New drones

Bad news. I no longer have the coolest drone on the market.

That’s because last week, DJI released two new Mavic 2 Pro drones: the Zoom and the Pro. There’s been a huge number of comments on these new offerings across the droning community for a while now, but no-one has actually had any hands-on experience with them, because… well.. obviously they weren’t available.

Now they are, and obviously, one of the first to have one (or two) was Casey Neistat – a guy whose opinions on these sort of things I value tremendously. I started to watch his review with my Mavic 1 sitting next to me and an understanding that, inevitably, these new drones would render Florence pretty much defunct as the flagship, cutting edge consumer unit.

Before I continue, here’s his review:

tl;dw: unsurprisingly, two great drones. He prefers the one with the optical zoom (the… er… M2 Zoom), the other one (M2 Pro) is also good, but falls down a little on value for money.

So yeah, my Mavic 1 is now old news.

Or is it?

Because first off, there’s every reason for these models to be better than Florence. They have the benefit of being released 20 months later than her, and in a marketplace which features such cutting edge technology – technology that still regularly astounds people that see my drone – that’s a massive, massive advantage. Not least in that DJI can look at their consumers’ wishlists and react accordingly.

They’re more expensive too. Sure, you’re getting a few more features, but aside from the improved cameras (and you can look at the video for direct side-by-side comparisons), there’s not really that much else added.

The M2 Pro FlyMore package (the direct equivalent of how I bought Florence) comes in a cool R10,000 more than I paid for my Mavic back in January last year. And because of that, Casey suggests that for the quality of picture vs value for money, Florence can still hold her own against the M2 Pro. Boom.

There are two other points to take into consideration as well, and these ones are personal, so I fully accept that they might not be the same for everyone.

Firstly, if you are buying your Mavic 2 drone next month when they get to SA, then enjoy it. You’re going to have an amazing time. But you will have already missed out on the 20 months of fun that I have had. Sure, I could have waited for the Mavic 2, in much the same way that you could have waited for the Mavic 3. But I have had such a good time all over the world with my drone: I have no regrets whatsoever.

And secondly, because money doesn’t grow on trees, my choice of which bits of technology I want to upgrade has to be tempered somewhat. Sure, if I won the lottery tomorrow I’d be at the DJI Store on Wednesday.
But that’s (probably) not going to happen.
A far more sensible approach is to wait until your technology begins to limit what you can – and what you want to – do with it. I’ve done that on a couple of occasions with cameras (indeed, I’m just beginning to get there with my current entry-level Canon DSLR).

I’m nowhere near that point with my drone. I haven’t even scratched the surface. The problem is that it’s just such fun to fly. You head out with the best of intentions to shoot some amazing video or some such, you pop it up into the air and just “warm up” with a few runs in and out over the beach or wherever, and you’re having such a good time that you do a few more.

And then suddenly:

Maybe that video thing can wait til tomorrow.

And guess what happens tomorrow?
I simply don’t have the discipline to overcome the amount of fun I have when I launch my drone.

So, while my Florence is now technologically aeons behind in this exciting, fast-paced field, I’m very happy to keep working playing with my Mavic 1.

It’s still amazing. It is.

Last week

This is the last week of school before the holidays kick in, and so it’s also the last week of work before… er… the holidays kick in. While the kids are on a general wind-down after a busy term, the pressure is increasing at work to get things finished and out of the way before we leg it off to France and beyond.

As a consequence of this, I might be a bit scare on the interwebs and a bit brief on here. I mean, I’ll fit in what I can, but there is so much to do here that it’s actually rather scary.

So, in lieu of a proper post, here’s a video from Casey… no… wait… hear me out, please… Here’s a video from Casey Neistat about an amazing person, and with an important lesson from a brilliant song.

This story and this message deserves more than just a few lines on the blog, and I reserve the right to return to it when time allows. But in the meantime, please take the time to listen to Wayne Coyne’s words on this song which I am amazed I haven’t included on the blog before.

Do it.

See you tomorrow.

Casey back in Cape Town

Celebrity vlogger Casey Neistat has been back to Cape Town, and in what I hope is merely a short teaser video ahead of a more thorough vlog, he documents his trip from NYC before sharing some typically astounding local (to us, anyway) video footage.

Yep. That’s Cape Town: moderately difficult to get to; totally worth it once you arrive.

 

P.S. Please bring water. Thanks.

Vlogging like Casey

OK. Before you begin to panic, don’t. I’m not about to start vlogging.

But we’re lucky enough to be living in an age where there are innumerate ways to communicate, be creative, and express and share your thoughts and feelings with others. It doesn’t mean that you have to have to use all of them. Indeed, some might argue that there’s far too much of this sort of thing going on, and they might be right, but then there’s always been far too much of a lot of stuff and far too little of other stuff going on all the time. That’s how life has always worked: it’s only the stuff that changes.

Casey Neistat is one product of this relatively new-found creative era. And, love him or hate him (or have some other, entirely more reasonable, entirely more moderate viewpoint of him), he’s done very well out of it. And this week, Casey Neistat shared some of his tips on vlogging, in his vlog How To Vlog Like Casey Neistat by Casey Neistat. 

Now, as I said, I don’t want to start a vlog. You people deserve so much more than you’re already getting from 6000 Miles… , let alone having to see my ugly mug on your computer screen each day. I wouldn’t do that to you. But, I would like to do more video-y stuff as an aside to the blog. Stuff like timelapses and drone shots. That sort of thing. So what does Casey say about that? (at 8:15)

Here’s something very important.
No-one gives a sh*t about your stupid timelapses and your stupid drone shots. That’s something I have to remind myself on a daily basis.

Ah. Right.

But thankfully, he’s talking about timelapses and drone shots as part of a vlog. And I’m not – as I may have mentioned – going to vlog.

Quite a lot of the information he shares might seem a bit redundant given that proviso, but there are certainly interesting snippets to take away which have a broader application. Using the best hardware you can in any given situation, avoiding shaky camerawork, the three-act narrative, and – as much as is possible – creating your own unique product; whether that’s from scratch or by building upon things you’ve learned from others doing the same sort of thing. A couple of those tips work really well for blogging as well.

Another fantastic thing about this information age is the accessibility to successful individuals for the ordinary person-on-the-web. There’s loads of great expert advice here (obviously, most especially for would-be or up-and-coming vloggers), and it’s free and easy to get at. The opportunities to educate and enrich yourself are all there. I might find someone who’s good at blogging and see what they have to say. Or… write. Whatever.

It’s not just Casey’s advice that I’m taking. I’m looking at videos and tutorials from photography and Mavic experts. I’m trying to be better at the things I am trying to do, and the internet makes that a whole lot easier than it used to be. The only issue now is finding the time between watching the videos and tutorials to actually put any of the new-found knowledge into practice.

Cape Town Stories 2017

I shared this video earlier on Twitter, but I’ve decided that I want to pop it on here too.

I’m not a huge Casey Neistat follower, although he does have a bloody nice drone [Ed: soon!!!], but I think that one has to admire what he has achieved in this weird, new media space that has recently appeared.

For a guy who really shouldn’t be at all down to earth, he’s remarkably… well… down to earth. His wife is South African, and thus they come over to Cape Town for summer each year. Herewith, his Cape Town Stories 2017 video, featuring some great shots of the city and a chilled few days over Christmas.

I really can’t see this sort of exposure doing our tourist industry any harm whatsoever… Nice.