Filmmaker Brandon Li didn’t intend to capture a special wedding moment while playing around with a drone in Hong Kong — but he did.
In an exclusive interview with The Knot, Li says his original purpose was to capture the city’s sunset, but the batteries in his device suddenly ran low. The videographer descended the drone from the sky while continuing to capture Hong Kong’s cityscape, and somehow, he nabbed a breathtaking image of a random bride and groom on the rooftop of a building.
Li, 34, says he knows nothing about the lucky couple, but he wants to verify their identities. “I have no idea who they are, and unfortunately I don’t have any solid clues,” Li tells The Knot. “I’ve located the building and called its front desk, as well as emailing the sales office the photo with a plea to find the bride and groom, but they haven’t replied to me. Now that the photo is getting more popular, maybe someone will eventually come forward. “
The filmmaker posted the photo on his Instagram account, writing: “Accidental drone shot. Help me find this couple! #drone #accidental #serendipity#newlyweds.“ The image has since received more than 3,000 likes and over 140 comments, and the same post has gone viral on Facebook. “I think people are fascinated with seeing such a dense city from above. It’s like flying through a concrete forest,” says Li. “I was with a friend, filming some test footage of the sunset. As the drone started losing battery, we returned it to home, and it happened to fly over the newlyweds on the roof.”
Li didn’t even realize what he had captured until he was editing the footage. “I took a screenshot of it and did some color correction,” he says. There was also a photographer with the couple, which he edited out. “I posted the pic as my Facebook cover photo, thinking that maybe someone would see it and recognize the couple,” he adds. “I thought it could be really cool to send them a print of the picture as a wedding gift – an unexpected alternate angle of their intended wedding photo.”
The image shows a couple sprawled out in their wedding attire on a lush green roof in a sea of buildings. While most have been receptive to the image, some critics have questioned its origins.
“I realize there’s a lot of skepticism out there about how accidental this photo actually is, and maybe that’s just a function of our cynicism toward things that go viral on the internet,” Li muses. “But sometimes, lucky shots do happen, and this is one of them. Had I intended to capture it perfectly, I probably would have shot an actual photograph instead of just taking a video still frame. A photo would have been about three times sharper. And I probably would have wanted to claim creative credit for it rather than giving the credit to my drone.”
Mostly, however, people have been incredibly receptive to the lush image of an incredibly beautiful moment. “I feel like people really connect with the idea of a couple finding a little oasis of joy in a big, cold city,” Li concludes to The Knot. “We all want that warm nest in our lives, no matter where we live. Some of the response has been negative; people have said that this was an invasion of privacy. I can assure them that the invasion wasn’t intentional, and I only spread the image because I thought the couple would appreciate and value it.”