Last month I spent around 3 weeks in Iceland running a couple of landscape photography workshops there. Between the two workshops we had a day off and along with a couple of the participants, I decided to take the opportunity to do a photography flight above the river deltas and highlands. It's something I've wanted to do for a couple of years and it really didn't disappoint.
In a country of truly beautiful landscapes, the interior highlands of Iceland offers perhaps the most stunning scenery in the country. Surrounded by glaciers penned in between mountains, it’s a constantly changing alien landscape of black deserts, colourful rhyolite hills, snow-capped mountains, moss covered peaks, crater lakes and plunging waterfalls. After my first trip there 5 years ago whet my appetite I’ve always wanted to go back and explore it more.
Iceland is one of those countries that must be near the top of most Photographer’s bucket list, it has such a diverse range of incredible landscapes that it’s just a pleasure to go there to shoot. On my first visit about 5 years ago I tried to get around as much of the country as possible, spending a couple of days in the highlands, in the southeast, in the north and in the westfjords. It was a great trip, but Iceland has incredible changeable weather and for large parts of the trip I never saw the sun or had any decent light.
Tuscany is one of those iconic landscape locations I’d longed to photograph since I first saw pictures of it in the first photography books I ever bought. It was one of the first photography trips I ever made back in 2009 and I immediately fell in love with the area. It’s a beautiful rural landscape, all gentle rolling hills, vineyards and medieval hilltop towns, and so I was excited to be heading back there again this spring with two good friends and fantastic photographers Konstantinos Vasilakis and Kostas Petrakis. We’ll be running a workshop there next year, so our plan for this trip was to finalise all the practicalities and ensure that everything we needed was in place, but of course we also intended to do plenty of photography.
I've been playing around with the Mavic Pro for about 3 months now, getting more confident with flying it and trying to get the best out of the drone. I've experimented with both the camera and gimbal settings to try to get the footage looking as smooth as possible, and last week headed out to the forests of Sintra at sunrise to make a short video about what I've found works best.
The camera is sensitive to sharpening. Reduce it too much and the Mavics noise reduction turns shadows into mush, removing detail that's impossible to put back in editing, but have the sharpening too high and it produces a lot of artefacts and moiré in repeated detail.
Since I got hold of the DJI Mavic Pro last month I've been slowly trying to get to grips with flying and filming with drones, as well as filming and editing in general. While I principally bought the drone for shooting video I am also interesting in it's capabilities for still photography, particularly as I'll be in Iceland later this year and I'd like to have a go at some abstract aerial images of glaciers and rivers. So I decided to experiment with the RAW images on the Mavic and create a video review for my Youtube channel while I was doing it.
I headed out to shoot a sunrise at Portinho da Arrabida, but it was really windy which limited how much drone flying I could do...still, I did manage to get a few photographs that I could experiment with in Lightroom.
I've been fascinated by drones for a number of years and tempted to get one. The thing that has always put me off is how big and bulky they are. Even a smaller drone like the DJI Phantom is a cumbersome object that fills it's own backpack. There's no way I could see being able to incorporate a drone like that into my shooting kit, which I like to keep as small and lightweight as possible. I knew that what would happen with a drone like that would be that it would get left behind more often than not as taking it with me would mean leaving other things behind or carrying very large and bulky bag.
So when DJI announced the Mavic Pro back in October I was really intrigued. After reading the first reviews, I ordered one and then waited for it to arrive. And waited...