Flying My Phantom Update


Well I ‘m flying my DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ about once a week now. I’m getting more comfortable, but still flying conservatively.

I tried flying it in my front yard to get a quick photo of my house from a few feet off the ground. I thought I saw 6 satellites locked in, but when I took off it flew somewhat erratically as if it was not in the GPS mode. I landed it unceremoniously  quickly as you can see in the video below.

Today I took it out again. I believe I set a personal altitude record of about 125 feet – remember I said I have been flying it conservatively. It was in the middle of the day, and I could not see the camera view image on my iPhone. I could control the camera OK, but I could not see the image. I flew any way hoping the video and images were actually being taken. Indeed they were. The glare was just too much to see them. I need to get a better sun shade for the iPhone.

The Phantom’s battery was showing only about 80% when I took off. I was just about ready to land when a quite loud intermittent beeping began. As shown in the figure below, my battery level had gone down to 20%. I also noticed that even though it is on the ground, the Altitude shows about 35 feet. I have seen other numbers like 17 feet when on the ground.

After Landing

 

Photoshop Elements 13 is Here!


As it has for the past several years in late September, Adobe has announced its latest version of Photoshop Elements, PSE 13. The program should be available very soon.

There has been some speculation that PSE 13 would be available only by subscription like the current versions of Photoshop CC and Lightroom. However, PSE 13 continues to be available in the traditional box form from retail stores.

As with most new releases, PSE 13 is an incremental improvement over last year’s PSE 12. Indeed some nice new features were added to both the Organizer and the Photo Editor modules. The look and feel of the program remains the same.

From a long term perspective, probably the most significant change to the program is that the Windows version has been converted to a 64-bit program. The Mac version of PSE has been a 64-bit program for a while now.

One of the new features that Adobe is most excited about is something they call eLive. This button appears at the very top center of both the Organizer and the Editor modules. Clicking on it, will bring up several PSE tutorials/articles from the internet. These links are dynamic and will be automatically updated periodically by Adobe.

There are several new features as usual. There are a couple of things that I wish were in this latest version, however. The PSE Slide Show Editor goes back to the Photoshop Album days well over ten years ago. Basically, it never changed. Using it you could make slide shows that made it easy to add pan and zoom effects. Additionally, you could add customizable text to your slide images. You could change the text’s style, size, color, and its position on the image or blank slide.

 

But it was built on legacy code, which was next to impossible to modify. Adobe decided to build a new Slide Show Editor from the ground up. That was no simple task. As a result the initial implementation of the rebuilt Slide Show Editor is very limited in its features and is theme based with only a few themes available. I suspect we will see its features expanded in future releases. However, for this reason, I will keep my PSE 12 around for a while.

The link below highlights some of the more notable improvements and features in PSE 13.

New PSE 13 Features 

PSE 13 Organizer Adaptive View

PSE 13 Organizer Adaptive View

For the past few years, I have maintained a table that compares the current version with previous ones. The link below shows my latest version, with the table beginning at PSE 10. Remember, PSE 11 was the version that ushered in the brand new look and feel to the program, which is maintained in PSE 13.

 PSE 13 Feature Comparison

I have worked with PSE 13 for the past several months as part of the Adobe user beta test team. The new program features certainly provide something for everyone. Whether or not you decide to update your current PSE 12 to PSE 13 is a personal choice. If you use PSE 11, you may want to give upgrading serious consideration. If you are still actively using PSE 10 or an earlier version, I think it is time for you to upgrade. You are missing out on the significant improvements made to this program over the past few years.

You can find more information about PSE 13 by clicking on the link below.

Photoshop Elements 13

In future posts I will have more to say about PSE 13 and its video editing sister, Premiere Elements 13 (PRE 13). Stay tuned.

Use Lightroom to Display Your Camera’s Focus Point


Have you ever wondered why an image is not as sharp as you would like, and wondered where exactly the camera’s focus point was located? I have plenty of times.

True, with most cameras you can see this using the right Info view button on your camera. This works well as long as the image is still on your memory card. But what about after you have uploaded the image to your computer and are editing it? The metadata in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements does not show this information.

However, if you use Lightroom 5 and shoot RAW images there is a free plug-in that does just that. I learned about this plug-in from the DIY Photography website at the ling below.

http://www.diyphotography.net/speed-workflow-free-lightroom-plugin-displays-grid-focus-points-used-camera/

Click on the image below to learn how to download, install and use the plug-in.

Focuspoints-1

 

The author says it will work on most cameras, especially Nikon or Canon cameras. He also states it may work on some JPEG images. However, it does not work on any of mine. Below is an example of what it showed for one of my images. Well at least I got a sharp image of the net.

My Example of Focuspoint

I do not use Lightroom 5 for my primary image management or editing program now. But it is plug-ins like this that could sway me to use Lightroom 5 more.

DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Video Stability Demo


I am getting better and more comfortable flying my DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ drone. The video below demonstrates just how stable video shot with it is.

Yes, it was a calm morning, and the DJI P2+ is hovering in one spot, but it is moving about somewhat. But you would not know that from simply looking at the video. The gimbal-mounted DJI camera does an excellent job keeping the video nice and steady.