Mauna Kea

Not the first time I have attempted to take this photo, rather the fourth, or is it fifth?

I think I got it right this time…

Looking up at Mauna Kea from below Hale Pohaku,
Looking up at Mauna Kea from below Hale Pohaku

The image is a two frame mosaic taken with the Mavic Air and stitched in Lightroom. The trick is catching the clouds at just the right place, and racing to launch the drone from close enough to take advantage of the clouds. Conditions change with remarkable speed and fluidity as the clouds move across the flank of the mauna, surging up the slope or dissipating quickly.

Make it Roll

A drone does not bank into a turn like a traditional aircraft, it remains level as it spins in the air to change direction. Even if the drone banks slightly to counteract the wind the camera gimbal keeps the video level.

A cluster of communications antennas along Mauna Kea Access Road in the sunset
A cluster of communications antennas along Mauna Kea Access Road in the sunset

The resulting video from the drone seems flat to me, a sense of something wrong, I expect a little roll while turning.  I find myself struggling with the resulting imagery, what do I do with this?

It is not only aircraft that bank into a hard turn, even an automobile does this on a properly designed roadway.  If the car does not truly bank, we passengers naturally lean into the turn to counteract the centrifugal force.  We expect to lean into a turn, while a drone does not.

How do I restore that roll in the drone video?  

Continue reading “Make it Roll”

2018 In Photos

Drone Hysteria

By now anyone reading the news will know that a drone sighting shut down a major metropolitan airport just days before Christmas. London’s Gatwick airport was intermittently closed to arrivals and departures during the busiest travel season of the year, leaving up to 140,000 travelers stranded and scrambling to make alternate travel arrangements.

Waiting to Board
Waiting to board an Alaskan Airlines flight in Seattle

What you may not have heard is that there may never have been a drone involved. This may have stemmed from one bad sighting and a classic case of mass hysteria leading to further drone sightings.

Even worse, authorities looking for anyone to blame arrested and detained an innocent couple for 36 hours. They were eventually released after no evidence was found and an alibi verified. During that time the couple was vilified by name in some major media outlets. The only saving grace here is that the couple is now likely to receive a substantial sum from those newspapers under British libel laws.

Continue reading “Drone Hysteria”

Chasing Fogbows

I have been flying a lot in the Saddle over the last few months. It helps that I can simply leave for work early, stop off and blow through some drone batteries, before heading on to Hale Pohaku where I meet the rest of the crew for a day on the summit. The process can be reversed on the way back down the mauna in the evening after work.

On these short days late in the year this means flying right at dawn and sunset, creating very dramatic light. The rich colors are simply great for photography of this beautiful area of lava flows and cinder cones.

What makes the are even more spectacular is the cloud layer. As you drive up the mauna you pass through the clouds. I love to stop and fly right at the top of the cloud layer, where the fog lays in against the mountain. I am sorely disappointed on those mornings that the fog is not there!

The result of these flights is lot of great video, I just need to put something together to share it.

Of course a good video needs great music. I am indebted to Chris Stark, a local artist who graciously allowed me to use his track Dancing in the Rain as the backdrop for the video. I encourage you to head over to his website ChrisStark.com to check out his albums.

Chasing Fogbows from Andrew Cooper on Vimeo

Drone Gallery