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3 4th of July in Vancouver, WA

AlanL

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I decided to try to see what all I could do with aerial photography last Tuesday night during the local explosives festivities. I am not a big fan of editing video so I stuck to still photography. I did do some quick research on the types of mortars considered legal in my area and saw that none went higher than 250' so going up to 400' above ground level kept me from being caught in one of the mortar bursts. This is the view looking almost straight down at a burst one of my neighbors sent up. I saw the guy getting ready to send up the mortar round from where I was standing in my driveway and swung the camera around and down to catch the shot. This is a single frame capture.

DJI_M3P_24_FWunderneath.jpg
I shot entirely still images (440 captures) with my shutter speed set for 2 seconds and burst mode set for 5 images for each sequence. For each sequence I opened them as layers in photoshop, Auto-aligned the layer stacks, and then used Lighten mode for each layer to blend the final image. In spite of how well our drones can hold a single spot in the sky the 2 second exposures laid bare how much the drone does move with anything other than calm wind conditions and not all of the shots were free of motion artifacts.

Telephoto - I should have taken some video using the 70mm and 166mm lenses. Still images with 2 second exposures were a complete waste of time with both lenses. The views looked nice on the remote controller screen but there were motion artifacts in every single frame I shot. Happily 24mm worked fine and I have a large pile of captures to process after initial experiments on the best ways to work with them.

Here are two images that came out of the exercise. The first is a 4 shot stack looking in the direction of the sunset. Click through for a larger view.
DJI_M3P_24CCFireworksSunset.jpg
And 4 shot blend looking east that gives a better view to how many fireworks are really going off at once. I should have considered a video as the bursts of the various rockets was unique to watch through the viewfinder.

DJI_M3P_24CCFireworks1.jpg

Comments and critiques always welcome.
 
Nice photos!
 
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Nice shots. I was going to try around my neighborhood but was worried. The neighborhood's fireworks were pretty serious.
 
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Nice shots. I was going to try around my neighborhood but was worried. The neighborhood's fireworks were pretty serious.

Thanks - I got freaked last year by the mortars my neighbors were launching but after checking out what was being sold it turned out that nothing went over 250' above ground level so this year I went straight up to 400' AGL and didn't see anything that came up that high for 2 batteries worth of loitering and shooting.
 
Thanks - I got freaked last year by the mortars my neighbors were launching but after checking out what was being sold it turned out that nothing went over 250' above ground level so this year I went straight up to 400' AGL and didn't see anything that came up that high for 2 batteries worth of loitering and shooting.
Since it's all illegal here, I don't trust them not to shoot off something that goes higher. Plus, I can only fly up to 300' here since I'm in controlled airspace.
 
Since it's all illegal here, I don't trust them not to shoot off something that goes higher. Plus, I can only fly up to 300' here since I'm in controlled airspace.
The specs I saw for the stuff we have showed anywhere from 200-250' and the cluster charge spreads ranged from to 200' to 250' wide and mostly sideways. Not sure I would be comfortable at 300' given those descriptions. I am not in controlled airspace so I can head up to 400'.
 
Good idea to shoot a burst and then stack the images. Did you use night mode? Is that even possible with a burst?
 
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Good idea to shoot a burst and then stack the images. Did you use night mode? Is that even possible with a burst?
Isn't night mode a video setting only? I only shot still images.
 
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