I love playing around with new technology and my I have a strong background in 3D modeling since I was a young kid and got a job in the video game industry. I’m also always looking for new ways to use my skills test out new ideas.
I have been playing around with the idea of using my drones to build 3d landscapes and over the time tested various software to help convert 3d aerial photos into 3d objects. Granted some of my first tests didn’t turn out as well as I thought so I kept playing around to see what I could come up with.
I’m using Pix4d to convert the Nadar type of photos (basically the camera on the drone looks directly down at the ground). I use my iPad Ground Station from DJI to fly a grid style pattern making sure I have enough overlap of images taking fro the GoPro.
I have been watching and taking photos of the part of Lake Tahoe that mostly feeds the Truckee River. I took a photo back in Jan and it went a bit viral on Facebook with over 250k views and tons of comments.
Here is a before and after photo of about 2 weeks since we had a few inches of rain and not how much snow fall last weekend.
You can clearly see on the left that its starting to fill in a bit, I tried my best to take the photo at the exact location but this still gives you an idea.
I will try to do a pic once a week or every other week to keep this updated, the interesting time will be when the snow is really starting to melt off, granted today as I write this in Tahoe City its almost 60F so I’m imagining we are getting a bit of snow melt off now as well.
March 28th, 2015
Feel free to share this photo and if you want to use these in your posts I have the originals that can be used just hit me up via the contact page.
April 14th Update.
Here is a 3d landscape recreated by taking over 300 photos of the area and processing it with various tools to generate a 3d landscape.
2016 Photo Update, Lake Tahoe is now at its natural rim (article).
Here is an updated photo, note while its at the natural rim there isnt a lot of water to push into the Tahoe Dam thus not feeing the Truckee River, and unfortunately it looks like yet another year without the lazy river rafting companies.
So, I finally had a chance to edit my hike up to Eagle Lake in Tahoe. Granted It wasn’t a planed shoot for me, I usually have one of my drones in my car and have a backpack with my equipment in it. If I find a good location I try to get a few shots done before other people are coming by, and some times its just a random shot. I cut this video down from 2 minutes and added one of my buddies music track Bring it on Back from Momu . This was edited in final cut pro with some color correction and trimmed down shots since my camera gimbal was a bit shaky at times due to the wind and just various issues.
If you live in the Lake Tahoe area you know that something is changing and thats out water levels.
USA Today wrote an article last year already stating the obvious to some of us who live here and said.
“We haven’t seen this for 20 years. We’re extremely dry,” said Chad Blanchard, federal water master. “The river will basically dry up below Lake Tahoe about the end of this month.” – USA Today
I thought I would share some aerial photos I took the other day of what is happening on the Lake Tahoe side and show just how bad it is right now. Granted we haven’t received much snow and anyone living here is hoping we see a lot of it in February but will the next few months help out? What will the rafting companies that supply summer jobs do if we don’t get a great melt off of snow?
Today I wanted to do some aerial photos and videos of this great little hike at Eagle Lake.
Eagle Lake Trail is a moderate 2 mile out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California offering forest, lake and High Sierra views. – All Trails
During the winter this is also a great hike provided lots of snow hasn’t fallen yet. I do recommend if you go during the winter to bundle up and wear some good hiking shoes because at various places on the way up their are lots of places to slip and break something. Don’t let that stop you just be safe and slow, the end result is amazing. First you get to see a great view towards Emerald Bay, then cross a small bridge. This time the bridge had a great frozen water fall. At the top Eagle Lake is a great small Lake at was frozen when I went.
Below are some still taking from my Phantom 2 and GoPro 4. Over the next few days Ill work on the video and post that as well. Cheers and I hope you enjoy these photos!
This is a great little easy hike that gives you great views of Lake Tahoe once at the top. If your ever in near Tahoe City, CA make sure to take out about an hour to check out this little hike a couple miles down on Hwy 89.
I took up one of my DJI Phantom 2’s with a buddy and we did some aerial video and photos. Here are some of the snots snapped from the Phantom 2. It was from a GoPro 4 and it was set on 5 second timelapse for photos. I’m working on putting together a video as well but takes more time than photos! 🙂
ITook one of my drones out today above the house and once I cleared the tree line here is what I saw. Now granted it was a bit of a cloudy day but after looking at the footage and photos I thought I would share this simple but tranquil photo I took. What your looking at is a view of Lake Tahoe close to Tahoe City and about 90 feet above where I was located looking towards the lake.
Over the last 2 weeks we have had some storms come though here in Tahoe but its been to warm and today it finally started to snow pretty good at least at altitudes higher than 6500 feet. I got up early and went to a cafe in Tahoe City this morning and it was pouring rain, after a few hours I decided to go home and finish off my work day and to my surprise at the cabin it was snowing!
Now, I gotta head down this crazy hill to go watch the new snowboard movie from Jeremy Jones Higher!
I was out the other day taking some aerial footage with my drones when I decided to set up my brand new GoPro 4 on the dock and take a small timelapse of the waves while flying. This also give me an opportunity to work with some new tools I’m testing out to do timelapses.
Btw if you haven’t I would recommend reading this great blog post first about the GoPro 4 and photo modes. I should probably take the time to create a small cheat sheet I can carry around on my phone for the various light settings and conditions.
I find it quite handy to use the GoPro app to change settings with one exception, their is no way to set predefined shooting settings so your always scrambling to change the settings based upon what your trying to shoot and can find your self forgetting to make a change to some setting which throws off your shots.
GoPro are you listening? Please add the ability to save custom shooting profiles!
So I mentioned this was a quick test for me and probably not the best I could do given the circumstances but I was waiting for this couple at the end of the pier to stop taking photos so I could fly the drones around before the sun went down.
So after coming home I decided to follow this work flow using both Adobe Lightroom and LRTimelapse.
Basically I followed this great video tutorial which gave me a good incite as to what Ill want to do in the future and give me a good working solution for timelapses.
Anyhow on to my short uneventful timelapse, I promise to do better ones but this was more about just figuring out a good work flow.
The little thing that shows up every so often on the right side of the screen is a capture of the drone flying by, its not some mystery UFO thats blinking in and out of space time 🙂
Early this year, around October I decided to head up to Lake Tahoe and do some serial footage of the world famous Emerald Bay. This is a great location and the water is so clear, most of Lake Tahoe is a nice blue shade, but when you head to Emerald Bay and hike down you will see why they call it Emerald Bay the water has a nice emerald color to it.
I finally had a chance to go visit Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe, CA. I took both of my DJI Phanton 2’s out for a spin and around the famous Fannette Island, the only island in Lake Tahoe btw.
I did both manual flying and the ground station system that works on my iPad allowing me to plot a course. Note what I dont show in this video is loosing the connection for the ground station a few times. Thankfully I have experienced this a few times and knew it would come back, but I’m not sure what the issue is.
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