Location photography is a very demanding discipline in Africa, we have harsh light and lots of it, our golden hour is closer to 15 minuets, our sunrise or sunset is over just as quickly. But when the magic happens its all worth while, in amongst all the trees we need to see the wood and many times the best place for a camera to tell its story is 5 to 20 meters (16 to 70 feet) up and nearly always over water, its long been a problem for me and I've used full size helicopters when budget allows and various pole contraptions when not, in order to 'get that shot' over and above the normal, difficult to explain to none camera people, its just a madness we have.
I've been following the development of various remotely controlled flying machines over the years and embarked of the steep a learning curve that resulted in the purchase of a DJI Inspire 1 almost a year ago. I arrived I January of this year and after reading the instruction quite a few time got it off the ground and back down again safely. Many many test flights have since passed most without indecent. Flying is one thing and then comes operating a camera at the same along with the odd tree jumping out in front of it !
Cows run away, dogs give chase, donkeys stand still and small children come running then go screaming almost as fast. Next came the panning, turning and rises required for filmmaking, many hours have passed and extra batteries purchased. The main problem in fim was to get the shutter speed down as the X3 camera is fixed at f2.8 so a set of neutral density filters was ordered, now the system is working well. Jumping from my DSLR to such a small camera system was showing in the still images and the limited dynamic range more evident in our very demanding discipline in Africa. Last week DJI announced the new X5 camera for the Inspire 1, its a full MFT size with 13 stops of dynamic range... The deposit is paid and time will tell. Oh the waiting!