It's not always easy getting out of bed early. 

But  beating the sunrise opens up a lot of possibilities - what better way to start your day than doing something fun?

When Mark and I were in Provence last October, we quickly realized that the mornings were the best to fly our Phantoms. The rising Sun, the wide variety of colors in the sky, the feeling of the area waking up just provided us some of the most beautiful views. 

Dantelles mountains, Provence
I had always been a morning person - I love the calm of a fresh day. I can get up and feel good about the decision to get an early start right away. Even when it's cold outside. 

Mark and I have continued flying early in the morning and it truly is a wonderful way to start your day. 

That magic hour between the sun actually rises and the time the Sun has cleared the horizon is just one of the most spectacular times for me to fly. I love the play of light, arranging my shot so the Sun is part of it, maybe peaking through something or peaking out from behind something. 
Hoover Tower, Stanford
Pigeonpoint Lighthouse
Ruins at Beaumes de Venise
Walton Lighthouse, Santa Cruz
Ever since I started working on the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory mission and learning more about our Sun, I have gotten a very different appreciation of this Star. Naturally now, I enjoy including it into my images, even though the brightness of it, doesn't do so well with the GoPro camera technology; it creates a "washout", making the sky around the Sun look all white and, well, washed out. 

The DJI Vision camera, while having the same CCD sensors as the GoPro camera, has some benefits which help this "washout" issue. Instead of film, a digital camera has a sensor that converts light into electrical charges. 

The image sensor used in most digital cameras is a Charge Coupled Device or CCD. Just like a conventional photo camera, a digital camera has a series of lenses that focus light to create an image of a scene. Except the digital camera focuses the light onto a semiconductor device that records that light electronically. A computer then breaks this electronic information down into digital data. 

The camera on the DJI Vision lets you take an image in RAW format. A camera raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor. Raw files are named so because they are not yet processed and therefore are not ready to be printed. 

Possibly the biggest advantage of shooting raw is that one has a 16 bit image (post raw conversion) to work with. This means that the file has 65,536 levels to work with. This is opposed to a JPG file's 8 bit space with just 256 brightness levels available. This is important when editing an image, particularly if one is trying to open up shadows or alter brightness in any significant way.

I am just learning about all of this but I have already seen an improvement in my pictures when shooting against a bright Sun. 


Mindy Hertzon
02/03/2014 8:56am

When can I sign up for lessons with you and Mark?! :)

04/03/2015 5:34am

Very interesting topic will bookmark your site to check if you write more about in the future

05/29/2015 5:48am

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09/11/2015 5:26am

Hi, thank you for sharing this great info. Was just browsing through the net in my office and happened upon your blog. It is really very well written and quit comprehensive in explaining with a very simple language.

08/30/2016 3:45am

I like the beauty of early morning when i go to park i see beautiful birds, nice flowers every moment is very suitable and valuable for me. Therefor i request to all people must see the beauty of early morning and avail from this.


Wow, what a beautiful view of dawn and the scenery. Am very impressed to see the photographs, the scenery is fantastic. The time of the rising sun is always wonderful, especially in the valleys and behind the mountains.


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