HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) - A drone is giving an unusual aerial view of the ice on Lake Michigan.
For someone who sees the world like Jeff Zita, the view from the ground can be a little too ordinary sometimes. "I want something different, I'm always looking to go beyond the norm and get something extraordinary," says Zita, a Hope College sophomore.
Zita showed WZZM 13 how his Phantom Drone works; it's a machine with unique abilities that matches his unusual curiosity about Lake Michigan. "I have photography as a hobby," says Zita. "I wanted to get some pictures of Big Red and the ice."
The Hope College engineering student found more than he imagined. "How big the ice sheets out there were, in the video you can see it's massive," says Zita. "Doing a 360 degree view, you could see how far out the ice goes."
Zita says the drone can travel up to 1,000 feet in any direction and always remembers where it started from, because of a built in GPS unit and compass.
The images make for beautiful art, but Zita also stumbled on an important science lesson. "I know in recent years the lake hasn't been freezing over nearly as much as it did 20 years ago," says Zita.
WZZM 13's Chief Meteorologist George Lessens says that there's more ice this year than in recent history and that's a good thing for the lake. "Ice actually prevents the evaporation of the water that would normally occur even in the winter time, so it can only mean higher lake levels in the spring and summer," said Lessens.
Zita says his gadget has given him an enlightened view of the world and beyond. "On what God created, and how much greater it is than what we can really see."
Zita says he paid $900 for the drone. He already has other photography projects planned, including shooting video of the dunes around Lake Michigan.
(Copyright Gannett 2014)