Would you risk your drone's life for the shot?
How often do you find yourself driving along a highway of 99 bends? A seemingly-like race car track that gradually ascends high into the clouds. Pair this with a sky blanketed in thick fog and gentle rain drops falling onto the barren planetary landscape... would you do it?
Would you launch your drone into the unknown and say goodbye to the complete control that you would ordinarily have when under normal flying conditions? Or would you risk it for that one shot?
I've mentioned before that when I am about to send my drone on a flight mission, I always say a final farewell. For some reason I either do not trust my flying skills, or the weather, or the drone (really, how can something so small be so amazing and capture such beauty and return safely? Just how? It's crazy) but for whatever reason, there is always a pre-empted drone fail which comes with my goodbyes.
And this time, I really meant it! These images were taken on the most terrifying drone flight I have experienced. And so, I feel compelled to share the story behind them.
I had seen an image on Pinterest that I fell in love with, which just so happened to be in a destination that I would be passing through whilst in Tasmania. When I saw this, I knew I needed to somehow recreate an image like this for myself.
Aside from the heavy clouds passing through, the rain was telling me that this shot will not going to be happening. There is a lookout spot near the beginning of the ascent onto the windy roads, which is were we parked our van and waited in hope for the rain to stop.
We waited and waited.
Whilst waiting, we hopped out to read all about the history of Queenstown and its interesting ties with the mining industry. Really though, all that was on my mind was how am I going to get this shot? I was so determined that I read through so many online forums to hear other experiences, but sadly the general consensus were advising against flying drones in severe weather conditions, such as the ones that were occurring outside of my van.
So we waited some more.
Waiting close to two hours, the rain had finally subsided. I was shaking. My body was not in control. I knew what I was about to do was still not a good idea. Heart pounding, I was being selfish. But I could not leave it be. Starting conversations in my head, questioning why am I doing this. I had kept asking my friend (who by this stage had resorted to having a little nap in the back of the van) whether I should do it or not. Secretly, I hoped she would knock some sense into me. She's honestly so lovely though, knowing how much I wanted to get this shot, even though it was so stupid- she didn't stop me.
I was going for it.
Quickly set Zeus up and attempted to calibrate it in order to get an accurate location and GPS tracking, however there were technical errors like a magnetic interference and the drone was actually telling me it was not safe to fly...
Stressing over this final last warning, I stood there and pulled down those two joysticks and took off.
It went terribly. I wanted to cry the moment it hovered above the ground. The panic I felt was clouding my mind. I wanted to land it instantly, however I had stupidly taken it high enough for the wind to kick in. It was so dangerous, the wind speed was ridiculously strong, I did not even have full control over the flight and direction of the drone. There were powerlines nearby and it was the worst feeling having the wind force the drone that little bit further than desired.
It was too late now. Zeus was up in those dense clouds and taken fully to the sky. Meanwhile, I was down on the ground dying over the fact that it had begun to rain again. I knew then that it was definitely time to attempt to bring Zeus back home. Manoeuvring my way down and avoiding any obstacles, we made it.
Surprisingly, Zeus did not crash in the 2 long minutes that he was flying. He was wet of course, but clearly not enough to have the motors fail. Rushing back to the van to dry him up with a box of tissues, I told my friend to never let me do something stupid like that again!
Honestly, I was lucky. I don't know how I managed to get my drone back safely, but I do know that I will never do it again ;)
Have you ever risked flying your drone in horrible conditions in order to get a shot of something you visually deem as epic? Or have you flown your drone in the rain before? Share in the comments, as I'd love to know other crazy stories.
Thanks for reading! xx