Tag Archives: drone

Eye in the Sky

I had owned my little drone for a while before I discovered one of its cleverer tricks: taking 360 panoramic views. You just put it in the right mode and press the button, and it turns round on the spot taking 26 photos at various pitch angles, then stitches them together. In some ways I find these interactive views more compelling than videos.

This was one of my first: Houghton Mill, on the River Great Ouse. (If you just see a blank space below, I’m afraid you may need to try another browser, and if you get these posts by email, you’ll probably have to view it on the web.)

Or here’s a view of the University’s Computer Lab, where I used to work back in the days when we had physical offices. The big building site opposite is the Physics Department’s new Cavendish Lab (the third of that name), which is also known as the Ray Dolby Centre, since that little button you used to press on your cassette deck is paying for a lot of this:

People who are interested in the West Cambridge Site may want to look at other shots from the same evening. And people who remember when cassette decks started having Dolby C as well as Dolby B may be inspired by the title of this post to hum tunes from the Alan Parsons Project.

There may be more of these to come.

Marsh-wiggles

On the North Norfolk coast, you get these fabulous beaches.

Wonderful places to walk, though you may have to cover some distance at low tide if you actually want to see the sea! You can see how we had to fight our way through the crowds yesterday to find a space to launch the drone!

Between this beach and the car park, however, are salt marshes, which are also fascinating, and I’ve photographed them before, and more than once, from ground level. But the patterns and the scale start to become apparent when you can get a bit higher up.

That’s the path we took to walk out to the beach — the car park is where the brown meets the green — and it’s the path we should have taken to walk back.

(I’ve uploaded full-resolution photos too, so if you click on the pictures, you should be able to see rather more details, if your browser lets you zoom in. Can you see the bridge?)

We tried to find an alternative route back, an approach which had worked in the past here. But the marshes are always changing; you can think you’re almost at your destination, only to come suddenly upon a deep muddy trench that will give you no choice but to backtrack and lose the gains you’d made in the last 20 minutes.

It’s like a maze, but with more leaping. Don’t try it if the sun is going down!

There are some lovely spots where the marsh meets the beach.

But it’s the wiggly lines that I like the most.

You can perhaps see the same bridge in this picture: about three-quarters of the way up, in the middle. There used to be a couple more bridges over some of the tributaries, but I haven’t seen them on recent visits.

So I do wonder how the owners of those little boats get to them! At the moment, at least, what they’re sitting on is not nice dry sand, even if you can find your way there.

It’s a lovely and unusual spot.

Now, the real question is… who saw the title above and thought of Puddleglum?

Looking down from on high

Yesterday evening, I got a toy that many of my friends and family were surprised that a gadget enthusiast like me hadn’t been seduced by many years ago!

And today, I took it for a walk. I’m very pleased to discover that Tilly doesn’t seem at all fazed by the drone, only by the fact that I’m not paying enough attention to her.

It’s a tribute to how good the technology is, that a complete amateur like me can produce a pretty video on the first day. Having the sunshine and a light dusting of snow helped a lot too, though!

Fireworks of the Future

I missed this at the time, but there was a lovely presentation put together for the Hogmanay New Year’s Celebrations in Edinburgh, using a swarm of drones carrying lights.

A short summary video is here:

but it is really worth watching the full presentation, which you can find here, with music and narration.

You don’t want to think too much about the fact that the effect was really only visible from one location, or that they weren’t allowed actually to film the Edinburgh scenes over the city so they had to do it in a remote bit of the Highlands and overlay it on images of the Edinburgh skyline… It’s still a lovely combination of software, hardware and poetry.

P.S. It turns out that there have been quite a few of these type of displays in recent months, if you search YouTube for ‘drone light show’. But most of them aren’t narrated by David Tennant 🙂

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser