If you have to shoot in cold weather conditions, then you need to prepare for this in advance, as low temperatures make their own adjustments not only to the shooting process itself, but also to the operation of the equipment involved. In this article, we have collected ten proven recommendations that will allow the drone user to fully prepare for shooting in low / negative temperatures in order to avoid commonplace mistakes later and get the most out of the process and undoubtedly the best result. So let’s fly!
Dress appropriately for the weather. Clothing should not hinder your movements and at the same time should provide comfortable warmth. Sports / tourist warm clothes, if necessary, in tandem with thermal underwear will achieve the desired result. Do not forget that thermal underwear, in turn, is divided among themselves based on the level of human activity. In our case, these are mostly stable downtime in one place. Consider this information when choosing.
No matter how warm we are, our hands are one way or another the first to freeze, preventing us from working comfortably in the cold for a long time. The problem is solved with a pair of gloves. On the one hand, you can use any, because the main thing is to be comfortable and warm. However, given the constant process of interacting with the touch screen of the paired smart device, “any gloves” is the least suitable for shooting from a drone, as it does not allow you to work with the application menu without removing gloves. Therefore, in this case, the first option is gloves with open fingertips, they are also called “mitts”, or similar options that have the ability to open the upper part of the fingers of the glove, usually there are two of them – index and thumb. The second option is special gloves compatible with the touch screen. In the list of the best brands: The North Face, Lauren, Ralph Muji, Grandoe, Burberry, Dents.
Hobby hack! There are times when the ability to contact the touch screen deteriorates in such gloves, in this case, just lick the tips of the working fingers of the glove and everything will go like clockwork.
It’s no secret that in conditions of negative temperatures, batteries are noticeably quickly discharged, especially for devices such as a smartphone / tablet. So always try to keep them warm. Put them in your pocket, close to your body, until it’s time to take off. For a long-term maximum effect, you can use special hand warmers, such as Hothands. They are not expensive, the efficiency is 100% (up to 10 hours of heat transfer). For example, they can be placed between the iPad and the case, and used right during the flight, in order to maintain the optimal temperature for the battery of a smart device. There is no need to worry about the fire hazard, such heating pads are safe, non-toxic, ultra-thin, work immediately after activation and do not emit odor. Extend the operating time of related smart devices, including smartphones and iPads, with portable USB charging. Do not neglect this device, because at the right time it will always be missed!
The next thing you have to come to terms with when flying in the winter is that your drone battery will drain noticeably faster than it would in freezing temperatures. Therefore, be prepared for both a shorter flight time (on average, the flight time will be about 15-17 minutes) and an earlier return. It’s also a good idea to read the drone’s data sheet, specifically the drone/remote power section, to clarify the operating temperature range for each device. Remember, the lower the temperature, the lower the potential of the battery, often accompanied by an unpredictable drop in voltage, after which the motors can immediately turn off. Always keep track of the current battery voltage and temperature in the aircraft battery settings menu through the mobile app. Just like the recommendation above, always keep the drone batteries warm before flying.
Leave the drone outdoors for a few minutes without batteries before flying to allow the overall temperature of the drone and its working components to equal the ambient temperature. This approach will avoid fogging the lens (usually a small spot appears in the center of the lens from the inside). If this does happen, just put your finger on the lens for 1/2 minute.
The developer does not recommend flying a drone during a snowfall! This is tantamount to flying in rainy weather and can lead to a crash. If you still decide to fly in snowfall at your own risk, we recommend that you immediately turn off the obstacle detection and avoidance system, otherwise you will encounter short-term stops / turns of the drone in flight, which will eventually spoil the footage.
When flying at low altitude, whether on snow-covered ground or an ice-bound body of water, it is recommended that you exercise caution in piloting, as the drone may spontaneously exhibit some upward and downward drift. This is due to the fact that the lower sensory system cannot correctly read information from a white, slightly textured surface, which the developer also warns about in the drone specification.
If it is not possible to launch/land the drone from a dry/snow-free and level surface, it will be best to take off by hand and land on your hand (care must be taken when performing this method of takeoff and landing).
After launching the drone, do not rush to immediately start climbing and flying. Hold on for a minute. Pay attention to any shortcomings in the behavior of the drone when holding the position, whether it clearly responds to light / short manipulations of the control sticks, etc. If something is wrong or looks suspicious, land the drone and make a visual inspection of it. Once again, make sure that the propellers are securely fixed and in their integrity, and also go to the “Aircraft Status” section of the mobile application and re-check the current statuses of the copter’s main systems. This approach will prevent unforeseen failures in its work and subsequently protect it from crashes.
And finally, a few words about the shooting itself. It should be borne in mind that snow and ice are very bright surfaces and reflect a lot of light even on cloudy days. To compensate for excess light, use polarizing and ND filters. Believe me, the final result is worth their purchase, as you can see more than once.
Before embarking on any business, it is important to analyze all the nuances that can be easily foreseen in the process of a simple analysis of future actions. Obviously, how you prepare for a “cold flight” depends on the future safety of the drone and, of course, the final result in shooting.
If you have something to add, tell us about it in the comments below, and we will gladly supplement this review with your experience. We hope our recommendations were useful to you. Thank you for your attention.