Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Paton Center: A view from above

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, John Hoffman came over with his remote operated quad-copter to take some photos of the property so that we can better show changes through time.

The copter is a little GPS-stabilized chopper with 4 propellers. It’s incredibly stable allowing careful positioning to take just the photo wanted. John hooked his phone up to the remote control and so was able to see exactly the photo taken. To this comparative Luddite (i still have a flip-phone!) it was pretty unreal.

I’ll let the photos and captions tell the story.

Paton Center Ambassador Larry Morgan holds the controls
while John Hoffman sets up the quad-copter.
Hoffman orients the copter to the
guiding satellites. This involved
holding it vertically and turning it 360°,
then holding it sideways and repeat.
And, LIFTOFF!      
Red and green lights orient the flier
to which direction the copter is facing
since it is identical from all sides.
Even so, it's easy to get disoriented.
A very careful flier

The controls. By syncing his phone to the controller and the copter, 
Hoffman had a real-time view of what the quad-copter was about to photo.
A view from above -- the front of the Tucson Audubon Paton Center for
Hummingbirds showcasing the new parking areas, front lawn, and new
information kiosk.
Shadows prove to be the biggest obstacle to good photos. Maybe we'll need more on a cloudy day or in winter when more trees have fewer leaves.
A north-facing view of the meadow,
from the south.
(photo credit: John Hoffman)
A west-facing view of the meadow,
from the east.
(photo credit: John Hoffman)
Batteries low, almost touchdown.
Hoffman collects his copter after a
successful outing snapping the
desired photos.

Fun times. Personally, i can’t wait for the next time we need some photos of the site…and with all the ongoing changes, that should be pretty soon.  -- Jonathan

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