Winter drone flying can sometimes be challenging in extreme conditions. Low temperatures can impact flight performance, and weather can be unpredictable. It’s possible that you will encounter rain, fog, or snow during flight. So how can you have a safe flight and capture great shots during the winter months? Here are some safety and camera settings tips to keep in mind when flying your drone during winter.
Like many of the latest portable devices, DJI drones use Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. Cold temperatures can put your batteries out of their comfort zone, decreasing the chemical activity within batteries. Follow the tips below to ensure a safe flight:
- Only use fully charged batteries.
- Pre-heat your battery to 20°C (68°F) or more. You can check the battery temperature in DJI GO. Use a Battery Heater if one is available for your product.
- Hover for about a minute to allow the battery to warm up.
- Only push the control sticks gently to prevent any battery voltage drops.
- Batteries drain faster in cold temperatures. Always check your drone’s battery status during flight.
Reduced visibility and the moisture of snow can be the hidden dangers behind shooting spectacular winter scenery. It’s essential to take the right precautions:
- Before flying your drone, check the weather conditions. Avoid strong wind, rain, and snow.
- Do not fly in temperatures below 0°C (32°F).
- Avoid contact with snow. Moisture can damage the motors. It’s recommended to use a landing pad for taking off and landing your drone.
- Ensure that the GPS signal is strong.
Ever experienced your mobile device unexpectedly shutting down from the cold? As explained at the beginning, cold temperatures can shorten a LiPo battery’s life. So while taking good care of your Intelligent Flight Batteries, don’t forget to keep your mobile device warm. Additionally, watch out for frostbite. Operating a remote controller with numb hands is dangerous. It’s a good idea wear gloves when flying outdoors during winter months.
Camera Settings – Exposure and White Balance
To capture the beauty of snow, you need to manually set camera exposure and white balance. Shooting in Auto mode can result in dark images. This is because the camera’s exposure system can sometimes underexpose snow, tricked by its brightness. By adding additional stops, you will slightly overexpose your photos but get the right compensation for snow shots. Similarly, you need to adjust the white balance accordingly to get the right color balance of the snowy landscape. Otherwise, the snow may look grey.
If your drone is idle for a long time, its performance might be affected. Storing it properly is key to a safe flight. Make sure to:
- Fully charge and discharge the battery once every three months to maintain battery health.
- Remove the propellers and attach the gimbal clamp when storing your drone.
- Store your drone in a dry, non-magnetic place at around 25°C (77°F).
Thanks to DJI for this excellent advice.