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Big Bear Lake Drone Project

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

It was a spur of the moment decision. I was working from home that day and Erin suggested we head up to the mountains for a day of drone flying and photography. It was the middle of the week, we had a good snow the week before and we were both eager to fly the drone in the snow. Less than an hour later, we were on the road to Big Bear. Although it is only a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, it feels days away from the city.

The drive up the mountain in the afternoon was beautiful. The mountains were full of snow. The light breeze in the air would blow snow from the trees, and the snow would glisten in the golden afternoon light as it fell to the ground.

We arrived in the late afternoon, grabbed a late lunch and scouted the area for some places to fly the drone. We decided to get a room for the night and found a steal of a deal. For less than $100 we found ourselves in our own log cabin in the woods. The cabin had a full kitchen and a living room with a hot tub in it! We cooked our dinner on the stove and had a quiet night in front of the fire. It was the best hotel room we have had yet.

After a good night’s sleep, we woke up eager to fly the drone and capture some footage. We loaded up the car and checked out of our cabin and started to explore. Much to our surprise, the top of the mountain had much less snow on it than on the way to the top. It was late in the season, but there had been a lot of recent snow and our expectations were pretty high.

Since we didn’t see the level of snow we expected at the top of the mountain, we made our way back to the lower area where we saw the beautiful light the previous day. We pulled the car over into a couple of turnout area on the road and found some nice spots to fly the drone over the cliff and above the mountains. I got the drone in the air a couple of times, but the wind was really intense. The drone was getting thrown around a lot, making flying conditions extremely difficult. Even landing was a challenge…as I guided the drone in to land, the wind would push down on it and forced it to a lower altitude than where I was standing. I attempted to elevate the drone, but the wind pressure was making it so it was barely moving. I finally gained the upper-hand after several minutes and was able to land the drone safely.

By this time, It was the early afternoon and we had exhausted ourselves and our drone batteries. We set our sights back up the mountain to town for some lunch and a power outlet. We found a nice little burger spot in town and got a decent battery charge in hopes of giving it one more try. We came a long way to fly the drone and we really just wanted to find the spot.

We knew the wind was too strong on the lower areas of the mountain, so we stayed up top this time. We drove through town and ventured around the lake area in hopes of finding something special. Finally, we turned the corner and found a great spot! It was magic hour and the sun was going down quickly. There was a beautiful deep blue color to the water and the sky which contrasted with the white snow on the mountain. The late afternoon air was beginning to chill and it felt like winter. It felt like we were in the right place at the right time…but we didn’t have a lot of time to spare.

We quickly got the drone in the air and began our flight. There was only enough light for about 15 minutes of flight, but that was plenty of time to capture some magic and make the entire two-day trip worth while.

After capturing some drone footage, a few still photos as well as some behind-the-scenes video, we loaded up our gear and headed down the mountain towards home. Two hours later and we arrived.

We captured some great footage during our little adventure, but it left us hungry for more. We can’t wait to get back up to the mountains in winter 2017-18 and do it again. Stay tuned for the next update!

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