Stuck In Customs

My daily travel blog to inspire and get you motivated!

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Massive Huka Falls

Continued P4 Pro + Problems

I sent my list of complaints to DJI and they still haven’t responded. So, I’ll repost them here publicly… I’m still recommending the non-“Plus” version of this device. You can also see my DJI Phantom Review here on the site.

1) At least three times while up in the air and fairly far away, the Plus thought there were obstacles in front of it. There was nothing… it was in the middle of the bright open air. This mostly happened when I was trying to fly it back to me. The two workarounds I found were a) to do a 180 and back it home to trick the sensors and b) switch to ATTI mode to manually fly it back. Of course, ATTI (Manual) mode can be very scary if the quad is a far away dot and you can’t tell what direction you’re going. (It seemed to happen whether or not I calibrated the compass before each flight.)

2) On four occasions the UI disappeared and we were left with a slightly zoomed-in version.

3) On three occasions I would get it up and somewhere between 50 and 100 feet it would say “Maximum Altitude Reached.”

4) After booting up, it took a long time to get a good connection to the controller. The connection was often weak even though there was no EM interference anywhere (we were in the middle of nowhere on the South Island of New Zealand).

5) Every time I fly now after a few minutes it says “Unable to save video – video cache is full.” For a while, this messed with my head because it made me think my SD card was full. That’s what it sounds like, right? So I kept landing and putting in new SD cards. But now I think it means the controllers video cache was full. I don’t know what that means or why it happens. The cache should just be dumping all the time as new stuff comes in, right?

6) The video that appears on the screen is not super-smooth and does a major tear randomly every 5-15 seconds. By “tear” I mean it shows half a second of video from 2-3 seconds previously. It freaks me out because I don’t feel like I’m getting real time video – also it makes me think I’m not getting smooth video.

7) When broadcasting to Facebook Live (See My Facebook Live Videos!), there was no way to upload the HD version or save the video myself. These are both options avail on the non plus version.

8) When going live on Facebook, I cannot choose my “Fan Page” – only my personal page.

9) Last, a minor one… when making the description for FB Live, I only have like 80 characters and there is no way to copy/paste more than a single word.

10) …another minor one… didn’t notice it until the import but the default clock does not update automatically. All my pictures say they were taken in 1951, which is well-known for being one of the worst years for quadcopters.

Daily Photo – Massive Huka Falls

This was one of my scariest quad flights ever! I was staying up at the //LINK//Huka Lodge// which is so far up that river you can just BARELY see it. See those little bits of white up there? One of this is probably me, pale white with fear. Something about taking the quad over a waterfall is terrifying. I started to lose transmission power too at this distance… I was getting lots of beeps and bloops in the controller which added to the stress even more! Anyway, I ended up with this pretty cool vertirama that turned out pretty good… I was just so happy to bring the bird home and land it.

Massive Huka Falls

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-05-24 12:04:42
  • CameraFC330
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias

Approaching Antarctica

Kit.com

We tried something new here with grouping together all the “goodies” I use either for photography or fun! Here’s our link to Kit.com – enjoy!

Daily Photo – Approaching Antarctica

Somehow I talked my way into the cockpit of the C-130 that was landing on the ice in Antarctica. It was my first time landing in a plane with skis on the bottom, so it was pretty exciting. I wasn't nervous… and these cool-headed US Military guys put my mind at ease! 🙂

Approaching Antarctica

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-01-06 16:24:05
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Out of the Bush

Upcoming Workshops

Be sure to check out our Workshops page for some goodies coming up! This time we changed the time of year for the New Zealand workshop to mix things up a little bit! 🙂

Daily Photo – Out of the Bush

We stayed and watched these lions for hours on end. They completely ignored us, except for this 1% of the time when I captured this photo. Going back through these photos makes me want to do a serious Africa trip again! I can't decide if I want to go alone or maybe make a workshop out of it. Maybe I'll do both, like last time… half the time with the workshop and the other half by myself. It's a pretty good system, actually, and many of the attendees did the same thing. As long as you're in Africa, why not spend an extra few days or week there to test out your newfound skills!

Out of the Bush

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2014-10-05 05:03:23
  • CameraILCE-6000
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length200.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Milky Waters of Aruba

New Camera Gear Stuff!

I made a few changes to my Camera Gear Recommendations. Here you go… I’ll cut and paste them here for you or follow the link to see more.

Sony a5100 Mirrorless Camera

Good Camera: Sony a5100

This Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you around the $500 level.

If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” or “HARDCORE” recommendations. However, if budget is your principal concern, then no worries; this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used if and when you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony a7Rii model below.

Better Camera: Sony a6300

Starting at below $999 for the body.

The A6300 is the latest evolution of the high end Sony APS-C models. It features, amongst other great features, enhanced autofocus speed and 4K movie recording. You can read my complete Sony a6000 review, it is the model the A6300 replaces and has many of the same specs. The a6000 series has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000 models. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, more focal points, and faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 6 fps).

Best Camera: Sony a7R II

Starting at just over $3198

A full-on Sony a7R Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. The Mark 2 is faster, 42 Megapixel (instead of 36), and, most importantly, it has in-body stabilization. AWESOME. I used this camera ll the time before getting the Hasselblad X1D below. It’s a great camera and much more affordable than the Hasselblad. I absolutely love it even though I’m not using it any more. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems at a fraction of the price and size. Its Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!

HARDCORE MODE: Hasselblad X1D

Starting at the low low bargain price of around $9,000.

What a beast! I don’t have a review up yet for this, as I want to use it for a few months. But I’ve used it long enough to know that I like the photo results better than the Sony A7r series of cameras. It’s medium format and mirrorless, which means it’s got a much bigger sensor than the Sony and is not that much bigger in size. 50 megapixels. Beautiful and Sleek. I have the 30mm, 45mm, and 90mm lenses and they are all outstanding! The only downsides I can see so far is it is a bit slow (like 2 frames per second) and the software is a tiny bit buggy. I think the latter will be fixed with firmware.

Link to my Spotify Playlists

If you click on this Spotify Playlist Link, you can see most of the songs I’ve added in the last year. It’s all over the place, really, but mostly Ambient/downtempo/electronica with a few wildcards thrown in. I listen to this stuff when editing photos to help “get me in the mood”!

Daily Photo – Milky Waters of Aruba

We were here in the middle of winter, and the water was still very nice. I can't imagine how nice it is in the summer! It was certainly better than being stuck in a cold place for the winter… don't get me wrong… you know I live in the mountains of New Zealand, so obviously I like wearing layers, a crackling fire, and hot cocoa, but a beach like this is a welcome respite!

Milky Waters of Aruba

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-18 00:53:12
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length26.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Into the Windy Crevasse

Antarctica Photos

There are two ways for you to explore all my Antarctica photos. One is to visit my Artactica category on Smugmug – the second is to click on the Antarctica category on top of this post to see all the same stuff on the blog. The only difference is the blog sorts by “most recent” and Smugmug sorts by “most popular.”

Daily Photo – Into the Windy Crevasse

During one of my midnight walks in Antarctica I came across this deep, dark ice cave. I was by myself, but I really wanted to go inside. I thought the better of it, which is a high-point for my normally untrustworthy judgment. If I had gone in here and disappeared, I would not have been found for three more ice ages. But my camera should still be intact, and this would have been the final photo recovered by future-robots!

Into the Windy Crevasse

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-01-11 00:48:16
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

7 Dials in London

See you in London soon!

Don’t forget to A) Sign up for the London Photo Walk (Free) and B) Sign up for the special day-long workshop (not free but more than worth it!).

Warming up the Quad

If you’re a Passport member, you can see a 360 story of me testing out the Phantom 4 Pro + on a cold New Zealand morning here… making sure it’s ready for the big Europe Trip!

Passport Member-Only Content
Click here to learn how to unlock this content plus many other amazing member benefits.

Daily Photo – 7 Dials in London

Speaking of quadcopters, here's one of my favorite photos from London at this famous street where seven roads come together. I flew this one with my friend Stu. I was using the HUGE Inspire drone… it's really much too massive and ungainly! After I got it set up, I had to go through this very time-consuming IMU calibration… thought it would never end… but I finally got it up in the air to take this photo!

7 Dials in London

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-02-18 03:42:29
  • CameraFC350
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/270
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length3.6 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias-0.656

Outside the Bus

Special Prizes for European Photo Walks!

We have all sorts of great prizes (even if you are not there and just following on the internet) of our European Photo Walk Tour! We have some great online contests and more. And yes, we’ll try to bring the Photo Walk tour to a place near you soon! 🙂

Daily Photo – Outside the Bus

Believe it or not, when we pulled up to the Washington DC Photo Walk, this was the view outside our tour-bus window! How cool, eh? I remember DC was a big mess (the photo walk went great). But we had no internet, and I was trying to upload all this stuff… so I had to uber all around town to find a good coffee shop. That is one of those things that took hours more than I expected… then I wanted to go for a jog and barely squeezed that in… then I was getting ready for the photo walk and I realized I forgot to eat all day! And this was coming off back-to-back night-to-night photo walks in New York and Philidelphia! This time, in Europe, I'm gonna pace myself a bit better.

Outside the Bus

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-09-08 08:51:42
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Over a Ghost Town in Namibia

Thanks again to Warby Parker!

Look, I pay full price for my glasses… but it’s easy when they are so inexpensive. I’ve known the founders of Warby Parker forever, and they still charge me full price, but that’s okay! Be sure to check them out if you are a glasses-wearer.

One thing that annoys me (which is apparently a law or something?) is you MUST get a prescription from a doctor and send it into Warby Parker. I know my prescription perfectly… and I find it insulting and somewhat of a racket that I have to go pay a doctor every year or so for something I already know.

Last, a very strange observation about eyeglasses prescriptions: This is the only thing you need a prescription for that goes on the outside of your body.

Daily Photo – Over a Ghost Town in Namibia

I was just staring at this photo I finished a few years ago and never published. I wonder why I never shared it… I am really staring at it now and find it quite interesting! Hehe I know this is a bit self-indulgent but I don't often stare at my own photos and try to figure out what the heck is going on. But this is one of those!

Over a Ghost Town in Namibia

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2014-09-23 09:06:12
  • CameraHERO3+ Black Edition
  • Camera MakeGoPro
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length2.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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