Power of the edits..

While I always like to process images as little as possible, if at all, some times it’s a requirement of every shot.

Here, for instance this shot taken from my Spark. It lacks depth and colour. Visually, it just didn’t stand out.

However, a little time spent in the Google Photos editor tweaking exposure, clarity, saturation and blacks improve things.

Shadows have a bit more depth, the colours are less muted but still hold the autumn setting.

You don’t take a photograph, you make it

Ansel Adams

So, don’t be afraid to play with the sliders, just don’t overdo it, and keep it realistic and you’ll do just fine.

Wind.

The spark has continued to impress with its ability in windy conditions. I’ve flown it in some questionable wind speeds, bit being careful not to take it too far. So far, there’s only been one occasion where I’ve noticed it not being able to cope and that was on blubber houses crag. And by god, it was seriously windy.

Up til now, I have had no way of actually knowing the wind speed conditions, apart from looking on apps and the weather reports, so I’ve invested little more than a tenner for an anemometer from Amazon to measure the wind speed.

This will let me know exactly what the wind speed is, and honestly, for £12, it’s a good buy.

Range..

So, in Europe the power of a radio transmitter used in drones is limited to 18dbm, well below the ability of the controller’s 25dbm.

This equates to a massive cut in the range of the spark, about 500 meters is the limit before the video signal gives up and the drone returns. But fear not, there is something you can do to get the full range.

It basically involves fooling the DJI Go app to think your in a country that uses the FCC rules instead of the CE rules. To do it, follow these steps.

  • Ensure the drone and RC are both off
  • Turn aeroplane mode on your phone or tablet to On, and make sure to fully quit the DJI Go app
  • Install a fake GPS app and enable it.
  • Set your location somewhere in America or Canada.
  • Turn on the RC and drone and allow them to.connect.
  • Connect to the aircraft’s WiFi signal
  • Once the app starts up, it’ll ask you if you want to change the WiFi settings. Select ok.
  • Wait for the drones/RC’s network to come back online, and power everything off
  • Quit the app and the fake GPS provider, restart the drone/RC and app
  • When asked again to alter the WiFi settings, hit cancel

And that’s it. Each time you launch the app.from here, it’ll ask you to change the settings, always cancel the dialog.

To confirm your in FCC mode, goto the wireless page in the app, and look if there is a channel 12/13, if not your in FCC mode. Range in this mode will get you in excess of 1000 meters, as opposed to the 500 in the CE mode.

Happy flights!

A tad breezy

A bit windy for drone work, but the little spark put up a good effort in battling the wind, even if it did kill the battery in short order.

One thing I seem to be having issues with, is the controls. I have it set to the default at the moment, which is mode 2. This means the left stick controls elevation and turning movement, the right stick controls yaw and forward/rear movement. My mind always seems to try and reverse this in my hands and find I use the wrong stick for the command. So maybe I’ll stick with it and try and retrain my mind, or just change it.

The only other thing is working out which way the drone is going to move. Based on the drones orientation, moving the stick may not yield the results you expect. So knowing the orientation of the drone is important, but working it out can be a bit of a headache.

Little Drones

I recently purchased a DJI Spark drone. I’m having loads of fun working out how to fly it, and get those fantastic cinematic shots.

So far, I haven’t really got the hang of shooting with it, but damn it’s fun. However, finding somewhere to fly it, legally is troublesome. Your not supposed to fly within 50 meters of any person or property. My first flight didn’t obey that. We have an area in Harrogate called the Stray. A huge grass area, I played about scuttling the drone around, up high and just working out how it all works. My second flight was amongst the walkers, cyclists and dog walkers on Bilton fields. I found a nice quiet area and sent the drone off on its merry dance. All fine until a dog took an unhealthy interest. Watched the owners chase it about for ages until they caught it.

As I’m not using Windows anymore, finding a Linux based video editor that ticks all my boxes is a little complicated. I’ve settled for kdenlive at the moment. But time will tell if I settle with it. The cache editor built into the DJI app is quite good for quick edits.

Time to Change..

I went out the other day for a ride. Only the second ride for a good few months, and still had the dry lube on. I’d applied squirt lube, and this ride was very wet. I mean it wasn’t just a bit wet, it was properly chucking it down. I’d not had reason to think of the lube during the ride.

Gear shifts where remaining crisp and even, chain noise wasn’t an issue. I’d heard that Squirt was a good lube even in the damp, and this certainly was a wet ride.

Getting home, I dried off the bike, and did the ritual of spraying the derailers with GT-85, and running the chain through a rag to dry it off, the lube had gone a little runny with the rain, but it was still there doing its job.

Squirt really is a great lube and well worth the cost. It is however time to change back to the wet lube now the winter is here…

Camera..

I picked up my trusty Nikon for the first time in ages, and headed out to the deer park at Studley Royal.

I thought the deer may of started rutting. They hadn’t, but I found a few deer, and they where play fighting for a while.

I had mounted my longest zoom, mounted it on a monopod as the weight of the lens and camera make hand holding almost impossible.

I think this image worked better in B&W, I had difficulty getting the exposure, as they where sat under a large oak, giving plenty of shade.