UK Photos

I’ve finally put some photos from our UK trip onto Flickr. They’re not my best, I don’t think. A lot of them are from our day out in London and to be honest, I’m really not very happy with them. (Am I selling this to you yet? lol) But then we did go to London on a weird, hazy, dim day; it was seriously grey.

Yes, even by London’s oft monochromatic standards.

I’ve put them in anyway – for the sake of posterity if nothing else.
Fortunately, there were nicer days too:

So next time someone insists that It’s Grim Up North – simply point them in this direction…

Footy pitch

The:

21 Best Travel Photos Of 2017 Were Just Announced By National Geographic, And They’re Amazing!

screamed the clickbaity headline.
Perhaps I should have ignored it, but I dived in anyway and here’s what I found.

Of course, all those photos are really good, but there were two that stood out for me. One was this one, from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The other (predictably), this…

Norway; Drone; Football? Some frantic box-ticking going on there.

Says ‘togger (no pun intended) Misha De-Stroyev:

In Norway’s Lofoten Islands, the Henningsvær football field is considered one of the most amazing in Europe. This photo was taken during a sailing trip from Tromsø to the Lofoten Archipelago. After a week of cold and rainy weather, the sky finally cleared up enough to fly my drone. We were absolutely astonished to learn that the entire football field is heated, so after lying down and soaking in the warmth, I launched my drone and took this photo from a height of about 390 feet (120 meters).

That’s pretty much exactly what I would have done, which gives me high hopes for a personal win next year.

Now – who’s funding my trip to Norway to get some practice?

Your new desktop?

I flew over some vineyards this morning, while out running with the Western Cape Beagles. I’ve been wanting to fly over a vineyard for a while, and I’m sure that it would be a very different view in summer, but it’s not summer right now.

There’s something quite hypnotic about the rows of vines when viewed from 120m up. Like magnified corduroy. I’ve set the image above as the background on my phone: it really makes the app icons pop. If you want to too (use it as a background, not pop), just click on the image to get to the download page. Help yourself. You’re welcome.

Other photos from the morning here.
And a video (quick and dirty, no editing) of the last run of the morning.

Quick flight

The Joburg-esque winter which has left us so critically short of water has made for some great flying conditions, with cold, clear, still days.

Sadly, life has been busy and so I haven’t really had the opportunity to make the most of it. But I found myself with a few spare minutes this morning and chucked the Mavic up for a quick scout around the neighbourhood and beyond.

I love the different perspective that the Mavic can give you – even when you’re looking at something as mundane and unattractive as Wynberg CBD.

For reference, that’s the Wynberg Girls and Wynberg Boys Junior Schools campus in the bottom right, the ‘boxy’ police station and courts just beyond them, and Maynard Mall on the left. In the distance – False Bay.

A few other views here.

Oh, and for those of you outside South Africa, I’m able to fly today because it’s a public holiday.

Drones are bad, mmmkay?

Look, I’m not stupid. (Careful now.)

There’s no doubt that some people will use drones illegally and will do bad things with them. Just like some people have done and will continue to do bad things with basically everything else that exists: shoesvans, turtlesfixings, sports equipment, cutlerybits of musical instrumentsdogs, diggers – even fruit.

I could go on, but I’m sure you get my point.

But this BBC article – ostensibly about how criminals using drones can or could be detected and brought to justice – does seem to go out of its way in order to portray drones in an extraordinarily bad light. (Which, incidentally, makes for less than ideal flying conditions.)

I mean, just look at the image they chose to illustrate it:

That’s exactly what I look like when I fly my drone.
Furtive. Disguised. Illegal. Determined. Criminal.
(And with a jaunty tilt on my remote control.)

Still, an excellent demonstration of VLOS. Well done.

And then there are words, like these:

Whether it is flying illicit goods into forbidden places, spying on people, interrupting the work of the emergency services or worrying wild animals or aircraft, the threat they present is growing.

Spying on people? Have you any idea how absolutely amazing your drone equipment has to be to “spy” on people? My Mavic has a 12MP camera. It’s half as powerful as the one on my cellphone. And a lot noisier.
My DSLR and its telephoto lens though? Silent and powerful, like a beagle fart. Amazing for spying on people, and yet its ownership is wholly exempt from any legislation. Hmm.

Sure, someone managed to get some cigarettes and a DVD player (actually quite impressive) into a prison using a drone. And that’s not good. But then, naughty people put mobile phones into chocolate bars to get them “inside”, so should we…  should we ban the sale of Mars bars or something? No. No, we shouldn’t, because they’re delicious and most people just eat them, completely legally.

For the article to then go on and use a quote from a “drone expert” suggesting that drones could be used to disperse bio-weaponised anthrax does seem to be just a teensy-tiny bit scaremongery. Because yes, while it is technically possible, the issue there is not really the drone, but rather the bio-weaponised anthrax, no?

All in all, this does seem to be a disappointingly one-sided article. Yes, it’s about crime and drones, but in telling us about those things, it does seem to suggest that crime is all that drones are going to be used for, tarring all drone pilots with the same sticky brush, and conveniently ignoring the many thousands of us who are operating wholly within the law.
But then of course, we must remember that it’s ever so cool to hate these new-fangled tools of annoyance and terrorism – and their users – at the moment, so maybe it’s just trying to tap into the Daily Mail-created zeitgeist.

I completely understand the need for some legislation around this hobby (both flying drones and production of bio-weaponised anthrax), but I’m growing increasingly tired of the incessant anti-drone rhetoric I seem to be seeing everywhere these days.
I just hope that the individuals charged with making the rules are a little bit less alarmist and blinkered than journo Paul Marks and… well… everyone else, actually.