I had my first opportunity yesterday to take my drone flying further afield than just the area around where I live. Initially I wasn’t very optimistic because the morning started off very dull with extremely low cloud, so low in fact that I took the opportunity to shoot a short video with the Zino that I’ll try to upload to Youtube and post on here later. However, things brightened up massively after that and although it was still a bit windy, not too much for the Zino to be able to cope with though, I decided that I’d take it to three local locations, Côte de Jord, Roque St Christophe and Chateau Belcaire and do some experimental flights.

My thinking was two-fold. Firstly, I wanted to shoot some video at the three locations to get some idea about the shots I should aim for when I return to each one at a later date. Secondly, I wanted to see whether drone flying in public places is likely to attract the ‘wrong’ kind of attention from passers-by and the general public that might create difficulties in the future. And I was pleased with the results on both counts, especially the latter. There were few people around in any of the locations that I chose to fly from but by being discreet I don’t think anyone really noticed, except, that is, for a young couple at Côte de Jord who watched the Zino flying with great interest.

I don’t know yet, but I probably won’t use the footage that I shot for a video as it was a bit ‘random’, but I have lifted a few screen shots from it which are below. First, the Côte de Jord, which is situated high on a ridge overlooking the Vézère valley just to the west of St Léon sur Vézère and is greatly favoured by paragliders when the wind blows from a southerly direction, resulting in ridge lift.

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Basically it just consists of a gap at the side of the road off which the paragliders jump after which they can soar for as long as they want to, while the wind lasts. Although some end up down in the valley, the experienced ones arrive back up-top right where they started from. I flew the Zino out through the gap and over the valley for a distance of a couple of hundred metres or so but didn’t want to go much further because of the wind. Nevertheless, I was pleased with the footage I got and can see the potential for going further when the wind isn’t blowing so strongly.

Then the Roque St Christophe. This is an historic site consisting of cave dwellings in and on the cliff face that has been preserved and is open to the public. Unfortunately, due to the time of day the face of the cliff was in shadow so the resultant video footage was a bit disappointing, as the following pictures show.

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Video shooting wasn’t helped by the fact that with the direction of the sun, I could make out practically nothing on the Zino app on my phone. I think that there’s great video potential there, though and the answer will be to return earlier in the morning, possibly very early, when the rising sun is on the face of the cliff. This would also have the advantage of there not being anyone around making it possible to fly much closer to the cliff face than would otherwise be possible.

And finally, the Chateau de Belcaire. This is a beautiful little chateau perched on a small rocky promontory on a bend overlooking the river Vézère just to the west of Thonac. When you take off from Galinat you fly directly towards it and I’ve taken several pictures of it from the air. However, they’re nothing like what you can get from a drone like my Zino. I crossed over the river at Thonac and flew the Zino from the opposite bank which proved to be a perfect location.

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The pictures above don’t actually do the images on the video justice due to the loss of definition and colour correctness, but they do give a good impression of the chateau and its stunning location overlooking the river.

All-in-all I was very pleased with my afternoon’s results and I’ll definitely be returning to each location in the near future when the conditions are as near perfect as possible now that I have a better idea of the Zino’s potential. Hopefully I’ll then be able to shoot some video worth posting 😉

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