Well, it's finally happened. After months of thinking about it and going to some meet-ups , I purchased a small drone to learn how to fly.
For a while now, I've been looking at aerial stills and video from some very talented people, and even worked alongside a drone pilot on the Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust assignment. It became increasingly clear that both my lifestyle and documentary ranch work could benefit significantly from the unique vantage point that a drone affords. And with a road trip coming up in May, it seemed like a good time to get my feet wet.
Last night I was out in central Colorado shooting on my Starlight series, and camped overnight not far from there. I figured that the best place to start to play would be on private land where I wouldn't bother anyone.
I haven't done gaming, so getting used to the transmitter was fun. Actually, I found myself laughing a lot as I tried to remember which control adjusted ascending and descending, and what the different trim switches did. I crashed the little UAV into bushes, trees and native grasses that just hours before had been bedding for elk.
For something so small (see the scale to my iPhone in the picture above), I was surprised by how powerful it was, even when there was a slight breeze. In fact, having a bit of wind added an extra dimension to figuring out how much power to use, when to roll or turn to one side or the other, and when to just give up and let it go down in flames. Which I did a lot.
Still, I was amazed by how tough this little bird was with all I put it through. In the end, beyond some scuffs, some grass stains and bent warning lights, it's certainly ready for the next round of flying.
Honestly, I'm hooked. I'll probably get past the point of a kid chasing after his kite that got away in the next few outings, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it for now. Time to charge up the batteries and get back out there!