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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

A Drone named Juliette

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | Views [707]

Lake Wakatipu from Bennett's Bluff

Lake Wakatipu from Bennett's Bluff

New Zealand is the perfect country for drone photography! Most of Queenstown is regarded as restricted airspace and it's difficult to pinpoint whether drones are allowed or not, or if there's a grey area. As a result I've had to fly with caution.

When you have things you really cherish, you tend give them names. My bicycle has always been Zulu so I shall call my drone Juliette (spelled the same as in the NATO alphabet). In the past week I've flown Juliette over Lake Hayes and across Lake Wakatipu over to Hidden Island, an island I've always dreamed of kayaking to but there are no places in Queenstown where you can reliably hire a kayak.

From Queenstown, this island looks like a little tiny speck but Juliette made it all the way here for some photos.

Everyone knows (at least those who've been here) that New Zealand is a geographer's paradise and a photographer's dream. You may notice I have nearly 5,000 photos from NZ on my blog: more snaps here than in any other country. Flying Juliette opens up a who new photographic world. At Lake Hayes, I snapped these incredible photos.

Hitchhiking out to Bennett's Bluff Lookout the weather was gorgeous and sunny, and it was a perfect day to fly Juliette. Several Asian tourists snapping photos with their phones were curious as I plugged my smartphone into the remote control and then unfolded Juliette. They were in awe as I powered her into the sky and over the lake. I'll admit it can be a bit nerve-wracking as a beginner pilot flying your new drone over a vast lake but you have to to learn and practice somehow. The best way to fly a drone without losing it is common sense and being sensible: don't fly it on a very windy day, if it's raining, or if you've had a few beers. Drinking and flying don't mix. Just like with other things, check your parts before operating it.

More than 3 km away Juliette was, and with her I snapped a photo directly over the lake.

In this photo, I'm standing where you can see only one car parked (not my car). That's Bennett's Bluff Lookout

Flipping the camera downward, the lake is several hundred metres below. The highest the Mavic Pro can fly by default is 120 metres but it's determined by where it takes off from, and since Bennett's Bluff is much higher than the lake I can consequently fly much higher.


Even without my gimbal cap on, I've noticed some glare in my photos. I guess I need to practice more and watch the sun. When I've flown her a long distance away, the "return to home" feature works wonders as flying 3 km away takes several minutes with your finger constantly on the joystick. Elie, the friend and fellow nomad who inspired me to get a drone, has advised me to not rely solely on the feature, and to manually land if necessary.

After several graceful flights, I returned Juliette home with many gorgeous photos. With her, I'm itching to return to many places I've been before! However, in a few weeks I'm off to Adelaide, California, Chile, the Falkland Islands, and possibly, possibly, possibly, Antarctica! Have a guess at who will be my constant companion?

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