Fun times with a Drone

For a long time I have wanted a Drone. I had an obsession with photography for a while which lead me to buy a Nikon 5100 with a few lenses. When I first got into it, it felt like the only good way to get a good picture was a real camera.

Since then, camera phone tech has caught up to the point that 90% of my pictures are done with a camera phone. The cameras on modern phones are simply amazing.

The one thing my phone can’t do tho, is fly (I’m sure Apple is working on that tho). A year ago a buddy of mine picked up a DJI drone and sung its praise to the point that I had a serious case of drone envy. The pictures and video he has shared with me convinced me that I needed one in my life.

Last weekend, I gave in and picked up a DJI Mavic 2 Pro. This sucker has a 20mp camera on it! That’s just insane.

I have a LOT to learn when it comes to using this thing, but after about 5 flights I’m having a blast.

As I learn, I’ll share what my thoughts are. So far I’ve picked up a few accessories for it; a case, the “fly more” kit from DJI (2 batteries, and more charging options), a better phone mount, a longer phone cable to work with the new mount, Micro SD Card wallet, extended landing gear (a must for grass).

You’ll probably notice my “Remove Before Flight” tag on the drone. So…. about the second time I went to fly I forgot to remove the gimbal cover and caused an “overload” warning on the gimbal. This could have been very very bad.

My solution was to drill a small hole in the cover and zip-tie the tag onto the gimbal cover. It’s big (and bright enough!) to remind me to take the cover off, hopefully. I picked the tag up at a local air museum, however they are available nearly everywhere.

The factory phone mount puts the screen below the controls. When flying the drone, that causes your head to look straight down to see what the camera sees. The little holder I picked up puts the phone over the remote, at an angle – it’s a small change but it’s more natural. The downside to using this mount is that the factory cable no longer works; you’ll need a new Micro-USB/USB-C/Lightning cable. You could use a standard phone charging cable, but they are much longer than you need – there is a USB port on the bottom of the controller that would work for this. The cable I linked uses the original phone port on the side of the controller. Probably not a big deal to use either of them, but I liked the cable routing that way.

I’m really looking forward to taking this with us on our travels, that was one of the main reasons I picked it up (plus, did I mention drones are awesome!?).

Arizona Desert

Please note: In the USA, you need to register with the FAA before flying a drone over .55 pounds. The registration for a recreational drone is $5/3 years. If you are going to be flying commercially there is a much different testing process that needs to be adhered to.

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