Some more flight

Yesterday was an incredible day for flying the Mavic*. It’s now just about a year since I got this machine and the technology still blows me away every time I use it. I’ve flown over 140km in that time, in three different countries, desperately trying to improve my piloting and photography techniques each time I’m taken it up, and having a lot of fun along the way.

Here’s one from earlier:

What a day. What a place.

When I look back to the earliest photos I took, and remember how utterly terrifying those first flights were – very much like one’s first driving lessons – it’s almost amusing. I have much more confidence now (obviously) and measure my flight distances in km rather than 10s of metres. 🙂

Still room for improvement though. Always room for improvement!

Here are yesterday’s photos taken in and around beautiful Suiderstrand in Cape Agulhas.

 

* today may also be a good day, but I’m writing this yesterday, so I just don’t know yet.

Popular photo

There will always be new uploads for you to view on my Flickr page. Some are more popular than others. The addition of a drone to my camera armoury has been a big boon to my paltry stats (not that I got it for that).

Two of my most viewed shots this year were taken with the Mavic. And the winner(?) with 1,300 views on the site was this one:

Suiderstand, Rasperpunt and along the coast towards the Southernmost tip of Africa from 100m up.

I don’t think it was my best shot, but since life seems to be just one big popularity contest these days, maybe by some metric or other, it actually was.

BestNine

My #2017BestNine Instagram pictures include:

Four drone shots, three beagle shots, one drone and beagle shot, one of that storm and one of that sunset.

Go here to follow me on Instagram (although presumably, this means that I’m not going to post anything remarkable for the rest of the year (at least)) and go here to find your #2017bestnine.

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?