DJI drones

A few weeks ago, my cousin Jeff gave me a demonstration of his DJI Mavic drone. It is pretty incredible how fast prosumer drones have come in such a short period of time.

We decided to take a landscape panorama using a feature that was unlocked by a firmware upgrade. Jeff flew the drone high above the trees, then the drone sat there, motionless, and took about thirty high resolution pictures. The program stitched them together automatically to form a ultra HD image.

This is obviously a pretty cool feature, and it’s one of many. The tracking feature also comes in handy. Essentially you can tell the drone to identify an object, such as a person, then have the drone follow that object. It will shoot 4k high definition video, keeping that object in the centre of the shot. Alternatively, if you are a passenger in a car or boat, you can also control the drone yourself. Here is an example:

First attempt at some #tiltshift video in beautiful #muskoka. Shot with the #djimavic #dji #dronestagram

A post shared by jeffsdrone (@jeffsdrone) on

It is noteworthy to add that after he captured the footage, he imported it into Premiere Pro and added a miniaturization effect. The raw footage also looked really good.

I was reading an article in CNet that the new models of the Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro are going to be 60% quieter (the blades) and last up to 30 minutes in the air. With the price being about US$1099, these drones are a reasonably priced way to add character to any creative project.

by Rick Sturch

Summer Meal Idea

At this time of the year in southern Ontario, lots of tasty fruits and vegetables begin to ripen. This is a suggestion for a healthy meal that is really easy to make, tastes great, and doesn’t require a lot of preparation.

The base of this meal is Corn on the Cob, Fish, and Quinoa. You can stick with the basics or spice it up as much as you like!

Shopping List:
– Fish Fillet – Rainbow Trout, Salmon, or Arctic Char (preferably skinless if you are cooking inside)
– Fresh Corn on the Cob
– Quinoa or Rice (Uncle Ben’s Instant rice is the easiest)
– Olive oil
– Butter or Margarine
– Fresh Peaches
– Tin Foil
– Lemon
– A pepper (red or orange)

1) You can cook the fish in the oven or on the BBQ. Preheat either to 425F. Since cooking fish can sometimes create a lingering odour, you may want to consider cooking it outside. It will help if you remove the skin before cooking.

2) Start boiling water for the corn.

3) Spread a little oil on a large piece of tin foil. Put your fish on the sheet, then cover the fish with the olive oil as well. You can spread it around with a fork and use as much as you like. Add salt and pepper, and any other sauce that would go well. I recommend real Maple Syrup in addition to the olive oil, and a little juice squeezed from a lemon helps add flavour. You can even throw some lemon slices on top.

3) Fold the tin foil over so the fish is completely covered, and wrap it together so the steam will mostly stay inside while cooking. Put it in the oven or on the BBQ for 15-20 minutes for fish about an inch thick. You don’t need to flip the fish! This is possibly the best part of this method. It’s done once the fish starts to flake off when you cut through it with a fork.


4) Start the rice or quinoa. If you are cooking quinoa, I recommend adding slices of pepper to add flavour (after the quinoa has been cooked).

5) Cut up some peaches for dessert.

There you have it! I hope this inspires a healthy meal in your household.

by Rick Sturch

Crazy storm

Earlier this year, strong winds blew down a corridor of trees near my parent’s home. Their neighbours said they saw a small twister approach rapidly, followed by intense winds and pouring rain. By the time the storm was gone, a nearby power line had been taken out by a fallen tree and the power was out.

A couple of the trees barely missed hitting my parent’s home, and many branches did. Fortunately, there was only minor damage.

The power had been taken out at several locations in the area, and hydro crews were sent in from all over southern Ontario to fix the problems. My father and I spoke to a crew from Lindsay, who had been working long hours over the long weekend to get the power back on.

The hydro pole that was causing the problems near my parent’s place had snapped as a result of the weight from the massive fallen tree. Some of the power lines had also snapped and were resting on the ground as a result of the top of the pole crashing down.

We saw the crew digging out a wide base for the new pole, after they had removed the broken one. The new pole was going to be flown in due to the inaccessibility of the location. My father and I walked back to see what they were working on, but we actually arrived right in time for the main event. The rumble of the spinning helicopter blades slowly became audible and the crew got themselves into position.

The accuracy of the pilot was impressive. He brought the pole in a very enclosed area and dropped it into the base effortlessly. There were three lines already attached to the pole which the hydro crew untied. They attached to nearby trees in a tripod pattern so that it could be freestanding once tied down.

Only a little more than a minute after the helicopter arrived, it disconnected the tow line from the pole and flew off. The hydro crew started filling in the base with the ground they had originally dug out.

I managed to capture a short video of this process. Check it out!

by Rick Sturch