DJI Spark first flight

I've been good this year, so for Christmas Polly got me a DJI Spark. Its an early Christmas present as we are spending it in Madeira this year and I need a bit of practice before trying it over there! 

So yesterday I took the drone and three charged batteries to Harrow on the Hill for my first flight! Here is the video of flight one:

I learnt a few things from flight one, firstly the drone is really easy to fly and holds its position very well. Secondly, if you have a new battery, it wont work unless you have updated it like the rest of your batteries. Therefore I ended up with two usable batteries and third sports mode is very fast and should be used with care.

I should be able to get some great video footage with this on holiday. It will be getting limited use in London as most of the airspace is restricted and I would get arrested. 

I found that the drone was surprisingly good for photography and has several built in panorama modes that produce surprisingly good results. Here is a shot from Harrow on the Hill, the composition is pretty rubbish but you can get the idea of the quality you can achieve.

 This is a total of 9 shots taken in sequence by the spark and then stitched together in Lightroom.

This is a total of 9 shots taken in sequence by the spark and then stitched together in Lightroom.

This 9 image pano is probably something I will use a lot in Madeira. I will be able to get daytime panoramas from locations and viewpoints that would otherwise be impossible.

I am a bit weary of flying the drone out over water even though I do have the care refresh package. Who knows I may get brave while on holiday and do some coastline photography with the drone out over the sea.

Another interesting feature of the spark is the circular pano mode, here the spark literally spins round taking shots from every angle to create a globe, this can produce a wrap around image that you can view with a laptop, smart phone or VR headset, or a little planet image like the one below of my bedroom. Sorry about the mess. 

 This is only half of the little planet pano, sadly Squarespace throws a wobbly with the whole thing.

This is only half of the little planet pano, sadly Squarespace throws a wobbly with the whole thing.

Stitching this together after the fact proved a little difficult. The DJI go app will do a pretty nice job for you automatically but if you want the full res image here's how I did it.

  1. Grab all the images for the pano from the memory card, they are all stored in easy to find folders.
  2. Stitch the pano together with DJI Media Maker software, this will give you a classic pano image.
  3. Import that into Photoshop and do any editing you want.
  4. Apply the Polar Coordinates distort filter to the image.
  5. Resize the image to make it a square.

The end result is quite interesting, I think this would work pretty well with cityscapes. When trying this with a cityscape also flip the image upside down before applying the Polar filter.

 A beauty shot of the spark with my 70-200 f2.8, a lens that I probably wont have that much longer.

A beauty shot of the spark with my 70-200 f2.8, a lens that I probably wont have that much longer.

I'm very much looking forward to sharing more videos and images created with the spark, sadly no flying today due to most of North London being snowed in!