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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Stephen Jansen: Baja Beach Booster
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Road noise


Photography with a flair
Photography and the outdoors go together like Rudolph and red noses. If you are looking for a couple of gift suggestions for that special angler or hunter in your life, or if you are looking for a suggestion to put on your own Christmas list, technology continues to deliver a dizzying selection of extraordinary devices which will dazzle their friends with remarkable still and video images. They will embellish tales of exploits whether on the water or in the field: the Nokia Lumia 1020 Cell Phone camera and the DJI Phantom Vision+.

Earlier this year, during one of our monthly family dinners, Geoff, my son and personal technology advisor, thrust his new Nokia Lumia 1020 cell phone at me. "This is the best camera you will ever own," he declared authoritatively.


samleimagetaken
SAMPLE IMAGE TAKEN with Nokia Lumia 1020 on the beach at East Cape using one of the many apps available.

He was right. The combination of Zeiss optics and a 41MP sensor delivered more detail in images equal to the combination of DSLR's and lenses than were in my Pelican Case full of cameras. Various lenses and features are accessible with apps available online: Voice camera, Refocus, Nokia Smart Cam, HDR and Panorama are just a few. After experimenting with it for a while, I reluctantly handed it back to him.


Several weeks later, a package arrived addressed to me with a note. "Dad, you have to have this 1020 – Geoff.”


Since then, I've learned plenty: how to zoom into any part of a shot, even after it has been taken; how to crop or enlarge it with no loss of image quality; shoot, crop, and share breathtaking images right from the smart phone. For me, it was the equivalent of the ubiquitous Swiss Army Knife wrapped in a cell phone.


Now, nearly a year later, the 1020 has become my constant companion and the source of many of my photos that you see accompanying my stories. And I have recommended it to a number of my friends.


“The 1020 is remarkably versatile. In reality, it’s a fully-functional, high resolution SLR camera that just happens to make phone calls and slips into the back pocket of your jeans," marveled, WON Baja columnist Jonathan Roldan.


If interested in purchasing the 1020, your best bet is to first check Amazon. Prices listed are generally in the $350 range. Also, your personal cell service provider may be offering a special deal as an upgrade.


Another game changer for me, as well as for many of my friends and others, is the drone. Officially known as a multi-rotor or “UAV” (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), it has emerged from seemingly nowhere and captured just about everyone's imagination. While not manufactured by a camera company, drones come in a variety of sizes and configurations. They provide a very stable platform equipped with a camera that can be operated from the ground.


whileibought
WHILE I BOUGHT the unit for the photos and videos, I discovered flying was addictive as was the revolutionizing shots I was able to acquire from heights and angles only available by chartering an aircraft in the past.

I purchased my first drone, the DJI Phantom Vision+, in April, 2014 and wrote a Roadtrekker column titled "Doing the Drone" a short time later. I chose it because it was self-contained with both video and still camera with a built-in gimbal and an app so a cell phone or iPad could be used as the FPV (first person view), allowing the operator to see from the ground what the camera was seeing. Since then, I have flown the unit both here in California and in Baja. While I bought the unit for the photos and videos, I discovered flying was addictive as was the revolutionizing shots I was able to acquire from heights and angles only available by chartering an aircraft in the past.


Don't be intimidated by this bundle of technology that comes ready-to-fly literally out of the box. There are many instructional videos online that quickly prepare you for the first flight. The most important thing to remember is that the sticks on the remote control are spring loaded which basically acts like a pause button, allowing the pilot to sort out what to do next. For around $1,300, you can purchase the DJI Phantom Vision+ with an extra battery.


An important feature to consider purchasing is the "no questions asked" extended warranty offered by Square Trade and Amazon. A word of caution: you must have the damaged drone to accompany the claim.


Oddly enough, in all my travels, the only drones that I have seen in the field have been the DJI models. This seems to indicate they either have a super sharp marketing team or they are the best the market has to offer at this time.


The company is introducing a new model, Inspire, that is double the price, but offers even more features.


However, if the larger drones aren't in your budget, there are smaller models available with fewer features built by other manufacturers for a fraction of the DJI price and are a great way to get started.


Regardless of the direction chosen, between "YouTube instructional videos," Facebook user groups, as well as individual blogs, it won't take long for the newbie to become an experienced pilot and have extraordinary video and stills for their efforts.


DJI Drones and other models are easy to locate online on a variety of sites including Amazon, B&H Photos or DJI among many others. If you are looking for a place where you can actually see and touch one, Fry's Electronics seems to be the best bet.


I want to thank all of you who have allowed me to share my world: Baja, fishing, drones, family, pets, and photography. I hope you continue to find something in my writing that is fun, interesting, informative or just makes you smile. Your encouragement has been a unique gift that just keeps on giving.


I hope each and every one of you have a very Merry Christmas or, as they say in Baja, Feliz Navidad!


oddlyenoughtin300
ODDLY ENOUGH, IN all my travels, the only drones that I have seen in the field have been the DJI models.



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