Learning to fly – First Shots

In the week since my first test flight with the Inspire 1 I’ve been out flying it nearly every day, it’s almost becoming an obsession!  As somebody who enjoys capturing images from the world around me I’ve found that suddenly having this amazing new perspective on life has reignited a passion for capturing images that I haven’t felt in ages. Here’s a few of my first attempts at filming from the Inspire.

While I’m finding it very tempting to start being more daring with my shots I’m forcing myself to take things slowly and really think about every movement of the Inspire. It would be all too easy at this stage to let creativity take over and get the camera in to more interesting positions but for now I’m leaving myself plenty of room and remembering that it’s early days in the development of my flying skills.

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Preparing for flight at Warham Camp

One of the locations I visited was Warham Camp, an Iron Age fort located just a few minutes from where I live. I challenged myself to try and fly circles around the fort whilst maintaining camera position on the fort itself. It’s actually quite a tough shot as it requires steady input on both controls at the same time as monitoring the angle of the camera.

Warham Camp

Warham Camp

Another skill I’ve been practising is slowly moving the camera gimbal down as an object is approached. You can see an example of that when I was filming the bridge. I was actually standing on that bridge as well which made things more interesting. I found that the default speed of the camera gimbal was too fast so lowered the sensitivity from 100% to 30% which helped a lot.

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Arched Bridge, Fakenham

My most recent trip was to a small coastal village called Morston which has a large expanse of saltwater marshland. While the marshes look nice from the ground they take on a whole new beauty when viewed from above. I arrived in Morston just before dawn hoping to catch the sunrise but unfortunately clouds had gathered and the wind was blowing around 12 m/h making things extra challenging.

I almost gave up on the flight but there was a short break in the clouds and the light looked so nice I had to attempt a quick flight. I did have a scary moment when taking off though. Even though I’d run through my check list and the Inspire was in GPS mode it started drift backwards as soon as lifted from the ground. Because there was an estuary very close my instinct was to drop the inspire back down again which resulted in it standing up in its rear legs and busting one of the props. I grabbed the inspire and turned it off without any further damage.

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Morston Marshes

In hindsight a better approach would probably have been to give the Inspire some height and correct the unwanted backwards movement before attempting a more controlled landing but at the time my instincts were to just get it back on the ground before it reached the water. Another leason learned!

Close to admitting defeat that day I decided to not give up.  I fitted two new props just incase the other rear one had also taken some damage and then walked to another launch spot where I had more room to adjust if the same thing happened again. This time I was ready to switch to ATTI mode should anything unexpected happen but the flight was fine, the Inspire handled the wind well and stayed fixed in position on takeoff. I missed the sun though so grabbed a few shots before calling it a day.

Next up I’ll be posting about the various flight modes on the Inspire and why it’s important to understand and master each mode.

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