Old Dog, New Tricks

Drone video from a beginner



Originally I included a voice over with this video. Unfortunately, my recorded voice does not sound very “professional,” so I am attaching it as text.


They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but I think the jury’s still out on that one. You can learn just about anything on YouTube if you’ve got an internet connection.

I bought a drone last year and I was clueless. I was afraid to even open the box. And then when I did I still didn’t fly it until I’d watched dozens of tutorials. I’d get the drone a few feet off the ground and clumsily start to coordinate flight maneuvers with the two joy sticks and it didn’t always go well. I’d panic and forget the emergency procedure for bringing it back and then, trying to figure out the remote controller gizmo in my hands, I would lose sight of it up in the air and panic even more.

And there aren’t even very many places in my area where it’s legal to fly a drone, at least anywhere that’s photogenic. I bought a Mavic 2 Pro with a nice Hasselbad camera hoping to get some stunning landscapes. But that wasn’t going to happen until I figured out how to fly it, safely, and where I could fly it, legally.

There’s a smart-phone app that can tell me if I am launching from a protected flight zone or not. And I could go on the computer and check available locations all over the country. Looked like California and the Pacific Ocean was where I needed to be. I live in Florida but BINGO! – Tzuri and I loaded up and took off on a road trip out West.

Northern California has some rugged coastal areas that are perfect for remote flying. I had nightmares of bouncing my Mavic Pro off a mountain or dive-bombing into the ocean but in Humboldt County I found some good places to practice flying. I was still not comfortable with the controls. And even when you learn to fly the damn thing you still have to get proficient with the camera system.

So here I was in the midst of beautiful vistas and I wasted a lot of time doing takeoffs and landings, pans and 360s. You gotta learn the flight controls and you gotta learn camera and exposure controls, and then you have to have the coordination and muscle memory to put it all together using two thumbsticks.

I’m a slow learner, so I didn’t come away with anything spectacular. In my defense it was overcast and the sky was like the inside of a soup bowl the entire time I was on the coast.

Then we went inland and found some mountains. I was still mostly in practice mode but I got some pretty good footage of Mt. Shasta, which I’ll post later.

Actually, I almost lost all the video and every single image I took during my entire 6-week road trip. I was reorganizing my files and I thought I had a backup when I reformatted a drive, and lost everything. I bought a special program that restores lost files and it was touch ‘n go for a while, but I finally got most of them back. Tens of thousands of files retrieved and they were totally unorganized, and all had software generated unrecognizable names. It’s been almost a year now of sifting, shoveling digital shit looking for the hidden pony.

It’s in there somewhere, the good stuff. If I don’t find it I’ll just jump in the car and drive 3,000 miles and start over.

🙂 🙂 🙂

5 Replies to “Old Dog, New Tricks”

  1. Cool – as always! My niece and husband (very successful Silicon Valley attorney) are “sheltering in place” at their Mount Shasta-Area home.

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. If Mt.Shasta is their ‘second home” I bet they need a house-sitter when this sheltering-in-place is over. I’m available, no charge!


  2. Gorgeous as usual!

    On Tue, Jun 2, 2020 at 6:58 AM Giblets & Flapdoodle wrote:

    > oopsjohn posted: “Drone video from a beginner 🙂 🙂 :)” >


  3. I woulda returned the fuckin’ thing and then written a blog about my inability to face advanced technology … persistence is your real strength, Oops … even though you view yourself as a “dropout!” HUSS


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