Canada now requires a written exam for RC model aircraft flying

The topics covered on the exam are fairly extensive. Take a look.

I suspect this is where we are headed in the U.S. The FAA has yet to release details of the U.S. exam, which was required by last year’s Congressional vote to re-authorize FAA funding.

Additionally, the FAA has postponed to later this year, a proposal for remote identification of all flying model aircraft.

Important note: If you are not a Canadian resident, such as a U.S. resident making a trip to Canada, if you wish to fly your drone in Canada, you must apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate before you go to Canada. If you do not comply with the new rules, you may face fines of thousands of dollars.

Australia proposes A$20 license fee per model aircraft

The proposal would assess a fee of about A$20 for each model aircraft owned, plus a fee of A$100 to A$160 for each commercially used model aircraft:

CASA is planning to introduce a drone registration and accreditation scheme later this year.

Source: Drone registration and accreditation scheme – update | Civil Aviation Safety Authority

The UK is proposing an annual fee of 16.5 pounds. The U.S. assesses a fee of US$5.00 per pilot, good for 3 years; the registration number is applied to all aircraft operated by the pilot.

2018 Camera Market at 1985 Levels – Thomas Stirr Photography

Thomas Stirr observes the tremendous changes in unit sales that have hit the camera gear market.

This lengthy article discusses the fact that the 2018 camera market has fallen to 1985 levels and provides thoughts on the impact of this shift.

Source: 2018 Camera Market at 1985 Levels – Thomas Stirr Photography

Thomas ends his post with suggestions for what you might want to do with your existing camera gear: sell, adapt, extend?

  • Push yourself to use your gear more fully. Many of us do not fully utilize all of the capabilities of the gear we currently own. Using it more fully will extend its useful life.

  • Experiment more in post. Every piece of camera gear comes with some kind of trade-off. Spend some time in post to experiment with your current software to learn how you can squeeze more quality out of your current images.

This is spot on. Since last fall I gave much thought and investigation to whether I should move up to “full frame”, due to indirect peer pressure and marketing hype.  I realized I continue to learn how to use my existing 1″ and micro four thirds cameras nearly every time I put them to use – and for what I typically shoot there is little to no advantage to full frame – and actual drawbacks (bigger and heavier). Instead, I’m learning new tricks that make my existing gear deliver expanded capabilities.

Second, I downloaded the DxO PhotoLab 2 trial version and quickly discovered its noise reduction is so good that it was like increasing my camera’s useful ISO range by several stops. I no longer needed a larger sensor to achieve the results I wanted at higher ISOs. This was a far less expensive alternative than buying a new camera and lenses!

Third, I began using various well known techniques such as averaging multiple exposures to reduce noise, and shooting multiple-image panoramas to achieve enormous resolution (typically 80 to 200 megapixels).

Software post processing completely changes how we look at photography – and for us hobbyists, is a practical way to expand our gears’ capabilities.

How review sites have become an extension of camera sales programs

While many reviews provide useful information about camera features and capabilities, behind the scenes, many, if not most, are now motivated by increasing sales revenue of everyone involved.

Youtube camera enthusiast review “channels” are frequently tied to affiliate marketing programs. Watch the review, click on the link to one of the online retailers helpfully included with the review, and the reviewer sees a sales commission if you make a purchase (of any product on the web site, not just the camera).

Further, everyone is caught up with the idea that the next camera model with 20% more pixels will somehow make one a better photographer. Granted, there are some photographers and especially professionals and the semi-professional (wants to be a pro) for whom new features can improve efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and quality. But for the rest of us, the latest and greatest is often for bragging rights and showing off. emailed a summary of new items on their web site with this interesting wording:

Translation: We only get excited about really expensive cameras!

Everything is oriented towards not only having you salivate over the latest and greatest but to shame you in spending more money. No one wants to be seen in public with a camera for which you have not spent enough money! And geesh, only spending $900 – what sort of photo wimp are you?

Cameras have become the 21st century sports car, generally impractical but certainly a tool to impress others! We need not go far to see people hiking on trails with $10,000 worth of camera gear – the same price as a decent used car.

In the past two weeks I’ve had 2 photos selected and highlighted in the Flickr “Explore” photo collection, receiving thousands of views.

What’s my secret? I used discontinued, cheap Nikon 1 cameras, one of which cost me about US $200 🙂 Because photography isn’t about how much money you’ve spent on your camera!

“Remember virtual reality? Its buzz has faded at CES 2019”

NEW YORK (AP) — Just a few years ago, virtual reality was poised to take over the world. After decades of near misses, the revolution finally seemed imminent, with slick consumer headsets about to hit the market and industries from gaming and entertainment to social media ready to hop on the bandwagon. But the buzz over VR has faded to a whisper.

Source: Remember virtual reality? Its buzz has faded at CES 2019


But it’s 2019. I’m at CES, and VR is an idea gathering dust for all the wrong reasons, lost in a sea of strange peripherals and pipe dreams. Self-contained VR devices, like Oculus Quest and the newly announced HTC Vive Cosmos, are en route, but it feels too little, too late. VR has lost the attention of mainstream audiences.

At CES 2019, VR feels like a dream gathering dust

When the tech reporters conclude VR is dead, you’ve got a big problem. VR is looking like yet another much hyped consumer technology that is not achieving lift off.

Have not yet seen them give a simple reason for the failure. Tech reporters repeatedly blamed “3D goggles” for the failure of 3D in the consumer space, but the same reporters were simultaneously enthused about “VR helmets”, which didn’t make sense.

Britain to require licensing, registration, allow police to issue fines and seize drones

Exclusion zones around airports will be extended and drone users will have to be registered under the plans.

Source: Police to get new powers to tackle illegal drone use – BBC News


  • Airport exclusion zones will be enlarged to 5 km (3 miles) (in the U.S., its already 5 miles). Additional exclusion zones will be added.
  • All users must be licensed and their model aircraft registered. (Like Mexico, this may end up prohibiting non-UK permanent residents or citizens from flying drones in the U.K.)
  • Police can order any drone flyer at any time to land the drone. Failure to land a drone or show your license and registration will be a fine-able offense.
  • Police will be allowed to “search premises and seize drones – including the electronic data stored within the device”.

This is done in the aftermath of the invisible drones at Gatwick Airport. At this time, the only provable drones in the air over Gatwick Airport were those operated by the Sussex Police, which they admit, were unmarked and were likely many of the reported sightings. After they admitted this, there have been no further updates on the investigation.

Sussex Police admit drones over Gatwick Airport may have been the police department’s own drones

Some of the sightings of drones which kept Gatwick Airport on shutdown may have involved the police’s own craft, a senior officer has admitted.

Source: Some Gatwick drones ‘may have been police devices’

The police chief insists that in spite of this, he’s still certain that there was an illegal drone flight because … well, he has no reasons other than he believes. Ok, fair enough, many of us believe he is an idiot, therefore, this must be true.

The broken drone they found in a field (at unknown location and unknown distance from the airport) – and a second one too – are acknowledged as having no involvement with Gatwick Airport.

The story of the bicyclist seen packing up two drones several miles from the airport? That story has vanished.

The innocent couple they arrested because they lived less than 3 miles from the airport and once flew model aircraft? Oh sorry, they are totally innocent – our bad, oopsie.

140,000+ people at Gatwick on the first day, 21,000 staff, plus police, military and media stakeouts all looking for drones – and not one photo or video clip.

67 or 93 people reported seeing drones? Where are the interviews of these people by the media? Mysteriously, there are none.

During this mass hysteria, some in the media and politics demanded more regulations, and some demanded a ban on all model aircraft – based on hysteria induced paranoia. Will any of the media retract their previous speculation – de facto fake news – reports? Doubtful. And they are shocked when people call them fake news.

Guide to 3D VR video and photos