Previously: the boulders of north-north Scottsdale
After a very busy week, where I couldn’t find the time to take my drone to breath some air, I finally was able to find some time this nice Saturday to enjoy a fun shot.
Realizing that covering too many spots in a single fly is not my thing, I’ve decided to return to my usual style of longer shots in fewer places.
As usual I got into my car before I even know where I’m heading.
I had some time to think about it as I headed for my monthly haircut at my favorite European Barbershop. I was excited as I parked my car sneaking a pick into the shop as I saw no line. By the time I got to the door, a quicker dude beat me to it, so I had even more time to think.
I kept reading about the external battery mounts to see if I can extend the flying time. All of my reading convinced me that the extra weight will not give me much more flying time per run, will overheat my motors and will increase my chances of crashing my drone…
I decided to give up on this for now. Maybe I should just get more batteries so I have more than 3 rotations.
I also noticed that flying time is almost identical with the 2200 mAh and the 2700 mAh batteries I have, while theoriginal 2200 mAh are better fitted into the battery housing… so probably I should stick to the original battery packs when I decided to buy additional juice power.
With my new haircut, I was ready to hit the road but with all the reading and the NBA playoff tip-off in front of me at the barbershop, I did not make up my mind yet .
As I backed out of my parking lot, my mind was set… the Margruite Lake in Scottsdale, not far from the crossing of Via de Ventura and Hayden road, and no, I didn’t know this is how it is called until I started writing this post, so don’t worry if you didn’t know the name.
This is also where my favorite coffee shop is, Altitude Coffee Lab, where I buy my coffee beans to make my favorite drink before I leave home every morning.
Since I started shooting video with the drone, I realized that every time I’m driving my car, I’m constantly in “recce” mode, trying to figure out if I want to film here and how will this shot will look from my flying camera.
This lake was on my mental list for quite some time now. It is located on the nice greenbelt, 11 miles of continuous biking pathway starting at Shea & 101 hwy all the way down to Tempe lake, and has some nice visual features.
This specific point on the path has a very nice view, a water fountain and a wide lake. In addition it has a lot of activity which I wanted to capture in my video, such as bikers, joggers and sometime even some in-lake activity…
As with any busy spot, people were drawn to my drone like flies to a purple light. The moment I placed it on the ground to run through my pre-flight checks and plugging the batteries, people gathered around starting to ask questions.
I was mostly concerned with all the dogs around, after my bad experience in my 2nd flight at the McDowell mountain area…
My mental shot plan was, to break my 21 minutes of shots into three styles:
One would be along the bike path with some slides away to the sides or vertically. The other would be over the water and around the water fountain and the 3rd would be a high altitude set of shots to capture the beauty of the entire lake.
With the excitement of the people around me, and with all the Q&A sessions I ran through, I didn’t get to capture all that I wanted, but I did have a few breakthroughs today.
I was able to perform much more complicated flight maneuvers while staying under 5 feet from the ground, and I was able to control the camera’s tilt in a smoother way than usual (I learned how to hold the tilt control at the back of my RC more firmly and slide it slowly while keeping the grip of it as strong as I could).
The attention of the people was amazing, they were all waving at the camera, even the dogs didn’t freak out, which is good because I didn’t want to see anyone being dragged into the lake by their dog because of me…
As always I was looking for extending my trust in myself and my flying skills. I decided to fly the drone relatively low over the water, close to the fountain, and also try to cover the entire lake distance.
This is one of these moments where you have to train your brain to stop thinking on the “what if” and trust that the drone will come back to you in one piece, although every time you read the stories of experienced drone owners, they have their fair share of stories of drones that decide to go on their own, crashing into water and other kinds of drone-takes-control-of-its-own-destiny situations, occasionally ending up with a lost or damaged-beyond-repair equipment…
The thing that works for me in these situations is to forget how much it cost me to build this flying toy, and to get in-the-zone and focus on enjoying the act of flying and doing my best guessing what does my drone see, vs what I think it captures and how to avoid basic mistakes of running into trees or buildings…
As always, my eyes were deceiving me and fooling my judgment. I was attempting to do a full lake flight and shoot it from its north side, but was barely two thirds of the way over the lake before I turned it back, thinking it is already beyond the water line. Despite this repeating mistake, it was still the farthest I have ever flown my mechanical bird, and the views ended up quite amazing.
I was mostly impressed with the beauty of the reflection of the skies and clouds over the lake as I was speeding over it.
The light wind was not too helpful, but at the same time was not enough to cause any problems except for some shakiness at times, mostly during the fast high altitude fights…
Editing this video was the hardest one so far just because of my attempt to keep the video at the 2 minutes mark, while I had good material for at least 8 minutes of video out of the 21 minutes of footage… but let these be my problems…
Enjoy the “viewdeo”