Go Learn Things: The Drone Edition

The Drone Edition

Where is it?  

Can you see it?  

What does that alarm mean?


Suddenly there is a quiet whir of propellers and the drone comes into sight straight over our heads.  The grey  skin of the craft, so invisible a moment before now separates itself from the clouds and hovers awaiting instructions.


Phew there it is!  Do you know how to land it?


I think so……




 There hasn’t been a Go Learn Things update in a few weeks. We have been busy learning though.  We are pleased to present Go Learn Things: The Drone Edition…..
The newest addition to the Go Learn Things’ arsenal is a sweet little  drone. The DJI Mavic joined us in April.  Just like any new member to the family, it has altered how we look at the world.  One would think that with our travels focused on motorcycles, diving, hiking, and photography we would hardly need to add any more excitement(or equipment).  The truth about curiosity-driven folks is that we are always on the hunt for the next cool idea. In our life, those ideas generally come in the form of expensive toys for big boys.

drone edition
Look, look, look what I bought!!





Mavic is one of the newer offerings from DJI, the primary manufacturer of recreational drones. This model is compact and nicely portable and sports a high quality camera operated with your smartphone. It is apparent that DJI has applied user feedback to the design of this new model. While I wouldn’t ever call this drone “idiot proof”, it does do a lot of thinking for you.  As travelers we  appreciate that it fits easily in our simple backpacks and goes through security without a hitch. As photographers we are impressed that it shoots 4K video and JPEG and RAW stills.









We love learning new things and this toy has several learning curves to tackle. The two major lessons of any drone will be the remote flying and the photography.  In the Drone Edition we will break down the lessons we have learned, the mistakes and epiphanies along the way.


Drone Edition Lesson #1: Perspective

New technology is so hard to resist

The idea of a drone had been kicking around our brains for a few years.  Initially it was an attempt to divert from the idea of a pilot’s lessons.  (Yes we dream crazy things sometimes.) While it was certainly cheaper and simpler than flying an airplane, it was still such new technology that we were cautious of the “wild west” atmosphere. As we suspected, some regulations came down the pike in response to some really stupid characters. After several years and several new drone generations things seemed to be settling out. The major impetus for us still focused around the gadgetry and fun of new technology.  What surprised us was how it effected our world view…

Up, Up and Away


Our perspective changed on three levels.
The first was we needed big open spaces to practice. Suddenly, we were surveying our daily surroundings with new eyes. We noticed overhead power lines, low hanging trees and nearby airfields.  We anticipated that learning to fly would be slow at first.  So empty ball fields and parking lots took on a new charm for us.

drone edition
Tom and Tina practice at Veterans Park in Milwaukee

This is where my drive to explore new parks and trails has paid off.









The second perspective was similar to the first.  We sought places that were isolated.  Go learn things the drone edition needed to make mistakes without an audience or bystanders. The drone does draw attention and we needed solitude to focus on the new skills. Drone regulations  mandate that you are not flying over crowds of people or into private property.

Empty parking lot at Miller Park.










Finally, the best perspective change was discovering things we wanted to see from above.  Natural and architectural landmarks we considered “old hat” were fresh and exciting.  Even the backyard was a new adventure.  We had an upcoming trip to California that we wanted to practice for, but we had forgotten how spectacular our own locale was.

Birds-eye (drones-eye) view of Miller Park Brewers Baseball Stadium



















Imagine how this will revolutionize our travels.

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