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Bill Dodd
Attended Tiki Bars, Frequently
Lived in Spanish Fort, AL
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Bill Dodd

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If found, please return to....

:)
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..and Dave gets cranky at Alvin's shenanigans. :)
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The Lighthouse at Nassau

The view looking back on Nassau, once you are full from seafood, sun and Rum Cakes and headed back to the States.. :)
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+Jay Gordon  Possibly this summer, it's still in the air though.  We did come down back in February for our 15 yr anniversary but we were only in town for a day.   Are you ever up around the panhandle?  I'm about 30 minutes from pensacola.
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The Aerial Colors at Dusk

That sinking feeling, as a landscape photographer that you get when you peer into the sky and see the signs of an epic sunset underway.  

I took the Inspire 1 up to 400 ft above our yard to capture some of the really interesting colors the other day.
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Battleship Sunset - March

Another shot from a slightly different vantage during my recent sunset outing a few weeks back, shooting the USS Alabama with the Inspire 1.

My spotter (she's nine) got a little distracted a few times, but I did at least get a couple decent shots!    :)
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I've Got That .. Drone-y Feeling

.. Or Quadcopter.. or flying camera.. or whatever you call it.

I'm here, they're closed, no one has asked me to leave yet.

Let's do this.
:)

#DJI #INSPIRE
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It's a Hubsan SpyHawk, +Bill Dodd, a $250 out of the box fpv plane with stabilization. .  
http://50.80.140.55/photo_album/chron/rc_models/spyhawk.html
Quality is hit and miss for some components, but it was easy to fly and lots of fun.  
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Bill Dodd

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Stellar Nursery

Here in the Orion Nebula, countless newborn stars are soaking up the surrounding clouds of gas and debris to become grown-up stars that may one day coalesce solar systems like ours.

Speaking of stars, today marks the beginning of my 36th trip around our own star.   I don't know, 36 years ago, if my own nursery was stellar or not but I do know my parents were stellar people, just trying to do what they thought was best in their own Journey around the sun.   It wasn't perfect but I wouldn't trade my childhood for anything. 

During the good-times you learn trust and experience Joy.  During the bad stuff you gain independence and build mental strength. 

Kinda like the elementary particles colliding in the cosmic crucible pictured here. :)

Space is freaking awesome.
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Handheld Moon Exercises - Learning To Play By Feel

One of the things that I recommend to folks who ask me for photography advice is to 'know your camera.'  

While I feel that menu navigation and feature control are important, I feel it is much more important to learn a 'natural feel' of how the camera operates.

Think of how a skilled musician is with their instrument.   The guitar player can feel the fret position without looking at the neck, he or she 'feels' how the tone will travel across the pickups based on where the strings are strummed.

When I hear photographers debating shutter speeds and f/strops for a given situation, my eyes roll.

It isn't that these things aren't important - they certainly are but they shouldn't be intimidating obstacles to the new photographer, though they often are.

There is a little exercise I developed for myself a couple years back, meant to improve camera handling and control.   It goes like this:

On a night with an interesting moon (scattered, moving light cloud - cover preferred because it changes the metering situation)- start by propping yourself against something steady.

A tree, a house, whatever -- the goal here is just to limit the natural body swaying position of standing.   By anchoring yourself to something solid, you can turn yourself into a bi-pod of sorts.  Useful when out without a tripod and the need to capture something that would usually call for one. 

Using Manual Focus most modern cameras have a feature for Manual-Focus assist that will show a 1:1 pixel peak of your object while manually focusing on an object.   This is pretty crucial.

Start with highish ISOs, using a long telephoto, start shooting the moon. I started in Aperture Priority but your mileage may vary..  Adjust down your f-stop (the lower number which is larger aperture) and start to walk down your ISO between shots, continuing to manually focus, shoot, adjust..   Listen to the shutter.  Develop a 'feel' for the shutter times the camera metered based on the light situation, your aperture, your ISO.
Sensor size, sensor capability, lens aperture all will vary this feel from camera to camera.

As your ISO drops into the less sensitive ranges, the difficulty of the shot will increase.   Continuing to work on manual focus and keeping your hands steady, you will be forced to work on your breathing.   Just like shooting a rifle, your breathing is essential for steady shutter clicks at these long tele / low ISO shots.    You may want to exhale during the shutter press, you may want to hold your breath during the shutter press - different strokes for different folks..

Once you get a feel for the shutter speeds, jump on over to manual mode and keep going, anchoring to a large aperture and tweaking the shutter speed to the get the right exposure.   Don't settle necessarily for the right exposure according to your camera viewfinder's meter but the right exposure according to your brain and eye.  What 'feels' right?   Shoot that.

..Anyway, this may be 'hoo-doo' but for me I found it to be a useful exercise to acquaint myself with the light collection capability of a new camera, not to mention the natural proficiency of the menus and dials that you will gain along the way..

So, this isn't my best moon shot ever but experimenting with the FE 24-240mm, I propped myself against the house exterior and started shooting the moon hand held, trying to find the right balance of shutter speed, manual focus and ISO for this reasonably slow f6.3 lens at distance.   

The result is 'okay' but I do think the exercise itself is worthwhile and wanted to share it with you!   

Happy shooting..
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Sunset Gatherings

One of the things that I like about the Gulf Coast is that we have great locations to enjoy Sunsets.  It isn't uncommon to find families along the Bay or along the Gulf, gathering around sunset to just enjoy the end of the day with one another.    So many times I've seen families with a picnic blanket at the bluff in Fairhope, some wine and snacks -sometimes we are that family.

Good views and good company.  This was taken today along the Eastern Shore at the Daphne Bayfront Park.   Hopefully my flying camera didn't detract too much from folks enjoying a pretty great sunset.
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The Chandelier

As you enter the Disney Cruise Line Ship, The Disney Dream, they call your party's name from the gangway, so that you can make a grand entrance.

Well, as grand as one can do wear Mickey Ears with the kids in tow. :)    This midship atrium is very photogenic.  Lots of cool textures and angles that I thought made it a good candidate for HDR.

This was shot handheld, in a 3 frame, 2 ev step bracket and then later stacked with Photomatix.
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The USS Alabama - March 2015 
 - via the Inspire 1

I frankly hesitated, stepping up from the DJI Phantom 2 to the DJI Inspire One.  Biggest reason for my hesitancy was that I felt I had a workable system with the DJI Phantom 2, though it had its quirks.  I wasn't sure if the extra investment would be 'worth it' for the newer system.   Chief among them being, the lack of integration between the Quad and the Go Pro.  

Even though there is a remote control with the Go Pro Black Edition that I was flying, it shares a radio signal adjacent with the control interface of the quad.  Using the wifi remote, could end in peril.   For stills, putting the Go Pro into Time Lapse, interfered with the FPV feed.    So, I'd generally record 4k video and carve out still frames later.  It worked well enough for most purposes..

One of the biggest Pros that i'm experiencing with the Inspire One is that camera control via a Mobile device on the ground makes a huge difference.  Being able to switch between video and photo mode, control exposure and bracketing and shoot RAW were all some great touches to the overall Inspire package.    It is ridiculously stable - even more so than my DJI Phantom 2 was and super easy to fly.    

The only surprising drawback I'm experiencing with the Inspire One is that the FPV feed doesn't appear to extend to the full advertised 2 km control range of the radio and the FPV video feed can be jerky with high latency at distances over 500m.   I won't be FPV racing an Inspire One anytime soon but these are all minor setbacks in what I'm finding is an otherwise perfect aerial photography tool.  
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+jo Williams   Absolutely!   I can say that once you go over the manual about what the controls do, even having never flown anything before - you will be able to! Just take it slow and  if you get in trouble, just 'let-off' / center the sticks and it will go into a completely stable hover on its own.   Remember to make small stick movements instead of drastic ones.

In fact, during this battleship session, with my Inspire 1 hovering over the water - my little girl was playing in the park right beside me.   I'd very often take my eyes off the quad for those "Daddy, look at me" moments.   So, very often the Inspire was flying (hovering) on its own with no input from me whatsoever.

The biggest challenges people face in any R/C venture is overcoming the tech complexity (and the inspire 1 does great at that) and then understanding how the controls relate to the aircraft based on its position.  Your first few flights out, start so that the quad is aimed away from you.   This way left on the stick is left to the quad.    When you get confident then focus on compensating for the quad when it isn't aimed away from you (if the front of the quad is facing you, the controls are reversed - left goes right, etc)

FPV flying is a little different.  Get used to Line-of-sight stuff first and when you are ready to start doing some FPV, bring a friend or loved one to 'spot' for you. 

It sounds much harder than it is, though.   Good luck and happy flying!
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The Passage of Time

I was out for an afternoon Walk / Run and decided to take a break to observe the sunset.   The clouds were doing some interesting things..  Like a giant roadway in the sky.    This reminded me of those time lapse videos you see of clouds rolling across the sky as if they were on a giant conveyor belt.

The sun itself was obscured and as I headed back, I found about 20 minutes after sunset that I had misjudged it as some serious colors spread across the reflections of the clouds in the sky.

In my impatience I may have missed 'the good part' but I'm always happy to spend some time by the water on a chilly February afternoon. 
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Tagline
Photographer, Technology Guy, Software Dude (not necessarily in that order)
Introduction
I'm a christian, dad, husband, software and technology guy that sails, digs astronomy, shoots guns & carries a magical box that captures and converts photons to bits.
Bragging rights
I'm capable of dressing myself tastelessly without injury.
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Photographer, Technology Guy, Software Dude
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Previously
Spanish Fort, AL - Robertsdale, AL - Mobile, AL - Borden, IN - Louisville, KY