I’ve been focusing more on aerial photography in the last year and less on comic art. I still love comics and drawing, but I’ve never really gotten to where I wanted to be with it. Flying drones has been more rewarding for me as of late. This is the story of how I got into the business of flying almost three years ago.

The original DJI Mavic Mini

I started off with an original Mavic Mini in November of 2019 and learned to fly with it. It had just come out and was a great starter drone for new pilots. For three months, I flew it as often as I could. In January of 2020, I got a little over-confident with it and ended up losing line of sight and crashed it on a condo balcony. I got it back a few weeks later, but it had a broken gimbal and arm.

Drone Killers

In March of 2020, I ended up trading it in on a new one and started again. Again, for three months I flew as many times as I could. In May of 2020, I was doing an auto-pilot orbit and ended up putting it in a tree in my backyard. I didn’t get to fly again for five months. The neighbor found it on the ground nine months later, and after cleaning it up a little, it would still fly, but the gimbal was not working properly. It sat out in the rain, heat, and cold for the better part of a year, and it will still charge up and take off. I can see through the camera, but I can’t take photos or videos with it.

There is unrest in the trees

In October of 2020, I was determined to learn from my mistakes, so I bought a third Mini and was much more careful with it. I still have that one. I’ve made sure I don’t take risks around objects I can run into. It’s been almost two years now since I’ve had a crash.

My second and third Mavic Minis

In June of 2021, I studied for and took the exam for the Part 107 commercial license from the FFA. I passed the first time, and am now able to do commercial work with my drones.

Study guides for the Part 107 test

In July of that year, I knew I needed a better unit that didn’t just do JPG photos and videos in 1080p. If I was going to invest more in this activity, I wanted to get the best one I could afford. I went with a DJI Air 2S, and it didn’t disappoint. It has obstacle avoidance, a better camera with a 1” sensor, shoots images in RAW as well as JPG, and more advanced color modes for 10-bit video. It’s still small enough to fit on my backpack that I carry around with me daily, so I almost always have it with me.

The DJI Air 2S with prop guards attached

I’ve gotten pretty good at working with images in Adobe Lightroom, and video clips in Adobe Premiere. I haven’t gotten many commercial jobs yet, but I’m available to fly for hire. I feel like I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go with drones. Now that the pandemic is subsiding, I want to get out to locations I don’t usually get to fly at. I have the tools, the experience, and the credentials. If I ever get another drone, it will likely be the DJI FPV model, so I can get video shots with a wider range of motion and excitement. The Air 2S is perfect for cinematic shots and does all I need in that area.

Stay tuned for what comes next in my aerial adventures!

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