Thursday, February 22, 2018

My new toy, the DJI Spark.

For the past couple of years I have been taking endless photos of pretty much anything. As a professional product photographer I have always found myself looking for new ideas and ways to keep my photography fresh.

A couple of years ago I have started a hobby in flying. Flying remote controlled helicopters that is. I have actually found a way to use both the hobby of flying and photography at the same time. The same time I have mastered flying RC helicopters, I purchased my very first multirotor or drone. Drone really is a term unliked by RC hobbyisists because it tends to be a negative term for a multirotor. So I will be using the term multirotor for these things.

Last christmas I was able to purchase my very first DJI multirotor. I have always wanted one since I have tried to fly a DJI phantom 3. I have seen footages from a DJI phantom 3 and was blown away with the quality of the images and video it produced, considering the one I tried was the basic package and not the pro version.

The DJI spark is small...I mean really small for a multirotor that is packed with features. One reason I didn't do aerial photography as much before was it was difficult to lug around a multirotor that is big in size. Even more difficult when you bring the case along with. Also, it is such a hassle to mount my GoPro to my large multirotor every time I wanna do some shots with it. The DJI spark pretty much solves all that.

The DJI spark is a multirotor wonder. It has a front sensor for obstacle avoidance, it also acts as a sensor if you want to control it with your hands. It has sensors for detecting the ground. It also has a 15 minute flight time per battery...which is great for taking quick footages. Foldable props that are easily removed. It links up with your smartphone so you can use your smartphone as a remote and a monitor at the same time, Or you can attach the smartphone to its dedicated remote for even better control and range. It has a built in camera on a gimbal that does 1080p videos or 12 mp stills. The gimbal is excellent for stabilizing the camera on fast maneuvers.

Flying in snow or sand? No problem, the spark can easily take off in the palm of your hands using gesture controls or simply by using the remote. Landing in the palm of your hand is very simple too. This is something that is almost impossible with bigger multirotors.

I once wanted to take some videos outdoors in the snow but didn't want to bring the case with. I basically put the spark on the inside of my jacket and off I went. This thing awesome!

Here are some first sample shots from my spark:

The only downside to the DJI spark is that it can only shoot at 1080p. Again, if I am looking for something with a better camera I would have gotten a DJI mavic or a mavic air. But for now the spark is good enough for me. Somewhere down the line I might get something better. For now I am going to use my spark as much as I can.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It has been a while

It has been a while since my last post. A lot has changed since.





New technology


I will be posting new content n the next couple of days. For now I am glad to be back to blogging!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland Express

The mini Chicago display.
The 2014 Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland Express is going on right now till January 4 2015. It showcases model trains going around a model of downtown Chicago and parts of Evanston and Glencoe Illinois.

The houses in Chicago.
The event is filled with handmade landscapes from plant material. Pretty much most of the building are created by putting twigs together. The landscapes are breathtaking especially if you have experienced scale modeling.

Glencoe Metra Station.
Every year I have always brought my trusty 6D with my Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM. For sceneries like this especially if you need to reach hard to reach areas, you need the most reach that you can get. 200mm, is perfect. And instead of bringing a wide angle lens for wide shots, I instead brought my Canon G15 with me. The ability to shoot raw in low light sceneries like this combined with a maximum f-stop of 1.8, the G15 is priceless.


The display is great, especially for kids. The night that we were there, the kids outnumbered the adults. Kids love displays like these. There's a sheet that you get at the beginning of the exhibit and you'd have to find the little penguins that are scattered around the area. You'd find them standing in front of the buildings, and you mark your sheet where you find them. Kids have a good time doing that.

The famous Bell tower at Chicago Botanic Garden.

One of my favorite displays is the Evanston/Glencoe area where they have the dioramas for the Evanston National Hospital that has some trivia in the information next to it. It also has the Glencoe station near the Ravinia festival. Of course, the Chicago Botanic Garden display is detailed down to the entrance up to the Bell Tower.

Lighthouse on Lake Michigan.
There were trains going around everywhere. Some of them even go above your head. The cool thing about them is that the operators are walking around everywhere ready to give you information about a particular area that you want to know about.

The 4th Presbyterian Church.

The event does provide cookies and hot chocolate to the visitors. So if you are feeling hungry make sure to stop over to keep yourself full and warm.

Rockefeller Chapel.

One of the little penguins you find at the exhibit.

One of the trains.

The Field Museum.

Wrigley Building Clock Tower.

Train going around the Loop.

The old Evanston Hospital.

A bird watcher at the bridge by the Japanese Garden.

The Chicago Botanic Garden Entrance.

Bird watcher.

A tribute to Nik Wallendas tightrope stunt.

Thomas the train.

Every year the Chicago Botanic Wonderland Express is one of the events that we make sure we never miss. Tons of great photo opportunity or just go there to enjoy the displays!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Morton Arboretum Illumination Experience

One of the light shows in the garden.
Morton Arboretum in Lisle Illinois has the Illumination event during the holidays. They feature holiday lights on the entire path walk of the garden. It is a delight to see the lights from start to finish.

The trees along the pathway are decorated with different types of lights in awesome colors. Some of the lights do interact with people walking along the pathway. There's an area where the lights change when you hug the tree, some lights change when you speak in a microphone along the pathway. Some do have rotary switches that you turn and they change colors.

The lights change colors when you hug the tree.
There's an area where lights are projected into the trees and tells a story of the four seasons. It's really mesmerizing. There's an area where the lights interact with the classical music that is playing in the background.

Same thing with this. It changes color.
For this trip I brought along my 6D equipped with my Canon 17-40mm f/4L. The 6D as I have reviewed on this site is EXCELLENT in low light. I suppose that the 5D MKIII is better but the 6D is so far my go to camera for low light, I don't have a 5D MKIII, but I know it has the same capabilities as the 6D in lowlight...probably better.

The lights change into the four seasons.

The chandelier display in the middle of the forest is great.

The lights change with the music.

These things aim light from the trees into the sky.

I highly recommend going to this event before it's over. It's only a once a year light experience and it's an awesome exhibit. Go check it out.

Near the entrance. Great light display.