#14 Flying High in California

Continuing from my last blog post I was on my way up the I5 to the Bay Area to spend my last week in California. I had to go back up for a few reasons, the first being that I had my inflatable kayak and a few other items stored at my buddy Patricks house and I needed to get those before “officially” embarking on my trip. The second reason was that there was still one building I had to explore before leaving the Bay… that will be in the next post. This post however is about my new drone the DJI “Mavic Pro”. Ever since I got into shooting Cliff Jumping videos more than 5 years ago, I had always wanted a drone. Keep in mind 8 years ago was when people were just starting to build hexacopters and mounting GoPro Hero 2’s on them to achieve low budget aerial shots. I vaguely recall seeing footage of the Yuba river in 2012 and I thought to myself… if I can get one of these I can totally turn the cliff jumping game upside down. But I never did get one.. they were expensive, the ease of use hadn’t been developed and I really didn’t want to have to tinker with electronics. I found alternatives that helped quench that “aerial shot” thirst. The most creative solution I came up with was a 30ft long painters extension pole which I would mount my GoPro on the end and try to replicate drone shots with. Well its about 5 years later and things have finally come full circle…!

Working for GoPro I got very comfortable operating drones to capture aerial footage. It was usually an utmost necessity to be able to capture drone shots when we were on productions. They were the bread and butter for establishing a scene or a location… no time-lapse, drop cam or anything  will compare to a beautiful scenic drone shot (in my opinion). Although I fully intend on using my new drone for video the sole reason I bought it was to begin to capture “aerial imagery” and start to develop a portfolio of drone photography. The DJI Mavic was the most appealing drone to me due to the fact that it is so damn small. I already lug so much gear to abandoned places or landscapes and having a small drone that I can fit in my bag was the biggest concern. Secondly I wanted good image quality specifically photos and the Mavic takes great photos. The image quality doesn’t compare to my DSLR which it shouldn’t, my DSLR setup is more then $6,000 with just the lens and the body where as the Mavic is a $1,000 piece of equipment… however the image quality in my opinion is insanely awesome for the price point. I think another huge factor is that if a consumer wanted to acquire aerial imagery 10-15 years ago they would be paying for a lot of expensive private helicopter rides so this is a total no brainer! If you have ever wanted to get into aerial video or photo, grab the Mavic! If you want something for all in one video production grab the GoPro Karma as it comes with the gimbal grip and thats huge too! Cant forget about good ol GoPro, I still have mad love for them, the Mavic is just better suited for my rugged explorations! With that being said here is a nice collection of some imagery I collected over the course of 3-4 days in California.


I’m not gonna share any more of the photos as I’m going to save them for a book but those should give you an idea of the image quality! If anyone is interested in prints feel free to email or contact me on Facebook! Here are some bonus photos of myself with random people fascinated by the drone haha!



  • J.J





One thought on “#14 Flying High in California

  1. Drones have opened up new aerial perspectives only those able to afford heli rides and putting together aerial rigs. Great photos. I’m currently saving for a drone. Torn between the Dji Mavic and a Phantom 4 refurb.

    Enjoying your explorations.


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