Rowena Crest Viewpoint

The Rowena Crest Viewpoint is located roughly 20 minutes east of Hood River, Oregon. For years I’ve seen photos of this beautiful location but wanted to see it with my own eyes, so one weekend Luke I drove out to the viewpoint to get some photos. On the day of our visit it was an exceptionally beautiful day in the gorge. The views in the gorge always amaze me; I’m convinced you can’t take a bad picture out here.

Recent Reads V.9

Normal People | This is a book that absolutely stuck with me and I’m sure will for a long time. Aspects of Marianne and Connell’s story felt all too real. The emotions these characters feel are raw and relatable. I don’t think I’ll ever get over this one. I listened to the audiobook and it was narrated with an Irish accent. Swoon. Also, the miniseries is to die for and in that rare occasion, even better than the book in my opinion.
(4.5 stars)

In Five Years | I listened to the audiobook version and loved it. I went into this book thinking that it was going to be romance story – I was wrong. While there are aspects or romance, it’s more about life and how you deal with it, but throw in a time travel/parallel universe twist. I found the story to be unique and compelling.
(4 stars)

The Vanishing Half | This book was incredible and it was heartbreaking. The story features black twin sisters and how their lives go in different directions. Their skin is light enough to pass as white and one of the sisters disappears and starts a new live for herself under the guise of a white woman. This might have been one of my favorite books.
(4.5 stars)

This Is How It Always Is | I believe this book should be a required read. The book centers on a young boy, Claude, who tells his family that he’s decided to be a girl. The story follows how the family keeps Claude’s secret from the world and how they learn to cope with having a transgendered child. The family is full complicated feelings as they try to find a delicate balance moving forward with their lives to both love and protect Claude.
(4 stars)

Beach Read | This one was a cute read, a bit predictable, but still cute. Perfect beach read – pun intended.
(3.5 stars)

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird | I didn’t love this one, but I didn’t hate it either. There’s loss, grief, turmoil, and then hopefulness. I didn’t love the somewhat unhealthy behavior of Lydia returning to her old life (the storyline has an alternate parallel universe) but she’s grieving and struggling so I gave the character a lot of grace. Overall it wasn’t my favorite though.
(3 stars)

DJI Mini 2 Drone Flying for Beginners

I mentioned in this post that I recently purchased a drone. Owning a drone that can take beautiful aerial photos had long been a dream of mine and one day a few months back (after a lot of research) I decided to just go for it! I purchased the DJI Mini 2 because it appeared to be the best option for beginners and for me specifically. I read a ton of reviews and watched countless videos just to make sure I was making the best choice for my needs.

Before my first flight:

Before I flew my drone for the first time, I took the recreational UAS safety test and familiarized myself with all of the flight rules and regulations. Even though my specific drone doesn’t require you to be registered with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) because the weight falls just under the recreational requirements, I went ahead and registered it anyway. If I want to add any aftermarket accessories to my drone (propeller guards, landing gear, or any other miscellaneous gadgets) it could increase the weight and then a registration would be required. The fee is only $5 and is good for 3 years, so it was worth it to me to just have that part taken care of. Since technically you’re operating a small aircraft, it was important to me that I have all my bases covered in case I run into any situations where I’m questioned for flying my drone. I also have my name and cell number label-printed on my drone in case it gets lost and I can’t locate it. Then the best case scenario would be that a nice person would find it and contact me.

I found watching this video to be extremely helpful to familiarize myself with operating my drone for the first time. It walks you through embarking on your first flight step by step. I then downloaded the DJI Fly app on my phone and got familiar with setting up my phone and controller. In the app you can also view “fly spots” to ensure that you’re flying in an authorized area.

My first flight:

For my first drone flight I ended up being more nervous than I anticipated. I even googled “afraid to fly my drone for the first time” and came across a ton of articles with advice and quickly learned this is a very common feeling, haha. I was visiting my parents in Central Oregon and thought their house would be the perfect location for a weekend of test flying since there aren’t many large trees and the landscape is very open. I completed roughly 10 flights over the weekend, practicing basic flight moves and just focusing on getting comfortable with the controller and movements. I practiced all of the built-in QuickShots (pre-set shooting modes that record your flight path) and took hundreds of photos and videos. I can’t stress enough how important it is to practice A LOT in a wide open location as you’re starting out. The more I fly, the comfortable I become.

What’s next:

Now that I have gained a lot more confidence in flying my drone on land I need to get more comfortable flying over water. I know with practice I’ll gain more confidence. We have a trip to Italy planned in May and I want to be able to capture videos and photos of the Amalfi coast without being scared the aircraft will dive straight into the water.

I am also going to start diving into the more advanced features that the DJI Fly app offers, specifically the Pro camera mode and manual camera settings. My goal is to get comfortable adjusting these settings while in flight so I can take better photos. All of the photos that I share below are taken on the Auto camera setting and are un-edited.

photos from my first drone flight in Central Oregon
photos from my first drone flight in Central Oregon
photos from my first drone flight in Central Oregon
flying the drone straight up from my street
an aerial photo from my local park
a photo from my local park
flying the drone straight up from my street
downtown portland on a beautiful winter day
the Tilikum Crossing bridge
my street on a snowy winter day