Evening light shot with the Inspire 2/X7/16 combination. Right from the start I can see a dramatic difference in the capabilities of this camera. Looking forward to more time in the air with it as well as the arrival of my 35/2.8. I will be creating an Exposure story that will be updated with my X7 images. Links to follow.
The Zenmuse X7 arrived yesterday for the Inspire 2. Once the winds drop to a reasonable level I will get it out for its maiden flight. The 16 will be a go to lens with the 35 that I have on order providing a bit more reach.
Thanks to the great team at Florida Drone Supply, my DJI Inspire 2 has arrived and is now up and going. This flying platform is simply an amazing aerial imagery machine. I have started with the X4s for simplicity sake, and to have a basic camera that I can take into difficult situations. However, I do have my X7 and 16mm/2.8 on the way, arriving sometime early next week.
While the Inspire itself is amazing, the X4s is clearly not the right camera to pair with this platform. It performs adequately in great light, but everything begins to breakdown in anything other than perfect conditions. The X7 will give me an APS-C platform with excellent low light capabilities and more than enough detail for my needs. Starting with the 16/2.8, which is comparable to the X4s in focal length, I do anticipate adding the 35 and the 50 very quickly. Shooting panoramas with the 50 should be spectacular.
More to follow as the weather clears and I get more time to fly.
I am still actively working to overhaul my site, so I apologize if their is missing information or links that just don't work. The impending arrival of my DJI Inspire 2 and good flying weather has kept me off of the computer a bit more than I would have desired. Looking forward to finalizing all of the changes as nobody likes to spend more time inside than out. In the meantime, here are a couple of recent shots from up in Maine and the Canadian Maritimes.
This site will be coming down in the next few weeks for a major overhaul. I hope to have everything up and going again by the end of May. My Exposure Stories site will continue to be running so drop over their and check out some of my work.
Thanks for your patience,
After months of waiting my DJI Crystal Sky, 7.5" Ultra Bright arrived. In typical DJI fashion, nothing is ever easy, but after a week of effort, including having to purchase a separate power supply for a device that comes with rechargeable batteries, but no charger, I finally have things up and running. As I mentioned, nothing is easy with DJI.
The display is definitely on the larger side, but having a dedicated device for all of my drones is worth the effort. I purchased the Mavmount separately and must say, its construction is top notch. One item that is difficult with this setup is putting on and removing the monitor from the mount. To make things easier I will be adding a RRS quick release setup that will solve this problem.
Once I get to warmer weather I will provide some further feedback on the device. My internal testing so far has been very positive.
For some time now I have envisioned the world of photography from the skies. I have always strived to shoot subjects in unique and interesting ways, thus shooting from above has always seemed like a good transition for me. As I take 2018 to move back in to the world of commercial photography, I am looking for my drones to augment my photographic work.
I will be studying for the FAA 107 license in the next couple of weeks so that I am prepared to enter into the world of commercial drone usage. I have a number of projects already lined up and will be actively pushing this line of work.
For 2018 I have finally made the jump and acquired two drones to get me started. First up is the amazing and fun, and totally transportable DJI Spark. This little drone, for the money, just can't be beat. It is super easy to fly; incredibly stable; and takes gorgeous pictures from its little camera. With only a little bit of editing, especially with noise in the sky, these are just simple B&W conversions in Silver Effex Pro, my go to B&W editing tool.
I grabbed one on my way out to Minnesota for a winter bike trip up on the North Shore and it did not disappoint. I spent the evening in my hotel room charging everything and updating the firmware and then flew to Minnesota the next day. My maiden flight was in the basement of my friends house. With only a little bit of flight time, I was able to capture these images in single digit temperatures. Having a drone that easily packable on a bike will forever change how I document my travels.
After returning from Minnesota, my long awaited DJI Mavic Pro Platinum had finally arrived. This little drone takes things to an entirely new level. While the Spark is fun and takes reasonably good images that are useful for telling a story, it is still constrained by battery life; the size of the sensor; and flight distance. The Mavic Pro eliminates all of these issues.
It has been incredibly cold up here in Maine these past few weeks so my flight time with the Mavic is limited. However, I believe this is an incredibly competent drone that will help me to move up the ranks of drone flying with my target being the DJI Inspire this fall. That platform will enable me to take my aerial images to the level that I am looking for. In the meantime, the Mavic Pro will serve as a useful tool for learning the art of aerial photography.
The transition from summer to fall happens rapidly here in Down East Maine. One day the warmth of the summer sun can be felt until late in the evening, and then the next, darkness is arriving at 7:00. Fall brings a sense of calm and solitude that is lost in the hectic nature of summer. I always anxiously await the arrival of these cool mornings, warm afternoons and brisk evenings. Agh, Fall is now no longer just in the air, but solidly in place.
As summer comes to a close, once again I am going to search for a way to update my blog and my exposure site with my images and words. I have a number of photo essays in the pipeline along with some exciting new photo workshop opportunities to talk about.
Gear is always a part of my photography life, no matter how much I wish it wasn't. After a year of trying to come to grips with the complexities of the Sony A7rii, I have finally given up and moved on. While the IQ from the little beast of a camera was beautiful, I could just never come to grips with the number of buttons and the overall complexity of the menus. If I put the camera down for more than a few weeks and then picked it back up again for a shoot, I found myself lost in the myriad of menu options. So, in the end, the Sony is gone.
I have now been playing with the Leica SL for two weeks, and will make a decision shortly on how or if that camera can meet my needs. The IQ from the camera is classic Leica and their is no doubt that paired with M glass it is a dream to shoot. However, the size, weight and cost of additional SL glass is definitely a liability. More on that shortly.
This past week, Nikon has announced the release of the D850. As a long time Nikon photographer I have been rooting for them for some time. The D800 and D810 were two of the finest cameras I have ever shot with. To this date, the images I captured with those cameras are some of my favorites of all time. With that in mind, I took the plunge and put a pre-order in for the D850. Having been privy to some early thoughts on this camera, I believe it is going to be a blockbuster unit for Nikon. I am definitely looking forward to putting it through its paces. More to come once that unit ships.
It has been a very busy winter for me and I have lots to catch up on. One of my goals for 2017 is to get back to writing a bit more, especially my thoughts on things that really interest me. With that said, I have a new Photo Essay online from my Iceland trip and I am currently working on my Ireland Photo Essay that I shot with the new Leica M10.
More thoughts on the new M10 will be forthcoming, both here and over on my Ireland page. Cutting to the chase, it is an amazing camera and one that I am super excited about.
I am not sure what is in store for me in 2017, but I do know, this little pup will continue to be a huge part of my life. We spent January 2nd out on the beach, watching the waves crash and chasing a brightly colored little ball. I think there is much to be learned from the joy and jest for life that Rue brings to everything that she does.
So here is to 2017 and the life of a Border Collie. May the year bring you all much peace and happiness and all the love you desire.
Meet Rue, my new partner in crime. Super excited to introduce this lovely Border Collie to the world of adventure biking. I purchased a B.O.B. trailer and a Roberts Axle upgrade so that she and I can begin to explore the backroads. My busy summer season is coming to an end which always means adventure travel is right around the corner. Stay tuned for more...
Desperately working to finish my edits on my last trip to Alaska in the winter of 2015. Hoping to get those posted over on my stories site in the next week. Editing images always makes me long for more adventure...
I continue to thoroughly enjoy shooting with the little Loxia 21. It is as close to a 'Leica' glass feel as I have experienced with the Sony A7rii. I have a running set of images on my stories site with sample images so please jump over there for more imagery from the A7rii/Loxia 21 combination.
In a few words or less, this is a simply stunning lens. The build quality is spectacular. The aperture ring and focus ring are buttery smooth, which makes manual operation a dream. Paired with the A7Rii peaking and zoom capability, focus is easy, quick and very precise.
If I had one nit about the lens, it would be what others have already stated. The mount is just a bit small for removing the lens. If it were a tad bigger, with more separation from the aperture ring, removal of the lens would be just like any other lens. However, due to its small size, removal is a tad difficult. All in all, I would say that is purely a minor complaint and one that is easily overcome with practice.
I will continue to update my story site over the next several days with images and then I move on to testing out the Zeiss 25 Batis; the Sony-Zeiss 35/1.4 and the Sony 35/2.8.
I think most photographers have serious gear issues -- not only with regards to Cameras and Lenses but also with accessories. Specifically bags and straps. While I won't even begin to go into my bag issues, I am now looking to sort out my strap system.
For too long I have wanted a quick and easy way to switch out straps across my cameras. There are times when I love having a wrist strap, but then want to switch out to a sling. Some times I have a super light setup going and don't need a big strap, but then at other times, I have a heavier setup and want to switch to an appropriate strap.
So, in my quest to solve my issues, I am making an investment into the Peak Designs systems. I love the idea of the quick connectors along with their diverse set of straps/slings and wrist straps. I will have a running dialogue on what I find and how this works, but for now I have made the investment to put quick connects on my bodies and L plates and have acquired the Slide; the Slide Lite; and the Clutch. So far my impressions are very, very positive.
Below is a comparison of the Slide and the Slide Lite, with the latter attached to the Leica Q. I think for that small mirrorless body both the Lite and the Clutch will be absolutely perfect.
Next is an image of the A7Rii with the Zeiss 55/1.8 attached using the Slide strap. With this lens combination I think it is right on the edge of being too much. However, with the 90 Macro or even the 55 plus the battery grip, the heavier strap just feels more comfortable than the Lite version. I will update this post with more information as I get to spend time with each of the combinations. For now, I am definitely very pleased.