March 2015 Newsletter

Droning On…

Hi all,

I have been pretty busy since the last newsletter teaching, writing, shooting commercial jobs and also playing more with the Phantom 2 quadcopter/drone.

I hope to do a review on this funky bit of kit soon. However, it is currently at the workshop having some minor repairs done with regards to the gimbal. I noticed there was a glitch in some of the footage and the company I bought it from are replacing it for me.

I've been playing a lot more with the UAV and you can see some more footage from the Phantom and Go Pro HD Hero 4 set up later.

I have also enrolled myself on the BNUCs course (part one). This will eventually lead me to obtaining my commercial pilot's license from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for drone work.

Anyway, hopefully this finds you all well and gearing up for a few months of shooting all the cool things that Spring and Summer bring. I know I am.

I have had a few nice enquiries lately. Mainly from real estate companies looking for photography of their rental properties. Also, film companies enquiring about the possibility of me filming some aerial footage of a cruise liner coming in to dock. Now THAT would be fun!

Update 2018: It was : )

I love to diversify and continuously learn new skills within the imaging industry. It keeps me on my toes, current and up to date and more importantly, happy in what I do. I am not sure if I could be doing nothing but wedding photography or simply portraits…I would more than likely become bored to tears.

With that in mind, in this month's news:

  • Droning on
  • Is stock photography dead?
  • Equipment needed to shoot stock photography
  • Starting out in photography
  • Confidence in photography
  • Go Pro HD Hero 4 review
  • Best memory card for the Go Pro 4 Black
  • Photoshopping (or grading) video footage
  • An incredible 2 year time lapse from Austria
  • The famous "Woodpecker" shot

So let’s start with the drone stuff…

DJI Phantom 2

March 2015 Newsletter Phantom 2

After only a few weeks playing with this quadcopter, I have to say it is one of the most fun pass-times that I have got into for a long time. Flying the Phantom 2 is relatively easy once you get the hang of it but it is all the other things that flying a quad or UAV brings:

  • What happens if a bird attacks it?
  • What if I lose contact with the drone?
  • Is flying over water and out to sea for the first time scary
  • Will the "return to home" feature work?
  • What if it hits someone?
  • What is the quality of footage like?
  • and so on…

I did actually have a seagull "move in for attack" during my first ever flight. However, I quickly maneuvered away and he flew off. All I can think of is that he/she was protecting its young or territory. I made a note to stay away from that park in the future. Respect the birds!

Phantom 2 failsafe mode

This was one of the first things I tried when I bought the quad and during the flight, I switched the controller off with my heart beating around 200bpm.

The Phantom 2 immediately flew to the pre-designated (via the software) height of 20 metres. It then flew back to me, where I had set the GPS co-ordinates, and safely landed by itself. Pretty much on the exact spot it took off from. Excellent, and "phew"!

More recently, I flew the Phantom 2 right down to 10% battery power and again, it hit failsafe mode (10% is again set as an adjustable parameter in the included DJI software).

You can see this in the video below. I panic slightly as the drone started landing and I feared it might try to land on a park bench but again, it was super accurate and landed perfectly. Watch for the sudden shoot into the air, that is the failsafe kicking in and then me readying myself to catch it…

New Phantom 2 Footage

I have been out and about practicing with the Phantom 2 and here are some short clips of Weymouth from the sky. I am so impressed with the stability of the gimbal and the quality of footage from the Go Pro HD Hero 4. All shot in 4K and output to 1080p HD).

Best watched in HD:

Superb and strong case for the Phantom 2 quadcopter

HPRC 2700WPHA2 Hard case

I will be honest here and say that HPRC sent me this case for review long before I even bought the Phantom 2. It took about 3 months for me to even take it out of the packaging as I was waiting to get the UAV delivered.

As I have said before, I am always honest about stuff that I review. If I don’t like something, I tend not to review it or at the very least, be quite open about it. Anyway, that is irrelevant because this case is truly excellent and a perfect fit for the DJI Phantom 2. Read the full review, including video, here:

HPRC 2700WPHA2 hard case for DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter

Stock Photography

I suspect many people are still thinking about getting into stock photography but wonder:

Follow the links above to find out. I am still heavily invested in, and still shooting for both stock photography and stock footage.

Just starting in photography?

If you are just starting out in the wonderful world of photography, you may find the following article useful. It was written a while ago on our private members site so some of our older members may have read it but it is still relevant today so go and check it out:

Starting out in photography

Confidence in your photography

The common denominator with regards to comments I receive from students is an issue with confidence in their ability as a photographer. Read the intro in the link below and then follow through to the article on your comfort zone and how to get out of it.

Confidence and photography

Go Pro HD Hero 4 Review

March 2015 Newsletter

Not much to say here but if you like the Go Pro range of cameras, you will love the Go Pro HD Hero 4 black edition. Read the full review here:

Review of the Go Pro Hero 4 (Black)

Best memory card for the Go Pro HD Hero 4

I shoot a fair bit of video and with the latest cameras that shoot 4K. Some of the older, slower SD/MicroSD cards simply won’t perform properly.

I have had a couple of older cards (even though they are super fast for HD work) fail on me. They stopped recording during a flight whilst filming in 40K at 30fps. This is something I simply cannot have during a commercial shoot.

I looked long and hard for the fastest MicroSD card I could find. The following is what I bought to use with the Go Pro HD Hero 4. It was used in the new aerial footage of Weymouth in Dorset above.

Note: Please be aware that when buying a memory card, for any camera, do not pay attention to the read speed which is what most manufacturers pitch to you. All this is, is the speed at which the data is transferred from the card to your computer so a 95mb/s "read speed" may well only have a 20-30mb/s write speed.

The write speed is what you need to look at.

This is the speed at which data is written to the card when filming and 4K footage needs a FAST speed of around 60mb/s or more.

The card I found has around 90mb/s write speed and 95mb/s read speed. Perfect, albeit a touch expensive but I need those speeds for reassurance and "pain relief" from losing footage and time.

Anyway, here is a quick review of that wonderfully fast and reliable card:

SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB microSDXC UHS-I/U3 Memory Card

Photoshopping or "grading" footage clips

If you are in any way shape or form getting into filming commercially, shooting footage for the fun of it or simply making home videos, you might like this article on making your clips look that little bit more professional and “stand out” from the crowd.

Grading Footage

To finish up…and for fun:

An incredible 2 year time lapse project of Austria:

Go Pro HD Hero Black at 720p 240 frames per second

The last firmware update included this super fast frame rate for the Go Pro HD Hero 4. How does it stack up? Does the quality suffer at such high frame rates?

The famous Woodpecker photo

You MUST have seen this Woodpecker photo by now…amazing!

Lastly, don’t forget to check out our free photography courses section. Lots there to see and do : )

Thanks for reading, see you next month and stay happy!

Nick - All Things Photography

P.s. Please share : )

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