Robots are cool. Flying robots? Even cooler. Put these two cool things together and you have a drone.

A drone is a flying robot that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems, working in conjunction with onboard sensors and GPS. The term “drone” usually refers to any unpiloted aircraft. Sometimes referred to as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles" (UAVs), these crafts can carry out an impressive range of tasks, ranging from military operations to package delivery. Drones can be as large as an aircraft or as small as the palm of your hand.

Tim Jackson, Assistant Band Director at Ripley High School, has been interested in piloting a drone for years. Finally, the technology and price point have become attainable for the average individual. He purchased a DJI Air 2S. It gives professional quality video and still pictures, but it is marketed and sold as a consumer rated product. In short, one gets professional features at a consumer market price.

I was curious about why Tim enjoys using his drone. “We live in a beautiful part of the country,” Tim said. “Our mind and eyes become accustomed to seeing the same things on a daily basis. Our daily drive to work or school. The same scenes to the gas station or grocery store become mundane. We become numb to our surroundings. When we are able to see the familiar in a completely different way, we can truly appreciate the beauty and interesting features of what lies before us every day,” Tim observed.

Tim surprised me by sending me a drone picture of our son, Jackson, who is in the RHS band. I was delighted! If you have OR have had a teenage boy, you know that it’s tough to get a good photo of them! I was well familiar with drone photography because we hire drone photographers regularly to photograph and video our real estate listings for sale in Florida, but I haven’t met anyone here in Ripley who had a drone, until now. I asked Tim if he would be interested in shooting drone photos of Seersucker Hall, our personal residence. He agreed! Here are the drone shots that Tim took of Seersucker Hall and of Ripley. Aren’t they cool? He sent some great videos, too!

Since I have a degree in life coaching, you knew you weren’t getting out of this column without The Little Mrs. FGG’s commentary about how drone photography applies to life. It was awe-inspiring to see landmarks I drive past every single day from a new perspective. It made me think about how there is more than one way to look at the same thing. These arial photos and videos of my home and surrounding area got me thinking about all the people bustling around inside those buildings, or the players that play on those ball fields. I found myself thinking about perspective as it applies to others. Sometimes, we are quick to judge a person or situation based on what we see, but what we see is often filtered by our own personal biases and assumptions. We may not always have the whole picture, so, before going on the defensive with our friends and family, it can help to take a step back, take a deep breath, and give others the benefit of the doubt before we say or do something we might regret later.

Be the drone. Look at things from a different perspective. Everyone is just doing the best they can, and to consider “the big picture” before we speak or act can save us heartache and regret. Maybe you are feuding with family members over situations that could’ve been prevented if the parties involved had shifted their perspective. I know that there are some things that are unforgivable, but I know that there is also a lot of stupid reasons we get in fights with family and then we end up wasting too many years being angry when we could’ve been enjoying making memories together instead. If you can find it in your heart to broaden your perspective on issues that previously upset you, maybe it’s time to reconsider past actions and make amends and enjoy the holidays together. Be kind, always.

With that said: imagine a family holiday photo taken from the perspective of a drone! A drone photo of a residence makes a unique holiday gift, as well.

If you are interested in learning more about hiring Tim Jackson as a drone photographer/videographer, please email him at:

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