Martha Stewart Loves Her Drone

Over the past few months, drones have continued to creep into our collective consciousness – more and more reports of DJI Phantoms being flow in urban areas, additional consumer level quadcopters hitting the market, and much talk of the FAA’s position (or lack thereof) of using UAVs for potential commercial applications down the road. A quick look at this Google Trends for “drone” and “quadcopter” show the remarkable increase in interest over the past couple of years:

Google Trends - Drone and Quadcopter - August 2014

It is interesting to note that Pakistan is the region with the most interest right now…. But one celebrity in particular has increased the public’s knowledge and awareness of quadcopters recently, a very unexpected source in my opinion. On July 9th, Martha Stewart posted a piece on her blog titled Amazing Aerial Photos of My Farm, which featured… amazing aerial photos of her farm! In it, she explains:

“One of my security detail, Dominic Arena, recently purchased a DJI Phantom flying camera.  These drone-like, radio controlled aircraft are lots of fun to play with and they take extraordinary photos.  However,  controlling them takes practice and getting used to.  Since my farm has lots of open fields, Dominic thought it would be the best place to get acquainted with his new toy.  The results were amazing!  Browse through the photo gallery below and leave a comment.  I’d love to know what you think about the photos, but also what you think about drones and the various ways they can be used in the future!”

Farm and House from Above

Crops look tidy, and delicious!

While not entirely out of place for Martha’s blog, many people saw the juxtaposition of Martha Stewart and.. DRONES?!?! as a very odd combination. I think it just shows how accessible and widely applicable this aerial technology is. Martha has talked about using her Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 for personal use around her property too in a piece in VanityFair:

“Another thing Stewart is enamored of these days is her drone. “It has a little camera. You connect it to your iPhone, and you can control it with your iPhone, and it flies all over my farm and takes pictures,” she said. “It takes wonderful aerial photographs.” The lifestyle queen says there have been no mishaps with the gadget; it has not scratched her car or broken a window. Although she admits she only uses it outdoors. “You can use it inside also, but I don’t, because it can bang into stuff.”

She makes sure that her farm animals don’t get spooked by the flying drone. “I keep it up pretty high,” Stewart explained. “And you can control the altitude, you can control the speed, you can control where it’s going. It’s easy to use, actually. You can really control it, it’s gentle. It’s lightweight, too; it’s very beautiful. Have the neighbors called the authorities, reporting a U.F.O.? “No. I don’t have any neighbors,” she said, laughing.”

The New Yorker saw an opportunity for humor in all of this – after all, this is Martha Stewart, the queen of homemaking and head of the Martha Stewart Living empire, former felon convicted of insider trading, playing with a quasi-toy quasi-military grade aerial flying vehicle! In a satire piece, Henry Alford takes shots at Martha Stewart and mocks her seemingly bizarre choice of hobby:

“When people first hear about my new aerial helper, they usually ask, Couldn’t you just stand on a ladder or your roof to take pictures? Of course I could. I could do a lot of things. But, you know, you get to a certain point with a thirty-year-old, multimillion-dollar lifestyle conglomerate where you think, I don’t care if I handcraft another fucking perforated-tin pie safe ever again. Truly. Remember that great line Oprah supposedly said, “Oprah doesn’t do stairs”? That’s exactly where I am now. Martha doesn’t do ladders.”

Martha Stewart

Undeterred, Martha fired back with an op-ed of her own, now infamously titled Why I Love My Drone in Time Magazine. She explains that it is a useful too, and cited Louis XIV and Versailles as folks that could have really benefited from this technology back in the day!

“Henry Alford wrote a satirical essay about me and my drones in The New Yorker that was really funny but missed the point about why I love my drone. Drones can be useful tools, and I am all about useful tools. One of my mottos is “the right tool for the right job.””

 

So where does all of this leave us? Well, now a lot more people know about drones and quadcopters thanks to Martha Stewart’s interest in them and the ensuing media attention! Martha highlighted that these aircraft are first, fun, but also pretty useful tools and just plain cool in terms of technology! And if Martha can pick one up and be a proficient flyer in just a few minutes, then pretty much anyone else should be able to as well. We hope you enjoyed this write up on Martha Stewart’s drones, and for those of you looking to replicate her shots here are the models that she and her staff use: