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.

Drone photography

I’ve done a bit of it over the last 6 months, since I got my Florence. And, in all honesty, I think some of it is actually quite good. But obviously I’m still learning. This guy has got it sorted though:

This is the Ludwigskirche in Munich, and it’s an amazing photo, but there’s something rather puzzling about this building: that unbelievably ornate roof – why?

No-one (save for drone pilots – and I’m sure that architect Friedrich von Gärtner who built it between 1829 and 1844 wasn’t really considering them) is ever going to see it.
And then I learned that although the mosaic roof had always been in the original plans for the building, it was only installed between 2007 and 2009. I’m yet to work out firstly why the original plans were never followed, and then secondly why they were finally sorted 165 years later.

Of course, should you lean that way, you’ll understand that there is one pair of eyes that will gaze down from above and enjoy the beauty of the roof:

Look what beauty they have created to please me. I am pleased.

…and will surely reward those responsible with a fat golden handshake, or at least everlasting life in heaven above (where they too can then see the roof in all its glory).

Thankfully, with the advent of drones, you don’t have to be really good for your entire life and then pop your clogs to be able to see this amazing mosaic.

Flying things on flying things

I’m travelling again in a few weeks time. And it will be the first international flight I will have done since I got Florence, my little Mavic.

It’s been a wonderful few months together. I can’t imagine being without her, and so, obviously, she must come with us in September.

The rules for carrying drones on planes are pretty much universal. The danger here (such as it is) comes from the lithium ion batteries. Because of its compact size, the Mavic’s batteries are only 43.6Wh a piece. But you still need to follow the protocols, so you discharge them, you cover their terminals and you take them on in your cabin baggage.

Easy.

But we are (thankfully) flying Emirates. And their rules are slightly different.

Now, Emirates are the only airline I have heard of that have this policy. I don’t understand why they need to be different, but (and I am saying this in hushed tones) I’ve never really worked out how you were allowed to take a drone on a flight anyway, given that it could be easily used as a dangerous weapon (those propellers can get up to 8000rpm). Eina.

Still, having checked with other drone owners online, there are various anecdotes about getting through DXB and not getting through DXB with a drone in your cabin and/or hold luggage. And I’m not massively happy about Florence being gooied around in a suitcase. I’ll give the airline a shout.

One thing we won’t be taking with us is the beagle. Three reasons here:

1. A week apart is good for everyone concerned (most especially me).
2. The beagle is not a falcon.
3. We’re not going to certain destinations in Pakistan.

Wow.

Presumably, this isn’t just any falcon. You can’t just turn up with a falcon you snatched from your local National Park the previous day. Or with a beagle disguised as a falcon.

So majestic – see how it soars on the breeze! Such effortless grace!
[crashing sound, frantic barking, further crashing sounds]

I can’t believe you can take a falcon into the cabin, but not a Mavic.
It can even go in a cage if it needs to.

I’ll give the airline a shout.