您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 华尔街日报中英文版 >> 时尚 >> 正文


更新时间:2014-6-9 13:08:41 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Let's Go Fly a Drone: The Best Vacation Pics Come From Above

Here's a very 2014 question: What could the technology behind unmanned missile strikes and auto-piloted Amazon.com deliveries do for my vacation photos?


This spring break, I swapped out my regular camera for flying photo drones. These remote-control aerial vehicles are floating tripods that let you take pictures and videos from overhead. For as little as $300, you can buy a device, no larger than a Panama hat, that hovers and swoops through the air at the flick of a finger. I took mine on trips to Joshua Tree and California wine country, and deployed them for group photos at the beach.

在今年的春假期间,我把我的普通相机换成了航拍无人机。这些遥控飞行器好比浮动的三脚架,能让你从空中拍摄照片和视频。这种飞行器最便宜的只要区区300美元,它和一顶巴拿马草帽一般大小,手指轻轻一按,它就能在空中盘旋和俯冲。我在去约书亚树国家公园(Joshua Tree)和加州葡萄酒之乡度假时就把我的航拍机带上了,并在海滩上调动它们拍了些合照。

Flying a drone isn't just exhilarating; it also fundamentally changed how I think about photography. It is hard to get excited about vintage filters on Instagram after shooting a drone selfie (call it a 'dronie') or panning hillside Napa vineyards at sunrise. A drone allows you to move a camera in ways that might otherwise require a helicopter and a Michael Bay budget. In the harsh desert landscape of Joshua Tree, we climbed atop towering boulders and then had the drone shoot a video that panned up from the ground. The footage made it look as though we had scaled a Martian mountain -- and it put ordinary vacation movies to shame. Eat your heart out, National Geographic.

操控一架无人机不只是令人兴奋,它还从根本上改变了我对摄影的看法。在拍过航空自拍或摇摄过日出时分山坡上的纳帕谷葡萄园后,你就很难再对Instagram上的怀旧滤镜效果激动不已了。无人机可让你随意移动镜头,如若不然你就可能需要动用直升机或拥有迈克尔·贝(Michael Bay)那种手笔的预算了。在约书亚树国家公园荒凉的沙漠景观中,我们爬上了一座高耸的大圆石的顶端,然后让无人机从地面升起进行摇摄。拍出的视频看上去就像我们登临了火星上的一座山——它让普通的度假视频自愧不如。伤心去吧,《国家地理》(National Geographic)。

And yet, drones also give me new-tech vertigo. Every time I launched one of these flying lawn mowers, I was a bit terrified that I might get in trouble, hurt someone or hit something expensive. The navigation technology built into the two popular models that I used, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 ($300) and DJI Phantom Vision+ ($1,300), is idiot-resistant, but not idiot-proof. Although no animals (or humans) were harmed in the making of this article, I did manage to lose a drone. I think it's stuck in a palm tree.

然而,无人机也给我带来了对新科技的不适应感。每次让这些飞翔的“割草机”升空时,我就会有些害怕自己可能会遇到麻烦,伤到别人或撞到什么贵重东西。我用过两款热门机型——Parrot的AR.Drone 2.0(300美元)和DJI的Phantom Vision+(1,300美元),它们内置的导航技术很容易操作,但并不是万无一失的。虽然在写这篇文章的过程中,我还没有伤害到任何人或动物,但我却丢掉了一架无人机。我猜想它是卡在某棵棕榈树上了。

Personal drones are the latest technology to arrive before we've worked out all the relevant rules, both legal and ethical. A recent Pew survey found 63% of Americans aren't keen on the idea of personal and commercial drones buzzing around above them. The Federal Aviation Administration is enmeshed in court battles over whether it has the authority to regulate small drones, and the U.S. National Park Service recently said they are not allowed. (This was after I flew mine in Joshua Tree.)

个人无人机是最新出现的技术,相关的规定(法律上及道德上的)目前尚未制定出来。皮尤研究中心(Pew)近期一项调查发现,63%的美国人不乐意看到个人及商用无人机在他们的头顶上嗡嗡作响。美国联邦航空管理局(Federal Aviation Administration,简称“FAA”)就其是否有权管理小型无人机的问题陷入了法庭争端,而美国国家公园管理局(U.S. National Park Service)不久前也表示不允许在国家公园飞无人机。(我在约书亚树国家公园玩无人机是在此之前的事情。)

Like Google Glass and GPS trackers, drones have become symbols of tech invading our privacy: In Texas, you can be fined for using drones to photograph without permission, and one Colorado town proposed making it legal to shoot them out of the sky. (Voters shot down the law instead.)


I, too, am concerned about cameras fluttering outside my bedroom window. But we shouldn't dismiss a technology that has the potential to empower us safely -- to record footage once available only to big-budget Hollywood productions and news choppers. Drones have even been used to record protests in Ukraine, Turkey and other areas. In reality, these consumer drones tend to make terrible spy machines, because most have cameras with wide-angle lenses and their propellers sound like swarm of angry bees. Still, people will think you're a jerk if you fly one too close.


It is a different story when you hover a drone close to you and your family or fly in wide-open spaces where you aren't violating someone's expectation of privacy. My dream is to have one follow me around all day like the Khaleesi's dragons trained to snap photos.


The Phantom I flew does use GPS satellites to lock on a spot and stay there, and many drones can fly preprogrammed routes. Both the Phantom 2 Vision+ and Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 give you a bird's-eye view of what the drone is seeing right on your phone. The FAA mandates you shouldn't take a drone more than 400 feet up.

我飞过的Phantom I机型能够利用GPS来锁定一个位置,然后停留在那儿,许多无人机可飞行预先设定的路线。Phantom 2 Vision+与Parrot AR.Drone 2.0均可让你直接在手机上观看无人机所看到的景象的鸟瞰图。FAA要求不得将无人机飞至400英尺(约合122米)以上的高度。

On my vacation, high-altitude flight wasn't really a concern. I found the most interesting shots were well below 150 feet, close enough to the ground to see detail of people, plants and buildings. The bigger challenges were short battery life (less than half an hour of flying time) and maintaining eye contact with the drone to navigate it safely, like when I wanted it to dart between yucca palms at Joshua Tree.


And then there was my disastrous pre-vacation test flight with the AR.Drone. Without removing its safety bumpers, an accessory for indoor use that prevents the blades from hitting anything, I launched the drone on my back deck. Big mistake. In the wind, the bumpers create significant drag, making the drone hard to control.


So when a breeze kicked up, the AR.Drone flew over my deck and into a neighboring yard. I tried using the controller app on my iPhone to bring it back, but in my panic, I confused the drone further by not holding my phone flat -- a critical navigational error, since tilting your phone tells the drone which direction you want it to fly. My drone kept sailing to the left. 'Come back!' I hollered, as friends I had been trying to impress cackled. Moments later, the quadcopter was out of sight.


Mortified, I slipped notecards in mailboxes that read, 'Hello neighbor, I was flying my toy helicopter in my backyard, and I think it might have landed in your backyard. If so, I'm sorry!' (Tip: If you accidentally crash your drone on someone else's property, call it a 'toy helicopter.')


My very patient neighbors helped me hunt through backyards on our block for days. Eventually, I gave up and settled on the palm-tree hypothesis.


Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux chided me for flying it outside with the indoor bumpers on. He said Parrot's upcoming drone, the Bebop, announced this week, will have a GPS-tracking capability that could tell me exactly which palm tree is holding it captive. (It comes out later this year and will probably cost more than the current model.)

Parrot的首席执行长亨利·塞杜(Henri Seydoux)责备我没有卸除室内用的保险杆就在室外飞那架飞行器。他说,Parrot即将上市的无人机机型、不久前刚发布的Bebop将具备GPS跟踪功能,它能确切地告诉我无人机卡在哪棵棕榈树上了。(该机型将于今年晚些时候上市,其售价可能要高于现有机型。)

As for the safety of these flying machines, Parrot's drones are intended for those age 14 and up. 'It isn't more dangerous than riding a bike,' Mr. Seydoux said, 'but you can hurt yourself with a bike.'


For less experienced fliers, the AR.Drone seems safer to me than the Phantom because it is less powerful. Stick your finger in the AR.Drone's blades, and it might sting, but you won't lose a digit. Do the same with the much more powerful Phantom, and it will hurt a lot more. (DJI's Director of Aerial Imaging Eric Cheng told me he survived such an incident with only a blister.)

在我看来,对于经验不足的飞行器操控者,AR.Drone似乎比Phantom更安全,因为它的功效没那么大。把你的手指伸入AR.Drone的桨叶,你的手指可能会很痛,但是你不会失去手指。如果在功效强得多的Phantom上照做这一举动,产生的伤害会大得多。(DJI的航空成像总监Eric Cheng告诉我说他经历过这样一次事故,手只被打出一个水泡。)

I didn't learn to ride a bike on my own, so why should I assume I can learn to fly a drone that way? After losing the AR.Drone, I decided to enroll in flying school.


This week, the popular camera site PhotoJojo is launching a one-hour drone-training class, initially available in San Francisco, that costs $50. I signed up for a session with PhotoJojo's co-founder Amit Gupta, an experienced pilot who popularized the term 'dronie.' We met midafternoon in San Francisco's Dolores Park, a mecca for techies and drone photographers.

热门摄影网站PhotoJojo不久前推出了一门为时一小时的无人机培训课程,最初在旧金山开课,学费为50美元。我报名参加了PhotoJojo的联合创始人阿米特·古普塔(Amit Gupta)的课程,他是一位经验丰富的无人机操作员,就是他让“航空自拍”这个词流行开来的。我们于某天下午在旧金山的多洛雷斯公园(Dolores Park)碰面,那儿是科技迷与航拍爱好者的 地。

We started with a preflight ritual that involved checking for inclement weather, loose screws or propellers, and a full battery. Once turned on, the Phantom emitted ascending tones that made it sound like it was arming missiles. 'What is that thing? Is it going to fly?' asked one young park-goer. 'Righteous!'


Stay away from objects and go slow, counseled Mr. Gupta on our first flight. Obvious enough. But his other advice was less intuitive: If you ever get in trouble, just let go of the controls; the Phantom's auto-hover mode which uses its GPS-lock to stay in one spot, even in a brisk wind will kick in. 'And go up if you are scared,' he said, 'because up is away from the object you might crash into.'


We practiced drawing imaginary squares in the sky with the drone, and then flying circles in the air, which was a challenge. But practice built my confidence and made me realize that you don't need 'Top Gun' skills to take some cool shots.


I was fortunate to have access to PhotoJojo's classes, but all around the world there are communities of drone geeks who could show you the ropes.


Once you're comfortable piloting a drone, recording memorable footage requires planning. You need to figure out if it's safe and legal to fly in the area, and seek permission from people around you. Also decide what kind of shot you hope to achieve (a few suggestions are below). Recording soaring panoramas can get old, believe it or not. Some of the most impressive footage incorporates people, both for drama and for scale. The 'dronie,' for example, is a video that starts up close and then quickly pans out and up.


Oh, and you also need to strategize a place to land. After the Phantom's battery level slips below 30%, the app starts emitting a loud booonk-booonk-booonk alarm. Hopefully you'll have figured out a better spot than a palm tree.


DJI Phantom 2 Vision+

A favorite among video buffs, this quadcopter has a full-HD 1080p resolution camera mounted on a gimbal to produce smooth-as-butter shots, even when the drone turns or gets caught in the wind. A free app for Android or iOS gives you a live view of what the camera sees up in the air and allows you to adjust the camera angle. (DJI also makes a model compatible with GoPro cameras.) The drone's dual-paddle controller--similar to the kind used for model airplanes--is easy to understand and provides precise control, but takes practice to master. Just be aware that the rotors on this 2.6-pound aircraft are powerful enough to cause damage. Have a more experienced pilot show you the ropes before you take this to the skies. $1,300, dji.com

这架四旋翼无人机是视频拍摄爱好者的最爱,它的常平架上安有全高清1080p分辨率的镜头,即使在无人机转弯或被风卷住时,它也能拍出顺畅无比的镜头。安装安卓(Android)或 iOS版的免费应用后,你还可实时观看摄像头在空中俯瞰到的景象,它还便于你调整镜头的角度。(DJI还生产一款与GoPro镜头兼容的机型。)这款无人机的双头遥控器——与飞机模型的遥控器相似——简单易懂,控制精准,但需要练习才能掌握。要注意这架2.6磅(约合1.2千克)重的飞行器的旋翼力量强劲,足以造成破坏。在你自己将它升入空中之前,先请一位更有经验的飞行器操作员指点一二。1,300美元,dji.com

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

This smartphone- or tablet-controlled drone is technically a toy, and a great starting point for people just learning to fly. You control the drone with a free app for Android or iOS; to steer, move the app's touch-screen joysticks or angle your phone in the direction you want the drone to fly. An optional plug-in GPS ($130) unlocks all sorts of neat tricks, like being able to preprogram a flight path or having the drone automatically fly back to its launch site. The camera's resolution is similar to what you'd find from an older smartphone. Weighing under a pound, the AR.Drone is safe for indoor use with the included propeller guards, but the smartphone controller takes some getting used to. Parrot just announced a new drone called the Bebop with a better camera and built-in GPS; it will ship in the fall. $300, ardrone2.parrot.com

严格说来,这款用智能手机或平板电脑控制的无人机是一个玩具,对刚开始学习玩无人机的新手而言是一个很好的入门机型。你可用一款安卓或 iOS免费应用来控制这款无人机;若想要飞行器转向,可移动应用触摸屏上的操纵杆或将手机朝向你想要它飞行的方向倾斜。可选的插入式GPS(130美元)可提供各种功能,比如预设飞行线路或让飞机自动飞回起飞点。其镜头的分辨率与老款智能手机摄像头的分辨率差不多。AR.Drone的重量不足一磅,套上螺旋桨护罩后在室内飞行比较安全,但是智能手机遥控器需要多加习惯。Parrot刚刚宣布要推出一款名为Bebop的新型无人机,它将配备分辨率更高的镜头并内置GPS,将于今年秋季出货。300美元,ardrone2.parrot.com