Drone Adventures

Since purchasing my drone, everyone has wanted to see what I’ve been filming. Here’s a short compilation I put together titled “Drone Moments”.

https://youtu.be/msBy6Fye2FM

A few fun notes:

The scene where I’m using it like a lawnmower was when it was in a different mode than GPS. In this mode, it takes a lot more planning to get it where it needs to be.

The scene with the low flying unmarked, black helicopter over the water was the one time I completely lost all video signal and had to fly it solely by sight. It was good practice, just over the water leaves no room for error.

I still have a lot to learn and I’m grateful for my pilot friend who always let me fly along. Many of the principles I learned from him, I use with the drone. Safety being the first one and no matter what happens, fly the drone…….

 

 

 

The Power of Two

I gave this speech in Toastmasters and here’s the short version:

Where is he?!! He was just here on the balcony and now he’s gone! I’m sure he didn’t jump, he’s not in the house. Maybe he fell? Then I looked to the right and saw him, sauntering across the barrel tile roof.

Him, being my 11 year old………cat named Edmund. A cat on the roof is nothing unusual, but this story is different.

Edmund came into my life 11 years ago and I named him after Sir Edmund Hillary. He has lived up to his namesake being the consummate explorer. Inside, no bag or box is left unturned, or cabinet door unexplored. Outside he’s had a crab claw stuck in his head, batted repeatedly at an Indigo snake (non-venomous) till it uncurled and “stood up” to look down at him.

His most famous adventure was early one morning when a bobcat emerged from the preserve and came face to face with Edmund. They had the great cat stare down where each one held his pose and didn’t flinch. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, the bobcat slowly backed up and returned into the preserve, yielding the yard to Edmund.

Combine those experiences and more with 17 pounds of Siamese and you have some serious catitude.  He was big, bad, fearless and I loved it.

Last year Edmund faced his toughest adventure yet. He was diagnosed with diabetes. His 17 pound bruiser, big bad cat frame dwindled to a mere 10 pounds. Those powerful legs and muscles that propelled him everywhere, were eaten away to the point he could barely walk. A few steps was all he could take at a time. He would pee on the floor because he couldn’t make it to the litter box in time. Then he would lay in it because the floor was wet and he couldn’t get up.

Watching him go from the Big E to incontinent and frail was extremely, extremely hard.  At times I wondered if we’d win this fight…….

So what got Edmund well from being incontinent and barely walking to carousing on the roof? Well, the two shots of insulin a day and special diet are a help, but I got Edmund the best medicine…..

A 3 year old cat named Jinx. I immediately changed her name to Joy as that is her role in this family; to bring Joy to Edmund. She is vibrant, climbs up and over everything, and most important was faster than Edmund.

Edmund has always been king of the house and he would attempt to chase her. However, he couldn’t catch her. He would often slip, fall or she would just jump on something tall and look down at him. That would really piss him off!! He would look up at her with a look of disgust and would chuff at her. He was not used to be second best and didn’t like it at all!!

Day after day, month after month, he became better and better to the point now where he is king of the house once again. He easily gets on the bed, the kitchen table, the couch, the coffee table; everywhere Joy used to get away from him.

The roof was always her safe haven though. Till that one day that began this story, when he had enough of watching her go and he too had to go.

And that is the power of two! That someone who inspires you, drives you, motivates you to do the things you need to do, want to do, or just plain wouldn’t do on your own.

It’s that brutally honest friend who will tell you the truth; Phil, that wasn’t your best speech, you can do much better. Or the one who calls you while you’re recovering from foot surgery and tells you the running schedule and which inspires you to work harder in therapy.

History is full of the examples of the power of two: DaVinci and Michelangelo, Microsoft and Apple, Coke and Pepsi, etc. It doesn’t always have to be a polite relationship; competition can be great for innovation.

And of course, the most famous example: “behind every great man is a great woman”.

Whatever you’re up to, whether it’s running a race, giving a speech, going for a promotion, a new job, etc. enlist a coach, a mentor, someone to do it with you or an awesome friend who won’t let you get away with “good enough”.

Whatever  it takes, utilize the power of two and watch your life change exponentially.

 

p.s. You may be wondering about  Edmund and Joy? There’s no question Edmund is king and they still harass each other, just in a playful, great friends manner.

Joy relaxing on the couch.

Learning to Fly

My friend said “pull out the book from the under the seat and begin”. I thought he was kidding. I looked at him and then realized he was absolutely serious. That was one of my first times flying right seat and going over the pre-flight checklist. When it comes to flying, men do actually read the instructions.

Fast forward to a few months ago when I purchased an Autel Robotics X-Star premium with a 4k camera. I remembered all of those pre-flight checks, safety habits and try to fly with an abundance of caution and have fun too. When I put the FAA numbers on the side of it I felt like a real pilot. Cool!!!!

My very first flight out, a big black bird flew right up to the drone, and took a left at the last possible moment. It makes for a good video, but…..Yikes!! The other day I flew over a canal and almost crashed into the bushes. The only way across the canal was to swim and I’ve seen alligators in there, so that wasn’t happening. Note to self…only fly where I can retrieve it if necessary!

How many times have I crashed it you may be asking? Only once and that was on the maiden flight. I thought I knew what I was doing….Famous last words.

What I love is I’ve combined too things I love; flying and photography. I love the totally new perspectives I can capture. I’ve been low over canals, high above the intra coastal, and flown over the trees and found a secluded pond. It’s opened up a whole new world!!

My biggest challenge isn’t flying; it’s capturing the moments without disturbing what’s going on. Not easy to do with four loud propellers. There’s been more than a few times, I’ve refrained from flying so I don’t disturb the wildlife or the people near by.

Anyway, the featured photo is one I snagged over a canal. More great shots and videos to come!