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Video: Connor Blake ’21 captures the Gorham Campus at first light

While most folks were probably still sleeping this past Sunday morning, drone pilot and multimedia specialist Connor Blake ’21 was busy documenting something rather beautiful — first light breaking over USM’s Gorham Campus.

Blake, who graduated this May with a bachelor’s in Media Studies, says working at USM the past two months has provided him with a fresh perspective on his alma mater and a chance to see “just how beautiful the Gorham Campus is in summer bloom.”

With its welcoming mix of new and traditional college architecture, the most historic of USM’s three campuses is splendid any time of year. But on a dewy July dawn, as Blake shows us, the place looks downright dreamy.

To fully appreciate what Blake calls the “mind-cleansing process of creating content,” here’s his reflection on how his latest video project came together — and why getting up at 3:30 a.m. to realize his vision was totally worth it:

“I set out to make this video on a Thursday of last week. I even had an entire video cut together and ready to go, but I decided to wait on it. I knew I had to try and get a different kind of scene in the video. In my head, I was envisioning a sunrise over the USM campus, much like one I had seen my freshman year here from the 4th floor of Upton Hastings.

“So after looking at the forecast and imagining how the dawn light would look on campus, I woke up at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning and set out for Gorham from my apartment in Biddeford. When I arrived, I was quite disappointed because from eye level, all I could see was a huge bank of fog rolling in, and I didn't think I was going to be able to see much of any sunrise.

“Boy was I wrong. I got my drone up in the air about 70 meters and there it was — the sky looked like candy, and from the sky, the fog resembled this ocean-like surface. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, so I didn't waste another second. I recorded everything I could before all three of my drone batteries were spent.

“I was pumped about what I was able to capture, so I raced home and started editing, spending most of my time trying to find the right music to go with it. Finally, I found the instrumental that went with what I had envisioned, and then from there, it was about trying to cut these clips together to execute the story of how unique the Gorham Campus is in every way. I feel like every day here can be different in the best ways possible, and I think that is what I want people to get from this video. Do I hope people like it? Of course, I do. But the main motivation to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to go make a video is because I wanted to produce content that resonates with me and so many others who love USM.”

See more of Blake's work on his online portfolio and Instagram account: @connor.blakephotography