You Should Try Exploring Nature with Drones

When it comes to preparing for a hike in the great outdoors, few people think to pack a drone. However, there are some compelling reasons to bring one along.

Published December 13, 2016

Drones introduce a world of possibilities to users looking to explore nature.  

Exploring with drones is a trend that is growing in popularity. Aerial photography is a well-known use of drones, and some enthusiasts have begun using them to explore nature. Pilots can observe the world through the perspective of their vehicle with live footage. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can enrich the way we interact with the world.

With drone photos and videos, any shot can look great — regardless of lighting or weather conditions.

Nature-lovers and drone pilots should seriously consider the advantages of exploring nature with drones. Enthusiasts spend hours soaring through forests, plains, and even caves, capturing impressive footage. Pilots can even stream this video online, where onlookers can watch footage from such pilots. Exploring the wilderness can be a serene — and sometimes exhilarating — experience.

Things to Do in Nature

Many people looking to purchase a UAV are interested in aerial photography. Capturing video of nature with a drone can even be lucrative. In fact, Some photographers have made careers out of using drones to produce eye-catching footage. Professionals master navigating through narrow passages, maintaining stability at high altitudes, and getting into position for the best shots.

Videography aside, taking a day to explore the wilderness is known to be mentally restorative; after spending time in nature, many report feeling less stressed and stronger mental clarity. Guiding a drone through peaceful landscapes and sharing discoveries can also be an engaging activity for drone enthusiasts and nature-lovers alike.

On the other hand, thrill-seeking UAV owners can also benefit from a day in the wilderness. There is a drone racing scene, and the competition can get serious. Racers often compete in isolated areas, like forests. Footage from these events can be jaw-dropping:

 

Of course, it pays to have plenty of experience and to be knowledgeable about the area before attempting stunts like this.

Getting Started with Drone Exploration

To get the most out of exploration, the correct drone is needed to do the job. Given the potential for strong winds and to handle different weather conditions, a lot of motor power is required. For this reason, a medium or professional grade multirotor drone is recommended. The DJI Phantom 4 or Yuneec Typhoon H is more than sufficient for this. More inexpensive models like Blade Helis Chroma BNF and Traxxas Aton should also be sufficient for most users.

Most modern medium or professional grade drones have GPS features built-in, which can make retrieving a lost or misplaced UAV substantially easier. Drones without GPS features built-in should be retrofitted with a GPS module before being taken out to forests or other areas dense with obstacles.

While drones are typically built to be water resistant, some users will opt to take additional steps to protect their vehicles during inclement weather. Some models are designed to function underwater, though this might be excessive for a exploration drone. A few DIYers recommend using a hydrophobic spray on components to prevent them from rusting or ceasing to work properly.

In addition to getting a drone, many hobbyists opt to get a first-person-view (FPV) system. It makes the whole experience far more immersive. As the name implies, this system displays footage captured by the connected drone. The result can make it feel as though the operator is soaring above the ground. Those interested in FPV systems should try playable apps such as Liftoff and FPV Freerider that accurately simulate the control and feel of a real drone. This is a great way to prevent crashing a drone on its maiden voyage.

Finally, it is important to ensure that there are no restrictions on drones in any desired location. Many parks prohibit drones, so this is an essential step. An interactive map of areas where it is legally forbidden to pilot a drone can be found here.

With a UAV in tow, Hiking, camping, and bike rides will never be the same. This generation is the first with access to commercially available drones. There are many new opportunities afforded to us with this technology. Whether your goal is to relax while discovering nature, take amazing photography, or race in blistering competitions, UAVs have you covered. Gear up, get out there, and explore the world.

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