Learning to Fly

posted in: Explore St. Pete | 12
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So last week I became the proud new owner of a DJI Phantom 3 Drone, and although I’ve been dying to get some photos with it since taking it out of the box over the weekend…the weather has not been very cooperative with my plans thus far.

I’ve never flown a drone before so I have absolutely no clue what the hell I’m doing, and although I’ve heard more than one person say that this particular model is idiot-proof, I’m still terrified that I’m gonna crash it the first time I try to fly it.

We had plans of getting up early on Saturday morning, putting the drone together, and then heading across the street to the parking lot at Tropicana Field to test it out, however we ended up staying out a bit past our bedtime Friday night after attending the “Gala Under the Stars” at Demens Landing in downtown St. Pete.

The event was put on by American Stage– a local theatre group who present year-round plays in the Tampa Bay Area, as well as an outdoor springtime production at Demens Landing. So Friday evening, we had the pleasure of watching the opening performance of Monty Python’s Spamalot (which was absolutely hysterical), while we dined under the stars, met some cool new people, and had ourselves a good ole time (and possibly one too many glasses of wine)…

Spamalot Gala
My shoes are somewhere. Also, pardon my squintiness- I was looking directly into the sun while taking this photo.
Ellyn Kamke American Stage
Thank you for the hospitality, Ellyn!

Spamalot Gala

Needless to say, our plans of getting up early on Saturday never materialized, and instead we slept in and had a lazy morning watching Phantom 3 video tutorials in bed. The videos were quite thorough when it came to taking the drone out of the box and putting it together, but were severely lacking in the “how to actually fly the damn thing” department, which was kinda frustrating to say the least.

(As a sidenote…the actor in the DJI Phantom videos is a dead ringer for Christian Bale’s character in the movie American Psycho– complete with creepy smile and dreamy eyes, and the entire time that I was watching him give instructions I couldn’t help but imagine the dead hookers that were likely chopped up and stacked neatly in the freezer back at his condo).

DJI Phantom Ty and Patrick Bateman
“I like to dissect girls. Did you know I’m utterly insane?”

Uncanny resemblance, no?

So anyway, when we finally had the drone assembled, the batteries charged, and had garnered enough knowledge to power the thing on and maybe possibly fly it…we walked it across the street to the Tropicana Field parking lot where we’d planned on testing it out.

Unfortunately the wind was blowing so hard that we almost got knocked over as we were crossing 1st Ave.South, and so we ended up scrapping our test mission altogether because windy conditions coupled with not-knowing-what-the-hell-you’re-doing is almost certainly a recipe for a drone-flying disaster…probably best to err on the side of caution and try again the following day.

And so try again we did…

It was a little less windy outside on Sunday, and so we decided to head over to Weedon Island and test the drone out there. Weedon is an absolutely gorgeous spot located on Tampa Bay (about 20 minutes from downtown St. Pete) encompassing over three thousand acres of mangrove tunnels, paddling trails, boardwalks, and observation towers. Rudy and I had been talking about going back to Weedon for quite some time to shoot photos from one of the observation decks, and so we figured we’d kill two birds with one stone and bring the drone along as well.

DJI Phantom 3 Drone Pink
Isn’t she cute? We named her Lucy…Lucy in the sky. Heeeee.
Weedon Island
Boardwalk leading to one of the observation towers at Weedon Island

Weedon Island

Weedon Island Observation Deck
View from atop the observation deck. Please disregard our unintentionally matching T-Shirts that make us look like complete dorks.
Weedon Island
This is the shot that we’d been wanting to get from the observation deck which miraculously came out halfway decent even though it was taken with the stupid GoPro.

Once we got to the top of the observation deck, we decided that it was probably too windy to risk a test flight, plus there were far too many people wandering around the area and if I did end up crashing Lucy, I’d prefer it not to happen in front of an audience.

So after taking a few shots with the GoPro, we aborted mission once again and headed back towards downtown St. Pete in search of food and drink. We ended up at Hawkers, the Asian Street Food joint that opened up a month-ish ago a few blocks from our condo on Central Ave. and has kinda become our home away from home ever since.

We had a few beers, an order of Spring Rolls and an order of extra spicy Singapore Mei Fun (which is freaking delicious, and my favorite item on the menu so far but not pictured below because I was too busy eating it to be bothered to take its picture), and then we decided to call it a day and head home…

Hawker's St. Pete

Hawker's Crispy Spring Rolls
Hawker’s Crispy Spring Rolls = Delicious

Alrighty then- that’s all for now…
I’ve got some videotapes to return, so I’ve gotta run! πŸ˜‰

Later Gators.


I’m headed to South Florida later this week so hopefully I’ll have some cool drone shots to post when I get back from my trip…stay tuned!

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12 Responses

  1. Marmaid Girl
    | Reply

    So excited for you about the drone and can’t wait to see the pictures you get!

    We’ve been shopping around for one but can’t decide if we should go for it or not. I share your fear of crashing it due to my lack of experience.

    • Steph
      | Reply

      Haha- I will keep you posted and let you know what I think.
      We’re gonna try and take it out later this afternoon so keep your fingers crossed for me. πŸ™‚

  2. Ocalex
    | Reply

    LMAO at the American Psycho reference! Loved that movie and haven’t seen it in years!

    • Steph
      | Reply

      It’s definitely a classic- I haven’t seen it in years, either.
      Next rainy day I’ll have to watch it again. πŸ™‚

  3. Larissa Paredo
    | Reply

    I just stumbled upon your blog last night and was up until 2 in the morning reading your posts!

    I live in Florida and always say I’m going to get out and explore but until now I never have. Your blog has inspired me to put my first trip to a Florida spring on the calendar. My boyfriend and I will be heading to the Weeky Wachee River next weekend for the first time thanks to your beautiful pictures and stories.

    Thank you for the inspiration and please keep up the great work!!!

    • Steph
      | Reply

      Ahhh that’s so awesome to hear- you guys are going to LOVE the Weeki Wachee!

      Have fun and please let me know how your trip goes!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting,
      Steph πŸ™‚

  4. Lauralee in St. Pete
    | Reply

    Ooh I didn’t know you could get a pink drone??? Did that cost extra?

    Love your blog Steph!

    • Steph
      | Reply

      Thanks so much, Lauralee!

      The pink bands on the drone are actually stickers that they send along with the box of accessories that comes with it. You can choose from red (that’s what color was on there when it arrived), blue, magenta, and a few other colors that I can’t remember at the moment.

      I took the red ones off and switched to pink right away. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for reading- I appreciate your feedback!

  5. Tim
    | Reply

    You’ve got to just do it. I’ve got the Phantom 4 and the lesson I learned early on, just do it. It can handle the wind, and it’s easy to fly.

    • Steph
      | Reply

      Thanks for the input, Tim!

      I’ve taken it out several times now, but I can’t get the remote control to connect with the drone- it keeps losing signal no matter where I’m at. I’m gonna try it out a few more times, and then I might have to send it back. It’s been really frustrating, but hopefully it will work out.

  6. Allison Flavio
    | Reply

    That toy looks like a lot of fun, my fiance would be uber jealous! Can’t wait to see what magic you create with it πŸ™‚

    Happy Monday boo – xoxo!
    Allison Flavio recently posted…How to Fly in Crow Pose (a video tutorial)My Profile

    • Steph
      | Reply

      Thanks, Allison (and sorry for the delayed response)!

      I hope all is going well with your wedding preparations- you must be so excited! (And busy). πŸ™‚

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