Aerial Videography Over Australian Outback DJI Phantom 3

A few months back I purchased a DJI Phantom 3 Professional (4k version) drone. It’s been very enjoyable learning how to use it and seeing things from a different perspective. Recently I was able to get out into the Australian outback, more specifically the Pilbara region near Marble Bar and send the drone up during some late afternoon light over a group of wild horses. This is one of my first video edits from the footage I have shot using the drone. I hope you enjoy it.

Dicky Wreck Removal: Sad Day For Photographers

SS Dicky Beach Removal

The removal process of the SS Dicky Wreck on Dicky Beach (the only recreational beach in the world to be named after a shipwreck) has begun today. A Sunshine Coast Council task force deemed the wreck a public safety risk for swimmers a couple of years back.

At 30 metres in length, Steamer SS Dicky was shipwrecked on a Caloundra beack way back in February, 1893. The beach was then named in her honour, and more recently the skeletal remains of the Dicky wreck had become a popular spot for Australian landscape photographers and international visitors alike. It was a great subject to photograph during the right conditions, depending on the tide, and rarely would a sunrise or sunset go by without the wreck being photographed. The wreck has found a place within some of Australia’s finest landscape photographers portfolios.

My SS Dicky Experiences

During my time living in Queensland I have shot the wreck on a number of occasions. A couple of my favourite photographs of the wreck from the past few years are below.

SS Dicky Lighting Storm

SS Dicky Wreck, Sunset

Port Willunga Pylons – Photo of the Week

Port Willunga is located on South Australia’s lovely Fleurieu Peninsula approximately one hour drive south of Adelaide. The Port Willunga jetty is a well known destination among Australian landscape photographers.

Port Willunga, SA

Photo Story

I took this photo in March last year. It was during a South Australian road trip with my good buddy Simon Beedle. Port Willunga was one of our last shoot locations after driving through the Flinders Ranges, Burra, Adelaide, and Kangaroo Island. The overcast weather we had on the day was perfect for some slow shutter, moody black and white photos.

I really like the way this particular photo turned out. Waiting for the water in the foreground to flow back in towards the pylons before pressing the shutter created a solid leading line into the photo. Due to the overcast sky diffusing the light, the colour wasn’t overly vibrant so I opted for a black and white post-process and increased the contrast significantly.

Later on we experienced a nice lightning storm on the horizon. It was a special afternoon out there shooting the Port Willunga pylons.

Dettifoss, Iceland – Photo of the Week

Dettifoss-Iceland-photo

This weeks photo of the week comes to you from the landscape photographers heaven, Iceland. This is one of my photographs of Dettifoss, a waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland. Detifoss is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

I spent 2 weeks road-tripping around Iceland with my buddy Anj Semark and another friend, Dan.

We had camped nearby and set our alarms the night before for sunrise. Stepping out of the warmth of the sleeping bag when the alarm buzzed, I realized it was one of the coldest mornings I have experienced in my lifetime! There was snow covering certain sections of the path on the way to the falls, and there was a fair bit of wind chill. The thermostat in the car was telling me it was 3ºC. However, we hadn’t woken up at this hour for nothing. We made the short drive to the parking lot at Detifoss and unpacked our gear for the hike in (only a few hundred metres). We could hear the roar of the falls from quite a distance.

We were the only 3 photographers there besides one man who turned up just as we were leaving.

The photograph I chose this week was one of the first I shot on that morning from further away from the falls. Once you got closer to the falls it was incredibly loud and you were shrouded in the mist being whipped around by the wind. I managed to get a few photos from closer up, including a panoramic one which I will release at a later date, but I enjoy this one which, in my opinion, sums up our morning at Dettifoss. Notice Andrew standing further up the ridge for a sense of scale to the shot.

Tips: Correcting Lens Distortion

Lens distortion is something that has always bothered me in my own photography work, yet early on in my development it was something I always simply put up with due to the fact I didn’t realize how quick and easy it was to correct. Lens distortion isn’t always blatantly obvious (depending on the photograph) and you might get away with not correcting it, however it can be a subtle way to improve upon a final image where you have straight lines that don’t quite look straight.

There are different types of distortion: pincushion distortion, barrel distortion, complex distortion, and perspective distortion, for example.

lens distortion illustration

Due to my interest being mainly in natural landscape photography and using wide-angle lenses, I usually have to deal with barrel/complex distortion It is barrel distortion that affects most of my natural landscape photographs straight out of the camera when using a 17-40mm or 24-70mm lens at their widest zooms. Of course, wide angle lenses are very susceptible to perspective distortion also, particularly when photographing buildings and structures with long straight lines, but I will leave that for another article. Telephoto lenses are more prone to pincushion distortion.

Before & After

Here is a simple image of a sunset at Mandurah, Western Australia, that demonstrates barrel distortion. To the left is the before photo, and to the right is the corrected photo after following the instructions below (you can drag the line to the left and right to see the difference). You may also notice the vignette has also been removed by the software.

Ahh, I love a straight horizon line!

wide-angle lens barrel distortion before
wide-angle lens barrel distortion after

Simple guides on how to correct lens distortion

Adobe Camera Raw (ACR)

adobe camera raw lens correction

My personal workflow involves opening up my photographs in ACR and making RAW adjustments in the software before transferring my photos across to Photoshop for more complex adjustments and edits. In ACR there is a tab aptly named ‘Lens Corrections’ where you can check the ‘Enable Lens Profile Corrections’ option and then select which lens you have used (depending on the camera/lens combination the software may automatically select the lens for you). Voilà. The distortion is corrected! You can then fine-tune the correction, however I’m usually pretty happy with the default settings.

While you’re at it you might as well go ahead and click on the ‘Color’ tab besides the lens profile tab and check ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’ which is another issue that affects wide angle lenses that is very simple to correct.

LightRoom

lightroom lens correction

The Lightroom workflow is similar to the ACR workflow. You will find a tab named ‘Lens Corrections’ in the Develop section of the software where you can check the ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ option and once again, voilà, the distortion is corrected!

Once again, while you’re at it you might as well go ahead and click on the ‘Color’ tab besides the lens profile tab and check ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’ which is another issue that affects wide angle lenses that is very simple to correct.

SKRWT (iPhone app) [link]

skrwt - iPhone app

I enjoy posting my photos to Instagram, however I had the same issue with barrel distortion in my iPhone photographs and images sent directly to my iPhone from my Sony a7R via wifi. In the past I would hesitate to post any photos to Instagram where the lines in buildings or horizons weren’t straight. That was until I downloaded the SKRWT app, which allows you to correct lens distortion (and also perspective distortion) in a very user-friendly interface. You can visit their website via the link above for a in-depth tutorial on how to use the app and what sort of features are included.

The app is US$1.99 at the time of me writing this.

If you have any questions or suggestions, or if you know of a different way to correct distortion, let us know in the comments section below.

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All Photos © 2012-2016 Beau Mitchell Photography | ABN 69 266 229 617