Poem – In the Distant Valley

A wanderer of the frozen lands,
I stopped at the edge.

A silence wrapped in wind
and ice scattered across

the valley and we took
shelter beneath overhanging rock.

In the morning after the fire
we hiked 7 days to the distant valley

steeped in legends of living spirits
and the black wolves guarding the way home.


Drone Resources and Websites

I have spent a few hours with learning and flying a drone, crashing a into trees a couple of times, and missing the manual landing more than hitting the pad.  All of this is get practice and build skills for eventual commercial piloting (more information below).  I have found the Autel Robotics drone to be an excellent mix of performance, quality of photos and video, support, and cost.  In the next post, I will talk briefly about other manufactures and how they compare to the Autel Robotics.

Some useful websites for the FAA Part 107 drone operator testing and certification for commercial operation.

The following website is for registration of your drone if it meets criteria outlined by the FAA, which applies to most drones on the market today.

The following is a short list of drone manufactures that I have experience with, either from flying or researching the next drone that will be added to the Willow River Dynamics fleet.

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Poem – Beyond Control

I move across the empty fields
toward the tree line and pause.

There are shadows and things unseen
at work as the sky bends to will of the forest.

There is an energy flow through everything and
if I clear my mind I see ten thousand beings

and the light they cast down the path.


Poem – Home

Home is that place
with the open gate
and the familiar road
lined with tree shadows
and silence of a full
heart and a clear mind.


Flying Over the Forest

Video flying over the forest and a wonderful view of an early autumn sky with the Autel Robotics X-Star and an ND8 camera filter from Freewell.

Coming in for a (not soft) landing

A quick video with a manual landing taken with the Autel Robotics X-Star and an ND8 camera filter from Freewell.

Poem – Eyes

In what appears as two strangers
passing in an overcrowded
train station waiting to
be taken home, I saw you
in the mirror and aside from
the same face, the eyes
were deeper, content,
focused on today.

Poem – Path

The path we follow,

the path we create

is only a door or window

and what we find on the other side

and along the stone trail are what

we put there, what we desire to become

in this life and the next.

What we choose lasts forever

and becomes a part of everything and everyone.



From Engadget: DJI’s folding Mavic drone images leak out

Article posted on Engadget about an upcoming compact drone from DJI.


Mavic Drone form DJI

Image credit: Heliguy/Digital Trends

Poem – In the Shadows

In the shadows
there is a path

there is hope
if that is what

we choose
to see.

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Into the Skies with Autel Robotics

This was the second weekend of flying the Autel Robotics X-Star drone and I have to say this is an impressive product. I settled on the X-Star after a lot of research and trying out the DJI Phantom 3 and 3DR Solo. A combination of features, price, and customer support made me feel comfortable and confident in the X-Star. So, time to put in the hours to learn how to fly.

While flying in the beginner mode for safety, I still managed to crash it in the trees by clipping branches, and it was awesome. Of course, a 16 MPH wind made the flying more challenging.

Each flight so far has been with the propeller guards fully installed and no damage has been done to the craft, motors, or propellers.

This is the premium model in bright orange. With future plans for commercial operation and surveillance, the coloring is much more visible and provides a additional level of safety.  To help with training, I built a landing pad and painted it fluorescent orange to aid in unassisted landings when the camera is angled straight down.
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As shown in the video below, at times the propeller guards are visible from the strong 16 MPH winds, but the image and video are still very stable. These drones have a 3-axis gimbal and I am very impressed with how it operated in the conditions.

Going in for a manual landing.


And the landing was a bit off the mark.

Poem – Guided By Wolves

In the last dream of this life
I watched the white wolf walk away.

In the first dream of the next life
I watched the black wolf emerge from still water.

With my first step across the empty field
I knew I was granted another life,

more time complemented with the experiences
and another chance at my purpose.

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First flight with Autel Robotics

This past weekend was the first flight with an Autel Robotics X-Star Premium. After a couple of hard landings that turned it into a weed whacker, a successful flight and photos along with a safe landing ended the learning for the day.