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 mobygratis.com for some accompanying chilled electronica, so that’s a start, right?

Droning on…

Saturday was rather windy, but Sunday dawned so calm that the only limiting factor was battery life. I soon got a rotation system going: one in use, one cooling, one charging and I flew for literally hours.

There are lots of photos – and even a few videos – but they need some editing (flying coming along nicely, camerawork not so much just yet) and I’m not in an edity mood this evening. Anyway, this was chiefly about continuing up the steep learning curve and having a bit of fun in the wide open spaces.

Actually, I was going to try some serious cinematography, but I thought I’d give Sport Mode a go first. 72kph and 5000 metres later, the whole shooting videos thing seemed a better thing to do another day, because there was some serious laws of physics and engineering which needed testing.

Thresholds and limits pushed, I eventually, reluctantly, parked up for the day. But every bit of promise was realised – this is what I got it for – and I can’t wait to play some more.

I’ve been saying…

I love it when a plan comes together …when two recent 6000 miles… blog posts are linked by some external force or means.

I’ve been talking a lot about the local water restrictions (because it is big, big news here) and yesterday, I mentioned how people hate “drones” because they think that they are spying on them.

Guess what, readers – today, there was this on the Cape Talk website:

The City says about 20 000 residents are guilty of excessive water consumption.

It was revealed on Friday that the largest water consumers include the green belt of Newlands and Constantia as well as neighbouring suburbs Athlone, Newfields, Rylands and Lansdowne.In the northern suburbs, more big consumers are to be found in Kraaifontein, while further afield verdant Somerset West is another water-guzzling area.

Yeah, “water-guzzling”, “verdant” Somerset West. Sort yourself out.

The City says they will be working with residents to reduce usage before taking harsher measures.
Limberg says they will begin introducing new technology such as drones.

ROBOTIC SPY CAMERAS! EYES IN THE SKY! IT’S LIKE 1984 ALL OVER AGAIN. (I MEAN THE BOOK, NOT THE YEAR!) (DRONES HADN’T REALLY BEEN INVENTED BACK THEN.) IT’S INVADING MY PRIVACY AND LET’S FACE IT, THE OPERATORS ARE ACTUALLY JUST LOOKING FOR BIKINI-CLAD SUNBATHERS IN THE BACK GARDENS, AREN’T THEY? SICKOS!

See what I mean?

Negative perceptions

On the DJI Mavic Pro Owners Facebook page, this question:

DRONE vs QUADCOPTER
would it be better if we started calling these “quadcopters” ? Public has a stigma against the word “drone”
drone = surveillance
quadcopter = hobby
just a thought …

I’ve only had my Mavic for a few weeks now, but I completely agree with this sentiment. When mention of it came up at the recent Molton Brown Curry Club, the immediate reaction was that I had obviously bought it to spy on my neighbours.

Yeah, that’s exactly why I spent $[loads] on the Mavic. I was desperate to see what was going on next door, and I needed to upgrade the current periscope over the back fence setup I was using previously.

And even when we’re on the field, flying well away from anyone and anything, we’ve noticed that we’re still getting disapproving looks from dog walkers. I like to think that I am a considerate flyer: I’m aware of the rules and of my responsibilities, and (literally) go out of my way to avoid disturbing or bothering other people.
But it’s only a matter of time until someone writes a dramatic letter to the school and flying there is banned. It’s coming.
And why? Well, here’s a reply on Facebook, which makes some good points:

Euphemism treadmill. No matter what we call it, it will be viewed negatively because of what it is. A flying camera. People don’t like the idea that they are being watched/recorded even in places where they don’t have a realistic expectation of privacy.

The school field being one of those places. If I was sitting on that same bench but rather than holding a Mavic controller, I was playing with the long lens on my camera, no-one would be so much as batting an eyelid. And I’d know that, because I could take photos of their eyelids from a huge distance away with the long lens on my camera.
Far more so than with the Mavic.

Facebook commenter continues:

The only way to break the stigma is to show people the positive side of them and show that they are less of a threat to their privacy than the kid across the street with a telescope.

Yes, of course. Except that while the Molton Brown boys might be open to this idea, the dog walkers on the school field will almost certainly not want to engage.

If you go down to Agulhas, you’ll see that just next to the lighthouse there is already a “Drone Free Zone” sign. Just a reminder that you’re not allowed to fly anywhere in any of the SA National Parks – and that’s absolutely fair enough. Their gaff, their rules.

I’ve been very careful to look (in detail) about where I can fly and where I can’t around Cape Agulhas. I’ve already got my routes planned and my photos and videos in my head, ready to go. All street legal, all above board and I can’t wait to play.
But half the reason for my checking and double checking this stuff is that I need to know my rights in case I am challenged, because I’m almost expecting that I will be.

Why? Because of those immediate negative perceptions around quadcopters, UAVs, flying cameras…

… around drones.