Besides photography one of my other hobbies is RC (Radio Controlled) Helicopter flying. What is RC Helicopter flying you ask, well let me start with what it is not. It is NOT drone flying and they are not drones. If you go to any RC event and say “Hey that is a cool, Drone!” The RC pilots there will look at you funny and some will try to correct you or they will get offended by you calling their RC model a drone. Drones are typically a radio controlled aircraft that has four propellers and a computerized flight controller that automates all the flying for the user/pilot. And they typically will have some type of GPS controlled flying system that will automate the flight path of the RC Drone. As an example you push a button and your drone automatically takes off. You then can use an application either on your phone or PC to control the flight of the drone. You push another button and control the flight path of the drone from point A to point B. Then when your flight is done you push another button and the drone automatically lands in the exact same spot where it took off, all by its self. RC pilots of other disciplines (Helicopter, Airplanes, Scale, etc…) are in complete control of their aircrafts from take off till landing. RC pilots also spend a lot of time learning the skills they need to be in full control of their aircraft at all times so they can enjoy the thrill of flying.
Every year I try to attend at least 3 or more RC events (called fun fly’s) in my local area. Included are some shots from an event called the Cincy SmackDown located just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. This is a fun filled annual event that has pilots of all skill levels that come to enjoy flying together. The pilots enjoy sharing their experiences, meeting new people and some just come to fly. The pictures from this event are what is called 3D flying. What is 3D flying, well it involves a pilot with top notch skills. As they have learned to fly their model in all orientations of flight and still maintain control of the model in the air. This includes flying upside down, backwards, sideways, along with your normal right side up flying that you are more accustomed to seeing a full scale helicopter fly. These shots are mid action shots of the helicopter and RC pilot flying their routine usually to music but not always. My second hobby of RC Helicopter flying for me is both exciting and relaxing at the same time, depending on your flying style. I wish more people new about this hobby/sport. Included is video of one pilot flying his routine to give you a better sense of how these models fly and react in the air. Some of these pilots spend years practicing their skills before they get good enough to compete. Enjoy the pictures and videos from Cincy SmackDown 2019.
From a photography stand point getting shots of these RC helicopter models in the air is something similar to photographing birds in flight. It is a challenge because you have to get all your settings right. You need the correct shutter speed, f-stop and ISO to get a good picture. Get your shutter speed to slow and your photo turns out blurry. Get your shutter speed to fast and it doesn’t convey a sense of motion. If you can’t follow the model through the air and time your shot just right you will miss the amazing maneuver the pilot just pulled off only inches from the ground. Just like photographing birds in flight it takes quite a bit of practice to get that perfect shot of the RC model while in flight. I guess I enjoy the hobby of RC Helicopter flying because not only does it give me a challenge similar to photography. But it also satisfies my need to learn new skills and push myself further than before.
I was able to have two of my photographs hung in the art gallery at my day job. These are two landscape photos that are available as prints from my online store. Although this isn’t a professional art gallery I am still proud of the fact that I am able to showcase my work and let my fellow co-workers see my passion for nature and landscape photography. The wide panoramic print you see on the left is a 12”x36” print of “Glowing Arizona Sunset”, which is printed on metallic paper and mounted in a frame. The smaller print on the right is a 11”x14” print of “Fall Sunset at the Fen”. This is printed on metal and hung free standing without a frame. The metal print is a dye-sublimation process that creates a gorgeous, vibrant glossy print that is infused onto coated aluminum. I recommend everyone have at least one photo printed on metal the results are stunning.
The gallery at my day job unfortunately is not for an Art-Photography competition, it is just for the creatives at my job to show case their work. One of my goals for this year was to at least enter into two different art-photography competitions. I will post more about the two competitions I am entering later in another blog post as I am currently working on preparing and choosing which photos to enter. Printing two of my pieces for the work gallery has taught me a few things. Sometimes your work can take on a different look when it is printed large and can look different when printed as opposed to viewed on screen. When I say it looks different I don’t mean in a bad way it’s just that you notice more of the details of the photo when it is printed large. I noticed more of my own mistakes that I would have corrected in Lightroom but did not see when on the screen. So the lesson I learned is to have a small sample image printed first maybe (5x7) before you pay to have a large print done. It allows you to see the image printed on the type of paper (glossy, semi-gloss, lustre, metallic, canvas, etc…) before you decide to go and get a large print done. It is well worth the couple of extra dollars to have small prints done first before you decide to go large with your prints.
With posting images to the internet you really have the freedom to crop you photos to any aspect ratio you deem necessary to make your photo look the way you need it to. Well lately I have been getting into printing out my photos for putting them into frames and hanging them on the wall. Well when you print your photos you need to crop them appropriately so they will fit the size frame you intend to put them into. While I was experimenting with Adobe Lightroom I found an interesting feature you might find helpful when using Lightroom. While in the crop tool of Lightroom I found an option new to me, that lets you overlay any of the various crop aspect ratios onto the image before you crop the photo. This can be very helpful for individuals like me that need to visualize what the crop will look like before I apply it to the photo. This feature while it is not new, was a surprise to me and something new I learned by accident just playing around with Lightroom today.
Below are the steps you will need to take to turn on the crop overlay feature to display any 1 or all of the crop aspect ratios onto your photo while in the crop tool.
1. Turn on the crop tool to see the standard grid of lines on your photo.
2. On the menu bar go to “Tools>Crop Guide Overlay>Aspect Ratio”. This will now show an overlay on your image of some of the aspect ratios.
3. Next go to the menu bar again “Tools>Crop Guide Overlay>Choose Aspect Ratios”.
4. Choose which of the Adobe Lightroom aspect ratios you wish to see overlaid on your photo. If you know you are not going to be using one of the aspect ratios you can choose not to see that particular one in the overlay.
Now when you go to the crop tool inside of lightroom you will see all the selected aspect ratios overlaid onto your picture. This will allow you to see how all of the aspect ratios will affect your photo when applied. This will prevent you from having to apply one aspect ration crop at a time and then reverting back because you did not like it. I hope this tip in Lightroom helps someone learning how to use Lightroom.