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Why I love Drones, Part 1.

I am a drone enthusiast. I have four drones, all by DJI except one. I love to fly my drones. When I was a little boy, I kind of tried to build a drone. Please let me explain. When I was 11 years old, I played with my toys for hours and hours by myself. I really believe this among other things I will discuss later lead me to film making. The story telling I would come up with was usually the same rescue mission all over the house. Fisher Price really made great affordable toys. I would spend hours looking at Sears catalogs at my grandmother’s house, thinking of story scenarios. The way they placed the toys was easy to imagine different story themes. Some how, I received a small green plastic trash can. It was big enough for two small toy soldiers, or one fisher price figurine. I was obsessed with making that plastic trash fly. I found a fairly decent and large enough propeller, and a small remote control car engine. Through various mean, and Christmas toys, I learned how to attach the propeller to the engine, and the electrode to a nine volt battery. I think I connected the propeller to the trash can with strings, kind of like a parachute. Don’t judge me. Needless to say, it did not fly, but the propeller did spin, so I figured I needed more power for lift. I was thinking helicopter, not airplane. So I saved my money and bought a large D battery. You already know what happened. Yes, more power, but the battery was too heavy for lift, so no movement, just a propeller bouncing of the floor from all the power. Now all of this took place over two years. I tried for a long time, in silent. I never told anyone my plans, but it wasn’t a secret either, just something I was trying to accomplish. The flight was not my goal, it was making the green trash can fly like in my imagination.

            When drone technology was introduced thirty years later, I was all over it. I watched countless videos on how to fly a drone. My first drone was a small 1080 p drone. My first flight I flew it into a tree, and had to use a long piece of PVC pipe like a spear to retrieve the drone. After that, I knew I needed something that practically flew itself until I could get better at flying. That when I bought my first DJI Mavic Pro. Now from the time I was 11 until the time I was in my 40’s, I became a videographer. I started shooting my high school basketball games at 14. I was on the junior varsity team, so I would tape the Women’s junior varsity, the Women’s Varsity, play our game, then come back and record the Men’s Varsity game. This was with a VHS camera. Nobody told me it recorded sound. I got in a little trouble for cussing, but my curses were directed at our players to play harder, so I didn’t get in much trouble. Just told not to do it again. I didn’t know the tapes were actually sent to the opposing teams. They didn’t like me cursing. In my 20’s and thirties I continued shooting sports but in a professional manner getting paid. I am fortunate to have shoot in the ACC (UNC vs Duke) MEAC, CIAA, and WCC, almost every sport men and women. I absolutely loved it. This also contributed to me being a film maker because I learned how to use a video camera. So by the time advanced drone technology came about, I was ready. I actually had aerial shoots in my first movie, which is unheard of for a no budget movie. I worked at a local TV station, and one of the director’s owned a plane. Our first time up was actually probably two weeks after 9/11, and I remember sitting on a 2×4 piece of wood ( that was the back seat of the plane) holding a Canon XL 1 to my face as we approached downtown Raleigh, and hearing them over the comm telling us frantically to turn around. That was a little scary, plus I was getting air sick from looking through the camera’s view finder. We turned around and flew over Chapel Hill instead, then over my locations. I ma that guy that is always videotaping out of the air plane windows. I can’t help myself, I love it. Flying commercial is like sitting in your own private drone, with 200 other people. When I bought my first drone, my wife was very jealous. It literally took all my attention on the weekend. My co-workers teased me about finally having a friend. I was in bliss mode. Yes, I had a new friend, my drone.  I flew everywhere around San Diego, CA. Yes.

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