A guide to drone filming during winter in Cornwall

Drone filming in the winter has its challenges like many things. The short days of limited sunlight, the unpredictable weather and the cold are just a few factors that make a huge impact on drone photography and filming over the winter months.

Working with drones compared to handheld cameras when the weather is more extreme is very different. Apart from the obvious factor that the camera and equipment is airborne, everything is completely exposed and nothing can be protected like you can do on the ground to protect your gear.

Aside from this, the winter can be a fun and enjoyable experience with drone filming and it creates possibilities that make this time of year more enjoyable than you might first think.

Here are my top 8 tips on drone filming in Cornwall during winter:

  1. Wear gloves

This seems obvious but can be easily overlooked or you just forgot to bring a pair, but wearing gloves when the weather is really cold is a huge help. When your hands are still for a long period of time it’s easy to lose feeling of the controls. It’s best to have gloves that are touchscreen friendly so you don’t have to keep taking them off!

  1. Keep batteries warm

Like any LiPo battery, drone batteries are sensitive to the cold. You will see a massive drop in flight time if these are stored cold prior to flying, so don’t leave them in your car overnight. A sudden drop in battery percentage could put you in a dangerous situation. Keep your batteries in warm places as best you can before filming to maximise airtime. You can also purchase specialist battery warmers if you’re operating in more remote locations where the warmth of your car or inside spaces isn’t possible.

  1. Play with shadows and low sun

The winter sun can create some unique opportunities with aerial photography. The low light from a bird’s eye perspective can produce some long and interesting shadows, especially in flat environments like beaches with the shadows of people and surfers. So be creative and have some fun with it.

  1. Photograph the right places

Although it’s great to take photos all year round, some locations just aren’t the same in Cornwall over the winter for photography. Lovely for the locals and visitors if places are quiet but things can look very empty and not very interesting, so pick your locations wisely. A busy harbour town with plenty of water activity and boats can lack subjects to photograph during winter.

  1. Make the most of surf and stormy conditions

It goes without saying that the winter can bring some big storms and extreme weather. Most of the time the wind is too strong for safe flying but occasionally the conditions all line up where the winds are light and the swell is big. These are golden opportunities to capture the wild weather from the air and show Cornwall at its most dramatic time of year. The winter is also the best time for decent surf conditions so usually there are plenty of opportunities to capture some good waves from the air. Always a fun subject to shoot with non-stop action.

  1. Compare places to the summer

Cornwall is far less crowded in the winter and some places don’t really have any visitors at all. This can be a great way of showing the comparison of popular places at different times of year and the stark contrast between summer crowds and empty beaches.

  1. Make the most of the winter temperatures

Snow is rare in Cornwall but it does happen from time to time. If the opportunity arises it’s well worth braving the cold temperatures and capturing some snowy scenes of some well known locations.

  1. Keep a close eye on the weather forecast

As Cornwall is mostly surrounded by the ocean the weather can turn very quickly. It’s not a good situation to be in if you’re mid flight and a heavy rain cloud sweeps in. Drone equipment is expensive so you don’t want to risk anything. It’s worth spending some time before flying to make sure the weather is going to be suitable, check multiple forecasts to get the best idea of the weather conditions.

Thank you for reading and I hope it’s helped give an insight into drone filming in Cornwall during the winter and you’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way.

Happy and safe flying!