Build complex toys and simple tools
by Tony Karp
We live in a rural area, with just a few main roads. As a result, there are square miles of things I've never seen, but are well within my Mavic Pro's range. One of the things I've been doing is flying around over areas I've never seen and then exploring the resulting videos, looking for what the Muse calls "Hidden views."Who would have imagined an abandoned prison camp, only about a mile from my house? I had to search to find it on Google Earth. The result is below. One of my neighbors, who has lived here more than forty years, told me there was once a prison farm there, but that he had never seen it. A few Internet searches later, and I confirmed that this was, indeed, the place.
The Google Earth picture was shot from a satellite, while the Mavic's picture was shot from 400 feet. Also, I shot during the winter, while the Google image looks like it was shot later in the year, judging from the tree growth.
Every once in a while, you come across a real surprise, like this 300 foot tall cell tower. I didn't see it while I was flying, but found it later when reviewing the video. I checked online and this is the tallest structure within about a 25 mile radius. Luckily, I was flying at about 400 feet, which is my normal minimum altitude.This brings up an interesting point. The FAA, who regulates my Mavic Pro, is worried that drones like mine will run around, colliding with other aircraft, something that has yet to happen. The real world dangers lie in things like this tower. Instead of calling (and annoying) nearby airports, drone pilots should be studying maps and online databases that show the locations of the real hazards that they're likely to encounter.
I will have to visit these hidden places at different times of the day, to see what the different lighting reveals. And I will visit these places in different seasons as well. I can also choose a low height and make a detailed panorama of the site, or I can fly high and see how it blends into the surroundings.
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