimmy Crawford Ángel, volábamos en un helicóptero UH y al llegar al tope, descendíamos hasta el pie del salto, es algo mas que impresionante. Invito a todos los exploradores, científicos etc. que visiten a nuestro golpeado país. Pero no por eso deja de tener sus bellezas. Juan Enrique Laurentin Rojas. Valencia, Venezuela."
JUAN ENRIQUE LAURENTIN ROJAS, Venezuela
"Heel mooie beelden van verschillende plaatsen in de wereld.Many beauty Pictures of places in the
world.Plussieurs belles images de notre Planet.
Sehr schöne Bilder von unsere Erde;
Jos Gouwy Turnhout Belgium"
jos gouwy, Belgium
"Very well done. Thank you for sharing this beautiful pictures with us."
Madduma Ratnayake, United Kingdom
allusse mickael, Thailand
"gracias, por mostrar la belleza de nuestro país. Dios te bendiga"
juan trejo, Venezuela
"einfach nur wunder-wunder-wunderschöne Aufnahmen!!!"
Rainer Karau, Germany
"FEELING DRAGON AGE"
OTGON TSERENDORJ, Mongolia
"MUY BUENA IMAGEN Y SONIDO. UN ABRAZO AL GRAN PROFESIONAL"
GUILLERMO ROSALES, Argentina
aa aaa, Iran
"What a fascinating account of photographing the Angel Falls ! I wish I were there for this experience."
Alexis Gilani, India
"I can't believe how absolutely beautiful this is!
Congrats on an almost impossible task."
Nan Thompson, USA
"wonderful, is breathtaking"
Anton Lebar, Slovenia
"Einfach fantastisch! Was kann man da noch mehr sagen?"
Georg von Tiesenhausen, Germany
"Some years ago we took a flight in a small plane from Isla Margarita to Kavak, a small village near Angel Falls. Arriving, we flew over the tepui but the Falls were fogged-in. Landing,w e trekked up the river to a grotto, then back for lunch of mystery-meat (monkey?). We flew over the now-clear Falls, the cowboy pilot giving us a close-up view of the Falls. There are several other falls from neighboring tepuis, one that never touched the ground but blew sidways onto the smooth rock face, sheeting down. It was an unforgetable trip!"
Fred Whitaker, USA
Silvester Mifsud, Malta
"Prachtig! Wij hebben zelf mogen beleven de waterval te zien. Met bootjes door de jungle, slapen in hangmatten, en dan wandelen tot aan de voet van de waterval. geweldig met een bulderend geweld stort ze naar beneden, word er nog weemoedig van. Zou dit nog wel eens over willen doen."
Diana Claassen, Belgium
"The landscape is absolutly stunning and the music is also perfect for these images. The music is composed and played by Gheorghe Zamfir - The King Of The Pan Flute from Romania"
Catalin Marian, Romania
"The pitchers taken in your gallery are the sharpest in definition, color, and lighting I had ever seen."
Ken Smith, USA
"I like the way it is published"
Narendra Thaker, India
"Panoromas of the Most Beautiful Places Around the WORLD IS TRUELY AMAZINE. CAN YOU creat more 5D PANOROMAS AROUND THE WORLD & LET PEOPLES ENJOY GOD BLESS YOU ALL."
JUNG KUEA YU, China
Richard Walters, USA
ben smit, Netherlands
Selva raja, Malaysia
"thanks so much good."
ibrahim mohamadi, Iran
"Why we are killing our so beautiful world? Maybe not everybody, but businesmen. As the population of the Earth we have to stop them before it's too late. Music is also beautiful. Congratulations to the producers of this film."
Les Samborski, Canada
"its briliant work and very impressive good visuals and music"
mohammed abdul rahman, Saudi Arabia
"What a wonderfull site..."
Agus Taufik, Indonesia
"its so very intresting nd beautiful site bcoz clear i see to any amazing place and temples..."
mihir parekh, India
"Guyana has the highest water fall Kaieteur Falls 823"
Nandy Persaud, Guyana
"congratulaton Photographer for this master piece shooting weldone immortal"
khalid mahmud, Pakistan
"My God real paradise on earth im completely mesmerised by this nature glamour climax.a marvelous gift for nature lovers."
khalid mahmud, Pakistan
"you don't make it clear as to why the all that falling water does not collect at the bottom to form a river. I understand it vaporizes , but not that much , similar to what we call rain."
wynn hammer, USA
"I can only thank the team for supplying such a wonderful presentation"
Ray Hosegood, United Kingdom
"lindisimo es un espectáculo"
blandina fernandes, Portugal
"its too good.. thanks guys for creating this... loved the background music and the visuals.... very very good !"
Raju Hira, Hong Kong
"Wunderschön, ganz lieben Dank."
Susanne Hinrichsen, Germany
"Stunning, Awesome, Beautiful! My first remembrance of Angel Falls was seeing it in the 1960 movie, "The Lost World," which had aeriel photography looking down at the falls and surrounding area. It's primitive beauty mesmerized me then and still does every time I see it now, more than 50 years later.
Thank you so much for making this magnificent part of God's creation available to the general public to see on such a grand scale.
God bless you!"
Christopher Fry, USA
"Back in the late forties while we were living in Costa Rica, some friends had Jimmie Angel visiting them. We were invited to lunch and met him. I was too young to appreciate this adventurer and what he had discovered. I will always treasure that memory and today I got to visit his falls, thanks to you!"
bunny mills, USA
"Me tiene maravillada... que lindo"
Teresa de la Coromoto Fiore Pulido, Mexico
"BEYOND MY EXPECTATIONS,AS MY NORTH ATLANTIC GEM,PALES IN COMPARISON.A GRAND JOB.!"
ROBERT SEáN McCORMACK, Ireland
"How beautiful is my country! I am proud of my country. This beautiful fall is not only the unique natural beauty we have here. You are very good photographer! Not everyone can take a good picture of our Angel Falls without much fog. Greetings from Venezuela."
Maria Bolivar, Venezuela
kalpana tendulkar, India
With much appreciation from an armchair traveller"
Moonchan Lai, Malaysia
"The photography was spectacular, the presentation flawless and the the script fit for Hollywood, but the writeup was horrific, get a professional writer."
Vince Taddeo, Canada
"EXCELLENT, MIND BLOWING,A DELIGHT TO WATCH"
RAJESH CHITTLANGIA, India
"Loved this video. I can only dream of seeing a place like this. Thank you for the film.
john brewer, USA
"I do not want to know how u did it - it will, perhaps, spoil the fun one has just watching the Laptop Screen! Words fail me to express my immense appreciation of what you did gto entertain US!"
Karlheinz Schneider, South Africa
"Spectacular, its almost like being right there; when I visited Aruba I wanted to visit Venezuela; hopefully soon I shall. Thank you for sharing."
Marlene Crouchman, Canada
"My next trip to Maracaibo will include a visit to Angel Falls with my friend Eduardo and his family. The virtual tour is spectacular."
Stan Quarles, USA