DJI Phantom UAV: Drones in the trees
Flying in the Redwoods
Whirr... Buzzz... Like a kicked hornets nest the beast growls into the air, cutting and slicing through nothing with its four hungry blades. With a rise and a sway it bobs up and down forcing nature and technology to merge against a backdrop of 300 foot ancient redwoods.
The sun beats heavy on the open meadow where we have come to settle. Many park visitors are peering curiously through the giant trunks to see if they can catch a glimpse of what we've got brewing over here. Some of them look delighted, pointing and whispering to each other. Others frown and I know they think we don't belong. Maybe they're right.
Here in these parts the scent of pine and fir are heavy on my nostrils, near burning with intensity. An irritated Blue Jay screams at us to take our fun elsewhere. A lonely deer stretches his neck to see what were up to. When we notice him he scampers off but true to his species he comes around the other side to try to sneak up on us for one more peek. I pretend not to see him this time. He watches.
Up, up into the air a miniature helicopter performs for its ever-growing audience, chirping and humming alongside our own laughter.
The location is Big Basin, California and the offending noise is our toy: The Phantom DJI Quadcopter.
All photos property of Gina Blanchard, All Rights Reserved :)
This one comes with all of the instructions you need and works up to 300 meters. I HIGHLY recommend getting this with the remote control as slider screens do not work nearly as well as physical joysticks.
Phantom with GoPro
Do you remember getting one of those fancy cars for Christmas that you could whirl around the streets and impress your friends? Even when the wires were still attached we had so much fun bringing those powerful suckers to life! When they became cordless I imagine we reacted then as children today will never appreciate -with wide-eyed wonder and amusement. For hours we chased each other and when someone else in the neighborhood got one we raced!
Now imagine doing that in the air with no ground obstacles.
Now imagine having a camera attached so you can video tape.
Yes, it's that cool.
The mount is on this Phantom for GoPro, a camera that can take a beating and captures all of your adventures in life (or your quadrocopters adventures!). You will want one of these whether you want to fly or not!
If you have been following me around here then you know I'm always on the lookout for the next great idea or an interesting hole to poke my head into, for better or worse. This means leaving no rock un-turned from my front yard (the ocean) to my fathers backyard 12 miles away (the forest). Although I don't always find gold I do find some fun things to play with along the way. For example, here I will tell you about my days out with the Phantom DJI Quad-copter and what that was like for me.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (U.A.D) are not a new sensation by any means and many hobbyists have been flying these babies for years. What is new is the growing intrigue due to the copters becoming more synonymous with violence and war - the mere word Drone has been known to send shivers down the spines of adults.
Not all of these Remote Controlled spinners intended for bad. I also acknowledge that even the ones without weapons attached bring worry to many: What if you hurt someone running into them? What if you do damage to the surrounding environment? Why are you watching me?
Remember that these can also be used for a myriad of good; Aerial View Photography have been used in putting together crime scenes (forensic studies, insurance fraud, etc. for example), making movies and/or trailers, viewing traffic, observing nature, assisting in construction sites, aiding real estate companies, agriculture and farming, surfing contests, rescue missions and more!
Me? Well, with everything comes the good and the bad. I don't know how I feel about it all from a moral point of view, but I sure had fun flying it; it only lasts for about thirty minutes of charge anyway, so I can't imagine it could do a lot of surveillance!
If you're looking into some serious aerial photography I recommend a more stable Gimbal designed for holding your GoPro. This baby can twirl spin and rotate on an axis so smooth you can take remarkable videos everyone will think you had professionally done (or they'll know it!)!
Buzzing Big Basin
I'm the "How's that feel?" girl videotaping and being admittedly sick to my stomach from wearing the goggles!
I just added this to show you guys we were having fun :)
In the beginning you can see the Phantom being calibrated.
Tips and Tricks for Flying
Check your local laws and regulations for where you are allowed to fly these and what you’re allowed to be recording.
The blades on copters spin very quickly, therefore making this very dangerous. There have been many reported injuries - some fatal! - due to ignorance and/or negligence on the pilots part.
When you go out make sure you have an open area. Make sure there are no children nearby that are unsupervised - children love to run towards toys and this is not one you want them doing that with while its in the air. Teach respect for the adult toy where children are around often.
Lock up your pets. Do not leave your animals unattended around these things - some animals have also been known to approach the copter with curiosity with horrible results.
These move VERY quickly and its easy to be caught off-guard.
Be careful not to lose your new friend- you can set the GPS coordinates up so that he will return to you, but these are not out of box settings so read all of your manuals carefully before starting. This is important.
See in the video we are watching the green lights flash in the beginning? Green lights do not always mean go so once again, read the instructions.
There are Applications you can download on your iPhone from GoPro for viewing through the camera while simultaneously controlling from the RC.
You will attract attention with this. Some people even came out of the trees because they ”...thought those were bees we were hearing!”.
So many options!
Handy things to have
Remember you're getting yourself not into just an adventure but a full-blown hobby- be prepared to buy some additional pieces.
Buy extra batteries. If you can get away with it, buy three or four. Remember these only last for about thirty minutes of extreme fun, so you'll want to have more to keep it going!