Any drone advice

Once a year or so, I think that maybe when I have some not-yet-spoken for $$, I’d like to buy a drone. Often this is when I am practicing things and want to get a bird’s eye perspective. But my guess is that it would be fun for a bit and then would go in the closet or something and ultimately be kind of a waste of money. So, I’m wondering if anyone here has used a drone, if you continue to use it, and if you have any advice as to make and model or use.

Why, I have had some drones buzz me because I am the fastest kayak in the water. I hated it, and our local parks have banned them, because people got bored with what they could do with them and started screwing with the nesting birds and turtles.

Buy a better paddle instead.


Like you I want one and also know that it would end up on a shelf. Shooting video is a lot more fun than editing it into a viewable product.

Before buying anything, I would strongly recommend you find out where you can fly it legally. Where I am, there is virtually nowhere where you can legally fly a drone. For example, if you are X number of miles away from an airport or a flight path, you cannot fly. You can’t fly in the public parks. Most municipalities have instituted regulations at this point


We might get one to use over our own property and over public roads nearby when something suspicious is under way.

My husband remotely ran off someone who was about to dump a gunny sack of what I (and a neighbor) guessed was dead cats. He used a laser dot aimed just behind and then just ahead of where the guy was, about to throw the bag in a neighbor’s field. Upon noticing the laser dot, Mr. Would-Be suddenly changed his mind in mid-stride, put the bag back in his vehicle, and drove away.

I suspect a drone appearing overhead would elicit the same response, and probably it would deter them from returning.


China spying


First, learn the rules. Here’s a good place to start: Recreational Flyers & Community-Based Organizations | Federal Aviation Administration
Second, get the B4UFLY App, especially if you plan to fly over locations other than your own property.


I find they mess with my serenity. I spend time on the water to get away from that sort of thing. I would rather listen to the wind.


DJI Has Been Blacklisted by The U.S - YMCinema - News & Insights on Digital Cinema.

Ok. Thanks for those background links.


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Unless the controls are waterproof, using it in the kayak could be a problem, especially if water damages the control unit while out on the water. Retrieving the drone could be tricky. It would be interesting to explore a river route, or record paddling technique, rolling and such to show others the method. However, that would takeca second person.

Not falling into the trap of becoming a pest or a voyeur is a matter of self-control and integrity. Owning one doesn’t mean thecuser will act irresponsibly.

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I own a DJI Mini2. It is an older model and was a gift from my Kids. I have to say it is fun to fly and to observe the landscape from above. It is hard to hear when it is more then 100 feet away. It isn’t waterproof but there is a drone made that is and can land and take off from the water. It runs a bit more than $1,000. The mini2 was about $500. DJI has top of the line camera drones. You can spend less and still have a decent camera. The variety of drones and the drone culture is fascinating. Some amazing stuff really.

You are required to pass an easy test that shows you understand the basic rules. In the near future drones will have to have an ID beacon so commercial delivery drones can avoid collision with hobbyist drones.

I don’t fly it as much as I haven’t been keeping up with the current rules, but still use it to get video and still photos. the camera on mine is 4K video. The statement that editing isn’t as much fun is spot on unless that is your cup of tea.

A few aerial photos of where I like to camp on the Atlantic coast of SC.


My experience with Drones and birds are that for the most part they pay it little attention. I have had Black Vultures come and check it out. And flocks of starlings and cowbirds almost fly into it while flying above the trees at my house to get sunset photos over the town.

At the beach in May one year the Laughing Gulls, Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderlings, and Sandpipers feeding on Horseshoe Crab eggs would barely raise and eye to look at it. I could get fairly close both over them and at ground level for some interesting shots of their behavior.

What made them fly on down the beach was people walking down to the water or along the water line. They didn’t mind the folks sitting in beach chairs but gave wide berth to people walking and kids running. I would go out at sunrise when they would be feeding undisturbed. Once all the beach goers arrived most of the birds left.

This does not mean that other species of birds might be shy of the drone. Nor does it mean nesting birds should be disturbed. Harassment of the wildlife and people shouldn’t be tolerated. You are not supposed to fly directly over people without consent.

Anyway, camera drones make a fantastic photographic platform. If flying is your primary interest, then the FPV drone (first person view) where you wear googles and race or do freestyle acrobatics are what you would probably be more interested in.

A few drone photos of the birds at the beach.

I’m sitting just above the red spot on the beach.

A sunset.

The shallows off Pine and Otter Island at low tide.


Those are nice shots! So, my DJI Mini has sat on the shelf for over a year. I’ve not had an occaison in which I felt the utility of it, since I out mostly alone. Can’t fly, film and surf at the same time, although I understand some drones can be programmed to follow the controller.

I am inspired to get it for some filming.


I was driving up a truly terrifying switchback road in Norway when someone passed me on an uphill straight section. They were driving too fast with a drone flying about 12 ft above and a little behind their SUV. When the drone came into my field of view, I almost drove into the gorge next to the road — I’ll bet the video was exciting, but I did not appreciate that at all…

Sing, it will have a flight time of about 25 minutes. You could do some surf shots by having it hover directly over your location on the water, or have it above the beach facing your approach surfing in. Even facing the shore from the break. Take off from land. Layout a blanket/Tarp and take off from the center of it. If the battery gets too low, you can have it set to return to home. Set the altitude to be higher than any of the possible obstructions. It will ascend to that height fly straight back and descend directly down to the blanket or tarp that it took off from without you doing it yourself. It will land within about 3 feet of the takeoff. They are GPS drones. I think the drone has to be more than 100 feet away from the home spot to work.

Lots of good YouTube videos which is how I learned to use it. There is a flying learning curve, put that was part of the fun. If you let go of the sticks it will just hover. That is a great failsafe when learning.

I had no idea I wanted a drone until the kids surprised me with it. Was a bit surprised at how much I enjoy it. However, I don’t spend as much time using it as I did the first two years. Not being waterproof with kayaks and sailboats it rarely goes with me. However, I still pull it out from time to time and take it up.


Thanks for the tips! More than know and have done so far. I’ve mostly practice flying it around a reservation near my house, not even taking pics or videos.


I don’t even want to imagine that… Good warning.


Here’s a good example of a quality production demo reel with much made by drone for a startup drone production company. Mostly shot in Texas, partly in snow/ice in the Adirondaks.

Nice… Of course, the key descripter is: “Professional Equipment & Services”. Definitely qualifies as “cinematography” whereas what I shoot is “video” (if that!). LOL.