Spring is kind of a tough time of year for drone photography, with the snow gone and no lush foliage on the trees. In Michigan it's not so bad though. Just hit the shorelines, piers, and lighthouses, which pretty much look the same on a spring day as they do in summer. Plus, in spring you don't have to battle as many tourists.
Ludington, Michigan is one of my favorite spots for drone photography, and on this spring evening it was a great sky. I started out flying about 30 minutes before sunset, and the sky was still mostly blue, but low enough that the light was good. Here is one of the first shots I got:
Lighthouses and piers are great to shoot because there are so many different angles you can get. Here's another from the first flight, but taken out in front of the lighthouse looking back. Check out how different the water appears at an approximately 75 degrees angle looking down:
If you are shooting in the Golden Hour, you'll need to have multiple batteries on hand. Fortunately, I got the DJI Fly More Kit a few weeks ago and I had some backups. Its a good thing, because the light was specactular as the sun set. It would have been a bad thing had the shoot ended after only 20 minutes.
Heading back out, the sun was a little lower and close to setting and the sky was changing rapidly. Here's a shot of the pier early in my second flight:
After sunset, the sky got even better. It was about as deep of an orange as I have seen in months. Here is one of the later shots of the night, shortly before returning home:
All in all, a great night for flying. Here are some tips and thoughts from the excursion:
- Have enough battery power to last you through as much of the Golden Hour as you can legally fly;
- Shoot both at 90 degree angles (strait down) to reveal ground patterns and features and at shallower angles to capture the sky and get some big panoramas.
- Know the wind speed. If it is too high, you will not get a stable image toward the end of the evening when the camera has to use a longer shutter speed.
- Along the same lines, shoot in manual mode so you can increase your ISO if you need to keep the shutter speed down.
- Of course, if you do not need higher ISO, don't use it. It will give you noise in your final image, which is bad.