Greenland From Above

The Iceberg Graveyard

Following up on Denise’s blog about our incredible trip this past summer to Greenland, I wanted to write about drone photography during this trip.

There are considerable limits on the amount of gear you can take to Greenland. This starts with the weight limits imposed by the airline, then of course, space on the boat is quite limited as well. Thankfully the DJI Mavic Pro is both small and lightweight.

According to our boat crew, about 50% of the people who bring a drone on this trip end up loosing or crashing their drone. Considering this was the trip of a lifetime, I decided to give flight a try on our first morning, but it was not meant to be. The drone had an internal calibration error and required a calibration process that required no movement or vibration. So I had to wait until we went ashore that evening to run the calibration routine.

The next morning we woke up at the Iceberg Graveyard. This is an area where the currents take the icebergs but there is nowhere for them to escape. The shot above was taken at the Iceberg Graveyard around 4:00am just prior to sunrise. Our ship was anchored a considerable distance away, and we took Zodiacs into this lagoon area and shot from land. It was also my favorite spot for using the Mavic and luckily we spent two mornings in this area and were able to return to this area the next morning.

I did try one flight a couple of days later from the boat. We were near a glacier and the boat was still but not anchored. Upon return to the boat the drone ended up doing a little bit of a controlled crash upon landing. I chipped a propeller but otherwise the drone was undamaged. I suspect the boat was a considerable source of magnetic interference, and as such, the reason for a difficult landing.

In addition to the minor crash I mentioned, I also had some times where the Mavic would lose GPS and then inflight control and stability became a bit more erratic. However, the more experienced you become as a pilot the easier these incidents are to handle.

I’m doing a lecture on Drone Photography for our meetup group on March 30th. Click here for more info.

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