October 31, 2016

You're Not Going To Want A GoPro Karma

Compared to the DJI Mavic Pro.

permalink | October 31, 2016 at 03:14 PM | Comments (1)

October 6, 2016

The Temple Burn

My video of my ride from the Burner Buddies camp out to and around the Temple on the night of its burn. This was shot entirely from a camera mounted on my tricycle's handlebars.

permalink | October 6, 2016 at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

Yet Another Mavic Pro Review

This one talks a little bit about focus and why some people may think the image from the Mavic is "soft."

permalink | October 6, 2016 at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

October 4, 2016

Another Mavic Pro Review

An entertaining review of the Mavic Pro which is also very informative. Also, lots of L.A. scenes.

permalink | October 4, 2016 at 08:21 PM | Comments (2)

September 29, 2016

Canndescent Ribbon Cutting

Canndescent is the first cannabis cultivator to go into real operation in Desert Hot Springs, which means it's the first legal cultivation site in California, outside of dispensaries themselves. Boy Scout Troop 1606 brought the American flag and led the Pledge of Allegiance, which the cannabis people thought was a bit unusual. But! One of the Scouts is trying to raise money for a trip to Washington DC for some Boy Scout function. Canndescent covered his remaining financial need with a check for $3,300. I would like to be there when he tells other Scouts how he raised his money.

Canndescent Ribbon-cutting (3037)
"Transforming Agriculture."
I imagine in a few years as the cannabis industry settles down we'll get used to seeing slogans like you'd see in Iowa or any other predominantly agricultural state.

Canndescent Ribbon-cutting (3043)
Canndescent also presented the city with its first tax payment of $135,000
. The tax rate is based solely on cubic footage of the grow area, so the city doesn't have to wait for a crop to mature and be sold to get taxes. I don't recall if the taxes are paid quarterly or every 6 months, and no one said if this tax payment is one full payment, or does it cover through the end of the calendar year or perhaps the fiscal year? Nevertheless, $135,000 is almost the cost of one cop for one year. So it's a start.

Canndescent Ribbon-cutting (3031)

Canndescent Ribbon Cutting (0934)
Click for a larger size

Canndescent Armored Vehicle (3026)
Their armored vehicle
which doesn't seem to use CNG.

Canndescent Armored Vehicle (3028)
And it looks like they went all the way to Connecticut to get it

Canndescent Armored Vehicle (3022)
Interior of the vehicle

Canndescent (3034)

Canndescent (3046)
An historical plaque that Canndescent will erect
. I suppose this fulfills their "art in public places" requirement. The plaque says:


This marks the site of the first municipally-permitted cannabis cultivator operating in California. On November 5, 1996, California became the first U.S. state to legalize medical cannabis use. On October 21, 2014, Desert Hot Springs became the first city in California to legalize cannabis cultivation. On September 19, 2016, CANNDESCDENT commenced production.

Canndescent Grow Room (3050)
One of their grow rooms (with nothing growing)

Video of the grow room so you can see all the fans and appreciate the resulting noise.

permalink | September 29, 2016 at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

Phantom 4 vs. Mavic Pro vs. Hero5 Session - image quality

Spoiler: the Phantom 4 produces the clearest, sharpest images, the Mavic Pro's image is a bit soft, the Hero5 Session has better image quality than the Mavic Pro.

permalink | September 29, 2016 at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)

Hero5 Session Is Good!

According to this guy.

permalink | September 29, 2016 at 12:22 AM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2016

Bear This In Mind

A woman is suing Pi Kappa Phi at USC because a drone fell on her head at a party at the frat house in October 2005. The operator of the drone had been hired by Pi Kappa Phi to photograph the party.

permalink | September 28, 2016 at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2016

DJI Smacks Down GoPro

Just a week after GoPro announced their first drone, Karma, DJI (longtime sales leader in drones) has come out with something much better called Mavic Pro. The Mavic Pro appears to fold down smaller than the Karma; it can go 40 MPH (somebody's going to lose an eye!); and it has tracking ability. It's also cheaper than the Karma. The Karma is $800. Add a Hero5 and the total is about $1,200. The Mavic Pro is $999 and includes a camera. You can also exclude DJI's new remote controller and save $250, dropping the price to $749. You can skip the remote controller and operate the Mavic Pro from your smartphone. DJI says the Mavic Pro can hover so steadily and its gimbal is so fantastic that you can use shutter speeds as long as 2 seconds on their camera! I am gobsmacked!

News article here.

Here's a video which is nicely lower key than a GoPro video.

The only way this is going to be a bad deal is if the camera is crappy...so wait for some reviews first.

UPDATE: A Mavic Pro test video.

It looks like image quality is very good, but a narrower angle than GoPro, which has its pluses and minuses.

Here’s a comparison list of features of the Mavic Pro and the Karma.

permalink | September 27, 2016 at 09:53 PM | Comments (2)

September 23, 2016

The Temple

permalink | September 23, 2016 at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2016

Lower Tech Than A Drone

permalink | September 20, 2016 at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

GoPro Karma & Gimbal Test

A pretty good test of the gimbal and image stabilization in the Hero5 (conducted by someone not connected to GoPro) begins at 6:50 in this video. After that he shows what he can do with it without reading or receiving any instruction at all. And then he proceeds to test it over the Hudson River!

permalink | September 20, 2016 at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

Terabyte SD Card

SanDisk announced it has created a prettype of a 1 TB SD card. No word on when it might come to market or what the price might be.

permalink | September 20, 2016 at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2016

Small Coincidence

I was watching this video about the GoPro Hero5 Session when I realized I recognized Chris Farro who shows up at about 27 seconds into the video.

Chris Farro
In the video

UAV Operator (1753)
At Burning Man 2013

permalink | September 19, 2016 at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

GoPro Hero5 (and more) announced

GoPro Hero5 Black (does that suggest there will also be a Silver model?) (Oct. 2)

  • $400
  • 12MP
  • Voice commands
  • Video stabilization
  • Touch display
  • Waterproof without a case
  • 4K up to 30 fps
  • 1440 up to 80 fps
  • 1080 up to 120 fps
  • Location capture
  • Raw
  • Auto-upload

GoPro Hero5 Session (wait for the reviews to find out if they've sufficiently improved the Session's horrid photo quality) (Oct. 2)

  • $300
  • 10 MP
  • Voice commands
  • Video stabilization
  • Waterproof without a case
  • But it comes with a case so you can mount it
  • Auto-upload
  • 4K up to 30 fps
  • 1440 up to 60 fps
  • 1080 up to 90 fps

GoPro Hero Session (Oct. 2)

  • $200
  • 8 MP
  • 1440 up to 30 fps
  • 1080 up to 60 fps
  • Waterproof without a case
  • But it comes with a case so you can mount it

GoPro Karma drone (Oct. 23)

  • $800
  • No propellor guards
  • Has a stabilizer that can be removed and used handheld. Or you can purchase the stabilizer independently for $300

Omni 360° camera array

  • $1500 for Omni only; $5000 if you also need to buy the six Hero5 Black cameras. You're paying $583/camera, if you do it that way.


  • For professional live broadcast. Price not stated.

As before, purchase of a GoPro product does not include trips to Alaska or India, hot air balloons, dramatic music, backstage passes at concerts, a classic VW camper bus, slackline skills, or (most regrettably) beautiful people.

Here's your Apple-style video ad for the Hero5 Black.

And here's the one for the Hero5 Session.

UPDATE: I totally missed this earlier. The Remo, a remote for voice commands; $80.

permalink | September 19, 2016 at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2016

Burning Man 2016

Arrival (3031)
Just arrived at our site

Alex & John (3018)
Alex & John in their zentai outfits

Art On The Inner Playa (7021)

At The Man (1967)
One of four sculptures around the Man base

At The Temple (2134)
In the Temple

At The Temple (2138)
At the Temple

Box Office
Where I volunteered to work four 6-hour shifts
which were pretty enjoyable.

Bringing The Flame (7053)
Lighting up the Man was delayed due to weather, so I was able to get there early enough to see the ceremonial parade bringing the flame from the keyhole at Center Camp to the Man.

Burning Man 2016 (7061)
Art car

Burning Man 2016 (7065)
I believe this was new this year

Discofish (3007)
The art car Discofish early in the week, still being put together
. They were camped just across the street from us, so I thought that ought to make it really easy for me to get on board and ride this prestigious craft around the playa. Across another street was Hippocampus which has the slightly less exotic Hippocambus that plays only acoustic music. That one would have been even easier to get on as they announced their departures on their excellent PA system. But, no, I never rode either.

Donations From Ice Tips (6910)
Some portion of the tips at Ice goes to family planning in the valley we drive through to get to the Black Rock Desert
. I asked somebody how this works and was told that each worker is given a choice: keep all the tips, give all the tips to family planning (or whatever this year's charity is) or split them 50/50.

Dusk (7024)
Inner playa at dusk

El Pulpo Mecanico (2041)
El Pulpo Mecanico

Four-Thirty and Justice - Home (3777)
Street signs on our corner

Fuck Cancer (2122)
At the Temple

Hamster Wheel at The Man (2000)
A hamster wheel for humans
. It's nothing more than a hamster wheel. It doesn't pump water, grind grain, generate electricity, or anything!

In The Temple (2090)
The interior of the Temple
. Try to find a seat. Try to walk through! This is the smallest temple interior I've ever seen at Burning Man, despite that on the outside this appeared to be one of the larger temples built. I estimated this interior space at 40 feet by 40 feet.

Intaglio (7036)
Somebody made some intaglios out there
. Not on any official art list. You just had to stumble across it and know what you were seeing.

June (6929)
Anyone who does the LA World Naked Bike Ride will surely remember June
- that's her name, June.

Naked Pub Crawl - Burning Man 2016 (6916A)
At the beginning of the Naked Pub Crawl
. I had never seen anything quite like those shoulder thingies at Burning Man and asked the man about them. He made them and it was the first time he had tried anything like that, he said. My jaw dropped.

Naked Pub Crawl - Burning Man 2016 (6941)
The Naked Pub Crawl goes up against a water truck

On-playa Fuel Depot (7037)
The fuel depot that is beyond 10 O'clock and L
. I know this is for art cars, but it may also be the fuel stop for official BM vehicles too. I imagine law enforcement has its own fuel somewhere else. One has to prepare for this place in advance, IIRC. You have to make reservations or pay before coming to the playa or something. It's not like pulling into a Chevron.

Orlando At The Temple (2112)
At the Temple

Pink Seat I Intend To Have (6978)
On the Naked Pub Crawl I spotted this pink Schwinn saddle and asked the nice young man to stand up so I could get a good photo
. I spotted this saddle on Amazon just before coming to Burning Man and didn't have the time to buy it...and pink handgrips. Those items have since been purchased and installed, so my trike is even better than it was.

Shy Vitruvian Man (6971)
Don't ask me why somebody who wants to do a nude Vitruvian man would cover himself up like this
, but he got over it pretty quickly and I have other photos of him.

Sequined Outfit (6984)
Spotted this little number sashaying around the gayborhood!

Steve Jobs at Burning Man (1947)
Steve Jobs
. This was part of an exhibit of portraits under the Man. Leonardo was also depicted. Everyone else was someone who had been in Apple's "Think Different" advertising campaign, IIRC.

Words To Live By (7012)
Words to live by

The Man (1925)
Looking up at the mechanism behind the Man
. The Man never worked. It was connected to a wheel at ground level that several people could push to rotate. That motion was to be transferred through these gears to make the man spin! Fab-o idea. But Leonardo wasn't there. Bolts sheared and a finger was lost even before they could open it to Burners. So they just made sure the man was upright and locked everything down. The wheel the Man was mounted in didn't even fall off during the burn and start rolling across the playa. That would have helped with our disappointment.

The Luxurious Volunteers Lounge at Will Call (7010)
This is the lounge at Box Office where we waited before our shifts and where we ate
. All the dust and fresh air you could want, plus cold water. In the storage box in the background there was a kitchen and a storage room for snacks.

Temple Interior (2075)
Looking up to the peak in the Temple

Temple 2016 (1987)
The Temple as viewed from the Man along the 12 O'clock road

The complete set of photos is here. My videos will come later.

My new tent worked wonderfully. I installed the fan and I believe the interior of my tent may have been more comfortable than any RV in our camp. I noticed RVers sleeping in chairs midday. We need to organize a big napping area. I have never had the interior of any tent so free of dust at Burning Man. The only dust was what I tracked in. I took to leaving the sheet on my air mattress all day long and it was never dusty when I turned in. Usually, one takes his bedding and packs it up somehow during the day, so that it doesn't become dustier...if you're a tent camper, I mean.

The tricycle was a far greater success than I expected! Everyone at BM should have a tricycle if they have the storage and shipping capacity. Once my body fully realized that I didn't need to worry about balance, steering became much easier. I discovered I could now ride and video simultaneously! Expect to see some horrid videos as a result. Any place I wanted to stop, all I had to do was stop pedaling, and just sit. Made it easier to sit out a brief whiteout. You never have to dismount and find a place to lean a trike before you run into wherever you are running in to. The big storage capacity of the trike allows me to pack cameras and a tripod and ride without a backpack. In the past, I've had to choose whether I would go out on the bike or would I do a photo walk. The bike was a big inconvenience when I mostly just wanted to take photos.

Once when I was leaving Box Office to return home, I forgot I had cable-locked one of the rear wheels to the frame. I got about 10 feet. The cable had wrapped itself around the rear axle a few times. Unfortunately, the locking mechanism was cheap enough that it bent, making a normal unlock impossible. The wheel, however, was completely undamaged. I guess it's pretty easy to build superstrong 20-inch wheels, especially since they don't have to be dished. I needed bolt cutters, and my sense was that I would get no help there from the Box Office crew, so I walked next door to the Gate Crew. A nice looking, shirtless man with a handlebar moustache smoking a cigarette was standing in front. I approached and complimented the masculinity of the Gate Crew generally and of this man in particular, and so that's why I came to them to ask for bolt cutters. The nice looking smoker looks at me askance and says, "Yeah, I can help you with that." We walked down to the Gate Crew camp where he found a pair of bolt cutters nearly as big as himself. He explained that no one on Gate Crew could keep track of the combination of the lock on their storage container, so every year they just brought bolt cutters, cut the lock off and bought a new one. Gate.

We came back, he snipped the cable, I gave him a hug and thanks, and that was it. Fortunately for me, I had another pink cable lock back in camp; a Schwinn.

The next night, after my shift at Box Office, I saw that my trike had been moved from where I left it. Somebody had tried to steal it, but had suffered the same problem I did just 24 hours earlier. The new cable lock was wrapped around the axle, but the locking mechanism was undamaged, so I could unlocked it and unwind it. The only damage was a cut to the outer plastic casing of the cable. The wheel was still fine.

I realized that a pink cable lock in the rear alongside all that pink tubing and pink tires, is camouflaged. After that, I only wheel-locked the front wheel, where the lock was obvious.

Klank gave me a shade structure he no longer uses, and I erected it in front of my Costco tent (which my new tent was under). It worked well enough. Once I put a couple of chairs out there, it began to attract Burners. Like ducks seeing a decoy on a pond.

One small improvement I made was to reduce my battery size. I bought this smaller, deep cycle, 12-volt battery. I used it charge my camera batteries and to charge the small 12-volt power packs that ran the fan in the tent. I never attached the solar panels to it, since I saw no need. It weighs only 23 pounds and takes up a space only a little larger than 5" x 7". Much nicer to haul around than the regular deep cycle 12-volt automobile battery, which is even heavier than water. I could probably eliminate the solar panels too, freeing up a little space in the truck. Frank, another of us Burner Buddies, had a similar battery but just half as big that he said was a motorcycle battery.

Working at Box Office was a lot more pleasant than I expected. All the volunteers are friendly and usually helpful. Even more impressive were the Burners coming to window to pick up their will-call tickets. They were so happy, that even people whose debit cards were being declined, remained pleasant to deal with. It was also nice to see that I still know how to get up to show up for work on time, dressed appropriately (there is a dress code: You have to be dressed) and listen to my supervisors. A little to my surprise is that they always use playa names, even on records. When I first introduced myself, they said "No, your playa name." Then they could look me up. My first day on the job I sat next to Brisket, who was very lean. Costumes were not a big thing at Box Office...except for me. I usually made it easy for them to remember my name.

I had two morning shifts (6 AM - noon) and two evening shifts (6 PM - midnight). In the city, Box Office is at 5:45 and E next to Gate Crew, but the Box Office is pretty discreet. I couldn't find it at first.
The Box Office Office In BRC (7008)
This is what Box Office looks like in the city
. It says "Box Office" on the mailbox.

Next door to this is the Lamp Lounge where the decor features regular old table lamps fastened at right angles to uprights, or hanging down from a beam above. I wonder why I haven't seen more of this. There the shift would gather and then, at a sign, walk together down the road, just past Gate Crew to board a yellow school bus. Gate Crew was with us. Or, really, it's Gate Crew's bus and we're with them. The bus moseys at the 5 MPH speed limit out to Greeter's Gate and then through a break in the string of pennants that line the entrance road. The other side of those pennants, I learned, is a Free Zone where there is no speed limit. We would get up a decent speed as we shortcut that long curve that comes after Gate going to the Greeters. There are openings in the pennant string there, too, so we can drive across the entrance road to Gate Crew's headquarters. Box Office crew had to walk all the way, uphill, in the snow, against the wind to the Box Office, but at least we didn't use the same porta-potties as Gate Crew and we had our own kitchen. Not saying that they aren't fine, good-looking, helpful and masculine people in that Gate Crew.

Six hours later we do it in reverse. Once or twice we missed the express bus and took the local, which ran us out to "Point 1," which is the lower left angle of the pentagon. There's a gate there for vehicles that get to skip the entrance road - like cops, official Burning Man vehicles, and I think the Burner Express bus. It's dark and cold out there, but the law enforcement village is not far away.

We got fed while we were on the job. Some sorts of warm meals made their way out from the commissary to the Gate and us. Having these meals seemed to be an important reason for some people volunteering. The quality was like not very good dorm food. But, it was oversalted (at least to my taste) and that made it wonderful! I inhaled that food.

permalink | September 15, 2016 at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2016


A lot of images from Burning Man buzzed together.

permalink | September 13, 2016 at 01:42 AM | Comments (0)

360° At Burning Man

This is the first worthwhile use of 360° video I've seen.

permalink | September 13, 2016 at 01:35 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2016

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride

The Los Angeles World Naked Bike Ride took place on June 11. I had three cameras, each one shooting a still photo every five seconds. One camera was mounted on the handlebars, facing forward; another on my helmet facing backwards, and the last one also facing backwards, but mounted on the rear rack of my bike. That camera takes good video, but only 5 mp photos, so those turned out to be a lot lower quality than I had hoped for.

The complete set of photos is here. These photos are on Flickr, so in order to see them, you must...

  1. Have registered an account at Flickr (it's free and uses your Yahoo ID).
  2. Be logged into that Flickr account.
  3. Have your Flickr safe search settings turned OFF (here).

2nd Street Tunnel (6902)
2nd Street Tunnel

Andy (6873)

Jeff (062)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (6864)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (6871)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (6896)

3rd Street Tunnel (327)
3rd Street Tunnel

LA World Naked Bike Ride (0047b)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (228)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (6879)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (6885)
The man with the beard
. More photos of him here.

Myself With Jeff
Jeff and I, R to L

LA World Naked Bike Ride (213)
That tight black outfit is body paint

LA World Naked Bike Ride (391A)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (902)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (981)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (6889)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (1775)
That's Rocky with the GoPro on his handlebars

LA World Naked Bike Ride (101)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (1499)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (833)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (304A)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (0979)
Provocative dresser

LA World Naked Bike Ride (578b)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (2000)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (707)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (661b)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (341)
Tim from Boston. Well, Dorchester, but Boston

LA World Naked Bike Ride (204A)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (0096B)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (651b)

At Least His Leg Is Naked (62a)
Yes, the ride is clothing optional, but this is really overdoing it

LA World Naked Bike Ride (265A)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (306a)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (747)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (2092)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (533)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (317)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (273)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (38B)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (451)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (249)

LA World Naked Bike Ride (1868)

permalink | August 18, 2016 at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

August 8, 2016

Camp Photos From This Weekend

This past weekend I went to the northern California CMEN gathering. I had never been to this gathering before. This was its third year. The location was about midway between Reno and Sacramento. Some photos of the campground.

Cabin 38 (2954)
My tent was behind this cabin
. You can see it poking out on the left.

Outback Logic Siesta4 Tent (2952)
My new tent, showing the roof vents propped open

Outdoor Dining (2975)
The outdoor dining area

The View From The Dining Hall (2981)
The view from the dining hall

The Densest Camping Area (2990)
This is the most crowded camping area I could find
. Can you see the tents? This is at the eastern end of the camp. My tent at the western end was almost a mile away.

Pink Union Jack (2962)
You know I want one of these

Nobody Crushes Their Boxes (2993)
My volunteer job was keeping one particular building neat and clean
. Allegedly, four other people had signed up for the same job, but somehow it was always me who washed the floor or crushed the boxes for recycling.

The complete set of photos is here.

permalink | August 8, 2016 at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)