Summer Break is Over!! October 2013 Newsletter
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Last June I decided to take a short summer “break” from bird/landscapes photography and pursue a new form of photography and challenge. Aerial Photography!

Please meet Octomax!

Octomax - Home Studio, Maxis Gamez – © All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II @ f/11, 1/125 sec, ISO 100 in Manual mode,
3 Nikon flashes set up in Manual mode.

Octomax is a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) designed to help me pursue this new form of photography. We all know how expensive and difficult aerial photography can be from a plane or helicopter, therefore a UAV makes total sense!

Octomax, Over Sarasota, FL – © Kathryn Dow, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II

Octomax is 1180mm in diameter (nearly 4 feet) fully carbon fiber frame capable of lifting a full size dSLR such as the Canon 5D MKIII with 16-35mm lens all the way to a RED EPIC 4K body.

Octomax technology includes:

  • Navigation Flight System
  • Wireless compass
  • Two GPS modules
  • Camera trigger for RAW imagery and 1080p 60fps HD Video directly from ground station
  • Live video feed
  • System telemetry including temperature, distance, altitude, range and more

Octomax was designed with a FAIL SAFE system which allows it to “come home” or point of take off by itself as a precautionary measure in case of any signal lost between the pilot (me) and the craft. Octomax is currently flying a Sony NEX Mirroless camera with a sophisticated camera stabilization system allowing smooth footage while in the air. This stabilization system is capable of compensating for any “harsh” movement the craft can create or during windy conditions. This stabilization system is based on software and hardware components.

Octomax Working Wildflowers, Kathryn Dow – © All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, Canon 500mm L

The fun doesn’t end there, soon Octomax will carry a new camera support system allowing 360 degrees panning which will rotate separately from the craft and will be controlled by a second “camera” operator live from the ground.

Octomax has been a fun but difficult challenge for me. I look forward to the rewarding images/video I’ll be getting from it. I’ll be happy to share them with you all.

But enough talk, let’s look at the images…. Shall we?

Sarasota, FL Boat Marina Aerial, © Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved

Architecture Aerial, © Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved

Wildflowers Field Aerial, © Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved

Yours Truly Tuning Octomax, © Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved

Aerial Photography
Octomax In Action Short Video – © All Rights Reserved

Hope you like the images. I'll keep sharing as time goes by.


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Magnificent Frigatebird Interacting, © Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Canon 800mm L @ f/8, 1/800 sec, ISO 640 in Manual mode.

Magnificent Frigatebird,© Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Canon 800mm L @ f/8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 320 in Manual mode.

Magnificent Frigatebird Interacting , © Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Canon 800mm L @ f/8, 1/800 sec, ISO 1250 in Manual mode.

Kayaking & Bird Photography, © Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved

I often get asked about my kayaks and Bird Photography, so I decided to write a short list of some of the gear I use before I hit the water.

First things first... DO NOT GO KAYAKING WITH YOUR PHOTO GEAR IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE PADDLING! Simple as that! Contact your local outfitter and take some classes from a certified instructor!

Kayaking can be very rewarding but can also turn into a very bad day if proper safety techniques and required equipment are ignored. Always wear a PFD (portable flotation device) and make sure someone knows where you'll be and when will you return.

A lot of people believe that I photograph directly from my kayaks. The truth is that my kayak is only a tool and my "ride" to get to certain locations. I then "jump" off the kayak, set my tripod and shoot. Each location is carefully selected. Some times I paddle one mile, sometimes I can do 4 miles. See my setup above.

Kayaks & Other Accessories:

Photography Equipment:

Photo gear depends on how close I can get to my subjects and how dynamic the shoot is. Some locations I rather use two bodies (one body on a tripod and one handheld). Sometimes I can be very close while other times I rather shoot from afar to prevent any disturbance like I do with the Frigates.

  • Canon 800mm L f/5.6 IS
  • Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
  • Canon 70-200mm f/4 L
  • Canon 1.4x III (x2)
  • Canon 600EX-RT flash with Better Beamer
  • Canon 1D MKIV
  • Canon 5D MKIII
  • Tripod

Hope this helps. Shoot me an email (or reply directly to this newsletter) and I'll try to answer your questions.

Until next time!