Six Friends

Aerial view of Golden Bay

Our New Zealand Tour earlier this year was our first serious photographic trip using the DJI Mavic Pro. The aim was to use this new tool to take unique "behind the scenes" type footage with aerial stills, but it became increasingly difficult to resist the charms of its video capabilities. It was a fairly steep learning curve for a stills photographer and despite my best efforts, I can't multitask. In previous shoots, I had become comfortable with setting a time lapse camera up on a separate tripod, and then carrying on with my still photography. However, it is all but impossible to do both aerial and still photography together well, in my opinion. At times the right light is present for only minutes, so for me its one or the other. I worked around this problem though, as on the tour this year we often visited the same location 3 or 4 times over a few days. As a result, I generally left the drone photography to the last day at these locations, and actually didn't use the drone at all at other locations.

What did I learn? Use cinema mode to prevent sudden jerky movements; shoot in manual mode with manual exposure; default ISO 100 - anything higher results in quite a lot of noise (in Auto mode the default can be ISO 1600 which ruins your images); shoot in RAW - vital for editing; adjust and level the gimbal before you fly - every time; and buy a good set of filters.

Here is a video of some behind the scene that we took with the DJI Mavic Pro. Overall it is a very worthwhile addition to our kit, but pick the right occasion to use it, and use it carefully with consideration for others, the wildlife and local regulations. There are already many locations with the dreaded "No Drones" sign.

Six Friends from Light and Motion Photography.

Video: Alvin Ing, Light and Motion Photography
Music: "Four Friends" - Artist: Ennio Morricone

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