A Reston Aerial Photographer Whose Technology is Half of His Art

Ever since I first saw this photograph, I’ve wanted to know the story behind it. What a spectacular view of Lake Anne in the fall! I stumbled upon this picture online last year, and it has stayed with me all this time.


When I finally learned more about the photographer, I was excited to discover that his aerial technology is just as artistic as his resulting images. Here’s Reston photographer Alejo Pesce and his delightfully odd aerial vehicles.


Alejo Pesce lives at Lake Anne and operates a photography business called Flutter Photo. In his spare time, he builds remote-controlled quadcopters and tricopters, which he flies over the lake and in nearby parks.


He has built multiple flying vehicles, typically with frames made of plywood and wood dowels. Then he mounts motors, propellors, and electronics to the frame.


He shoots with a mounted GoPro camera, and uses a gimbal to stabilize the camera for videos. His camera operates on a timer set to shoot still images at regular intervals.


His views from the sky offer rarely seen perspectives of Lake Anne and nearby areas. This image of last winter’s melting ice is particularly fascinating.

What surprised me is that Alejo approaches the design of these machines as its own art form. Now that he has figured out how to construct and fly these vehicles, he has gotten creative with them.

Reston aerial photography at Lake Anne

Why fly a plane, when you can fly a violin? He bought an old, used violin, and made it fly!

Alejo-Pesce-Reston-aerial-photographer-002 Alejo-Pesce-Reston-aerial-photographer-003

His flying violin is mysterious and oddly beautiful. When it flies overhead against a bright sky, you can clearly make out its unexpected violin silhouette.


Another one of his quirky creations is a flying cat. It’s a wood-framed quadcopter that he has topped with a cat face and colorful propellers.


You can’t help but smile when this cat flies overhead, staring down at you.


Not surprisingly, his creations draw a crowd! Everyone wants to learn more about these unusual flying machines when they encounter Alejo in the park.

Are you interested in building your own helicopters or planes? Alejo is a photographer by trade, not an engineer, yet he has taught himself how to create these machines. He recommends the website and YouTube channel Flite Test to anyone who is interested in getting started. They promote the hobby, share ideas, and post videos of planes being constructed. Alejo also recommends searching the web for scratch building plans. He has successfully built several plane designs that he has found online. He refers to the online forum RCGroups.com for ideas and answers to his questions.

Be aware that some parts of Reston are FAA no-fly areas for drones, particularly in South Reston. The Washington Post published a map with prohibited flying areas for your reference.

Thank you, Alejo, for showing us your creative machines and their views from above! If you’d like to learn more about Alejo and his creations, check out his YouTube channel, Alejo Pesce, to see videos of his creations and lots of familiar Reston scenery.

We want to meet all sorts of creative people in the Reston area. Do you know anyone who is working on something fascinating? Please contact us at [email protected] with your story ideas!