That little extra step

Publish date 17-07-2022

by Roberto Cristaudo

vI was in Portugal, more precisely, I had recently arrived in Lisbon and would soon be heading south again. I had a couple of days off and decided that I would spend them visiting the port area of ​​Almada. Walking along the banks of the Tagus, the river that laps the capital and then flows into the Atlantic Ocean, I saw in the distance an object that looked like a ship aground or something similar.

I prepared the little drone to go and find out closely what it was, but there were many doubts of being able to reach it. Would I be able to fly the drone to the ship, take some pictures and then return to base before running out of battery?
Small drones, like mine, are light and suitable for traveling, have a range of half an hour of flight, and in theory can reach a distance of about 7 km. However, they are relative data because they essentially depend on the temperatures of use, the direction of the wind as well as its strength. In my specific case, the operation was quite risky, due to the distance I was from the ship and the strong headwind.

I thought about it for a while but then decided to take off anyway and try.
When I reached the ship, what I saw, from a privileged position as if I were a bird in flight, took my breath away. The waves hit it repeatedly and, with their strength, they managed to cross it despite its important size.
I quickly took some pictures, made a couple of short videos and started the return flight. By the time I got close to the coast, the battery had dropped to 10% and the beep alerted me to land as soon as possible. The drone arrived on the pitch it had taken off from just before and I breathed a sigh of relief. If I had delayed the return for a few minutes, it would have surely ended up in the sea.

In the evening, downloading the images to my computer, I felt satisfaction proportional to the risk I had taken while taking off, despite the adverse conditions. It occurred to me that life often confronts us with choices, and the decision depends solely on us and our courage. Taking that little extra step allowed me to create a unique photo shoot. Conversely, if I had given up, I would have been left with the regret of having missed an unrepeatable opportunity.

This thought is the basis of "mind the gap" the title of this column, taken from the popular ad "beware of the void", which recalls the space between the train and the platform in the subway stations of London.
Faced with a possibility of approaching something new, not known, you must certainly pay attention, but if you really want to get on that train, the space that separates you must cross, otherwise you will never know what awaits you on the other side. .
All the photographs in this column were taken by taking that little extra step.

Roberto Cristaudo
NP March 2022

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