Drone Photography

For Christmas I received a Typhoon H Pro drone made by Yuneec (my wife has a hard time denying me new toys). The hexacopter has a camera on a gimble for stability with landing gear that moves up and out of the way of the camera. I have flown it a couple of times and the initial videos and photos show that this platform is stable for photography.

This photo is my first and is in no way indicative of future performance. Now after that disclaimer, the photo is detailed without movement blur. I’m happy. My first goal is to become proficient in flying the drone and get commercially licensed and then develop my skills in taking still photos with the drone. I live in Oklahoma and if you don’t know much about this state, it can have very extreme and violent weather, especially in the Spring. I would like to use the drone to photograph developing storms and unusual formations from a different perspective. And, of course, I would like to use the drone for landscape photography. There are a lot of limitations on where drones can be flown as they are not allowed in National Parks. Noisy motorcycles and barking dogs are still allowed, however. It is understandable in Yellowstone, where harassing American bison with a drone would not be advisable. As I become more familiar with the drone, I will start posting photos, here, on my blog page, on Facebook and on my website, www.anfusophotography.com. Stay tuned!

The Importance of Lighting in Your Photos

Lighting is one of those critical elements to photography that comes with rules. Rules are also meant to be broken and I should know- you should’ve known me in college. I won’t get into it with portraits since that is out of my comfort zone. I will just concentrate on landscape photography and flower photography.

I will start with this. I hate bright sunny days, especially at mid day. It is very difficult to do anything with it. The light is harsh, the shadows are short with too much contrast between light and dark. Your eyes can handle it but your camera doesn’t handle it very well.  I do have a couple of examples where it works.  This photo, which I named Sailing into the Light, was taken around high noon, into the sun, off the coast of California. The sun was high in the sky and cast light on the ocean that reflected off the water.             

The following photo of the Organ Pipe cactus flower was taken at 10:30 am. The sun was somewhat low on the horizon and back lit the flowers. To bring the most out of these flowers, I processed this photo into black and white and took out the background as black.

My favorite time to photograph is during the magic hour which is about one hour after sunrise or one hour before sunset. The shadows are long, and the light is muted and warm. This explains why I photograph a lot of sunsets. I tend not to do sunrises since its too early before I have had my third or fourth cup of coffee.  This photo was taken in the late afternoon during the magic hour on the west coast of Vancouver Island near the town of Port Renfrew, British Columbia. There is a lot of cloud drama with the low warm light bathing the island, the water and the rocks.

I hope some of these ideas helps. To be a better photographer, you have to be conscious of the lighting and what you want to do with it. If you like these photos, you can purchase them on my photography website.

Tips on Taking Photos on the Road

I am fortunate in so far as I travel for my primary job. My passion is photography. My job pays the bills. I have my own business so I have a lot of flexibility of where I go. I travel throughout the United States, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. I have also done  a lot of business in Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland. If it is particularly a special area for photographic opportunities, I will take the extra time for exploring. I have also taken several short trips to other countries, like Belize, Guatemala and Iceland. My bucket list keeps on growing.

Taking a tour is a great opportunity for seeing places that would be otherwise difficult to access. Now, my body form restricts me from taking long and difficult hiking trails to reach a spectacular photographic destination. I’ve taken two helicopter tours- one around the Island of Oahu and one around the Big lsland of Hawaii. In both tours, the pilot took a counterclockwise direction around the islands. On the first tour, I sat on the left side of the helicopter and had a great view of Oahu. On the second trip, I was forced to sit on the right side of the helicopter. I had a great view of the Pacific Ocean. Very disappointing. Bus tours can be an opportunity for photographing sites but seat position can be important as I learned on the Maui Road to Hana bus tour. I sat on the right side (no choice) and got a close up view of the side of the mountain. With bus tours, you are time limited at each stop, restricting your ability to take some serious photographing. However, I had one of the most incredible experiences of my life by taking a boat tour of the lava flow into the ocean off the south coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The challenge was low light and heavy swells. The boat came within feet of the lava and moved back and forth in front of the action so there were plenty of opportunities for taking good shots. For this tour, I recommend bringing a good camera and plenty of Dramamine.

Just Back From Iceland

I have a very rich imagination and am very visual, which I think you have to be to be a photographer. So when my wife said she could get Groupon tickets to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, I thought, oh yeah. So, she bought the tickets and extreme cold weather clothing and we  were off to Iceland. We arrived by air early morning, mid February, into Reykjavik  Airport. Interestingly, the weather was mostly in the 40’s, overcast and rainy. The first day we took a tour of the capital city, the second day, the Golden Circle Tour and on the third day, the heavens opened up and we were able to see the spectacular Northern Lights. Reykjavik is a quaint city, very clean,  little congestion but with plenty of architectural eye candy. On the Golden Circle Tour, we saw a geothermal plant, Icelandic horses, a volcanic crater, geysers, waterfall and the Iceland Rift Valley. On the third night, we took a tour bus to a light house where we were able to witness the Northern Lights. It was pretty faint but my camera did a nice job of accumulating the light to bring out the Aurora Borealis. I will post some of my photos, but my wife and I are coming back. This trip was an appetizer. The main course will be coming later on my own terms.