Ibought my first drone one year ago this month and, although I haven’t flown it as much as I’d like, the DJI Phantom 4 offers some of the most eye-popping visuals I’ve captured in 2017.
I try to head down to the Flying Drones for Fun meetup in Sunnyvale each month to get a little better at the controls and to meet fellow drone enthusiasts. (The next event is Jan. 20 on Treasure Island.)
This may be the glory days of drone flying, as the regulations governing hobbyists’ flying seem to be getting stricter. I was able to take my drone with me on my cruises above Silversea and Windstar Cruises, but Holland America and Norwegian have strict no-drones policies, so I wasn’t able to capture footage from above during my last two cruises.
And there are a few places in the Bay Area, such as César E. Chávez Park in Berkeley, where drones are still allowed, but nobody showed up for the last drones meetup there and the rest of the area is off-limits, so I generally head down to Sunnyvale, where a dozen or more amateur droners always seem to turn out. I’m hoping to get more serious with my droning in 2018.
JD Lasica is a startup founder, thriller author and journalist with a special interest in VR, AR and AI. Follow him on Twitter at