Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia lighthouses the subject of drone passion project

Waverley resident Larry Peyton is using a drone to capture footage of all 175 lighthouses in Nova Scotia.

Larry Peyton aims to capture all 175 of the province's lighthouses with his drone

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      They are sweeping views of Nova Scotia's coastlines that are usually only available to the birds.

      But a Waverley man is capturing these sights of the province's lighthouses using a drone that showcase the landmarks in a way that few people have seen before.

      "Think about how many times you've driven around your hometown, you pass by the same places, you barely raise your head off the road that you're driving on," said Larry Peyton. "But when you fly home, your face is pressed against the airplane window, going 'wow',"

      Peyton is on a mission to get drone video of all 175 lighthouses in Nova Scotia. He's been at it since Labour Day and still has 143 more to go.

      The drone hobbyist says the idea came to him when he was in Cape Breton for his daughter's soccer tournament. A stop at the Low Point Lighthouse to take his drone for a spin led to a conversation with a member of the lighthouse's preservation society, who told him about how natural erosion was putting the lighthouse at risk of being destroyed by the North Atlantic.

      "On the drive back to Halifax from Cape Breton, I got to think 'maybe we need to capture all these lighthouses and get this stuff saved,'" he said. "Something needs to be done about this stuff. It speaks to much about our culture as a whole, not just the mariner culture."

      Peyton and his partner Cory Webb upload videos of their work on social media under the name Nō Ka 'Oi Drone Guys — which in Hawaiian means "the best". The name was inspired by Peyton's family vacation in Hawaii. 

      "I had become very enamoured with the Hawaiian culture, just their appreciation for the land, for the landscape, for maintaining it, for slowing down a little bit and enjoying it," he said. "It's just a way of life and to sort of incorporate that into the name just seemed like a smart thing to do."

      Peyton's mission has given him given him the opportunity to explore areas of the province he had never seen before. He says he has had to hike for almost an hour to get access to more remote lighthouses and has had to return to the same location three times in order to get the proper filming conditions.

      "You really get an appreciation for the beauty of the province that I think we miss a lot of the times," he said. 

      So far, the team has produced three YouTube videos — the Low Point LighthouseCape Sable, and Peggy's Cove.

      Peyton says he generally spends between eight and 12 hours editing video for every 10 to 15 minutes of footage he gets. 

      "Some lighthouses will warrant their own features — so it gets a three-to-four minute video. Other lighthouses like Bear River outside of Digby, when I got there, the lighthouse was in poor condition … it was really swallowed up by the trees so it was very difficult to get a whole lot of footage from there," he said. 

      Weather is a major factor in Peyton's filming strategy — wind conditions have to be just right.

      "Wind and rain are my enemies," he said. "You're talking about the coast of Nova Scotia and you want no wind and it's tough."

      Another factor that may hinder Peyton's ability to fulfil his mission of capturing all 175 lighthouses is the cost — inland lighthouses are relatively easy to access but the offshore ones are considerably more pricey. Peyton estimates it will cost him over $300 just to hire a tour boat to get to Sambro Island just to drone it.

      "It becomes something I can't afford to do when I'm looking at the number of offshore lighthouses," he said.

      To offset costs, Peyton says he's looking into a variety of options, including corporate partnerships, government grants or even possibly crowd funding. 

      "We're still in the early stages, but I hate to be that guy who asks for money ... but hopefully there's some interest in what we're doing and maybe some people would love to help out, that would be fantastic."

      To see more of the Nō Ka 'Oi Drone Guys work, visit them on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. 


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