Deon Mitton is a seaplane pilot and photographer/videographer who shares the joy of flying and nature through social media. We recently sat down with Deon to learn more about his passion for capturing the natural beauty of Alaska and wilderness areas around the world.
Have you always been interested in photography and videography?
Yes! I am a very visual person and have always had an eye for graphic art — in any form. Photography and videography provide a fun platform to be creative and find an audience, particularly in today’s age of digital media and mobile consumption.
What has been your favorite experience as an aviation photographer?
I enjoy working with natural settings where I can show aviation in a real-world application, and preferably a natural backdrop. Air-to-air formation work is by far my favorite kind of challenge because so many things have to work right for the outcome to be successful. Getting the right light, with pilots bringing top flying skills to fly in formation, is always the best kind of shoot.
What are some of the challenges and rewards of flying in Alaska?
Alaska flying is some of the most demanding I have done anywhere in the world. With limited two-way communication, extreme weather, and challenging terrain, flying VFR to off-airport locations in this region results in a very high workload environment for single-pilot operations. The biggest reward is experiencing this natural wonderland, which is truly unique in the world. Nowhere else on earth can one find so much variety and scale of scenery than in Alaska. The scale of everything in this region is immense. Access to the natural beauty, including the animal kingdom in this region, is especially unique.
Can you tell us about any encounters capturing wildlife in Alaska on camera or video?
I have conducted scenic tours and sight-seeing trips to the Katmai National Park region, where one can get up close and personal with coastal brown bears congregating in the salmon-filled streams. It’s fascinating to learn about the complex social structure of the bears by seeing their behavior change over time. Observing the coastal brown bears at Chinitna Bay offers a different kind of experience. We land right on the beach, where the bears feed on clams and sage grass as part of their early spring diet.
What’s your next adventure?
I’m looking forward to exploring the true wilderness areas of Greenland and Antarctica and giving back to the aviation community to enable the next generation of pilots to become qualified and educated about a career in aviation.