• Category Archives Photography
  • Trippy video

    Just a quick share of an amazing video that popped up in my RSS feed this morning.
    (Watch it in full screen for maximum effect).

    You can tell straight away why I like it, electro tunes, mostly shot at night, very abstract with just enough reality to ground you.
    Love it.

  • Camera gear damage from solar eclipse.

    I think that most that read this blog would know how to take a photo of a solar eclipse, but it was interesting to read about some of the gear damage that came as a result of photographing the elipse.
    Lens Rental is a big company over this way and I really like the attitude and style of the guy running it. Very sensible and down to earth.
    Anyway, they rented a hunk of gear out on the eclipse weekend, to their credit, they added an extra clause up front….. They would be covering any damage from incorrect use of the gear.
    (You can get accidental damage coverage from them when you hire gear, so they wanted to make sure people understood what they were covered for – like I said, I like the guys business model).

    You can see some of the carnage in this article here;

    Warning, if you love camera gear, its not for the faint of heart.
    (Or the shallow wallet – yikes, some of those lenses are worth a solid chunk of change!)

    The bottom line is this, you have to block the light (and thus heat) at the very front of the camera lens with an appropriately rated filter. Only then will things stay safe.

  • Hand held astrophotos

    Camera tech is constantly improving. At some stage, you just have to buy in and lock yourself to that year/months tech level and go with it.
    This is what I did some 7 years ago with the Canon 5D Mk2. In good light it’s still more camera than I can manage, but is really starting to show its age in others.

    One of my (many – shut up all of you!) interests is astrophotography. Specifically landscape star shots.
    (I have been down the rabbit hole of telescope based astrophotography and found my pockets are just not deep enough for that thread – besides, when it came to sharing, I found my circle to be more receptive to seeing land and stars rather than just deep stars and fuzzy blobs).

    All this came to front again with the Grand Canyon raft trip. Its been years (and years and years) since I have been under such dark skies.
    It was a real joy to walk around camp at 2am by nothing more than starlight.

    I digress.

    The latest cameras have such good image stabilization tech that it seems possible to take photos of the Milky Way with no tripod.


    When it comes to optical image stabilization, it seems like nothing comes close to touching Olympus’ OM-D E-M1 Mark II. As one photographer recently discovered, the 5-axis optical stabilization is so good, you can actually shoot the Milky Way hand-held with this monster

    The Mitakon lens is manual focus, so I set up to focus using the viewfinder zoom on the brightest object in the sky. I calculated the settings to be best at ISO 12800, f/0.95, with 4 seconds.

    Nice. But I really need to spend some money on a better drone camera than a GoPro.

  • Milky Way from the cockpit

    Here is a different view you don’t see very often.

    Amazing what the new low light cameras can do.
    I’m actually looking at one of these cameras for some astro photography and double use in that they are pretty light and I should be able to mount one to my drone.
    Just a thought at this stage.

  • Drone flying is better when there is a purpose

    We have done a little more drone flying since the last blog. Not a lot. Just the one ‘work’ related batch and a bit of practice at home with the nano.
    What we have been doing is looking at other pilots drone video to learn what works and what does not…… There is a ton of it out there. Hundreds of 2-10 minute boring as paint drying videos.
    What’s interesting is that they are (for the most part) just gushing with excitement about how amazing the flight and video is…… Umm… It’s a sunset….. It’s a beach…. It’s a park….
    It has no meaning to the viewer. None.
    To them and their friends/family, sure, I bet it is a cool memory video, but to me and you, not so much.
    We don’t know what the holiday was about, we don’t know just how amazing the sunset was (yeah, ok, it looks pretty from 200 feet up, but we really don’t need a full eight minutes of hovering to enjoy it).


    Video is about storytelling. Did Hitchcock or Spielberg or Cameron have a drone? No, they made great movies because they could direct people to tell a great story.
    I personally think that drone flying is amazing when it is told as part of a story.
    Here is our first attempt.

    To be clear, we are all finding our way with the drone. But, that said, I think it helps tell the story.
    (Looking forward to sharing with you all the next video that our team is editing at the moment, it has some more drone footage in it).
    If you are super interested we can share what bits are drone and what’s not (it might surprise you which shots are from the drone), otherwise, have fun guessing…..

    Drone Based Data Gathering

    What I am looking into more and more is using the drone as a tool. The ability to quickly and cheaply get video and data from a different viewpoint is something that is going to come into play more and more as time goes by.
    Check out these websites; (Not in any order, just a bookmark dump)
    And this (but you need to sign in to read it); https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303559305_A_Statistical_Examination_of_Image_Stitching_Software_Packages_For_Use_With_Unmanned_Aerial_Systems

    To-Do List

    I guess my point is this, drones are cool, yeah, sure, but if you just upload a home video it has very little impact.
    Tell a story and use your drone as part of that story and you will get some traction.
    But, for me, the real power of the drone I suspect is science. I am super looking forward to getting my hands on some footage and software.

    Watch this space.