Kabetogama Peninsula From DJI Phantom Vision

Kabetogama Peninsula from a DJI Phantom 2 Vision directly above Ek’s Bay campsite. The largest body of water is Lake Kabetogama’s Lost Bay, a short portage to the east is Ek Lake and Agness Lake, to the north is Quarter Line Lake and Jorgen’s Lake, Slightly to the northwest is Little Shoepack and Shoepack Lakes, the source of a unique breed of Muskellunge. Far to the north on the horizon is Rainy Lake. To the south you can see the entrance narrows to Sullivan Bay.


Blind Ash Bay Moments

Here are a couple of shots taken from Blind Ash Bay. I used a Nikon D3s with a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens coupled with a Nikon 2x teleconverter. My RRS tripod is still in the process of healing, day three of a five day cure time on the bonding between the aluminum and carbon fiber attache point, therefore, I had to leave my 400mm lens in the case, but damn! I wish I had my 400mm tonight! Oh well, the 200mm with the teleconverter does a pretty good job, just not THE optimal one. Enjoy…

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And here is the sunset from Blind Ash Bay, taken with my D800 and a Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 lens:


Moonshot D800

Here is another moonshot using my Nikon 400mm with the 2.0x and 1.4x teleconverters only this time with my Nikon D800. This setup, unlike the mirror/shutter-less Nikon J1,  requires sandbags strapped to the lens to reduce shutter vibrations, the mirror was locked up prior to exposures. I also included a shot of Saturn for perspective and relative resolution. The “seeing” conditions for the Moon were clear and fairly good but Saturn was veiled by some high cirrus clouds.

From Lost Bay:


Cropped Moon:_DSC4812_crop

Full Frame 35mm D800:_DSC4812

Cropped Saturn:


Saturn Full Frame 35mm size D800:_DSC4838

Moonset at Highest Resolution

O.K. I made a mistake, and I’m not afraid to admit it, and I have no problems owning it. The last Moonset I claimed that I used both 2x and 1.4x teleconverters with my 400 mm f/2.8 lens attached to my Nikon N J1 camera body. Well, as it turned out I only had the 2.0x teleconverter attached, so here is THE actual stacked 2.0x and the 1.4x teleconverter attached with much finer results. The “seeing” conditions were much better tonight as can be seen in the included video. I also used 400 ISO so I could use a slightly faster shutter speed and used NIK Define 2 software to reduce the thermal noise. Enjoy…

100% crop: (click on image for the actual 100% crop)


Only slightly cropped to eliminate the dead black zone:_DSC1184


By the way, Mirror/shutter-less cameras KICK ASS! ( I also was without my rock steady RRS tripod due to a bonding issue with the carbon fiber legs with the aluminum saddle attachments.  The Manfrotto tripod was really not adequate but I also must confess that the tripod was resting on a wooden deck so vibrations were nearly impossible to eliminate completely. I still had a huge smile after these images were captured:-)

Independence Day Fun

Here are a few shots from the weekend, enjoy…
(click for larger images)

Sorry but the camera lens became sooted by the smoke and powder burning as well as some drizzle spitting from the clouds. (plus YouTube compression sucks)

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Here is a quick video showing how difficult it is to get the following shots, the still images were basically the best of about 470 images. I’m sitting in the back of the boat bouncing around as the driver is generating and turning back on our own wake in order to give the tubers a fun ride.


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Here is a quick shot of the Moon using my Nikon 400mm f/2.8 with stacked 2.0x and 1.4x teleconverters mounted on my Nikon 1 J1 camera. The effective 35mm film equivalent focal length is 400mm x 2.0 x 1.4 x 2.7 = 3024mm. Note that with no mechanical movements there are no camera/lens induced vibrations to ruin the resolution, however, the Nikon 1 J1 does not have very good low light noise performance so the image was taken at ISO 100 and a exposure of 1/15s so some loss of resolution is evident in the apparent movement of the Moon across the sky :-(


2014 Mississippi River Flood Crest Video

Here is a quick video showing several areas effected by the 2014 Mississippi River Flood which crested yesterday. It is sped up to almost double speed and starts out at the Mounds Park Bluffs and then from downtown St Paul, then a few perspectives from Harriet  Island, it then moves on to the Hastings boat ramp (I wanted to get to Lock and Dam No.2 but it was closed off) and then to the public boat launch under the I494 Wakota bridge and finally a DJI Phantom II Vision ariel shot from Spring Lake Park’s Schaar’s Bluffs. ( I know, I know, I need a fluid dampened head for smoother video pans) Enjoy…


2014 Mississippi Flood Crest

Here are a few pics of the Mississippi River Flood crest in St Paul Minnesota:

The Bandstand:


Shepard Road:_DSC4405

From Robert Street:_DSC4411

Harriet Island:_DSC4426


Railroad nearly under water:


Mainline commuter route – NOT, seven exposure HDR image._DSC4455_56_57_58_59_60_61_tonemapped_ps

The other one-way inbound to St Paul nixed:_DSC4476_77_78_79_80_81_82_tonemapped_ps

These next few images are done using a Nikon 85mm f/2.8 PCE tilt-shift lens. Note the plane of focus is not orthogonal to the line of sight:


In other words I can select two separate objects in the composure, the flowers and the Cathedral to be in-focus while every thing else is out of focus.


This is also the technique used to produce “miniature” effects.

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and finally here are the RR tracks that are nearly under water:_DSC4648


I also have a several segment video including other flood sites that I will most likely post tomorrow, enjoy…

Oh Ya, I almost forgot, I had to do a multi row stitched panorama from Mounds Park, in the RAW format it was over 5GB in size and quite incredibly fine in detail, this version is shrunk down considerably but it still does the job, enjoy this one as well… (click on the image for a larger version)

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DJI Phantom with Nikon 1 J1 Revisited

Since DJI has updated their firmware to add stability to the Phantom II quadracopter I thought that I would revisit the setup. I removed the Vision camera and attached the Nikon 1 J1 with the vibration isolators and set the focal length to 10mm (35mm equivalent of 27mm). As you can see as the Phantom first climbs it is still fighting some stability issues, after a few seconds, however, the instability shakes subsided and the Phantom tried to climb uncontrollably, in the first 20 seconds, or so, I was commanding the Phantom full down.

After a few minutes the hover mode seemed to adjust itself and the Phantom would eventually hold its altitude. Unfortunately when commanded to move in any direction the Phantom would immediately loose altitude and would require full up command or the copter would head for the grass. This might be able to be compensated by adjusting the gains in the software.

While the stability problems I encountered a few months ago seem to be improved the other aspects of the extra weight are more pronounced, that is that there is now even less reserve power available for climbing or arresting a decent, especially if there is any wind.  Also the fully charged battery battery was drained in about eleven minutes and the motors were unusually warm indicating a much higher load than would be normally advisable.

On the other hand the video from the Nikon 1 J1 is superior to either DJI’s or the GoPro cameras. There is NO ugly fisheye effects delineating professional camera qualities from those of a lesser stature. It also seems as if a third axis gimbal allowing for slower more controlled pans would also be advisable. It seems that if I wish for better video and stills another more powerful platform with a three axis gimbal, along with a lottery win, will be necessary…