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Kudos to Monte Alumnus, Taiyo Fukuda for his drone work in Ukraine

Taiyo Fukuda’s drone work began with a mentorship in drone photography. He was matched with mentor Luke Fitch, who founded New Mexico Cine Drone and has been building and flying unmanned aircraft for over a decade. Taiyo used drones to show us our New Mexican landscape as viewed from above, resulting in stunning photographs of baseball fields, mountains, and our city of Santa Fe. Fast forward two years, and Taiyo is preparing to return to Ukraine with Luke who continues to be an important mentor and friend in his life.

Since the beginning of the Russian war against Ukraine, Luke has been working on prototypes in collaboration with Ukrainian military representatives to make drones more effective in their field work in Ukraine. Taiyo and Luke are going to Ukraine to assist in the building of a drone workshop. Taiyo says that the drone technology is evolving so fast that what they did in their prior trip is no longer relevant.

Speaking with Taiyo, it’s inspiring to feel his understanding of world history, culture, and photography come alive from being with it in action, while in Ukraine. Taiyo went to Ukraine with Luke on one of his missions in 2022, and said: “This first trip changed my life, so why not go again?” He has clearly been opened by his experience reflecting: “In Ukraine, everyone is united as one people, I find myself wishing that the US was like that.”

Taiyo, you inspire us!

Additional photographs can be found @taiyofukuda on Instagram.