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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!