For my 47th birthday, my wife gave me her blessing to get the drone of my dreams – a DJI Phantom 4 Pro. There’s all kinds of drones out there (and drone makers, too) but DJI apparently has about 85% of the consumer drone market. And the Phantom 4 Pro is, from what I can tell, the top of the heap – a “prosumer” product which is used by all kinds of people for all kinds of purposes.
I got mine because I want to use more drone video in my real estate business. I’ve hired some drone guys before – and they aren’t cheap. Typically they’ll charge $300 or so for a few minutes of video and some still photographs. That’s a lot of cheddar, but there’s no denying that the drone videos lend a lot of pizzaz to just about any real estate video.
Of course, before I take my new toy out to do video any properties, I need to make sure that I know how to work it. While the Phantom 4 Pro has a lot of really great features that make it easy to fly (collision avoidance, “tap to fly”, automatic return to “home”, etc.) there still is a considerable learning curve.
My two boys went bonkers over the thing – the morning after I got it, they came into our bedroom at 6:30 and said it was time to fly the drone! So we flew it around the back yard (and a couple hundred feet above!) for a half hour or so before school, and then later that day, around sunset, we headed down to the bluff over Seacliff Beach to let the Phantom fly.
It being only the second time I’d flown it, it felt a little freaky, sending it out hundreds of yards across the sand and surf. I could hardly see it in the sky, as it flew over the SS Palo Alto. It seemed as though it ran into some steady winds as it made its way off shore, and I was concerned that it might get blown off course or that some crazy wind would push it down into the surf below.
But the Phantom made it out to the end, and made it back just fine…just in time to meet the state park ranger who informed me that you’re not allowed to fly drones out over the beach. I didn’t see that listed in any FAA rule for drone flights, so it must be some California state park regulation. What a killjoy.
He did however direct us to the empty field there next to the parking lot and said we could fly it to our heart’s content there. So we did – the boys and I had a blast just flying it around in mad circles, tearing over the field like something out of a Star Wars movie.
I hope you enjoy this video of the SS Palo Alto! I would have liked to get closer to the deck of the ship, but the 4K video does a pretty good job of showing lots of fine details. Thanks for watching!