Deke's Techniques 254: Merging Video Frames to Create the Best Aerial Drone-Captured Still Photograph

It's a little bit surreal, and more than just a little guilt-inducing, to write up this week's free Deke's Techniques movie from the elegant Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastián, aka Donostia, in the Spanish Basque Country. This technique features some aerial drone photography that Deke captured a few weeks ago with his Phantom quadcopter and GoPro camera in the foothills of the Flatirons over Boulder, Colorado. After we left Boulder for Spain last week, the storm that saw us off ultimately brought record rainfall and devastating floods to Deke's hometown. The images of the flooding back home even made Spain's version of headline news.

You can see from this final photo of the Flatirons why the record rains had nowhere to go but downhill into the towns surrounding Colorado's Front Range.

Flatirons over Boulder taken with a quadcopter and GoPro camera

We can only imagine that this scene around the Chautauqua area of Boulder would look very different today. We send our best thoughts to those devastated by the flooding and our infinite gratitude to the folks back home who have already started ripping up carpet in Deke's flooded basements (after they braved treacherous roads just to get across town).

The photo itself was created by stacking multiple frames of a video taken with Deke's DJI Phantom quadcopter and GoPro Hero3 camera. You don't need either of these fancy toys to use this technique. However you do need Photoshop CC. This newest version of Photoshop gives you the ability to apply Camera Raw and the Median Stack Mode to a smart object.

Check out this technique, which could come in very handy for your own photography. And send your good thoughts to the intrepid inhabitants of Boulder, Colorado. 


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