I was lucky enough to be dragged up brought up in Sheffield, located on the edge of the Peak District National Park. All the benefits of the city with the countryside right on your doorstep. Hashtag winning.
As kids, we used to cycle up to Redmires Dams (not actually in the National Park, but ever so close) and enjoy the fresh air and the views (and ride down the unused dam overflow conduits).

We never had quadcopters though. Whoever took this image has a quadcopter, and s/he has captured an amazing image of the three dams and the view down to Sheffield city centre.

This is high class dronery – the sort of thing I aspire to produce. I don’t know who took it (very happy to attribute and adulate if anyone knows), but it’s amazing.
Given the tools now at my disposal, the only obstacle I face is (the lack of) my own ability.

It’s a large obstacle, but it’s one I intend to be able to adequately fly over at some point*.

* please note: terms and conditions apply | no time scale has been set for this project | results may vary | it would help if this fecking wind stopped blowing | watch this space

That was the weekend

A bit of an odd one. It seemed busy, but still rather relaxed. The jobs list was approached, but not really ever adequately dealt with, meaning a chore-related hangover for next weekend.

There were two braais, although neither of them were the one we thought we were going to. There was beer, gin, vodka and there was wine, although it wasn’t actually one of those weekends.

There were two seven hour playdates, leaving the kids happy, but broken.

There was a spot of flying, but not as much as I wanted and not where I wanted. I need to find an accurate map of just what is owned by Table Mountain National Park and what isn’t. I need details.
South Africa has 2,798 km of coastline, but the vast majority around us seems to be owned by TMNP. Their no-fly rule (which I’ve stated before that I completely accept) still proves limiting.
Anyway – photos:

…because one should always make the best of a bad situation.

And so to bed. Well, not quite. There is some football to catch up on and some brandy to add to the list of beverages above.

Because all’s well that ends well, right?



The day off was unplanned, but welcome. Once I knew it was going to happen, I made lots of plans, the principal one amongst them involving two of my most favourite things: my Mavic and a lighthouse. Ka, as they so rightly put it, boom.

What I actually ended up doing instead was standing in a large warehouse building in Stikland as the temperature approached 40ºC.
Things had obviously gone badly wrong with the plan. My Mavic was 32km away and the nearest lighthouse was (I’m guessing, anyway) at Woodbridge Island – dangerously close to (Uns)Table View.

The warehouse in question was the Police Vehicle Clearance Centre, somewhere I needed to be because we had a vehicle that required clearance by the police. Bureaucracy and red tape never go smoothly, are often frustrating, and are generally a whole lot less enjoyable than flying your Mavic around a lighthouse, and so it proved today.

Still, needs must, and as long as I didn’t think too hard about where I could have been and what I could have been doing, the weeping was kept to a minimum. And there were more positives, because with that mammoth task out of the way, I could move on to other massively important things, like buying some velcro and taking that crappy pedestal fan back to Builders Whorehouse.

These are the bits that Casey Neistat never shares. He buys velcro too. He stands in queues to get forms stamped (although admittedly probably not in Stikland). He just never tells you about it.
Honesty, ne? Appreciate it.

Now though, with the sea breeze blowing just ever so slightly too hard for my videography requirements, I am home, and while I should be working on some writing, I’m eating a mango, drinking a damn fine Bloody Mary and blogging.

It’s strange how these things work out, hey?

The lighthouse and the Mavic will be available another day.
Another day soon, I hope.

Ok. Photos.

It occurred to me that I could get seriously bogged down in photo and video editing. Especially that latter, since I have no experience in that (although I have taken advice from several Mavic Facebook groups and downloaded this free package). Great for beginners, but supremely powerful, apparently.

But enough of that – I’m getting seriously bogged down in telling you what I think I’ll get seriously bogged down in. Meta distraction.

The upshot is that I uploaded the photos from the weekend onto Flickr. Bear in mind that I’m still learning (and that there was Sport Mode to play with), so they’re no masterpieces. But when I look back at my original efforts with a DSLR and stuff like that, I can see how I have learned and improved, so hopefully this will follow the same pattern.

So – here they are. Be kind, be gentle. And please marvel at the gorgeous Cape Agulhas coastline, which really doesn’t need a fancy drone or a decent photographer to be stunning.

The videos? They – as I eluded to earlier – are going to take a bit longer. However, I have already applied to for some accompanying chilled electronica, so that’s a start, right?

Droning on…

Saturday was rather windy, but Sunday dawned so calm that the only limiting factor was battery life. I soon got a rotation system going: one in use, one cooling, one charging and I flew for literally hours.

There are lots of photos – and even a few videos – but they need some editing (flying coming along nicely, camerawork not so much just yet) and I’m not in an edity mood this evening. Anyway, this was chiefly about continuing up the steep learning curve and having a bit of fun in the wide open spaces.

Actually, I was going to try some serious cinematography, but I thought I’d give Sport Mode a go first. 72kph and 5000 metres later, the whole shooting videos thing seemed a better thing to do another day, because there was some serious laws of physics and engineering which needed testing.

Thresholds and limits pushed, I eventually, reluctantly, parked up for the day. But every bit of promise was realised – this is what I got it for – and I can’t wait to play some more.