More things I want to do in places I want to go (again)

Because of “regulations”, I’m not allowed to fly my Mavic in Namibia. I applied and I tried, but the rules there are very strict and while I submitted documentation upon documentation to a very friendly and helpful Namibian DCA, there were additional complications in that South African ATC is in charge of much of the airspace over the southern half of Namibia. Add the red tape of two different government bodies in two different countries together, and see how far you get. It’s not far.

Still, all being well, I will have had some chance to fly this side of the border while we’ve been away.
Pictures and video to follow? Maybe. But in the meantime, let’s live vicariously through FPV Customs DE, who went to Norway and had some fun with their Mavic.

HD would be your minimum setting to enjoy that one in, and if you do have 4K capabilities, well why not use them?

Every time I see Norway on these kind of videos, I realise how much I want to go back there. There are plenty of other places I want to go too, but the urge to spend some more time in Norway is currently outshining them all.

No woman, no fly

The Mavic learning curve continues.

My wife was away this weekend, and I had big plans to take the kids out for a quick flight. However, the weather was weird on Sunday. Cloudy one minute, sunny the next; calm one minute, dangerously gusty immediately thereafter.

Not flying weather.

Still, that did give me the opportunity to use that title.
Silver linings, ne?

The purpose of the planned flight was to practice some videoing. The photography thing is coming along nicely, albeit slowly. But I look at other people’s Mavic videos and I want to be able to do that too. I did try a 4K video a couple of weeks ago, but my settings were all wrong and I ended up with a pretty much completely unuseable, 2 minute long, 1.8GB file.

Some reading up and a couple of helpful Youtube videos later, I adjusted the video settings and took the risk of popping Florence (for it is she) up to 50m or so to test them out.
Good news. The quality was excellent: clear and sharp. And “only” 150MB for a 30 second flight. So basically 5MB per second. I’m not sharing it here because it (the content, at least) is rubbish, but that’s not the point. Suddenly, there are a whole lot of opportunities open to me – the world is my whelk.

There will come a time (possibly) when videoing in 4K resolution is necessary/possible (the Mavic can do it, but my PC simply can’t handle it). In the meantime, 2.7K is far more manageable, and – to an amateur like me, at least – appears basically just as good [professional videographers fall to the floor in laughter].

Watch this space, because great* things are coming.

* terms and conditions apply. 

A morning flight?

…I hope, anyway.

This post was written ahead of the weekend, precisely to leave ample time to (possibly) do some flying this morning.

I’m not sure exactly where yet – most of the peninsula having been comprehensively locked down by Table Mountain National Park – but 48 hours ahead of… well… now, the weather forecast is looking excellent for a quick trip up into the Cape Town skies (other regional atmospheric locations are available). And that makes a change, given that the infernal SouthEaster has been blowing annoyingly strongly and seemingly constantly for several years weeks now.

I’m sure you’ll be among the first to see some photos or footage assuming that I do manage to get up somewhere (ooer/careful now, etc etc).

Watch, as they say, this space.

Ok. Photos.

It occurred to me that I could get seriously bogged down in photo and video editing. Especially that latter, since I have no experience in that (although I have taken advice from several Mavic Facebook groups and downloaded this free package). Great for beginners, but supremely powerful, apparently.

But enough of that – I’m getting seriously bogged down in telling you what I think I’ll get seriously bogged down in. Meta distraction.

The upshot is that I uploaded the photos from the weekend onto Flickr. Bear in mind that I’m still learning (and that there was Sport Mode to play with), so they’re no masterpieces. But when I look back at my original efforts with a DSLR and stuff like that, I can see how I have learned and improved, so hopefully this will follow the same pattern.

So – here they are. Be kind, be gentle. And please marvel at the gorgeous Cape Agulhas coastline, which really doesn’t need a fancy drone or a decent photographer to be stunning.

The videos? They – as I eluded to earlier – are going to take a bit longer. However, I have already applied to for some accompanying chilled electronica, so that’s a start, right?


Remember how I lamented not dragging my sorry ass out of bed last weekend? This weekend, I put all that right by dragging it (and the kids) down to Wynberg School field and taking the drone higher than I’d ever taken it before. 121 metres up in fact. That’s according the the flight log, which is part of the software that limits the drone to the 120 metres legal ceiling, so you do the maths.

It’s all rather academic anyway. While I launched from the flat field, I was sitting in the shade at the top of the steep bank (you can see me, at about 10 o’clock, actually), a good 5m up already.

I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t endangering anything or anyone.

The photo includes the kids, waving madly at a dot in the sky from the Jacques Kallis Oval, which as any fule kan see, are distinctly square.

My confidence in my ability, together with my knowledge of what Florence the drone can do, is growing all the time. It can’t be long now before I run out of excuses for taking kak photos with this amazing machine.