If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a bird, soaring high in the sky in between the skyscrapers and palm trees, you’re in luck. You can have a taste of those coveted feelings by diving deep into the Instagram account of Dan Marker-Moore, known on the ‘gram as @DanOrst.
His social media presence has racked up quite the following, and it’s there that he showcases a first person view of high elevation shots by way of his drone or helicopter ride. The time lapses of his sunset shots are consistently ethereal, whether the setting happens to be the country of Korea or Los Angeles’ Koreatown, and he has completely dominated the art of the time slice — a series of photographs combined into one spectacular image.
Dan has started incorporating sick songs with his professionally edited moving images as well. This takes the experience to an even more outstanding level. A peacefully slow pan behind a foggy mountain, as the sky delicately fades from a gold to a pinkish purple (set to the sounds of Flume), is what you will find in his world. And you won’t be able to stop exploring everything he has to offer.
With high level skills in animation, photography and videography, Dan is a true creative guru and makes magic happen with his extensive knowledge of the passion and career he’s carved out for himself. Want to know how he does it? Keep reading to find out his choice cameras and lenses, his most epic helicopter experience to date, and his favorite platform for sharing his art.
[We asked Dan to fill in the blanks.] My name is Dan Marker-Moore, I am a human being. I am 5% dreamer and 95% doer. I would describe myself as a photographer, and I am most inspired by the world around me. I dream of adventure and I will do that by tomorrow.
Dreamers & Doers: Do you remember the first time you picked up a camera and fell in love with capturing photos? How was that passion born, and how have you sharpened your talent over the years?
Dan Marker-Moore: The first time I picked up a camera I didn’t love it. My first camera gathered a lot of dust. It was when Instagram first came out that I really started getting into taking and sharing photos. I try and take photos every day which helps me push and evolve my style.
You’ve spent a lot of time in helicopters filming the horizon and buildings below. What has been your most exciting helicopter experience so far?
They all are always enjoyable. My first ride was quite memorable. We took off from the Vegas strip at 4 am in the darkness of night and flew to the Grand Canyon as the sun came up and landed for breakfast in the canyon.
What’s your favorite method for capturing your signature aerial footage? Drone, helicopter, or chilling on a rooftop?
The drone is an amazing tool. To have a camera that flies with such precision is remarkable. I’m excited to see how they advance.
How did you begin experimenting with time slices?
The time slice series is one of my favorites to work on. A time slice combines multiple images from the same location offset in time to reveal a single image that shows the passage of time. I started working on this series as a way to share the many images from my time lapse videos.
You’ve traveled all over the world for your art. What has been your favorite city or country to shoot in so far? Why?
I really liked the never-ending city of Hong Kong. I was there so briefly, I know I need to go back.
Is there a faraway place you haven’t been to yet that you are just dying to explore?
I’d love to explore Iceland. It’s so different from the places I normally travel.
What is your absolute favorite camera and lens to shoot with?
I’m usually out shooting with my Sony A7R 16-35 f4 when I’m trying to roll light. When I’m shooting time slices or for clients, I’ll most likely be using my Pentax 645z 28-45 or 90mm.
On your Instagram account, you set certain videos to music — and they match flawlessly. How do you go about choosing which song will mesh with the feel of your work?
It takes a while to find the right songs. I have some cool videos that I haven’t posted yet because I haven’t found the right song. But usually, it’s just luck. It’s whats playing while I’m sorting footage and fits, so I roll with it.
What has been your most memorable collaboration with another artist to date?
I worked with compositor @nois7 who took one of my lockdown shots and added his girlfriend dangling in the foreground. It turned out great, and it’s funny, he told me he dangled her out his window to get the right angle. Luckily they live on the first floor.
You also have a strong background in animation. When did you decide to make the transition from one form of creativity to the next?
I was doing both photography and motion design projects for a while. Eventually I started turning down most of the motion graphics opportunities to be open for more photography/videography jobs.
What has it been like pursuing this incredible passion of yours and turning it into a full-time career?
I’ve been really lucky. I have been putting all my downtime energy into creating new content for myself instead of looking for job opportunities, and it has been paying off. A lot of great opportunities have in turn come my way.
If you had a budget of $6,000 to spend on your passion, how would you spend it (gear, location, software, etc.)?
I’d save that money, but if I had to spend it, I would go on a trip. I’d go somewhere I’ve never been before. Iceland is on that list.
What existing technology/tools would you like to explore?
My phone is very helpful navigating foreign cities. Between maps, scouting, research and communication, I don’t know how I’d get around without it.
What is a piece of advice you would give to someone looking to turn their passion into a profession?
Keep working at it. Use all your free time and invest into that passion.
Do you have a favorite platform for sharing your art?
I really like sharing my videos on Vine. It’s a great network to share and connect on.
Do you prefer certain platforms for specific types of art (such as pictures for Instagram, Vine for video, etc.)
No, they’re all good.
What is a piece of advice you received that has stuck with you throughout your creative career?
Once I was on a bridge at a classic LA vista overlooking the 110 freeway and Downtown. An old man was walking by and shouted at me that the picture I was taking had already been taken. I chose to not care about his remark; it’s not important if someone has been there and pointed a camera in that direction. It’s important to capture your own vision and share your own story.
In this video, Dan explains how he creates his incredibly solid time slices while visiting Hong Kong and Shanghai: