We visited Arran for the first time last month – we usually travel to Mull each year for the wildlife and the scenery but the people who own the house we rent have decided to live in it permanently now, so that scuppered a trip we had booked. So we thought we would tray a different island.
I had hoped to find the Otters and other elusive wildlife, but to no avail. But, I had taken the drones with me and managed three outings with them, the first of which really did test my flying skills!
Upon exploring a single track towards the north of the island, we came across some falls – my Wife has a thing about waterfalls so I was instructed to photograph them… Hmmm, surrounded by trees, not at all accessible on foot (without waders and climbing down a steep bank!) Being one who (sometimes) does what he’s told, I decided to try the drone. This involved flying off a bridge, navigating around trees and various obstacles and then flying along at about 6 inches off the water to get the images I had in mind. This confuses the software (let alone the pilot) as the drone is flying at negative altitude (below the take off point) and I had to fly it manually as all the obstacle avoidance alarms were going crazy and threatening to abort the mission!
Manual flying is tough enough, combining this with controlling camera settings manually as you go is pretty nerve racking, but I’m pleased with the results… These were just 1/8th of a second exposures, f11, ISO 100, with an ND8 filter attached. There is no image stabilisation in the camera, but the 3 axis gimbal is pretty effective. I’m also pleased that I was able to navigate it back through the obstacle course! One of my first drones is still somewhere in the Irish Sea following a failed attempt at photographing waves crashing!! Flying over water still makes me nervous…
To the North of the Island are the mountains – I was determined to get photos of them but walking any distance remains a bit of a challenge, and there is no road access to where I wanted to be so the drone came into play again.
This next image is a four image panorama, taken at 400 feet then stitched in Lightroom…
Finally, I wanted to get some evening light images of Holy Island, off the south east coast of Arran. Every time we went to the location there was a sea mist that created a thick haze, removing any detail of the island when taking photos from ground level… Up with the drone again, which I was able to fly above the mist and see the island in light that we had not witnessed all week.
The Mavic 2 Pro really is a useful tool (as well as a lot of fun!) Thanks for reading…Published in