When I was young my father would take my brother and me hunting on cold Kansas mornings. I often wonder whether my affinity for getting up early was instilled by those wonderful times with my Dad.

These days I find pre-dawn pots of coffee are a fixture of my life because my friend Romeo is addicted to the quality of light found in those first minutes when the sun crests the horizon. I, too, have long been fascinated by "the magic hour" as it is referred to by cinematographers and directors intent on capturing the warmth cast by the sun's disc when it hangs low on the horizon. In fact, one of my favorite movies of all time is Days of Heaven by the great director Terrence Malick and starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard and Linda Manz. Malick insisted on shooting the majority of the picture in the 30 minutes or so available only at dawn and dusk during "the magic hour." If you haven't seen it I highly urge you to go watch it on Netflix.

Today we got a late start due to me soldering the wrong connectors on a video transmitter but we still caught some of those gorgeous warm rays when we arrived at the old cement factory outside of Davenport, California. Though the place has been shut down since 2010, it is still locked up and patrolled by a roaming security guard so that our only option was to fly the site from across the highway. We decided to not put the big hexcopter in the air and, instead, flew the factory with our small Phantom 2 quads.

The weather was glorious and there was something eerie and almost haunting in the quiet old iron towers and tanks that stood high above the surrounding pine trees. We made several flights until a pair of gentlemen politely asked us to move so they could set up their fruit stand. We were happy to pack up as we both were already craving the heavenly heuvos rancheros that we've come to crave at the Davenport Roadhouse just a couple miles down Highway One.



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