The Hobby of Drones
In drone lesson #2 we are starting to feel pretty proud of ourselves. The best hobbies in our house are the ones that require lots of techie accessories. Those accessories usually come with a steep learning curve. The weird phenomenon is that the most challenging and frustrating activities are the ones we like the best. It isn’t the frustration stage that we embrace, but rather the pride of conquering. Drone flying hits the mark on all these fronts. There are seemingly unlimited accessories to purchase. There is a long frustrating learning curve. And, we are loving it!
In the first drone edition I talked about how it was changing our perspectives on travel and photography. This time I want to talk about the equipment details. The drone has two distinct learning tracks, the flying and the photography. We have discovered many of the mistakes and pitfalls in both tracks.
Let’s talk about the actual components first.
The DJI Mavic drone is about 11 inches long and weighs less than 2 pounds. It comes equipped with a 4K action camera and a 3-axis camera stabilization for surprisingly sharp wide-angle images. It has a pocket-size controller for flying that must connect to a phone or tablet so you can see in your hands what the drone is seeing. Whichever device you use needs to have the free app, DJI Go4 installed. This app allows the pilot flying control and communicates navigational data. flying warnings and manual camera settings. Images are saved on a micro SD card in the drone and can also be saved on the smartphone or tablet.
There are many various purchase bundles of drone and accessories, we chose the package with a carrying case and one extra battery. After the first couple of flights we discovered several
additional accessories that we wanted/needed.
- It is important to be able to keep the drone in line of sight and we found that the original grey color was quickly lost against a dark background such as a cloudy sky or dark trees. As you can see in the picture above we found a yellow skin to cover the drone and it is easier to keep track of in the sky.
- Each battery will give you about 20 minutes of flying, however this time varies greatly with speed and wind conditions. Therefore we bought 2 more batteries for a total of 4 and a four-way charging station. This addition dramatically extends our flying time and comfort in remote areas.
- We experienced trouble with glare on our smartphone and overexposure from the camera so we added a hood to shade the phone screen and a set of neutral density lens filters for the camera.
- Finally, due to an early on landing mishap we bought extra propeller blades.
Of course there are innumerable accessories to go with your drone. But just like photography equipment, you have to lug all this gear around and know how to use it. There is value simplicity sometimes.
Drone Lesson #3
The next drone lesson we will talk about using all these gadgets.