21 April 2019

Countdown to Lindsay

The reason we never heard of the 1932 Emu War in Western Australia is that the emus won.

I’m driving down to Lindsay on 25 Apr 19 to try doing a photo essay on the Olson’s citrus grove in the same spirit that several years ago I drove to Oakdale and photographed John Bulk making a batch of cheese. There are some parallels here that go back into the late eighties with Ken Olsen and to the very early nineties with Walter Bulk. They’re two of my very oldest vendors, but the difference is that Walter’s son John has taken over the business from his father while neither of Ken Olson’s sons was interested in doing so.  Fortunately, Ken’s grandson Erik did, right out of high school.

Since photographing a citrus grove is quite different from taking shots inside a cheese factory, I realized that I had to redouble my efforts to learn how to take photos with my drone so as to supplement the ground-level ones.

Ummm, actually, what I had to learn first was how to fly the damn thing since my first couple of efforts at doing so resulted in crashing it into walls and incurring expensive repairs. On both occasions, I saw it was headed toward a wall and stood there trying to remember just what pushing each joystick which way did. By the time I remembered, the drone was down.

So my first objective was to drive into muscle memory the functions of the joysticks so that i could make course corrections with reasonable rapidity. To do that, I waited until the rains were over and found a public park/playground that is utterly deserted during weekdays where I could stand out in the middle and fly the drone around me making many course corrections until I’d run the battery down. I did so a couple of days ago and discovered that my patience for this drill was exhausted at the same time as the battery. Before either happened, I took the photo below. And yes, what I should have done is frame the shot, position my finger above the button, look at the camera, and take the shot. Then again, I don’t expect to ever take another selfie. This one was just a test…and to prove that i really can fly a drone. And yeah, yeah, I know that in a proper selfie, your leering face must be taking up at least half the field of view.

Droner selfie
Droner selfie

I’ll fly the drone around again to practice with the joysticks and to better learn how to operate the camera to take stills. I don’t yet know how to insert a video into this website, so I don’t need to know how to take them now.

The fringe benefit from this preparation with the drone is that after I’ve returned from this expedition, I’ll be going up the Russian River with the drone to get photos of some of the bridges for which I was unable to get a good shot. Then I’ll do the same for the Sacramento. But first, stay tuned for an account of my visit to the citrus grove.

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