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Trying to get creative with the drone while fighting the weather

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

As I've perhaps mentioned before, drone photography and videography can be very much determined by the weather conditions and light. Of course, it is possible to fly in a certain amount of wind, but it's not optimal and lately the winds in Hobart have been very gusty, swirly and...unpredictable. Of course, when it's not windy, it tends to rain...and if it's not raining it's just grey and dull...I feel like I may be repeating myself, but this is the story a lot of the time.

They say it's best to fly either close to sunrise or sunset...great theory, but around here it's tended to be windy or cloudy early...then early evening seemed like a good shot, but it invariably has got very grey and then cold and windy as well. We do get some great sunsets in Tasmania, but they have been few and far between the last few months with very little "golden hour" to speak of. In fact, I can't remember such an extended period of unremitting greyness.

So, basically what that means is when it looks sunny and still you have to try and make the most of that little window of opportunity if you can. Unfortunately these windows only seem to happen in the afternoon lately when the sun is high in the sky. Why is this a problem ? First, you can constantly get blinded by looking up to see your drone and I keep losing sight of it. Then of course, unless I can find some really nice shadowy place to stand, it's really hard to see the picture from the drone on my phone due to the bright light. The final argument against filming at this time is the fact that everything is too lit up. Personally, I find this to be a matter of taste to some extent and at the end of the day you take what you can get !

But there is a positive side to this, and that is that there is value in any shots you can get in those "perfect" times, with potential to get licensing fees for others to use these rarely beautiful I will persist :-).

At this stage, I'm still learning how to get the best results from my drone both for photos and videos, so just getting out there when it's half reasonable is enough, and I've beene experimenting a lot with doing wide and panoramic photography using both the automated function that's included with the DJI app, and doing them manually, and I thought I'd show you a few just to give you an idea of the difference.

So here's an auto wide angle shot from the Queen's Domain which came out reasonably well.

...and a 180 degree shot also automated. Sometimes these work, sometimes they can be distorted and odd. When blown up in both cases you do see quite a lack of sharpness and sometimes some odd aberrations, which may be a result of the drone moving a bit in the wind or could be a software issue. However, they look pretty great I think at a relatively small size.

Not really satisfied with some of these results, as I would like to do panoramas that will real stand out and pop on a websire on a big screen or on a print, I've been trying to create them manually, as I had to do with the DJI Mavic Mini.

I have used the HDR mode to capture three exposures of the same shot and then pan across taking multiple shots, then stitching them all together in Lightroom. This way you have a huge amount of information in the photo file so you can adjust for some of the shortcomings of the drone's camera, especially when it comes to dynamic range. See if you can notice any difference...

I decided to take it another step further to increase the dimensions of the photo vertically as well as horizontally to capture a much wider view, and the results were better than I had expected.

On the whole, I think the manual method, though more time consuming and not so suitable for Instagram sharing, gets better, more professional results.


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