|The Wirecutter was the first to report that retailers such as Amazon have been slowly running out of Parrot’s Mambo (pictured above) and Swing drones.|
French drone manufacturer Parrot is retiring its Mambo and Swing models, effectively exiting the toy drone market. The news was first reported by The Wirecutter. ‘Parrot has stopped the production and development of any drone but the Anafi and its variations,’ a spokesperson confirmed on Friday. Though the company will still offer the Anafi on the consumer end, it has been iterating on the compact, foldable drone and shifting its focus toward commercial and enterprise businesses with the Anafi Thermal.
Parrot has been steadily scaling back on consumer drone manufacturing for over two years. 290 employees, or roughly one third of the staff at the time from the UAV division, were laid off in the beginning of 2017 after a lackluster Holiday season. Consumer interest in drones is growing but the market is dominated by DJI, which is based in Shenzhen, China, and dominates globally with a 75% share.
The Federal Aviation Administration recently released an annual Aerospace Forecast Report. The latest findings predict the commercial drone market could triple in size by 2023. It makes sense that Parrot, who also announced they would no longer compete with DJI in the consumer market back in a 2017 financial filing, continues to focus on developing B2B enterprise solutions. While revenue from its commercial sector increased by 5% in 2018, total revenues were down by 28% from 2017.
This past May, Parrot was one of six companies selected to develop unmanned aircraft for the U.S. Military’s Department of Defense program. The month before, it introduced the Anafi Thermal containing a FLIR radiometric thermal-imaging unit with a standard 4K camera. This repurposing of a consumer drone for commercial purposes is a clear indicator of their future direction. The numbers speak volumes. In the first quarter of 2019, the company’s consumer drone sales accounted for 38% of its overall revenue, down 20% from the same period in 2018.
The Sigma 45mm F2.8 is neither the fastest nor the sharpest of the three full-frame mirrorless lenses recently launched for Sony E-mount and Sigma/Panasonic/Leica L-mount. But what it is is a compact, lightweight piece of glass perfect for walking around. And we did just that with it, have a look.
Sony just announced the a7R IV, its new high resolution flagship camera. DPReview TV was on hand for the launch and Jordan is here with a preview of the new model. Unfortunately, Chris picked this week to go on a big fishing trip, but we know a great website where he can learn more about the camera when he gets home.
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In its own words, ‘The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.’ Audubon consists of 23 state programs, 41 nature centers, almost 500 chapters and partners around the world.
Audubon has posted a full collection of the winning images on its website with an accompanying blog post, but we've gathered the winning images, with permission, in each category in the following slideshow.
|Red-winged Blackbird by Kathrin Swoboda (Vienna, VA) | Audubon Photography Awards|
Species: Red-winged Blackbird
Location: Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia
Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/800 second at f/6.3; ISO 2500
Story Behind the Shot: I visit this park near my home to photograph blackbirds on cold mornings, often aiming to capture the "smoke rings" that form from their breath as they sing out. On this occasion, I arrived early on a frigid day and heard the cry of the blackbirds all around the boardwalk. This particular bird was very vociferous, singing long and hard. I looked to set it against the dark background of the forest, shooting to the east as the sun rose over the trees, backlighting the vapor.
Bird Lore: Red-winged Blackbirds are some of the most abundant and conspicuous birds in North America. Beginning in early spring, males perch above marshes, pond edges, damp fields, and roadside ditches, flaring their red shoulder patches and belting out arresting songs to announce their claims to breeding territories.
|White-necked Jacobin by Mariam Kamal (New York, NY) | Audubon Photography Awards|
Species: White-necked Jacobin
Location: Dave & Dave’s Nature Park, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Camera: Nikon D3300 with Tamron SP AF 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens; 1/250 second at f/6.3; ISO 200
Story Behind the Shot: On my fifth trip to Costa Rica, my favorite birding spots produced a few measly sightings. So I drove six hours to a reforestation site, which turned out to be well worth the trip. For an hour I photographed a valiant troop of White-necked Jacobins consuming nectar from heliconias that swayed and bobbed in a forceful wind. I could barely breathe as I snapped—I felt that I, too, was fighting to hang on!
Bird Lore: Of the 350-plus species of hummingbirds, most have small geographic ranges. Bucking the trend is the White-necked Jacobin, common from southern Mexico to southern Brazil. It succeeds by being adaptable, occupying a wide variety of tropical forest and edge habitats.
|Greater Sage-Grouse by Elizabeth Boehm (Pinedale, Wyoming) | Audubon Photography Awards|
Species: Greater Sage-Grouse
Location: Pinedale, Wyoming
Camera: Canon EOS 6D with Canon 500mm EF f/4 L IS USM lens; 1/1500 second at f/5.6; ISO 800
Story Behind the Shot: I spent a number of cold spring mornings photographing the courting display of the Greater Sage-Grouse from a blind on the perimeter of the lek. Along with the strutting, I watch for the dominance fights between males. The two contestants sit side by side until, upon some invisible cue, they suddenly throw blows, hitting each other with their wings. This photo, captured on hard snowpack, shows the power they exhibit when they are fighting for mates.
Bird Lore: On a Greater Sage-Grouse dancing ground, or lek, the stakes are high. Many males may display there, but most females that visit will mate with one of the few dominant males at the center of the lek. As a result, genes passed on to the next generation will tend to be those of the strongest males.
|Horned Puffin by Sebastian Velasquez (Menlo Park, California) | Audubon Photography Awards|
Species: Horned Puffin
Location: Alaska SeaLife Center (accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums), Seward, Alaska
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel t7i with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens; 1/800 second at f/11; ISO 1600
Story Behind the Shot: Traveling through Alaska I saw Horned and Tufted Puffins from afar, always hoping to get closer. I got my chance at the SeaLife Center. Amid the chaos of native birds swimming, fishing, and zipping past me, I waited for hours for the perfect shot. At last I spotted this secluded puffin in a moment of stillness, preening its feathers, providing a glimpse into a seemingly private moment.
Bird Lore: Unlike the Atlantic and Tufted Puffins, which dig tunnels in soil for their nests, the Horned Puffin usually lays its single egg deep in a crevice among rocks. Such nest sites are harder to access for study, and the habits of this North Pacific species are not as well known as those of its relatives.
|Hooded Oriole on a California Fan Palm by Michael Schulte (San Diego, California) | Audubon Photography Awards|
Species: Hooded Oriole
Location: San Diego, California
Camera: Canon 7D Mark II with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC lens; 1/800 second at f/6.3; ISO 1600
Story Behind the Shot: Soon after moving to San Diego last year, I noticed a pair of orioles that frequented the California fan palm in my backyard. When I saw the female gathering palm fibers for a nest, I grabbed my camera. I love this shot; it shows the relationship between two native species and illustrates the natural beauty to be appreciated even in a city. And the radiating palm fronds behind the female give a sense of radiance to her diligent efforts.
Bird Lore: Orioles build hanging nests, weaving plant fibers for a lightweight but durable structure. Living in subtropical climates, the Hooded Oriole finds the perfect building material in the long, strong fibers of palms. It often fastens its nest under a leaf of California fan palm; "Palm-leaf Oriole" was an old alternative name for this bird.
|Black-browed Albatross by Ly Dang (Poway, California) | Audubon Photography Awards|
Species: Black-browed Albatross
Location: Saunders Island, Falkland Islands
Camera: Nikon D850 with Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED AF-S VR lens; 1/4000 second at f/8.0; ISO 400
Story Behind the Shot: On a steep, windy slope of Saunders Island, several breeding colonies of Black-browed Albatrosses were tending their chicks and squawking at the neighbors to urge them to respect the territories. As I sat watching the birds conducting their daily activities, I started to notice the simple, elegant beauty of the adults’ eyes. After several positions looking for a clear view and a good light angle, I took this shot.
Bird Lore: Spending most of their lives at sea in southern oceans, Black-browed Albatrosses are masters of the air, soaring and gliding effortlessly on incredibly long wings. On the Falkland Islands they share nesting colonies with penguins—the opposite of albatrosses in flying ability, but birds also supremely adapted to a life at sea.
|Great Blue Heron by Melissa Rowell (Vestal, New York) | Audubon Photography Awards|
Species: Great Blue Heron
Location: Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach, Florida
Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at f/5.6; ISO 640
Story Behind the Shot: A storm was on the horizon when I arrived at one of my favorite wetlands. These herons immediately grabbed my attention: The male, obviously attempting to entice the female, was doing a stretch display. I love this mating ritual and decided to spend some time with them. When serious bill duels erupted between the pair, I was fascinated by their intense expressions as they sparred. The drama was further heightened as, thunder rumbling in the distance, the wind picked up, accentuating their long, flowing plumes.
Bird Lore: Equipped with sinewy necks and spear-like bills, Great Blue Herons can lunge with fearsome speed to strike their aquatic prey. Adults will also employ rapid stabbing motions as one aspect of their complex courtship displays; they’re seemingly dangerous moves, but fitting to the intensity of mating season.
|Bald Eagle by Kevin Ebi (Lynnwood, Washington) | Audubon Photography Awards|
Species: Bald Eagle
Location: San Juan Island National Historical Park, Friday Harbor, Washington
Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with Canon EF 600mm f/4 IS lens; 1/320 second at f/11; ISO 1600
Story Behind the Shot: I had spent the day photographing foxes and was panning with this kit running with its prey when an unmistakable cry made me look up. I just knew the eagle racing our way was after the fox’s rabbit. I expected to have only a split second to capture the theft in one explosive frame; instead the eagle snagged the fox and rabbit, carrying both 20 feet off the ground. After eight seconds it dropped the fox, seemingly unharmed, and flew away with its stolen dinner.
Bird Lore: Bald Eagles eat pretty much anything they want to. Their penchant for dining on carrion may seem less than regal, but they are also powerful predators and pirates. They capture a wide variety of fish, mammals, and birds, and don’t hesitate to steal others’ prey.
|Bobolink by Garrett Sheets (St. Louis, Missouri) | Audubon Photography Awards|
Location: Dunn Ranch Prairie, Lincoln Township, Missouri
Camera: Canon EOS 60D with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 400
Story Behind the Shot: At sunset the Dunn Ranch Prairie becomes a field of golden grasses, which provided a perfect setting for this male as he perched briefly for a curious glance at my camera. The robotic tone of his song was echoed by dozens of other Bobolinks as they flew overhead. I was almost too excited to take the photo, but I secured a burst of photos before he took off, flying far out over the grasses.
Bird Lore: Most songbirds nesting in grasslands of the United States and Canada are short-distance migrants at most. The Bobolink is a striking exception, vacating North America entirely in fall, spending midwinter south of the Equator in South America. Bobolinks molt before migrating, the male trading his snappy summer plumage for subtle buff-brown tones.
|Purple Gallinule on a fire flag by Joseph Przybyla (Lakeland, Florida) | Audubon Photography Awards|
Species: Purple Gallinule
Location: Circle B Bar Reserve, Lakeland, Florida
Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VRII AF-S ED lens; 1/1000 second at f/5.6; ISO 1800
Story Behind the Shot: The normally elusive Purple Gallinule comes into the open when fire flag blooms, climbing the plant to feed on its flowers. I spotted this one making its way up the plant mid-morning on an overcast day, eating as it went. I set up with my monopod and camera, watching, waiting. When it reached the top, I captured images as it moved from stem to stem, moving quickly, side to side, up and down, choosing the best angle, and ultimately getting this photo of the bird mid-snack.
Bird Lore: The Purple Gallinule seems to combine the best traits of its rail relatives. Like true rails, it slips through dense marshes; like the coots, it swims and dives expertly on open water. When food beckons, it uses its garish yellow feet to clamber higher, even into trees.
Brendan Barry, the photographer who transformed New York City's iconic 101 Park Avenue skyscraper into a giant camera, has unveiled a new project: Container Camera. This is ‘basically the world's biggest, slowest, and most impractical Polaroid camera,’ according to Barry, who showcased his work in a new video created by Exploredinary, the same team behind the recently published Ilford Photo video.
Container Camera is a shipping container converted into a giant camera with a built-in darkroom that can produce large traditional analog prints. Barry describes the solar-powered camera/darkroom as a wheelchair-accessible space that can be used to accommodate large groups for photography workshops.
The container is located in Exeter, UK, where Barry spent three weeks producing images with the workspace. During various times, the camera was open to the public, and other times it hosted people from community groups, charities, and education centers. Toward the end of the project, the shipping container was then turned into a gallery where photos produced by the camera were put on display.
Below is a collection of images provided by Barry with permission showing a bit of the building process and a number of resulting images captured with the shipping container camera:
This is one of many unique camera projects Barry has published, other examples including cameras built into a variety of unusual structures: a squash, honeydew melon, mannequin, bread, watermelon, pineapple, and larger structures like a shed and caravan. Barry's other work can be found on his website and Instagram profile.