Don’t crash

I’m hoping to get some flight time in today. The weather forecast is looking good (I’m writing this ahead of time so that I have time to get some flight time in today) and I’m hoping to have much of the local coastline to myself in the traditional pre-December tourism lull in Cape Agulhas.

I got an email from DJI today (this today, not that today, as mentioned above). DJI is the company that made Florence the Mavic, so they know what they’re talking about when it comes to drones.

The email was divided up into four different sections: each with a link to a relevant webpage on their site:

DJI Go 4 Manual: The Pilot’s Handbook
Not sure what all those buttons do in DJI Go 4? Dive into our DJI 4 manual to learn ins and outs of DJI’s powerful, multi-purpose companion app.

Helpful advice for what is (necessarily) a rather complicated app.

5 Great Third-Party Mavic Pro Accessories
Looking for new add-ons to make your Mavic even more powerful? Read this article to discover five great Mavic accessories. 

An attempt to sell you more very cool, but very expensive, toys.

How to Make the Best of Your Drone Photo
Struggling to take good-looking drone photos? Check out this article and get one step closer to becoming a master of aerial photography.

You know from reading this blog that this is a never-ending learning experience and any help is good.

And then… this:

How to NOT Crash Your Drone in 15 Easy Steps
Even the bravest drone users worry about crashing. Here’s an article that can help you prevent accidents.

I like the emphasis on the NOT, as if you were considering any other options. And look, it’s a good idea for an article (albeit that it is written about the Phantom Pro, rather than the Mavic), but are there really fifteen separate steps you need to take to avoid the fiery demise of your drone?

Of course, it turns out that many of them refer simply to following the rules and using common sense (which you were doing anyway, right?).

Presumably, this means that if you follow the rules and use common sense, you’ll be fine. So that’s what I’ll do today.

First try

Let’s run you through the timeline here.

In January, I got the Mavic. And when the South-Easter had subsided for a few moments, I flew the Mavic and I took some photos. And then I took a lot more photos. And taking photos was rather fun and editing photos was rather straightforward, because I had taken and edited photos previously.

Videos, though? Videos were much harder. Not only had I never really shot or edited videos before, but I also had to learn to try and fly the Mavic at the same time. And that was basically too much stuff for my small brain to handle in one go.
Thus, I was dealing with poor quality footage and basically no skill: really not a great combination. Oh, and to add insult to that poor quality footage and basically no skill, the Mavic’s output was so good (in digital terms) and so big that my computer couldn’t handle it.

And so, a new computer and a some new editing software was called for. And that’s how I ended up with a new laptop with more RAMs, and a subscription to Adobe Premiere Pro (“Pro”? Me? Lol!) CC 2018. It should be noted that I still don’t have much good footage to go with these sparkly new additions yet, because only now I have them do I see what sort of good footage I need.

So, with all those disclaimers piling up against the door so that I don’t have to face the slings and arrows of outrageous criticism, here’s some footage that I shot on our Orange River trip back in April, hastily cobbled together and popped onto Youtube. Do watch it in one of the 3 different HD options, because the Mavic does HD very nicely.

I’d like to think that my flying skills have improved quite a lot since I shot this back in April. And I’d also like to think that my editing skills will also improve with more practice and better raw material.

So this goes down as a benchmark. Something to look back on in n months or years and see how far I have come. To that end, please be gentle: I, more than anyone else, recognise that this is far from perfect. If it was perfect, then I would be wasting my time trying to improve, wouldn’t I?

Just an image

You’ve had almost 1000 words over the last couple of days, on subjects as diverse as a local sign and a local sign. Thank goodness Thursday’s post wasn’t also about a local sign. That would show a distinct lack of imagination on my part.

Awkward.

Anyway, it’s trying my keyboard and probably your patience, too.
So here’s something shorter and less signeseque.

It’s a different view of Beau Constantia, Constantia Glen and across the Cape Flats from several (or more) metres above Constantia Nek. See it better presented here.

We had a great time at Constantia Glen last weekend, with good friends, good views and superb wine.
The rest of the weekend was fun too – here are the photos.

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.