Learning To Fly: DJI Inspire Pro and Mavic Pro Drones

My first drone a few years ago was pretty basic by today’s standards.  Low quality camera, a few minutes of battery life.  No object avoidance:  You were truly on your own.  I flew it a few times, then it went in the closet.

Something about the DJI Mavic Pro made me want to check it out.  I got one and took it to Iceland where it flew once.  My mind was elsewhere.  Back home, I flew it up around Mount Baker and down at Mount Rainier.  Drones had clearly come along a way.  Tons of features, compact and easy to fly.  A reasonable camera for the price.

Of course, coming from Sony a7r2 and Zeiss lenses, I wanted more from the camera.  I looked around and realized I needed a DJI Inspire.  What I really wanted was the included X5 camera which allows different lenses and a nice micro 4/3rds sensor.  It comes with a Leica-ish 30mm kit lens and I recently added an Olympus 90mm 1.8 lens as well.

So the journey begins in drone photography and videos.  Here’s a sampling of what I’ve come up with so far.  Honestly, it’s a bit daunting sending that much money up in the air.

Salt Marsh Aerial Photography DJI Mavic Pro

Salt Marsh Aerial Photography DJI Mavic Pro

Tideflats Colors Aerial Photography DJI Mavic Pro

Tideflats Colors Aerial Photography DJI Mavic Pro

Tideflats Colors and Patterns Aerial Photography DJI Mavic Pro

Tideflats Colors and Patterns Aerial Photography DJI Mavic Pro

Aerial Photography Drone Rainier White River

Aerial Photography Drone Rainier White River DJI Mavic Pro

Above the Forest and Road

Above the Forest and Road DJI Mavic Pro

drone photography, aerial photography

Above the Lake Tipsoo and Road at Defrost DJI Mavic Pro

drone photography, aerial photography

Drone Photography Road Through the Forest Dji Mavic Pro

drone photography, aerial photography

About to Land through Sunlit Trees DJI Inspire Pro

Drone Photography Rainier at Sunrise 90mm

Drone Photography Rainier at Sunrise DJI Inspire Pro 90mm

drone photography, aerial photography

Mount Rainier and Yakima Peak at Sunrise DJI Inspire Pro

aerial photography, drone photography, iceland photography

Aerial Photography Fresh Snow on Peaks in Iceland DJI Mavic Pro

drone photography, aerial photography

Nooksack River Heads to the Sunset DJI Mavic Pro

drone photography, aerial photography

Smaller Rivers Lead to Larger Ones DJI Mavic Pro

And finally a video from Rainier this morning


How to Take Better Skagit Flower Field Shots

It’s that time of the year again where Spring beckons and photographers, after months of rain and gray skies, head to the flower fields to take photos of the blooms.DSC06614

I love this time of year.  Mud covered boots, trying to predict the weather, should I care about the geese flying over with malicious grins.  I am thankful when it comes around.  My happy meds were getting low.  Just kidding…Ok so on to the tips.  Likely you have a list of your own but here is mine:

  1. Predict the weather.   Its a serious bummer to get up to Skagit and its car wash raining.  So check out NOAA’s site or your favorite weather source for some clues. Now bear in mind that you may have to drive through several rain squalls to get to this bluebird promised land.  Don’t turn back just because its snowing in Everett. Being able to see Baker from Seattle is a good sign  🙂
  2. Prepare for mud.  This is farming country and getting to a nice photogenic spot amongst the fields will probably be muddy.  At least bring a second pair of shoes to change to.  Or, like me, bring some Sorels or Extra Tuffs.
  3. Shoot at Dawn or Dusk.  Shots like the one above were not taken at noon.  Whether you are taking broad field shots, flower closeups or swarming geese, your photos will be much better in soft dusk/dawn light.  Great lighting also saves you processing as they tend to look pretty good out of the camera.
  4. Scout for Photos During the Day.  Daytime isnt the light you want.  So spend the time driving around looking for where you want to be at dusk or the next sunrise.
  5. Be a Gracious Guest.  Skagit Valley residents are thrilled you are here.  They really are.  Be a good guest and watch where you park.  Don’t be the one everyone is pointing and laughing at because they basically stopped in the middle of a busy road to snap a geese shot.  Its not good for your photography Karma and just sours the experience for others.  Also, check out the awesome businesses in La Conner.  Galleries, eateries, great beer and people watching.  Its a great place to recharge.
  6. Take pictures for others. This is another Karma point.  Help others have a great time by offering to take their photo with their camera.  It spreads good will and helps us rid the earth of the Selfie Stick scourge.

…more later


Skagit Valley Mud and Daffodil Fest

The weather report claimed that Thursday afternoon would be clearish up in Skagit so I headed up around noon to get a jump on traffic.  Really beautiful conditions in the fields but seriously muddy after many days of rain.  Sony a7r2 and Zeiss 16-35mm.



Seattle Area Photography Classes and Tours

photography classes and tours

Seattle area photography classes and tours from a Seattle native.


People reach out to me from time to time about classes and tours around the area.  I think my body of work online and in print leads people to ask if I can help them get similar results.  This is something I really enjoy doing especially in small groups.  I have a training background in software instruction and teaching comes naturally to me.  I can put together a half day class or tour or more.  Contact me for details.  Contact me for more details about a class or tour

Where Magazine Cover and A Movie Prop

One of my favorites taken from the Sky View Observatory recently made the cover of the January 2016 Where Seattle Magazine.  Not only that, Universal Studios contacted me to use the image and the cover in their upcoming 50 Shades movie.  A great day all in all.where seattle magazine cover photography sky view observatory mike reid

Zeiss 85 Otus Headshots in Seattle

Spent some time last week in downtown Seattle doing casual corporate headshots.  I rented a 24-70 but as soon as the client saw the Zeiss 85 Otus shots, that went back in the bag.  These were done with natural light and Sony A7R2.  #headshots #zeiss