Top ten notes for unmanned aerial photography in winter

[ skyscraper information] drones can bring endless fun, but only suitable for flying on a sunny day. Although winter is not the best aerial photography season, as long as you take a little thought to prepare for the flight, you can still make a moving winter scene.

1. Icing

Icing is extremely harmful to airplanes and drones. Blade icing will increase the weight of the aircraft, which is not conducive to the normal flight of the drone. Pay special attention to the prevention of icing when flying a drone over a water area, because the steam mist generated when cold air flows through a warmer surface than its temperature tends to condense into ice.

2, insulation

It’s chilling to fly a drone in the cold winter, because most of the time you’re standing still, so it’s cooler than other winter activities. Be careful to wear warm clothes, especially warm gloves, and ensure that your fingers can flexibly control the drone. Since you have to operate your phone or tablet, you'd better choose touchscreen gloves, half finger gloves or remote control gloves. I personally prefer to sit in the car to control the drone, but if you want to do this, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, you must ensure that the drone is flying in the field of view.

3, the battery performance

In low temperature environments, the battery life of drones will decrease. You'd better do a double preparation, both to plan the flight path and to keep the battery warm. Try to keep the battery in a kept state. I usually put the spare battery on the car, unless I am going to take a long distance from the car. If you don't put it in the car, I will put a warm handbag in the backpack (do not touch the battery directly). You can also keep the battery in your jacket pocket.

When you are ready, start the drone and hover in the air for about a minute to warm up. When the temperature is below 15 °C, most DJIs have no chance to issue a low voltage alarm. If you receive an alarm before taking off (for safety reasons, please check the battery temperature before taking off), you can try to pull out the battery for warm-up. Since cold conditions can cause voltage drops, do not fly in large poses and fly at high speeds for long periods of time. In short, avoid flying in a cold environment, control flight time, and land as early as possible.

4, humidity

Rain, fog and snow: The humidity in the winter is high, which is extremely harmful to the motor and sensitive components of the drone. And you have to avoid the camera lens, phone or tablet screen getting wet. Avoid foggy days (because visibility is poor). Although some people have successfully tested flying in the snowy days, I do not recommend flying in this weather; if it is rainy, be sure to stop flying immediately. Take care to protect your phone or tablet screen. In the case of light snow, I usually use the protective cover of the remote control and tilt the remote control slightly to protect the screen of the phone. Finally, choose the landing site, because the propeller will pick up a white snow fog when the aircraft is about to land.

The cloud in this photo is actually the water stain on my lens. Although the artistic effect of this photo is not bad, it is generally necessary to avoid the lens being stained with water.

5, visibility

In the winter, fog (especially in the early winter) and low clouds are common, and they usually appear within 400 feet (about 120 meters). In addition to the risk of increased humidity, cloud weather can also lead to reduced visibility, and must be guarded against. This weather can bring a special artistic effect to your aerial photography, but you need to fly with caution.

6, the air

Still, winter aerial photography is not without advantages. In winter, as the convective heat transfer is reduced, the air flow is more stable, which is advantageous for taking a smoother and more stable picture and prolonging the exposure time. In sunny weather, I can only expose 1/2 or 1 second at most. In the winter, I can extend the exposure time to 8 seconds, so the photos taken are very good. The light in the photo is taken through three 8-second exposure shots, while the rest is a one-time exposure for 8 seconds.

7, density height

Another role of cold air is to get your drone to fly at a lower density. Simply speaking, cold air is denser than hot air, and will shrink and sink after a large amount of accumulation. This means that the drone needs to exert force on more air media. According to Newton's third law, this allows the aircraft to obtain A bigger counter-force. Although this effect does not affect the flight speed, it can improve flight performance to some extent. My Elf Phantom 4 has a top speed of 22 mph in the summer and a maximum speed of 24 mph in the winter.

8, exposure and white balance

First, remember to take a photo in RAW format. If you are not shooting in full manual mode, the camera's metering system will think that the scene is bright and prone to underexposure, so you need to increase the exposure compensation appropriately, about 1 file. In addition, you will find that the white background of the camera in the automatic white balance mode will be blue, so remember to adjust the white balance.

9, post processing

Post-processing is a benevolent process, but there are some things to keep in mind when dealing with photos of winter scenes. Because the white snow scene is more reflective and usually takes up most of the picture, you need to find a way to solve the problem of insufficient detail. I usually increase the brightness and contrast of the camera, which is slightly higher than when I usually take a landscape shot. This will highlight the unique details and layering of the snow scene. In addition, the misty scene will make your aerial picture look better.

This is an attempt, but a slight increase in camera brightness and contrast can make this kind of snow and ice. Avoid excessively adjusting brightness and contrast.

10, wonderful winter

The aerial scenery of the winter scenery is like a fairyland on earth, and the aerial photography effect of summer scenery is closer to reality. The abstract picture of winter aerial photography has deeply attracted me. You can enjoy your creativity, look for unique angles, and take pictures of different styles of aerial photography.

Finally, see the machine. Flying drones in winter requires extra care, so remember to read the user manual carefully and take adequate precautions to ensure safe flight. I wish you a happy flight!

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