A little drone fun at 10,000 ft.


We’ve just returned from spending a week in Leadville, CO, which at 10,200 ft. is the highest incorporated city in the US. Despite the inevitable dehydration insomnia that always afflicts me there, I didn’t find the elevation quite high enough, so I brought my Mavic Pro (piloted by a custom-printed “Googler” minifig) to capture a few shots of Leadville from above. You can find some 360º panoramas (uploaded to & embedded via Google Maps) and videos below.

Quick observations in case you’d find them useful:


  • DJI Goggles do make it easier to fly while panning/tilting one’s camera, and I got my smoothest shots yet. On the downside, I’ve yet to figure out how to adjust the picture to look fully clear to my eyes (with or without glasses), and the fact that you apparently can’t just put them into head-tracking mode before a flight & keep them there is a pain.
  • 360º panorama capture is totally my jam. Whereas I find capturing video stressful (is it smooth enough? will anyone find it interesting?) and editing video laborious, shooting panos is almost trivially easy. Having said that, I ran into a few snags:
    • Downloading & installing the needed firmware update took several tries, due partly to dodgy mountain WiFi & partly to the DJI app’s less-than-straightforward flow.
    • An inscrutable, non-dismissible (!) warning screen would sometimes pop up to let us know that we were a few miles from an airport. It blocking most of the screen, coupled with the wonky path one must follow to invoke pano capture mode, meant that we blew it on at least one pano, accidentally capturing 180º instead of 360º—and facing the wrong way at that!
    • I found that Facebook wouldn’t recognize the panos as panos, so after some searching I found & downloaded the metadata-tweaking tool Exif Fixer. Running it on the images did the trick.
    • Stitching images on my iPhone X was fairly quick (taking perhaps a minute for a full 360) and did a pretty good job (PTGui, which I downloaded, seemed to do no better). On the downside it sucks that the process is modal, blocking you from using the app to fly, so you’d probably do well to wait & stitch after landing.
    • The exposure on what might’ve been my best pano was totally blown out for reasons I don’t understand. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 Okay, on to the pics & vids!

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