Friday, December 17, 2021



I specifically saved this image as the last one published from Trinity Groves. It was one of the sharper images and captured the color from the city lights in great depth. There is even a slight glow just above the skyline, which I believe adds to the image. But, most importantly, this shot highlights the car's lights and waving flag. I am still amazed how the drone remains still while taking long-exposure images, but whatever magic it uses, I greatly enjoy it. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021



I continued my flight by pushing the limits of my connection. I flew past the bridge and to the far side of the Trinity River. When flying, I can see five bars of connection. Five bars is the best, and one bar automatically triggers a return to home sequence. While taking this image, I was at two bars. The distance each bar reaches, and how far the drone can fly, varies depending on the terrain. For instance, in Colorado, where there were no buildings and signal interference, I flew over a mile away and still had four bars. While in Dallas, I flew a fifth of a mile and had one bar.

Monday, December 13, 2021



After switching the battery, I flew a little to the north and west to capture the entirety of downtown Dallas, including Reunion Tower. When editing, I wanted to magnify the glow that came above downtown. To accomplish this, I increased the amount of grain in the image. I don't often do this because I like my images to be crisp and clear, but recently I have been experimenting with this technique. It works in images like these because it increases the glow, but for regular images taken during the day, it is not effective.

Friday, December 10, 2021



The next image I wanted to post is this one. I flew past the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and set my position again. One of the problems I often have flying in the city is medical helicopters. During this session, a PHI Medical helicopter was flying to a local hospital at 1,100 feet (I know this because the DJI drone app provides their flying height, and I have another app that provides flight information of all aircraft). I was flying at 385 feet, and while it was over the 100-foot buffer the FAA requires, I still wanted to be extra safe and flew down to 150-feet. But, the helicopter eventually flew over, and I was able to capture this image.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021



The next spot I wanted to fly during the night was Trinity Groves. If you scroll down far enough, you can see that I have now been there three times. I went once with my camera during the night, once with my drone during the February snowstorm, and this time with my drone during the night. I think I have exhausted all possible pictures from here! I had been planning my trip here for multiple days, but the wind was too strong for images like these. Even when I took these images, you can tell by the flag how strong the wind was, but, after searching through two hundred pictures, there were enough clear images to post.

Monday, December 06, 2021


For my final drone battery of this night, I ventured over to a nearby mall and took a few images from above. I was hoping to capture the entire mall and its multiple parking lots, but the mall was much bigger than expected, and I did not want to fly that high and risk fines. So, I stuck with one parking lot, the main one. When I flew over and was preparing to take these images, I was surprised by how little activity there was. I imagined seeing around ten cars moving, but there was much less traffic than expected, quite surprising for a Friday during the holiday season.

Friday, December 03, 2021



One of the few benefits to the sun setting so early is I can capture shots like this. For instance, it appears I took this image at nine or ten at night, but I took this image at 6:42 pm on a Friday, right when people are trying to get home. While the setting sun is annoying because my drive home from school is pitch black, it does help me take long exposure images before it becomes too late into the night. Regardless of the time taken, similar to the first image in this series, this image also seems peaceful. Even though there is the roar of traffic below, everything below the drone appears silent. 

Wednesday, December 01, 2021


After spending a drone battery flying above Interstate 75 (around thirty minutes), I drove on over to another intersection I knew would be very busy. The image you see is a combination of two images. Both were long exposures, but I wanted to emphasize the car lights more, so I merged the two. I have also been experimenting with different presets in Adobe Lightroom. A preset is an already constructed edit that you throw onto an image to quickly and easily edit it. For this image, I used Future 04. Essentially what it did was increase the contrast, vibrance, and saturation of all colors. This was my first image with the preset, but I think it will become much more commonly used.