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Part 8: Dronelife Forever!

We’ve covered a lot in the series here – from my early days of starting out opening my drone services business to right up to today.

It’s been an interesting journey for sure, with some pitfalls, of course.

By the way, I used to love playing that one at the local arcade, Pitfall.

There are many high moments that will forever be remembered, with more being added all the time. It didn’t start out that way. Oh, no!

At first, I was just a guy with a new piece of technology and learning how to use it. That was what I was doing in the very beginning, just as all of us do.

As I have brought up before, I have always had an interest and infinity towards photography, instilled into me by my mom, who at one point had her own studio, where I helped out growing up.

So, capturing and keeping moments is just ingrained.

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As such, I have had the joy and privilege to work with many cameras and camera types over the years, learning the ins and outs of equipment and photographic style.

The flying camera, though, reawakened something within me. It inspired me and sent me down the road that I’ve followed since.

You may be wondering just what was it that did that.

After all, who doesn’t want to have something awaken within them? It’s easy; it was the different perspective, that view only a drone can provide.

Even today, yes, even today, the flame that was ignited then still burns strong. That unique perspective that a drone camera provides fascinates me so much.

The flying camera or drone provides a unique view of the settings around you. I was hooked instantly, like many of you, then, now, and in the future.

I was among one of the first to adopt the term Aerial View in my company title, at a time when most were using the term drone.

For me, it was always that unique view.

Living the drone life can be exciting at times, without a doubt. Some projects just scream that they shall never be forgotten, for good or bad reasons.

Living the drone life can be a tough life at times as well.

Not pulling off that maneuver and having a costly crash, or not getting the right moment you were looking to capture. It is, after all, just life. It’s just better because you have a drone.

For some pilots, it’s the rush of flight, watching as everything speeds by as you deftly make your way up and around obstacles.

It is a sensation you won’t find doing anything else.

For others, it’s the art they are able to create. The reasons may differ between us.

The love of droning though is the same, and due to that, one of the things you will find in droning is the amazing community and other pilots out there.


I recently had the joy of having a conversation with an acclaimed award-winning drone pilot and photographer, Joanna Steidle.

Her work has been featured by DJI, US Veteran Affairs, The Weather Channel, Fox News, WeatherNation, Yahoo News, and most recently National Geographic. 

It’s an impressive body of work she has produced. If you’re not familiar with Joanna’s work, you can check it out at this link to her site.

Aerial Photography – Joanna L Steidle Drone Images (

Back to that conversation though, Joanna has found her passion not only in drones, but in capturing some of the most amazing photos of marine wildlife you will probably ever see.

Needless to say, I was very impressed by her work. Very impressed, but even more so by the creator herself.

One thing that really stuck out to me was the amount of time and preparation that Joanna puts into each and every shot she takes.

She will plan out and wait for just the right time and day to get the shot she’s looking for.

By putting in the time, care, and consideration into her shoots, she has achieved recognition and greatness.

She has proven to be an inspiration not only to other women pilots, but to all drone pilots and photographers out there.

She shows us all the way to achieve our goals, and what can be possible when we do.

Achieving one’s goals takes time, care, consideration, and picking the right moment to act.

I have had the joy and privilege to meet many drone pilots out there. We come from every walk of life and background.

One of the very best things about living the drone life is the people we meet due to our shared love of flying.

When you become a drone pilot, you’re not alone, even if it may seem that way sometimes. No, there is a whole community of drone pilots.

These are some of the nicest and most sharing people you could ever be a part of. I’ve attended drone meets and of course, there’s always the online experience.

Whenever a fellow pilot is in need of a replacement prop or information, someone from that group comes to the aid of that other pilot.

It is this sort of comradeship that makes living the drone life worth, well, living.

» MORE: Commercial Drone Pilots in USA (Ultimate Guide)

Now among us, there are just some exceptional pilots out there, ones that really stand out and inspire the rest of us.

Pilots who either by their location choice or just their skill alone are able to capture things that some of us might miss out on or may never quite be able to pull off as well, if not for them.

Take, as an example, Jake Sloan. He’s another pilot like Joanna. Out there producing some hands down fantastic content, with an equally fantastic body of work backing it up.

Jake is a real down-to-earth sort of guy, as I’ve gathered in our few conversations. He resides in Alaska. However, his piloting skills are in high demand, so he travels a lot.

Here’s a link to Jake’s YouTube channel, so you can check out his work. It’s worth the visit.

Jake Sloan – YouTube

Jake’s work has garnered him an actual Emmy with a current nomination on the table for another one. That is all very impressive for sure.

What’s even more so, is that Jake is more than glad to help each and every one of us be better pilots through his channel by providing photography tutorials, reviews, and footage of the best backyard ever.

Now what I do day in and day out is quite a bit more mundane than the two exceptional examples above and that’s alright. What I do is just as important.

I bring them up in this article, the final one in this series, as they inspire me and many others.

To be honest, I could probably go on for eternity picking names of those who inspire me in this Dronelife.

There are really that many pilots that are out there to be inspired by.

No, what I do is more within reach of myself and most of us pilots.

Taking worksite monitoring videos or stills of a property or running a mapping mission is not nearly as glamorous as following whale pods or racing through an ice tunnel.

It is the backbone of our industry, though. It is where most of us commercial pilots will reside.

As one, I have found there are times when a little inspiration helps, as it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and lose sight of the art.

» MORE: When Should You Upgrade Your Drone? (Read This First)

The Art

Keith Davis

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Now that is certainly true; when it comes to art, some may just become infatuated with a piece, and others may simply find it vile.

That’s the nature of the beholder’s eyes.

I know it may seem strange, but even a photo of a home can, in certain cases, be considered art.

The right angle, the right context, the subject matter – there are many factors involved.

A photo is able to evoke an emotion; it is, therefore, art. After all, the definition of art is a visual object or experience consciously created through an expression of skill or imagination. 

Am I an artist? Yes, just not in the same way that Joanna or Jake are, or for that matter, you are.

What I create or what you create is art – if you want it to be anyway.

I guess what I’m getting at is to not forget that sometimes you want to fly and capture footage or stills just for the fun of doing so. It doesn’t always have to be for a client or some other reason.

There have been times over the years when I have felt that flame flicker and burn down some. When the pressures of the expenses or the overburden of a very full or very non-full schedule have weighed down upon me.

In those moments, sure, it is easy to lose sight of the very things that bring joy, such as the love of flying.

In these moments, seeing the work of others and watching their flights makes sure that the flame is burning bright again.

Most of us will ply our trade without anyone really ever knowing our names or just what we contributed. This happens to be true in nearly every industry, believe it or not.

After all, no one knows who drew or animated Aladin, do they? No, they only know that it was a Disney film.

This is the way for many artists. Then we have the occasional standouts, much like Joanna or Jake or many others that inspire us.

In a similar vein, my work has led to three realty companies winning awards for their listings.

As it was their award, much like the animators of that Disney film, no one knows I played a part, and that’s OK.

After all, more business going to those realtors just means more work for me. So, it is a win, win as they say.

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Sorry! Gone Flyin’!

Keith Davis

There is a group of people who I don’t even know that inspire me. It’s you! The readers out there, and I want to THANK YOU!

If not for you, I wouldn’t be fulfilling my lifelong dream of being a professional writer/Drone Pilot.

A dream I’ve held onto since childhood, with the hopes of entertaining and engaging people with the written word.

After all, you can be more than just a drone pilot, you know. It’s also you, the reader, that helps keep the fire alive.

If not for you, I wouldn’t be as on top of what’s going on in the drone industry. I wouldn’t have the desire to keep pursuing the latest news and happenings in this Dronelife we’re living.

It is because of you that opportunities that would not have presented themselves otherwise have presented themselves.

A good example of that would be when I was covering RID modules.

I was able to speak with many of the wonderful people working in that area, from CEOs to technicians, and have formed some good relationships from those encounters.

All of this was made possible by you, my readers. Well, you, the readers, my very patient and lovely editor, and the staff at Droneblog, that is.

I will say, taking one last look back at the past, I’ve ended up in a good place, and I am happy. For the most part. If I was completely content, what would be the fun in that, and what would there be to work towards?

That’s just it, though, isn’t it. Part of what draws us to droning in the first place. No matter how good you get or how many challenges you overcome, there’s always more.

In this Dronelife of ours, we’re always improving, we’re always learning, we’re always changing, and we’re always finding new inspiration. What a great life it is!

So, thank you again, my readers, for this indulgence. I can only hope it helped or inspired some of you. See you in the air!

Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!

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