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The Glittering Beauty Of Winter’s Snowscapes, Captured By Drone

Lithuanian photographer Karolis Janulis offers a fascinating glimpse of ordinary life from above.

  • <p><em>Frozen Greens</em> depicts a forest covered in snow on the side of Vilnius.</p>
  • <p>"I had to make the angel myself and then my wife agreed to pose for the picture," Janulis says about the photos, which was shot in Elektrenai.</p>
  • <p>Janulis was taking pictures of old factories in Vilnius when he noticed the letter A forming out of the buildings.</p>
  • <p>A woman walks across a frozen river in Vilnius.</p>
  • <p>An aerial shot of the famous Gediminas Castle in Vilnius.</p>
  • <p>Two men skiing a park of Vilnius, Lithuania.</p>
  • <p>A man ice surfs on a frozen lagoon in Elektrenai, Lithuania.</p>
  • <p>A bridge over a frozen lagoon in Elektrenai.</p>
  • <p><em>Signature</em> depicts a red car parked on a frozen lake outside of Vilnius. Janulis and his friends staged the shoot.</p>
  • <p>A man ice surfs on a frozen lagoon in Elektrenai as the sky is reflected in the ice.</p>
  • <p>This photo of a man fishing on a frozen lake of Elektrenai was shot after a warm week in January when all the snow was melting.</p>
  • <p><em>Stride</em></p>
  • <p>Water slide in Elektrenai, Lithuania</p>
  • <p>A closed amusement park in Elektrenai</p>
  • <p><em>Wind Chaser</em></p>
  • <p>Forest on the side of Vilnius</p>
  • <p><em>Winter Road</em> by Karolis Janulis</p>
  • <p>Forest on the side of Vilnius</p>
  • <p>Old abandoned greenhouse covered in snow in Vilnius</p>
  • 01 /19

    Frozen Greens depicts a forest covered in snow on the side of Vilnius.

  • 02 /19

    "I had to make the angel myself and then my wife agreed to pose for the picture," Janulis says about the photos, which was shot in Elektrenai.

  • 03 /19

    Janulis was taking pictures of old factories in Vilnius when he noticed the letter A forming out of the buildings.

  • 04 /19

    A woman walks across a frozen river in Vilnius.

  • 05 /19

    An aerial shot of the famous Gediminas Castle in Vilnius.

  • 06 /19

    Two men skiing a park of Vilnius, Lithuania.

  • 07 /19

    A man ice surfs on a frozen lagoon in Elektrenai, Lithuania.

  • 08 /19

    A bridge over a frozen lagoon in Elektrenai.

  • 09 /19

    Signature depicts a red car parked on a frozen lake outside of Vilnius. Janulis and his friends staged the shoot.

  • 10 /19

    A man ice surfs on a frozen lagoon in Elektrenai as the sky is reflected in the ice.

  • 11 /19

    This photo of a man fishing on a frozen lake of Elektrenai was shot after a warm week in January when all the snow was melting.

  • 12 /19

    Stride

  • 13 /19

    Water slide in Elektrenai, Lithuania

  • 14 /19

    A closed amusement park in Elektrenai

  • 15 /19

    Wind Chaser

  • 16 /19

    Forest on the side of Vilnius

  • 17 /19

    Winter Road by Karolis Janulis

  • 18 /19

    Forest on the side of Vilnius

  • 19 /19

    Old abandoned greenhouse covered in snow in Vilnius

"Taking pictures from a hot air balloon is easier than a drone," says Lithuanian photographer Karolis Janulis, reminiscing about one of his past forays in aerial photography. "You are standing still, you can make a nice composition—but an air balloon is being controlled by the wind, you can’t control the direction so you have to shoot whatever is directly below you."

Long fascinated with shooting landscapes from above, Janulis has tried climbing hills, bridges, towers, and, finally, climbing onto a hot air balloon to get the perfect perspective of his native Lithuania. In early 2015 a friend let him fly his drone, and Janulis finally found the flexibility he needed to get the exact shots he wanted—from highways and traffic circles to patterned farmlands. For his latest series, Winter, Janulis traveled around Lithuania in his car to capture the country blanketed in snow.

RaceKarolis Janulis

After experiencing an unseasonably warm December, the city of Vilnius, where Janulis is based, finally got its first snow. That morning, Janulis jumped at the chance to shoot the city in all its frozen glory. "The autumn was very boring, there's no contrast," he says. "When the snow fell it changed everything—the places we knew and were familiar with, it's harder to recognize. It's a brand new view of things."

Shot from around 400 feet above ground, Janulis's aerial shots give the viewer the unique sensation on looking in on another world. One shot of a forest covered in snow outside of Vilnius brings to mind those quaint miniature Christmas villages people set out in their houses around the holidays. Frozen lakes look like lunar lanscapes from above. Though many of the photos look like scenes Janulis just happened to come across while flying his drone, most of his photos are in fact carefully planned out. For instance, in a photo that shows a red car parked on a frozen lake—circular track marks suggesting recently done doughnuts left in its wake—was staged by Janulis and some friends.

Winter Road, 2Karolis Janulis

To get the shots, Janulis uses a DJI Phantom II Vision Plus camera, just one part of about 17 pounds of equipment he carries around with him. Drone photography is more complicated than point-and-shoot, he says; it takes time to set up, it's expensive, and laws about flying drones vary per country. Still, it offers a fascinating perspective on everyday life. "I put all my photography skills into drone photography because these perspectives are still unknown and unseen," he says. "This is the reason people have wanted to fly for many years, but now we have another possibility."

To see more of Janulis's photos check out his Instagram and Flickr, or head over to Offset to purchase them.

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