Pilot Spotlight: Interview with Joanna L Steidle
Company: Hamptons Drone Images
Location: Southampton, New York
Tell us about yourself.
I will always be a student in life and I love finding hidden details in landscapes most others might miss. I strive to be creative and bring the world a new perspective on the details of our earth through aerial art.
What inspired you to begin flying drones, and what made you want to enter the industry as a drone pilot?
I started building and flying model aircraft with my grandfather at a very young age. I got my first flight lesson at the age of 18 and fell in love. 20 years later, in 2016, I got my first drone and my life was forever changed.
What were you doing before you started flying drones, and what made you make the transition? I was a single mother raising two beautiful boys, a website designer, a programmer of home automation systems, and social media director for a public figure.
What drone(s) are you currently flying, and what drone accessories do you love? I'm currently flying the DJI Phantom 4 ProV2 and Mavic 2 Zoom. I have multiple PolarPro ND filters and batteries. Most recently, I got a portable generator so I can charge my batteries while flying. I found it takes time to find the perfect angle and perspective and true art can not be rushed.
What is your favorite feature on your drone and why?
I mostly fly manual since I like to have full control in-flight. The Mavic 2 Dolly Zoom mode is pretty cool, but the added aperture feature in the Pro series gives me my required in-flight editing flexibility. I really look forward to getting a lumecube for my P4ProV2.
What drone images are you most proud of and why? 'Swampy Grasses' (below) was nominated at the 2020 NYC Drone Film Festival. Back in 2019, I dreamed of being included in this elite collection of professionals. The image was taken in the backyard of a friend's house. I really had no idea while flying that I was going to find such a gem in the after look. I take time to thoroughly inspect all images taken, this is where I find the little amazing details of our earth.
Have you learned any valuable lessons from being in the drone industry that you can share with our female drone community? It is an ever-changing industry. Read every day to keep up with the technology and regulations. Read, listen, practice, fly, crash and rebuild every day. Never be afraid to ask for help or advice.
Whether it's from a creative, commercial, or humanitarian perspective, tell us about the most memorable drone flight you have piloted thus far. I am currently working on an ongoing project with a local National Cemetery, it is by far the most heart-touching and inspiring project I have had the privilege to be a part of.
What would you say to women and girls about the drone industry to spark their interest in getting involved?
Start with a small, non-automated drone like a Hubsan. Learn to fly manually first, study the regulations and when you do get the larger camera drones you will be far more comfortable in your first flights.
What excites you most about more women joining the drone industry? Education! The women in Women Who Drone are doing amazing things to bring knowledge to children. Flying drones brings a new perspective which creates an open mind. One must be aware of circumstances on the ground level and in the air which promotes high awareness and multitasking abilities. Plus, it is a great way to cultivate hand-eye coordination, technical skills, and creativity. All of which are great for developing minds!
Do you have any drone tips & tricks you can share with our audience?
After I launch, I always take a 360° pan video of the area. After a close inspection, I often find other areas or details that I want to revisit. I always check the weather, sun position, tides, wave heights, sunrise and set times, and of course NOTAMS which often dictates where and when I go to specific locations.
What's the best way for our readers to get in touch with you? Email email@example.com
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
Each day I am grateful for every person and place that comes along my path in life.
Joanna has been flying and repairing drones since 2015. She has just clocked her 1500th flight hour. She has worked with the IDRA, Astral AR, written for sUAS News, and has done drone security for a public figure. She has done drone consulting for law enforcement agencies, townships, and speaking engagements for the AIA. She has had the honor of winning multiple international aerial photography awards. Her work can be found on The Weather Channel, WeatherNation, Accuweather, LiveStormChasers, StormHour, and news stations across the USA. She was nominated at the 2020 NYC Drone Film Festival, thanks to Airvuz, and was most recently thrilled to be accepted as a Women Who Drone Brand Ambassador. Joanna says she is a work in progress... always learning, practicing, and researching as a professional photographer/ videographer in The Hamptons, New York.