All posts by Paul

Time Lapse Series

Windy City River Rides

(click image to see YouTube time lapse video)

Windy City River Rides

 

Equipment Used:

  • Canon 70D with Sigma’s 18 – 250mm lens
  • Manfrotto Tripod
  • Intervalometer

The Process:

  • I found a spot in the Chicago area that I thought would have a fair amount of movement. In this case the Chicago River just off of Michigan Ave.
  • I composed my shot and fired off a test shot. A review on the LCD screen would have my making some slight composition adjustments. I noticed some movement on the left side of the frame coming from building window washers. They had to be included. Few clouds in the skies meant that I would not give the sky much of the frame as that movement would be minimal.
  • I checked my focus by using the camera’s “Live View” mode enlarged to its maximum.
  • I turned off the camera’s Auto Focus.
  • I set my camera to take small RAW files just in case I wanted to change white balance in post processing.
  • I set the lens’ Optical Stabilization to on because of my being setup on a bridge that vibrated under heavy traffic.
  • I would also hang a heavy camera bag on the tripod hook for added stability.
  • I set my Intervalometer to begin shooting in 5 seconds. Subsequent shots would occur every 4 seconds.
  • 855 shots later and I’m ready for that digital darkroom.

In the Digital Darkroom

  • Once downloaded to the computer, shots can be imported into Lightroom.
  • Edit one image and “sync” other other shots to the recipe.
  • Export finished shots into iMovie or some other movie making software.
  • Save your finished movie and export to your favorite site or to your computer.

 

Illinois Drone Regulation

On August 28, 2013 Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Illinois Drone Regulation Bill amidth privacy concerns.

Sponsored by Senator Daniel Biss and  backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the new law requires law enforcement to get a search warrant before they can legally collect information using unmanned drones. This law does not apply to the Department of Homeland Security as they use drone surveillance to deal with terrorist threats.

In the coming years , tens of thousands civilian drones are expected in U.S. skies. Future laws are all but inevitable amidth privacy concerns. One can only hope that future legislation takes a common sense approach.

I have had personal interaction with Chicago law enforcement. They have prohibited me from launching my drone in the downtown area. No mention of law, just that they would not permit me to fly. I did abide by their wishes out of convenience. Though I did feel they were just pushing their weight around rather than enforcing a law. I wondered if they might attach my flight to some other law. Seems to me like Chicago has got much bigger fish to fry. If you’re in the Chicagoland area simply turn on the 10:00 news and you’ll know what I mean.

Lets face it. Legislation is inevitable. For me, a photographer, it could spell doom. I have no interests in spying on people. I have no desire to endanger public safety. I only set out to take photos from a perspective that until now was only available from high platforms or planes. I look for photos of wildlife over water. You get my drift. I’m not a fan of Washington nor any of the other “fund-sucking” municipalities. I would prefer they stay out of of lives and out of our pockets.

 

DJI Phantom 2 Vision +

Having owned DJI’s Phantom 2 Vision + drone for a few months now I must admit that I am pleased. I will refer to it as the Vision + going forward. I got mine by shopping on B&H Photo & Video; keywords “Aerial Imaging Platforms”.

Straight out of the box this drone is just about ready to fly. Simply charge the batteries and install propellers. Through the use of GPS the Vision + is able to hover and return home when in “fail-safe mode”. These guys have flying down and thankfully so. So when I want to concentrate on my photography, the GPS feature allows me to forget about flying long enough to capture the moment. I can’t imagine how they might improve that going forward.

The camera is stabilized during flight using the installed 3-axis gimbal. This will ensure smooth videos even in mildly windy conditions.

A download to your iPhone or Android is required in order to operate the camera over the drone’s built in wifi. Most important about this app is that it allows you to fly in “first person view”. The app will provide you with important information such as altitude, speed, battery life, and the number of satellites it sees to name a few. When you’re done flying the app can be used to view and share video footage or stills.

The Vision + also has it’s own integrated camera capable of taking stills or HD video. Video quality is as good as many of the digital SLR’s on the market today. You might say that the Vision + has an advantage over handheld DSLR’s in that you can avoid camera shake. The 14 mega pixel camera leaves a void with DSLR owners looking for high resolution. Perhaps you get what you pay for is in order. My hope is that as DJI comes out with future models, they remember affordability.

Be sure to check out my aerial photos for some exciting looks through the Vision +!