Drone diaries/ Photoessay: Over Iceland

IS1017_DJI_0110 copy

I’m going to start this post with a confession: I lost/crashed a drone during the making of these, which is why there’s no video of me flying through the sea arch at Hellnar, or of that double sided beach where the waves pound a narrow strip of rocks. (I do have the stills from the Hasselblad though, which I’ll post in the near future.) Feeling confident after the flight low over the surf and through the arch, I went a bit further out to sea to do a flyby of the coastal cliffs, and an orbit of a sea stack. Mistake number one: I wasn’t high enough, and the signal was looking a bit ropey. That should probably have been enough of a clue that something was going to go wrong. Mistake number two: I underestimated the winds between the cliffs and the rocks – and there’s not really any way to judge wind speed remotely, other than sponginess of controls and lack of manoeuvring overhead as the bird uses more and more of its available reserve power to fight the wind. Mistake number three: I was flying sideways so the gimbal and camera would be pointed in the correct position to film, which meant that I didn’t really have much idea of what was behind me (the Mavic doesn’t have rearward or sideways sensors). What I surmise happened is that I got too close to the cliffs behind me, and a gust of wind did the rest. Game over.

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Video: Dispatches from land’s end, and FW 1.19

 

I recently got a chance to shoot for a week in Iceland with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit. I was a bit torn in not bringing the H6D-100c, but the uncertain weather, walking distances etc. landed up tipping things in favour over the small weather-sealed box, and I’m quite glad they did – conditions weren’t exactly pleasant, but the gear survived just fine. If you look closely you may also spot one of my favourite lenses, adapted…Interestingly, the e-shutter behaviour (0.3s rolling sensor readout time) is such that you get a free motion blur effect even at high shutter speeds, negating the need for neutral density filters on things like waterfalls; you’ll see this as I post the stills in due course. There will also be a full set of stills with raw files (probably the first time ever for me) available as image samples via the Hasselblad website.

In the meantime, enjoy the video – and be sure to watch it full screen at full resolution; we shot it in 4K… MT

Lastly: there’s also new firmware (v1.19) available for the H6D and X1D today; you can download that here. For the H6D, it adds CF adaptor support, folder management, more custom button options and a few other tweaks. For the X1D, it’s a pretty major update including using the rear screen as an AF point selection touchpad while using the EVF; extensive button customisation options; EVF-only LV, and a ‘bokeh fix’. The latter allows the lens aperture to open beyond the physical stop of the lens, which means that circular opening is the only limit allowing smooth circles at maximum aperture. This works on all lenses and also gains a (tiny) bit of speed. 🙂

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More info on Hasselblad cameras and lenses can be found here.

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