‘It just touches people’

Michael Blanchard video soothes COVID-19 tension.

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A January sunset at Edgartown Light - Michael Blanchard

You need a piece of heaven, but you’re mostly stuck in the house, or worse, off-Island. Well, Michael Blanchard, the talented Oak Bluffs photographer, shared a video “Martha’s Vineyard COVID Escape” on his Facebook page that’s providing nearly four minutes of zen.

“I made this for you guys today. May it bring you some sense of peace and joy,” Blanchard wrote. “There is still beauty in this world. Especially in a place called Martha’s Vineyard. We can make it through this together.”

The drone video starts at the Gay Head Lighthouse and ends at the Gay Head Cliffs, and provides much of the Island’s natural beauty in between. The music even quiets at one point to let us listen to the pinkletinks and swans.

Known for his gorgeous vistas, Blanchard said the videos are something he’s done a few times taking his still photography and drone footage and pairing them.

“It starts with the music,” he said, noting that he uses royalty-free music because he’s not selling the videos. “It’s something I just discovered. I decided to take some online classes on Final Cut Pro. I love it here, so I get emotional about it. It just makes me happy.”

Blanchard was particularly struck by a woman who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease. She is a frequent visitor to the Island and isn’t sure if she’ll be able to travel to the Vineyard when this is all over because of her illness.

“When you get stories like that, you don’t know you’re going to touch people,” he said.

Blanchard said there will be more videos to come once he feels a little better. He was recently tested for COVID-19, and is happy to report the test came back negative. He was tested because his wife works in urgent care at the hospital and he showed symptoms.

Blanchard’s growing list of fans will be ready. As of Wednesday, the Facebook post had 22,000 views, 470 shares, and 306 comments.

“I just spent time in my mind, heart, and soul on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard because a very generous man shared the Island,” Janet Beebe Rapose wrote.

The sentiment of other commenters is similar. “It’s amazing how one place can touch your very soul. I fell in love with Martha’s Vineyard the first time I saw it,” Ginger Gomez wrote. “That love only grows stronger. Thank you, dear man, for sharing this beautiful piece of work.”

Blanchard is never sure what to expect, but he’s pleased with the response.

“It just told me how people really love this place,” he said. “If you find the right music and footage, it just touches people.”