Back for More Arizona - Winter 2014 travel blog

aerial view

our rig

pickleball courts

campground pool

entire campground

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MP4 - 5.14 MB)

the pilot photographer

(MP4 - 4.82 MB)

campground view

(MP4 - 6.26 MB)

pool 360º

(MP4 - 9.41 MB)

Saguaro National Park

(MP4 - 10.70 MB)

water aerobics

(MP4 - 14.50 MB)

garden railroad

Last year when we were in Quartzsite, Ken bought his first helicopter. It was about eight inches long and wouldn't fly in sunshine because the bright light interfered with the infrared controller signals. The slightest gust of wind would also send it plummeting to the ground. Flying it inside the motor home was rather unsatisfying. The next helicopter was larger, but still very delicate. The littlest breeze would send it skittering off course. Landing it was a challenge.

Ken decided he wasn't interested in flying as much as aerial photography, so it was clear he needed something powerful enough to carry a camera and stable enough so that the videos it took could be watched without causing motion sickness. The first quadcopter improved the situation a great deal. It carried a GoPro camera easily, but you had to turn it on before the quad took off. You could shoot videos or stills, but had to delete a huge quantity of dud photos, starting with the ones of the grass and your feet as it took off and landed. It was hard to tell which way the camera was pointed once it was a few hundred feet away. Due to defective design one of the rotor blades on this quad came loose, dropping it like a rock on the roof of my sister's home. The quad was retrieved, the rotor replaced, but the controls never worked as reliably as they had. It was time for copter #5.

It arrived here at the campground in two days thanks to Amazon Prime and has been a huge success. Whenever Ken flies it, a crowd gathers. When he flew over my water aerobics class, once the ladies got over their surprise, they wondered aloud whether they should flash their boobs and make his movie more interesting. He gave a presentation at the Digital Imaging club here showing some of the aerials shots he had made. People have stopped at our motor home to watch and enjoy all the aerial views of the area it has taken. This quad flies for twenty minutes rather than the six minutes the old one had. The built in camera can be controlled by the pilot and he can change from still photos to videos mid flight. He can see what he is shooting and tilt the camera for optimal views. When the battery is about to run out the quad returns to the spot it left from, kind of like ET flying home. Seeing familiar spots from a few hundred feet up gives a perspective that makes you feel like you are seeing it all for the first time. And when you are somewhere new it give you the lay of the land, revealing what's behind that fence or over the next hill. The sky's the limit.

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