Yesterday morning I drove to Belmar NJ for a sunrise shoot! The beach in Belmar has a scenic fishing pier overlooking the ocean that is an easy access point for photographers. I recently bough a DJI Mavic Air drone so I wanted to try it out there as well as take in the sunrise from the beach.
I got there about 40 minutes before sunrise and set up my tripod for shooting. I was not planning on flying my drone in the dark or over the water so I focused on my timelapse. I was a little afraid of the sand and water for my first ever drone flight!
I took a little bit to find a composition since I wanted the fishing pier in the shot with the sun rise. I ended up having the fishing pier on the left with the sun rising on the right. There were other angles but were more direct from the left side and I like to have an element that is still and not too distracting.
My first shot with my Nikon D7100, 28 mm f/2.8 lens was at ISO 800, 2 seconds, f/6.3. I set my interval to 4 seconds since a faster interval usually gives better flickering and smooth transitions during a sunrise which changes light quickly. The clouds were rolling in quickly (it was supposed to rain later in the day). The clouds had great colors with pink and purples. The 2 second interval was perfect for the water so that some waves are visible!
As the sun came up with the clouds over the water the colors and glow were amazing! I shot close to 950 photos over 1 hour with my last photo at ISO 100, f/22, and 1/15th second shutter speed.
After the shoot, I walked up to the board walk and found a good place to fly my DJI Mavic Drone. I wanted to just try a shot with the cameras intervalometer at 5 seconds RAW files. I am honestly not too comfortable with the drone controllers yet so I didn’t fly above the water and kept it close by for the timelapse. The DJI Mavic Air has a 12 MP camera which allows for a 4k timelapse at 3840 x 2160. The RAW files with a 5 second intervalometer allow for color correction in post just as if I were doing it with a DSLR. So perfect for a timelapse!
I got up at 60 feet in the air and 200 feet away overlooking the pier and ocean. I started the camera intervalometer and let it shoot for close to 120 photos about to 35% battery life. I could have gone longer but didn’t want to risk it! I shot the photos in manual with ISO 100, 1/1000th second. There was a guy walking his dog which provided some nice perspective of the view and size!
The video turned out pretty nice, I still need to figure out how to rotate the camera and movement better with stabilization (tripod mode) for the shots! I’ll get better at this but not too bad for the first try!
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions.