Purposeful

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all my sports shooting it’s that high-speed burst shooting should be used very sparingly.  I think it was last year that I came home from shooting Winchester Applecross with close to 7,000 images.  Three 0’s people!  Sure the high-speed bursts have their place, but for me I’d rather come home with images that were shot purposefully as opposed to images that are simply part of a series of high-speed bursts where maybe one is decent.  I don’t want to be that photographer who tries to impress people with the sound of their shutter rapidly firing off 20 frames at a time in a couple of seconds.  So how, then, do you get the good images you might ask?  Anticipate the action and know the sport you’re shooting.  I still came home with a crap ton of images (2k but that’s a far cry from 7,000).

Winchester Applecross coming my way.

Winchester Applecross coming my way.

UAV

As it is with any government agency, the FAA has a “crap ton” of regulations and the hottest topic these days is UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.  There are huge numbers of differing opinions about their use and with them becoming much more accessible and affordable it’s gonna get really crazy really quickly very soon (already in some instances).  There are no-fly zone maps, advisory circulars from 1981, COA application procedures, and so on, and so on and so on.  It’s dizzying to say the least.  So here are some simple pieces of advise from me to other/future “droners:”

  1. Be respectful of anyone who approaches you about anything to do about your drone.  Whether it’s simply to find out more about what you’re doing and to watch or someone who’s got an issue with you flying it.  Doesn’t matter – be respectful in your conversations.  If it really gets heated just don’t fly there.
  2. Know your craft – EVERYTHING about it.  Not just how to get it up in the air, but what to do if you encounter an issue while it’s up there.  Know how to troubleshoot what’s going on from the batteries to the blinking lights to the regular maintenance.  Know its limitations and don’t push them just for the sake of pushing them.
  3. Be aware that there are regulations out there for UAV.  They may not be specifically  for this new category of aerial drone per se, but they are for UAV which technically includes your new DJI Phantom (or whatever you’re flying).
    1. Here’s a link to the current FAA set of regulations for UAV
    2. The National Park System has also issued its own policy on UAV within their parks.
  4. Know the regulations or at least be learning about the regulations.  I know there are pockets of rebellious “droners” out there who are going to put up the good fight for their rights, but the FAA’s ultimate goal for its airspace is the safety of everybody involved – in the air or on the ground.
  5. Use some good ol’ common sense folks.  Don’t be stupid about this.  We’re privileged to be part of a new group of enthusiasts that may very well affect the way the FAA leans when it comes to that 9/30/2015 deadline for integration of UAV in the NAS.  If we’re stupid about it now, guess what’s gonna happen when it comes time to develop new/updated regulations.
  6. Be safe.

This post was initially going to be a rant about a confrontation I had with an individual this evening who wanted to make me aware of all the regulations that prompted his company to “ground” their drone and that I shouldn’t be flying if they can’t.  I was initially ticked off, but after careful thought, I decided to go this route to help promote awareness for common sense when it comes to this extremely touchy subject.  I began to realize that I’m just as guilty of not following these tidbits of advice at one point or another so I want to make sure that I ultimately keep myself in check, too.

All I wanted to do was take some pictures of my elementary school…

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My elementary school, which is no longer a public elementary school. This one’s for all those who attended Bridgewater Elementary School when it was located in “downtown” Bridgewater.

Turn Around

Every sunset and every sunrise is different to me, which is why shooting them will never get old.  But if you’re wondering “how can I shoot them differently?”  Simple answer…turn around.  You’d be amazed at what it sometimes looks like behind you.

I'm surprised none of the birds that were attacking the drone showed up in this image. | Check out my other sunset/sunrise images.

I’m surprised none of the birds that were attacking the drone showed up in this image. | Check out my other sunset/sunrise images.

Foreground

I like to shoot sunrises and sunsets.  I’ve said this before.  But after a while, as with anything, it gets harder and harder to shoot it differently.  Granted, each sunset and each sunrise is different, but how do I create something unique.  A big deal for a perfect composition is to have depth to your images and that’s done by introducing foreground elements.  That’s kinda tough when your camera is 250 feet up in the air.  I just wonder if I’ll get any backlash from this image because of how close I was to it.

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By the way, if you live in the Winchester-Frederick County area of VA (and maybe even if you’ve driven through), you’ve seen this water tower along I-81 at exit 310.

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Architecture

I’m so amazed at the new perspective of architecture that I can get with this new technology.  Some things look much more majestic from above and others tend to lose a little something with the elevated perspective.  I think the Handley Library actually loses that majestic edge when it’s shot from above.  Maybe I’m too high.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing building, but it’s just not the same from above.  Certain things are meant to be shot from below, specifically subjects that you want to appear more powerful.  I’ve posted images of this building from the ground (and, of course, from inside) on this blog.  What do you think?

Order a print of this image.

Order a print of this image.

My Best Camera

I pretty much take my cameras everywhere these days, but there are specific situations where my big cameras won’t work.  Namely, my bike rides.  I have, however, adopted the popular saying among photographers “My best camera is the one I have with me.”  This is actually an iPhoneography book and app, FYI.  I just really want to go back now and shoot this properly.

A one-shot HDR from an iPhone.

A one-shot HDR from an iPhone.

Travel

I took this picture yesterday and was just playing around.  Anybody who knows me knows that I usually have my cameras with me and I’m taking random shots of just about anything.  I may never use the image.  I may use it as a background.  I may use only part of the image.  Regardless of how I use it, it’s in the digital filing cabinet forever.  This image was never intended to be anything other than, well a test shot while I was just playing around with settings.  I started looking at it , though, and it just jumped out at me as some sort of car ad.  The big clear front windshield, the nice motion blur going down the road.  It’s a car ad, right?  At least that’s what it was screaming at me.  It’s funny how some final images started out as throw-aways.

It really demonstrates my “tip of the day” – DO NOT DELETE IMAGES IN CAMERA!  Stop fumbling around on vacation, or on the shoot, or at an event with the images you just shot trying to determine what’s good and what’s not.  There are really only two things I use my digital viewfinder for:  1) checking for correct exposure and 2) helping me compose a shot (my 60D with it’s articulating viewfinder helps tremendously with this one).  Well, make that three.  I also use it to access my camera’s menu system.

With memory cards as cheap as they are these days you’ll have plenty of room on the card.  Review your images when you get home.  While you’re at the event/game/party/wedding or whatever it is you’re shooting – Just shoot.

Sometimes a concept will just smack you right in the face.

Sometimes a concept will just smack you right in the face.