I’ve long been obsessed with drone photography – it’s something about seeing the land from a different perspective. It’s why I always claim the window seat on a plane and why my preferred super power would be flight. I just love getting an aerial view of things. So when we decided to invest in a DJI Mavic Pro drone, I was super excited. One step closer to my flying dreams!
Getting to grips with drone photography
Flying a good quality drone like the DJI Mavic Pro really isn’t that hard. If you’ve ever played video games or had a play on a remote controlled car, then you won’t find it hard at all. It’s when you come to taking video that things become interesting, because you have to think about where and how you’re flying, as well as what the shot looks like on screen! We’re yet to master video but thankfully taking stills is much easier.
The first time we took the drone out was at the Auckland Domain on a perfect day – no wind, blue skies, just stunning. I flew a bit too close to a group doing a bootcamp fitness class (whoops, I really wasn’t spying! Just getting the hang of flying!). Shaun and my brother Patrick were pros from the start – probably something to do with them being males and having many more hours of Xbox experience than me.
It was amazing seeing this little buzzy thing take off and fly around, and all of us were amazed at how easy it was to fly. The best thing is that you can take your hands off all the controls and it just hovers there – so handy.
Exploring our backyard by drone
One of the coolest things about owning a drone is flying it in places we have been many times before, but getting to see it from a whole new perspective. We’ve had our family home in central Auckland for 25 years, but of course we’ve never seen it from the air! Our home looks out on some historic boatsheds, so Shaun flew the drone across the water (I was way too scared) and snapped some awesome shots of the boatsheds. On the way back to base, the drone got attacked by seagulls (over the water, ahh!) but luckily they didn’t hit it and we made it home safe.
Having a drone has made us go out and about in the winter weekends when usually we would hang around home. It’s great to have a purpose to those weekends that would otherwise just disappear! We’ve visited a dam in the Waitakere Ranges, a nature reserve in East Auckland, beaches, and a volcano/military defence area (North Head). Recently we visited our holiday home in the Bay of Islands and flew the drone there. It was stunning, as we expected it would be. We can’t wait to go out to the islands on our boat (it was too windy that weekend) – the beaches are just beautiful so I can’t wait to see them from the air.
Rules about flying drones in New Zealand
There has been a lot of talk about the legality of flying drones in New Zealand, and many other parts of the world. Technically, they’re aircraft, so they can pose a danger to other aircraft. There have been numerous stories in the news about some idiot flying too close to a helicopter at a popular tourist spot – imagine what would happen if the helicopter crashed!
There are also privacy issues to bear in mind. Generally speaking, you need to get permission to fly over private property and you have to know if you’re in an airport zone or not. The 4km around an airport is an absolute no-fly zone, and there are other approach paths to airports that are also controlled.
There are some maps on Airshare that can help you with these zones. You can also log your flights there if you like.
We love our drone – it has opened up a whole new world of photography for us and is really fun to use. We totally recommend getting one, but make sure you are careful where you fly!
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