The weather was pretty poor last Sunday, but I set off to Maroubra Beach anyway, hoping to get a chance to practice using my new Phantom 3 quadcopter.
Fishing on Maroubra Beach
It was still raining a bit when I got to the beach, so I grabbed a hot chocolate and watched the waves come in for a bit until the rain was done.
I’m not sure if the quadcopter can fly in the rain, but I have severe doubts, and do not want to risk my expensive new tool this early on.
Surf Lifesaving Boat
I have a trip coming up to Fiji in the middle of October, and I have been asked to take photos of some resorts over there in exchange for accommodation.
It was mentioned that they would love some aerial pictures taken with a drone, which got me looking into the subject.
I looked at a few models, and decided the DJI Phantom 3 Professional best suited my requirements, as I was told it is easy to fly and has the best onboard camera. I took it for a few test runs near where I live, but needed a more scenic place to practice using the camera properly.
There are a few rules regarding where you can fly drones. You can’t fly within 5 kilometres of airports and helipads or within 30 metres of buildings and people. Most Sydney beaches are pretty busy, but I knew the south end of Marboura had some areas that are quiet and was able to find a grassy area that was far away from anyone.
I launched the Phantom straight up and took some video from 40 metres up, which gave a good overview of the beach. I didn’t want to fly the drone along the shore in case someone walked by, so just rotated around the spot above me.
I have little experience in taking video, as you can probably tell from the below attempt, but I intend to learn over the next few weeks. Next time I will capture a longer sequence, and maybe experiment with different heights.
The original footage was quite poor due to the difficult shooting conditions, the bright sky and dark shoreline were a bit too much contrast for the small sensor camera, but I managed to get an acceptable result by playing around in post software, learning how to use Adobe Effects and Premiere as I go.
Maroubra Beach Video
After taking the video, I packed the Phantom into its backpack and went for a walk along the beach, taking the pictures above. I struggled a bit with both my normal D810 camera, lenses and the drone backpack, but managed okay.
I had the Tamron 150-600 telephoto lens with me, and captured some good shots of surfers and birds, including the above baby Kookaburra.
I walked up to the north end of the beach with a rough plan to take some more aerial shots. The sun had come out in patches by then, so I had high hopes of capturing something better than before, but I couldn’t find a safe area away to launch from. There were not a lot of people around, but there were no spots completely secluded so I gave up and will try someplace more suitable next weekend.
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