We had the pleasure of doing a group camping trip over Easter on the Nunniong Plains, ostensibly just vegetating around a nice campsite and enjoying the company of our friends. It was one of those weekends where you didn’t want to do anything and made no real effort to do anything. But I can’t ever leave my camera gear behind, as I know that I’ll invariably miss having it and curse myself when I find things that I could have photographed. Taking photos of the group is a given, but I also like to take in the bush life around us on such camping trips, if there’s anything of interest and, quite often, I try to make something interesting from the potentially uninteresting. So, as I took our hounds on some daily walks (the most effort of the weekend), I always had my camera with me.
When I thought the MJX was utterly lost in that large gum tree, as I noted in Part 2, I immediately ordered a second one because of the trip into the High Country we had planned for the end of Easter. I really wanted to have the drone along to capture some aerial footage of the surrounds and get in more practice away from civilisation. But since retrieving the MJX, I still can’t believe how tough this drone really is, almost unbreakable. I’ve watched videos of drones crashing and being totalled at first strike and someone said that I should have bought a cheap $30-$40 drone because as a first timer I’d crash and break them, so better breaking a $30 drone than a $130 one. Given the number of crashes so far, I think I would have exceeded that $130 in cheap drones in the first week.
As someone that likes to build and fix things, there never seem to be enough tools in the shed; you find that you always need something that you don’t have. Now I do have plenty of hand tools and power tools that I’ve collected over the last 40 or so years, but I’ve always been lacking some tools that are very common in any handyman’s (that includes the handywoman’s) workshop. A drill press is one, but I’ve managed to do without so far, though thought long and hard about getting one. I’ve always had a vice, bench grinder and hand grinder, and another great tool is a linishing machine that I got after many years of putting up with the bench grinder, hand grinder and hand files. But everyone is most likely aware that these tools and similar are very handy and almost essential for the handyman’s toolchest, but there’s a another tool that I’ve found to be at times indispensable and less known.
One of the things I found with learning to fly the MJX, following on from Part 1, is that I mastered the basics fairly rapidly and was able to control the drone far quicker than I had anticipated. Muscle memory started to take over the management of the controls joysticks and I was more gentle with the movements and so could control the MJX far more precisely. However, that didn’t help when something went a bit awry, such as the MJX heading towards a tree, where I would then do something silly rather than measured. That’s what happened around the end of my first week when I was about to land the MJX. I was at Mossvale Park and one of our hounds made a bee line for the MJX as it was descending, causing me to take it up far too fast, which took it towards a large gum tree across a nearby river.
Summer is now behind us though the warm weather is still lingering about, which is a good thing as last year we had the fire well and truly going by now. However, with bushfires burning nearby and warnings of hot and wild weather forthcoming, and then not as it got cold and heavy rain arrived, it’s interesting to sit on our veranda and watch the comings and goings of our feathered friends. Most have been fairly scarce during the Summer, so I haven’t had much reason to bring out my camera. But recently we’ve had an influx of a variety of birds that generally pay us a visit, so once again I’ve had a chance to take a few photographs of the characters that we call our friends. We might call them friends, but I suspect that to them we’re just odd ground dwellers that somehow have food.
After much thought and deliberation, driven by failure with alternative ideas, I finally succumbed to buying a drone (something I had been thinking about for a while). With the recent release of the DJI Mavic Air drone, which has received many accolades, I was about to put down some hard cash ($1300 worth) on one of these drones, when I had a return to sensibility. Not having ever owned a drone, I realised that spending that much on my first drone was kind of silly given the chances of crashes and the like. Even though the Mavic Air has all manner of built-in crash avoidance technology, nothing is infallible, least of all me. So I opted for something cheaper, ten times cheaper, and bought an MJX Bugs 3 drone for $130.
I’ve posted previously that I love cooking and experimenting with different styles of food and cooking methods. Some can be simply quick and dirty meals for the sake of convenience and others are for real enjoyment and taste. I’ve also covered some of the utensils that I’ve had for some time when it comes to food preparation, but if there’s one thing that stands apart from all of these it would have to be what I actually use to cook my food. Now for some (many?) the latter is a microwave oven when preparing those delicious meals from packets and whatever, or it might involve a non-stick pot or pan. While our kitchen does have non-stick pots and pans, my favourite cooking implements are cast iron pots (camp ovens), pans, woks and similar. As far as I’m concerned, nothing beats cast iron.
‘Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results...’ – Wikipedia. That’s one of the most simple definitions of SEO and you can find many and varied others on the internet, but they generally say much the same, if not in as fewer words. SEO has become something almost associated with the black arts in the way it is often portrayed and promoted as being complex, mysterious and supposedly impossible for the common person to understand. And while there are many references and guides on how to manage SEO for your website, much of it is written or described in less than easy to digest form. Though once again, the quality and ease of understanding varies from site to site.
For our first High Country Cruise of the year, we decided to wait out the school holiday period hoping that things would be a little quieter in the High Country and so decided to go out at the beginning of February, but things were delayed and we didn’t get out until the middle of February. But even then it’s never a given that the place won’t be full of people, as we’ve found out many a time. Given that our Nov 2017 Cruise was only attended by two travellers and we found some pretty good places on that Cruise, I thought we’d let the additional two travellers on this Cruise enjoy what we’d experienced last year, while trying out some different tracks. Hopefully we’d also be able to travel the Davies Plains Track, which was going to be closed post the opening season due to track repairs.
Following on from Part 3, one of the most important things when it comes to producing good video is not the gear, it’s the story you’re telling and the planning that you do beforehand, which may include screenplays, scripts and storyboards. When I once mentioned this on a photography forum, I was immediately ridiculed for suggesting that anyone needs to do these things to make a video. It was the usual knee jerk reaction, without any thought being given to the general concept behind these words. I wasn’t suggesting that you needed formal planning, screenplays/scripts and storyboards to make a video, but having even a rudimentary story and plan will help in producing something meaningful. It’s like taking a holiday where most people don’t simply jump in a car or plane and travel to some place without any though as to where they want to go and what they want to do. In this context, planning is vital. Even millennials sometimes plan their photography/video trips.