Getting involved with drones and aerial photography/videography was an area, that as of just over a year ago, I never ever thought of. I love technology so the idea of flying a drone sounded way cool but I really had no idea what it was all about. I pictured drones from the movies and TV; you know what I mean - some tech nerd flying a mini drone to spy or deliver something, maybe a military movie where a drone shot an aircraft down or bombed an enemy. The photos and video were always awesome and the highest quality (no so in real life). I never really thought about the wide panoramic and cinematic shots you see in epic films, cool shots, but I wasn’t concerned with how they were shot (now, every TV and movie we watch, we look for drone shots LOL). Worse yet, I thought that drones were either a toy or something so high end that I couldn’t afford it and certainly would not have the skill to fly. Well…I was wrong.
It all came about when some folks that I work with offering Large Animal Emergency Rescue services, asked me if I would be interested in taking a drone certification training class. A lot of the folks I work with in LAR are first responders, EMS, firefighters and such, and the thought was that we wanted to expand our capabilities to respond in certain situations. We would be able to handle search and rescue operations more efficiently and safely using UAVs versus sending human responders out into dangerous and hazardous areas and environments when we needed to get a clear idea of what we are dealing with.
When the opportunity for the certification class came up, it sounded interesting…and the wheels began to turn. My soon to be wife, Gwen, also wanted to learn more about it. So, 1 week before we were married (literally) we spent a Saturday and Sunday in a classroom, trying to absorb all we could to be able to pass our Part 107 exam. BTW, A special shout out to Tough Stump Technologies here in North Carolina for a great training class. It was a lot to learn, I couldn’t understand why we needed to learn about some things ( how often am I going to know the direction of airport runways to land a drone) and a lot of the material was foreign to us. But you know what, cramming can be effective. We took multiple practice exams over the 2 days, we even got a chance to fly drones, or see drones in action. The practice tests were important, especially since we scheduled our 107 tests for the next day, Monday! Yup, an intense 2 day training class, FAA certification test and final plans for a wedding all in one week with relatives starting to arrive the day after our test. Well, drum roll please…we both passed on the first try and are now fully licensed UAV Remote Pilots, for 2 years anyways. And we got married!
And now the real adventure has begun. Since we passed our test, we’ve been hard at work practicing flying any chance we get, we now have 3 drones – and Autel Evo II Pro, an Autel Nano+ and we just got a new DJI Air 3. Love them all for different reasons (the Air 3 is quickly becoming my favorite). We even took the Nano to Ireland in March to get some stunning shots. We have named all the drones based on female country singers but that’s a story for another day. I have also been trying to learn to edit. Using the Adobe tools mainly has been an experience. As I said I love technology and consider myself fairly technical but editing photos and videos has been very interesting. I thought I had a pretty powerful PC/laptop until I tried to edit my first video, nope. Bogged down immediately. I was going to try to limp into next year with it (only have to restart the program 4-5 times a session) however Gwen convinced me to spend the money on something new. Welcome to my new Apple Macbook Pro M3 as of a week ago, ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE.
So we’re on our way. There are so many applications for drones these days, probably some that haven’t been addressed as of yet. What kind of work we do with Love 2 Fly is still in question, we have actually been paid to do some photos and video for real estate already, so we got that going for us. But ultimately, for us, the goal is to have fun with it. Gwen is the inspiration behind Love 2 Fly’s mission of “Seeing the World from a Different View”, she drives our passion for it with her mindset and outlook. For me, that means we are already successful, no matter what. We’re just going to keep sharing what we shoot and our hope is that it brings happiness to whoever see it. This world can be an amazing place to be if we open our eyes.
Until next time Fly Safe and Have Fun!