Tuesday, October 03, 2023

World on a string

Autumn is a great time of year for aerial photography. The change of color can be breathtaking in Colorado and the Fall foliage makes way for some excellent pictures. I usually start by powering up the batteries in my drone early in the day and get everything prepared for an early evening photo shoot. This year I headed out to Wallace Park, it's near the interchange of I-225 and I-25 and has a backdrop of the Denver Technology Center and the Colorado Mountains.
Denver Technology Center
Wallace Park at Denver Technology Center

I decided to do something a little different. I wanted to get a picture of a kite flying over a park with the Fall foliage, the high rise buildings and the mountains, but hanging my 360 camera under a kite seemed time consuming and problematic. The solution was to use the drone to carry the camera and add the kite in post, but getting a image of the string of the kite would be a challenge.

Drone Flying at 150 feet above Wallace Park
Drone Flying at 150 feet above Wallace Park

As usual the local Home Depot had a nice solution, but as often is the case, this kind of thing can be a bit trial and error. It was easy enough to find a bright yellow string and a small pully and attach the pulley to the bottom of the drone. Then I fed the yellow string through the pulley and attached the old bullet time string to my old Insta 360 camera and knot them together.

360 Image of kite above Wallace Park
Go fly a kite

I enjoy flying the drone, but in this case I had to manage a lot of different things. I put the Insta 360 in photo interval mode and launched the drone. It was set to take pictures every 60 seconds. The camera was spinning wildly so I wasn't sure how well the images would turn out. Sometimes you just have to wait until you back in your studio to see the results and in this case a lot of the images were blurry.

Insta 360 little world mode of drone on a string
Little world mode of drone on a string

Fortunately I was able to use some of the pictures and the yellow/orange string looked perfect. The Insta 360 software has some cool image modes and I used a fisheye effect on the first image and little world on the second one. I then touched up the images in Adobe Lightroom and used Photoshop to remove the drone and add the kite.

World on a string by April Alsup
World on a string

All in all, I'm happy with the results. The first image was a panoramic image I took using the drone's Hasselblad 1" sensor on an old Mavic 2 pro. The other two were from the Insta 360 and I did some post framing and color correction on them, but it was a fun day for aerial photo content creation before all the leaves drop and Winter time comes in Colorado.