Category Archives: Tips

Flying drones in the North or South poles? Here’s your Arctic drone packing list

This is Part 1 of a 3-Part Series about my summer flying drones in the Arctic Circle. Check back later this week for Part 2! 

I just spent an incredible summer in the Arctic Circle — Somerset Island in Canada, to be exact –flying drones!

Packing for a drone trek is complicated enough — you need to make sure you’ve got batteries, memory cards, cords, etc. And packing for the Arctic? That’s next level!

Here’s your essential Arctic drone packing list of 8  items that are specific to flying drones in the Arctic — NOT including the typical stuff you would bring on any drone trek.

  1. Muck Boots: You’re going to need a pair of durable boots for trekking in the Arctic. Sorry, but your New Balance running shoes just won’t cut it. In the Arctic, even if you are past the snowy season, that only means there is more mud to deal with and and  rivers to cross (sorry, no paved trails here!). I highly recommend the Muck Boots.

They keep you warm and are durable in all terrains. I didn’t want to invest $100+ in a pair of boots that I would only wear once, so there is a silver lining here. I booked my Arctic drone adventure through Quark Expeditions, which is great, because they actually loan you a pair of boots for the week, including in the cost of the trip. Continue reading Flying drones in the North or South poles? Here’s your Arctic drone packing list

How can I get a free or cheap drone? 7 tricks to getting a drone deal for non-profits, students and more

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about getting a free or cheap drone. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

We are a volunteer-based animal rescue. We are rural and have a very low budget, but we would like to start a YouTube channel to help raise awareness. Would you have any ideas on how/who might have a drone they could give us (or sell very cheaply) so that we can start our story telling journey?

This is a question I get a lot! There are tons of schools, non-profits or research projects that are looking to get a free or cheap drone donated to their cause. And while every cause has its merits, the harsh reality is, not everyone can pull the strings needed to get a free drone. I wish I knew the secret to getting free drones myself!!

That being said, here’s my guide to finding free or cheap drones! These 7 tips will get you a drone at way less than you would pay at full retail price:

  1. Use the DJI Education discount to save 10%! The DJI Educational Discount allows customers with a “.edu” email address and who successfully fill out DJI’s online form to get a coupon code (typically a 10% discount) on a select group of items from its online site.  The items available for purchase include everything from drones like the Mavic Pro, accessories like DJI Goggles and –for those who prefer shooting from the ground — the Osmo Mobile.
  2. Use the DJI Better-With-Drones discount for non-profits to save 10%. Don’t have a .edu address, but you’re a non-profit? DJI offers a similar program to its DJI Education discount called its Better With Drones Discount program. Fill out the form on DJI’s website here, and when your application has been approved, DJI will send you a discount code, typically 10% off as well.
  3. Look for contests and promotions with free drones involved. Plenty of groups are offering free drones as prizes for taking surveys, submitting feedback, winning photo contests, etc. One of the best places to remain privy to drone-related contests! This site itself, right here at TheDroneGirl.com! For example, right now, Skylogic Research is giving away one free DJI Spark as a raffle prize if you take their survey. Other promotions, frequently offered by DJI themselves, give you a chance to “try” out the drone before you buy it, such as this deal a few months ago promoting the DJI Mavic Pro, where you could get one for two whole weeks, completely free.
  4. Rent a drone! Why pay $1,000 for a drone you really only want to use a handful of times, when you can pay closer to $50 to rent it for a day? Sites like Up Sonder offer drone rental services. It’s a similar model to Airbnb, where owners can post their drone up for rent, meet the customer, and the customer gets to use the drone for a certain amount of hours.

Here’s a pretty common example of the types of deals you’ll find on UpSonder: Continue reading How can I get a free or cheap drone? 7 tricks to getting a drone deal for non-profits, students and more

Want a cheap toy drone? TRNDlabs is having a huge clearance sale

For a long time, my advice has been that before dropping $1,000 on a fancy drone (that you could accidentally drop into a pool), make a small investment in a toy drone.

If you’ve been holding out for a deal on toy drones, now may be the time.

TRNDlabs, which makes a range of toy drones, is offering a massive clearance sale with 50-60% off its drones on Amazon.

A spokesperson said the deal doesn’t have a set end date, but will last until its limited stock is gone. She also added that the sale doesn’t mean TRNDlabs is going anywhere soon.

“We’re always aimed at making innovative tech,” according to a statement from the company. “The drone market has changed a lot during these years, so we plan to sell out our stock to launch a few new products. “fader trnd labs TRNDlabs clearance sale

Some of my favorites are the FADER drone, which was formerly priced at $129 is now just $49, and is one of the easiest to fly, with auto takeoff and land buttons. It’s the perfect mix of an awesome drone that is easy to fly, and also at a great price point. Continue reading Want a cheap toy drone? TRNDlabs is having a huge clearance sale

Here’s your ultimate travel guide to flying a drone in Europe

Wondering where you should head for your next vacation? Consider making a drone vacation through Europe. That’s right: pick your tour spots based off where you can get the best pictures from your drone.

The Case Farm, a U.K.-based drone company that makes durable drone cases, including waterproof ones, came up with a dream vacation travel itinerary through Europe.

This dream-worthy itinerary covers a range of spots around Europe, from the rugged highlands of Scotland to the beautiful blue waters surrounding Croatia.

Before traveling international with a drone, check the individual drone laws in that country. Some countries have laws around the value of possessions you bring into that country, and others have strict privacy laws dictating whether you can take pictures with a drone — not just whether you can fly it. Continue reading Here’s your ultimate travel guide to flying a drone in Europe

8 tips for flying a drone in cold weather

The following is a guest post by Jake Carter, a drone Enthusiast and writer at RC Hobby Review. Follow him on Facebook at RCHOBBYREVIEW.

Drones whiz and whip through the air at breakneck speeds. Unfortunately, these cool machines weren’t designed for cold weather. It’s not the friendliest condition for them, but with some preparation beforehand, you can capture the beauty of rolling winter landscapes from a bird’s-eye perspective.

Before flying, read your drone’s user manual. Most quadcopters are designed to fly in a temperature range of 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Flying outside that range may put your drone at risk. But if your drone can handle the cold conditions, then read on — then get flying!

1. Beware of ice

The arch-nemesis of all helicopters and planes, ice endangers drones too. Ice accumulating on the propeller blades, alters the weight distribution, hurting the drone’s ultimate aerodynamics. Cold air over warm water causes evaporation, and this evaporative fog will refreeze on surrounding surfaces, including on the drone’s surface.

2. Know how cold affects battery life and sensors

Colder temperatures shorten the flight time of your drone by slowing the chemical reaction with the LiPo batteries and lowering the battery capacity. A fully charged drone that typically will last between 20 to 25 minutes in flight, could fly for just 10-15 minutes in colder weather. Extreme cold weather can cause an unexpected power drop, and while it’s rare, there have been cases where batteries fail completely.

Cold weather dulls the drone’s sensors which can cause the drone to drift or have less response from the control input. In addition, cold fingers or gloves make controlling the input more difficult.

3. Practice good battery health

When flying in cold weather, understanding how to make your battery go further can be to your advantage.

  • Keep your batteries warm.
  • Hover after the takeoff.
  • Maintain a full charge on your batteries.
  • Go light on the throttle.
  • Bring a portable charger for the mobile device.

Continue reading 8 tips for flying a drone in cold weather

Last-minute holiday drone deals are here on DJI Mavic, Spark and more

Holding out on buying a drone for a great holiday deal? Now may be your chance.

B&H Photo has just launched a slew of new holiday drone deals, including $100 off the DJI Spark PLUS  a free $50 B&H gift card, $300 off the DJI Phantom 4 and $400 off the Yuneec Typhoon H.

Plus, you can still nab tons of deals from Amazon and directly from the manufacturer.

Here are some of the best drone-related deals:dji mavic pro review drone girl

For photographers, small business owners and “prosumers”:

DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo: regularly priced at $1,149. The DJI Mavic Pro is still my favorite drone to-date, though it will cost you about twice as much as the DJI Spark.

DJI Mavic Pro Standard Bundle: regularly priced at $999

Katana Tray System for DJI Mavic: regularly priced at $49.99. The tray utilizes the Mavic’s gimbal to turn the drone into a hand-held solution for smooth, cinematic shots. It’s essentially an integrated smartphone mount, in which users rely on the drone’s companion app for framing and camera controls.

Yuneec Typhoon Hexacopter: regularly priced at $1,199. The Yuneec Typhoon H is an incredibly sturdy drone for prosumers and businesses alike. One of the best — and most noticeable — features about the Typhoon H compared to many drones is the 6 rotors, giving it a redundancy and making it a safe choice.

GoPro Karma Quadcopter with HERO5 Black: regularly priced at $1,099. The GoPro Karma Quadcopter with HERO5 Black puts your GoPro camera in the air. When you’re done flying, you can use the camera and its gimbal to get that silky smooth video on the ground.

Continue reading Last-minute holiday drone deals are here on DJI Mavic, Spark and more

How AEB can help your drone photography

The following blog post is a guest piece from Chris Anderson, the creator of the site The Drone Trainer.

Modern drones often come with the possibility to capture mind-boggling images at several different exposures, and create stunning HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos. But with that comes an onslaught of HDR photos that are far overdone — and basically burn your eyes.

Here’s your guide on how to create natural looking HDR photos with your drone, using AEB (Automatic Exposure Bracketing).

What is AEB?

When shooting in AEB mode, your drone’s camera will automatically take three or five shots, each at a different exposure level. On their own, these individual photos are going to be under- and over-exposed. That’s okay though; once you merge them together, you’re going to have a thing of beauty!

Let’s work through this AEB example:

These photos were captured by setting my DJI Phantom 4 Pro to shoot in AEB 5 mode. To adjust this, simply go into your camera settings (right side of your screen below the shutter button), and in photo mode select AEB. You’ll be able to choose 3 or 5 once in AEB mode, depending on the scene that you’re looking to shoot. I find that for scenes that are well lit, AEB 5 works well as all 5 of the photos will capture sharp detail. Continue reading How AEB can help your drone photography

DJI Spark discount: B&H Photo is offering sweet deals on DJI Spark drone

Still holding out on the DJI Spark? Now is the time to buy the tiny camera drone.

B&H Photo is offering a pretty sweet DJI Spark discount.

Purchase the DJI Spark quadcopter in any color from B&H Photo and get a $50 gift card. Or, purchase the DJI Spark Combo (totally worth grabbing to get the RC transmitter included) to get a $70 gift card.

See my review of the DJI Spark here.

The gift card can be used to purchase anything from B&H’s store, so you can grab an extra memory card, DJI Spark battery or — gasp(!) — non-drone related item. If you opt not to get the Spark Fly More Combo, it’s worth at least upgrading to the RC transmitter.

Read more: DJI Mavic Pro vs. Spark: which is better?

B&H also offers free expedited shipping — so no problem if you don’t have an Amazon Prime account.