National Park Stories March 8

Last weekend, I finally got to watch Free Solo about Alex Honnold climbing El Cap without any ropes, harness or other protective equipment. In the Oscar-winning documentary, there are a number or amazing aerial shots (especially towards the end). I immediately wondered if they might have used a drone to get those shots. Later in the film, you even see a remote controller for a drone together with other equipment. And, in the credits, drone operator Nick Wolcott is mentioned. Did Jimmy Chin’s film crew indeed use a drone in Yosemite’s National Park? Were they able, perhaps with the help of National Geographic, to get permission to fly a drone and use it document Alex Honnold’s ascent of El Cap? As you probably know, flying drones in any of the National Parks in the U.S. is not allowed. Out of curiosity, I researched the documentary a bit to see what I could find out.

Btw – if you haven’t seen Free Solo yet, I can highly recommend it. To watch Alex climb El Cap is both nerve-wracking and unbelievable at the same time. Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and their crew did an amazing job documenting Alex’s journey to the top of El Cap.

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National Park Stories November 19, 2018

A photographer from New York is under federal investigation after sharing a drone photo of Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Prismatic Spring with his 717,000 Instagram followers. The photographer’s name is Timothy McGurr, but on Instagram he’s better known as 13thwitness. After some followers commented that it was illegal to fly drones in national parks, McGurr removed the photo from his account.

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DJI Mavic Pro

National Park Stories July 5, 2018

In Tony Northrup’s newest video, he “hopes” that you will buy a drone… but believes that most of you shouldn’t. He makes this claim for more reasons than one, stating that there are very few places to fly drones in the world and that the cost is too high for something that he claims is “disposable.” As major advocates of drones with a channel dedicated to their use, why would Tony and Chelsea make a video about not purchasing one? Let’s dissect their argument.

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National Park Stories December 5, 2017

In pursuit of amazing photos of 2,000-degree hot lava, Erez Marom flew his $1,500 DJI Phantom drone too close and caused it to melt. The melted drone was worth it though according to Marom. He said:

“When you take a drone through a volcano, you take a certain risk that the drone isn’t going to come back,” Marom says. “I knew the drone might not come back, but it was worth it.”

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