King John’s Castle

Having watched one or two videos by my fellow photographers that featured Odiham Castle, I decided to hop in the car and visit the location myself. The closer I got to my destination as I drove into the gorgeous evening light, the more stormy it started to look in the distance as I cruised down the A287 from Farnham towards Odiham. I was conscious of the fact that I may be heading for a storm front, I knew it was too good to be true, an otherwise horrid week of torrential downpours had subsided and had led us all into a fanciful dream that Summer was back. I decided to press on nonetheless in the hope that if the heavens did open once again, it would probably be brief and the sun would pop out again. All photographers know that when that happens, you can sometimes witness an incredibly clear, crisp form of light.

Suffice to say, the rain didn’t arrive and as I pulled up near the Castle, the weather was actually looking like it was on the mend but I had lost the best of the light. Oh well, I shall make do, I decided and made my way down the canal towpath.

The walk isn’t at all far from the nearest parking spot and it is a lovely stroll. I highly recommend it for any time of year, as you get to appreciate Nature and all of her seasons. The Canal incidentally for those of you who don’t know the area is The Basingstoke Canal. We plan to shoot and film more along it’s entire stretch wherever we can in the years to come.

I decided that I will use my DJI Mavic more for photography than video, as photos tend to be quicker to edit and to share on the blog. I shall also collect up as much footage of a location as possible and to take my time over that. Film editing is a longer process, especially if I want to go a little more to town on it, adding music, cutting clips, recording voice overs etc. So I plan to share more video once I have enough to produce a series of mini documentaries. Got to be ambitious!!! Will I follow a theme? Yes, probably quite a few over the course of time and as I practice my flying/filming skills too!

DJI_0016

I joked over on Facebook that I had miniaturised the castle in order to take this photo. In many ways it does feel like I have or maybe I became a giant with a humongous tripod to match? Joking aside, the ability to position a camera anywhere in three dimensional space is still boggling my mind. It is so exciting and I have a head full of ideas for future entries on this blog. So much so, I think I have a firm theme for this site now, which I didn’t feel I had lost at some point in time whilst writing this blog…. I digress!

The DJI Mavic can shoot both RAW and JPEG at the same time. The photos on this page were all shot in DNG format and when I got home, I imported them into Lightroom. All I changed at this point were the white balance as that was off by a long way. I then applied a preset called “Punch” and finally some sharpness to make it look really crisp. The images off the camera were all shot with no sharpness or very little. So it is a very similar process to editing photos taken off my Nikon D7000. The cameras are of a very close resolution too.

The photo below was taken as a test but it clearly shows that on the DJI Mavic, you have the ability to focus and control your depth of field. It is one of the first to offer this and that is pretty incredible. The older drones all featured cameras that are single-focus (I think, correct me if I am wrong) and also suffered from fish-eye distortion. This lens is closer to something like a 50mm with an aperture of 2.8. This makes it a great drone for filing or shooting photography that is quite tight, you can fly through tight spaces using the amazing “Tripod Mode”

DJI_0007

So that pretty much wraps up today’s post, how about a video of Odiham Castle? That will come another time, I want to go back a few more times and shoot some more sequences over the seasons.

Last but not least

It was great to meet fellow bloggers Johann and Roberta Briffa last weekend in Guildford along with two other friends of theirs. The Briffas hail from the sunny island of Malta and regular visitors to this blog, yes there are many of you (joke!) will know Tina and I love the Maltese islands and the people. We look forward to catching up with you Johann and Roberta the next time we visit Malta or when you come back to visit the UK!

Please do check out their blogs, they write frequently, more so than I do and I enjoy every post they share.

https://jabriffa.wordpress.com/

https://chorizoandthyme.wordpress.com/

Roberta, you asked me to blog more, hope this is a good start? 😉

The Spinney

The following short film came to me in a moments inspiration whilst I was out researching a location for both filming and photographing. The light was bursting through the trees in this small woodland “Spinney” and it struck me how beautiful it was.

This kind of shot would traditionally have been created with a camera mounted on some kind of mechanical pulley or rail system. No need for that when you can use a drone. I set my Mavic up to use “Tripod mode” which changes the behaviour of the drone when you fly in a sideways direction to operate at a very steady speed, providing the operator with more control over the smoothness of the resulting video.

I also turned off sharpening in the recording, favouring doing that in post-production. I am liking the D-Cinelike mode which provides for a greater lattitude when editing later.

 

First heavy frost


This morning it is very brrrrrrrrrrr. A quick glance at my weather app tells me it’s -2c out here today. So whilst walking towards the train station, I had a little bit of time to take a photo of Farnborough Hill School and it’s very frosty grounds. 

This week I’ve discovered a wonderful iOS app called Filmborn, that enables you to emulate classic film formats from the likes of Ilford, Kodak and Fuji. I used it for this photo and I’m going to play with it a little bit over the coming weeks. 

Winter is a tough season to get through at the best of times but braving the cold to take pictures is well worthwhile in my opinion. On days like this you can’t beat the light and the beauty of frost. 

The weather forecast this morning mentioned snow up in the North. Some say it’s going to be a harsh winter this year. 

Malta: Shadow & Light

I wrote a post just before we went away, haven’t written since and I have an excellent excuse for that!

We had too much of a good time, the weather was fantastic, we spent all of our time pretty much outdoors even when the evenings got a bit windy and “fresh”. I took some photos and recorded some video clips and did what I normally do which is dump the whole lot onto my little orange LaCie drive.

This little drive is a tough cookie, it is bounce proof and survives being pretty much just thrown into the bottom of my rucksack and it goes everywhere with us. It has now been sat on my desk amongst my usual clutter of stuff for the past 2 weeks, beckoning for reconnection to the Mac. I did just that this morning…

I decided to begin with this photo, as I can remember the reasons that the shot appealed to me and the vantage point from which it was captured.

Tina and I took a walk in the early evening up towards Upper Barrakka Gardens where you have a view out across Grand Harbour, which is a stunning view in itself but for me, this view back in towards the town was there to be taken. I cropped in from a bigger frame to emphasize the detail of the picture, the way in which the shadows help add depth to the scene.

Valletta is blessed with some amazing architecture and it would seem that every inch of the city has a story to tell but it’s the combination of the wooden “Gallerjia” and wrought iron balconies that lend themselves to the city’s (and indeed Malta as a whole) identity so strongly.