Monthly Archives: January 2018

2 years, 5 months ago 10
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Winter is tough for aerial photography, (ok drone photography), it’ just so bare, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to shoot!  I want to share three images I made this morning and why I shot them, and how I feel about if it worked or not!  I drove down to Cumberland Falls State Park this morning hoping to photograph the falls from above, but the river was muddy and the watrer going over the falls was brown, ugh, not today!


Drivng back to my home I saw a river canoe company and noticed they had all their canoes stacked up for the winter, yeah baby!  I was pretty sure that if I flew directly overhead, the pattern and color might really work!  I’m thrilled, your milage may vary!


The next find was a red tractor in a field near some trees.  I first shot it at a 45 degree angle, much the way it appeared as I drove passed, (it was way down in a field well below the road), then I flew directly above, (bird’s eye view), and tried again!  I like both and still I’m not sure which one I like the most!




Finally I saw a dirt road crossing a farm bottom with long shadows of the trees, it was an easy flight,  up and over and a little altitude change and compose and shoot!! I’m not sure it works,  you can chime in, if you feel differently! I do like the composition though!



Saturday morning of this week I’m going to solve my winter problem,  Shererlene and I are flying down to Aruba and I hope to post some spectacular stuff next week!!!  If not, I will rest a lot and get sun burned!




the pilgrim



All images with the DJI Mavic Pro drone



2 years, 5 months ago 14
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I’m having a blast with this whole drone deal!!!  Let me explain!  All my life I wanted to be a pilot, and when finally learnd to fly and went on to do two books on America with Wes and Mark, I loved flying,  but in all  honesty, I was a little nervous every flight!  Flying an airplane, even when you are very careful, has risks.  I miss flying, but I really missed seeing our world from up there!!


For a few years I’ve thought about buying another plane to get back to aerial photography, but a number of factors have held me back.  Airplanes have gone up in price, considerably, in spite of  a bad market for ultra light planes!  The cost ot hanger a plane gets higher all the time.  If you have a ultra light that can be put in a trailer, you save that money, but a good trailer costs from 2 to 5 thousand dollars.  Planes must have an annual every year, which is a good chunk of change. It just gotten to financially hard to own and operate a plane.


The drone industry to the rescue!!!  You can buy a very good drone that shoots 12 megapixel stills and 4K video in a stabilized platform for less than $1,000.  Then add a few extra batteries and all the accessories you might want and you can still stay under $1,500.  The best drone for this kind of work DJI makes (the leading drone company), can be had for under $2,000.


Now I can take a drone that fits in the palm of my hand anywhere in my camera bag and with an app on my iPhone cane see if I am in a place where drones can be flown legally.  It takes me less than 5 mimutes to prepare the drone to fly and I can operate the drown up to 40o feet agl (above ground level) which allows making images very much like what I did out of the ultra light, but I’m safely on the ground!!!!


A bird’s eye view of my house down through the trees!





Really having a ball!!!!!!




the pilgrim


2 years, 5 months ago 9
Posted in: Uncategorized


Sometimes a good deed pays off big time!!!  This morning Sherelene ask me if I would deliver an item to a neighbors church and then take in the laundry to the dry cleaners.  It was cold, but I said,  “sure sweetheart” and headed out.  On the way back home I noticed that the sun, at a low level (9:30 am) was casting long shadows and I wished I had brought a camera along. (Lesson one:  always have a camera along!!!!)  About then I saw the three crosses in a field just off the road, I see them everyday and it dawned on me they must be casting great shadows on the brown grass.  Now I was rushing home to grab my drone bag!!!  The two images below were the result of a short flight over the field.  Two different perspectives you can choose your favorite, I still can’t decide!




As you have come to know from reading my blog entries, they often hold more    than one meaning or interpretation.  Let’s revisit the title of the blog “What do you see?”  It has, in this case a VISUAL, PHOTOGRAPHIC AND SPIRITUAL meaning.


VISUAL:  We must remember in life what we think we see is a matter of perspective, or in other words where we are in realtionship to what we are seeing.


PHOTOGRAPHIC:  As a photographer we must, more than anythng else, be aware of light! It is the direction, quality and warmth of light that often turns an average looking subject into somthing beautiful. This morning I was very aware of the light and knew the three crosses would be casting wonderful shadows, without thinking about the light, I would have never attempted to shoot them!


SPIRITUAL:  This morning the Holy Spirit reminded me of how many of  life’s most imporant lessons come from the historic scene of Jesus hanging on the cross with two thieves on either side.


FORGIVENESS:  Jesus looked down from the cross at the men that had beat him, insulted him and gambled for his clothes and said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  How greater example do we need than that act!


ASSURANCE OF HEAVEN:  One of the thieves said he knew he deserved what he was getting, but ask Christ to remember him  in heaven, and Jesus said, “You will be with me today in paradise.”


THE MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  When Jeuss cried out His final words, “It is finished” He was not talking about the end of His life, but the task of dying for our sins, He had finished His mission to pay our sin debt!  We only have to accept His gift of eternal life by giving Him our  hearts and asking for the forgiveness He so badlly wants to give you and I.




the pilgrim

2 years, 5 months ago 4
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I’ve become addicted to Youtube!  I admit it, it is one of my most often “go to spots” for photo education.  I love to see what other “so called experts” think of the products and software I use, or plan to use. Some are extremely useful, some not so much!  When I started to get into drones I found Tony and Chelesa Northup’s Youtube channel and I’ve found their stuff, for the most part, to be very good. I recently found a series they did on the state of the photo industry and the history of several major photo companies, I found them extremely interesting.  Here are a few of  their videos that I can highly recommend (Disclaimer: I do not agree with all their observations, but for the most part, they are excellent) :












….and on and on.


I recently needed to learn how to use iMovie again, and Youtube videos got me back up to speed!!!!!


Well as Brittany Spears sang, “Oooops I did it again!”  Now that I am doing a lot of drone photography I need a new bag to carry both a few still items and the drone and all it’s accessories.  I bought the Lowepo DroneGuard BP-250.



The bag has a large internal stiff container that is nicely padded and holds your drone (this bag is made specfically for the DJI Mavic Pro), up to four batteries, extra props, a rapid charger and the controller. Displayed below:



The reason I loved this bag is it leaves room for my travel still photography system, a Fujifilm X-PRO 2 and the three Fujicrons, plus my iPad Mini 4, which I use as my screen for viewing what the drone’s camera sees while flying.



This will allow me to travel and have both a still system and the drone and accessories.  Now I’m ready for spring and lots of video and still work while traveling.  This will be a car bag, when traveling by air, the drone will go in my rolling bag mentioned a few blogs back.


I expect some may question travel photography with only a spread of 35mm equivalent wide angle, 50mm (normal lens) and the 75mm equiv. all at a pretty fast f 2.  Actually when doing travel image I shoot these focal lengths about 90% of the time.  Why?  Super wide angle lenses and long telelphoto lenses really alter the way the scene looks, sometimes for the better, but often they just don’t look like what the human I sees and perceives.  For people photography, these are the most versatile lenses.  Another factor is these are some the latest lenses Fujifilm has produced which means they are among the very best in terms of construction quality and sharpness, and they are very compact, which is always appreciated when traveling.  The reason I switched to Fujifilm cameras and lenses, originally, was they were significantly smaller and lighter.


Why the X PRO 2 over the X-T2?   I own two X-T2 bodies and 2 X PRO 2 bodies. For nature, outdoor, landscape, action work, I prefer the X-T2 bodies, for travel, family and people I prefer the X PRO 2.  I also simply like the way the X PRO 2 feels in my hands, it is slightly larger and the controls fit my hands better.  I also really love the optical viewfinder is certain situations.  The quality of the final image between the two cameras is identical.  I hate to admit it, but I simply am in love with the Graphite color on the X PRO 2, sure wish they had used in on the X-T2 (silver or titanium) model.


Well that’s the thoughts for Wedneesday except for one final one:


“God loves you, so love others,  God sacrificed everything to be with you, so sacrifice everything!”  Quote from the movie, What If.




the pilgrim