Notes to Self

So along with about 5 million other people (give or take), I traveled to the path of totality.  How could I miss something like that?  Many thanks to my friend Brian Clark for motivating me to travel with him and his kids to experience it.  I may not have come away with the best images, but I experienced it.  It was all worth it.  The distance traveled, the traffic, the waiting.  Icing on the cake?  There’s another one in 2024.  I’ll see you there!

In the meantime, here are some notes to my future self so I don’t forget (the beauty of an online journal, right?):

  • Use the same camera to shoot both partial and total (the other camera is a backup)
  • Avoid extenders if at all possible.
  • Get a solar filter for the longest focal length.
  • Practice.  Actually practice.  It may seem silly, but now you know.
  • Take time away from the viewfinder and experience it.
  • A sturdy/hefty tripod ballhead is your best friend.
  • All camera bodies you use need a fully articulating LCD viewfinder.
  • Go ahead and rent that camera body you really wanted to rent this time around – it’ll be worth it.
Mid-day Sunset

The sunset horizon due North during totality.  One of several very specific images from my gallery – those who were there may appreciate them more than others. | More images here.

 

Differences

Put aside your political views/opinions for about 45 minutes each day.  Enjoy the fact that there’s always this to look forward to.

differences

It’s been a while since I shot anything and I know this is a similar composition, but it’s never really the same. | Order a print of this image.

Snow Haiku

I don’t like the cold
The sun looks great in Winter
I want some bacon

snow-haiku

I really like the juxtaposition of the cool tones and the warm tones. | Order a print of this image.

Maiden Voyage

Well, So far so good.  I took the new Mavic Pro out for its first flight this morning and was impressed with everything about it.  It’s easy to set up, unassuming and is incredibly easy to fly (as I expected having used DJI products for almost 3 years now).  Its image quality is incredible for as unassuming as it is.  It’s ultra portable and the battery lasts forever.  It doesn’t take the place of my Inspire 1, but is simply another tool in the toolbox for this massive gear head.

maiden-voyage

Sunrise over Winchester (processed from a single RAW photo). | Order a print of this image.

KOKV 291515Z AUTO 21007KT 10SM CLR 17/07 A3013 RMK A02

Great day to fly – yeah, I’m a geek, so.

metar

The weather finally cooperated with me – just wish the foliage would, too. | Order a print of this image.

Public Speaking

Another fun aerial/drone/UAV/UAS/sUAS workshop tonight at the Blandy Photo Club meeting.  It’s always fun inspiring new people to get into the aerial platform.  It also helps me keep up to date on all the new regulations, which are changing in my favor in a couple of months.  Can’t wait!  😀

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Showing off the Inspire 1 to the Blandy Photo Club.

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I always love the way the light of the sunset plays with the cloud cover in the opposite direction.

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Lots of great texture in the sky last night during the flight demo at the Blandy Photo Club meeting.

Statistic

Let’s lead with this…

Statistic 01

Just 8 frames later was how quickly I lost the camera.

I now join the ever-increasing number of UAV pilots who’ve crashed their aircraft.  I should make it clear that it was 100% pilot error.  Luckily it did NOT involve any other people, buildings, or vehicles (including aircraft).  I can tell you that it had everything to do with me being rushed in the moment trying to capture the perfect lighting on an incredibly cinematic scene.  And guess what, I got the shot!  I suppose that’s the photographer’s mantra (after “ƒ8 and be there”).

Long story short (here goes) reception officially starts at 7pm:

  1. Took a little longer with the bridal party that I had anticipated (family waiting for pictures at ceremony site). 6:45
  2. Arrive, sprinting, to waiting family. Have to set up aerial platform fast to capture that fading, but awesome, sunset.  6:50
  3. Finish setting it up and ready to fly.  Guests now waiting for dinner.  6:55
  4. Line up shot and start flight.
  5. I continue flight to get more landscape while, at the same time, I begin lining up family shots. 7:05
  6. Last image I see in the display is tree branches
  7. Still have formal family photos to get (including me).
  8. I kinda don’t remember the next hour or two…

My brother and son immediately volunteered to go after it.  We all put our heads together (and our smart phones) to determine its last known position and they went after it.  It was about a kilometer from its ground station and 30 feet up in the tree!  I just didn’t have the altitude to clear the terrain, but it was so close.

Just look at my face – that expression says it all!

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This is about 10 minutes after the incident.  Yeah, still not at the reception…