Hol­i­day on high

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - RJ San­gosti, The Den­ver Post Drone pho­tos by RJ San­gosti

In the hol­i­day spirit, chil­dren make snow an­gels at Mead­owlark Park in Lake­wood in mid-De­cem­ber. Den­ver Post pho­tog­ra­pher RJ San­gosti launched his drone into the skies to cap­ture a unique per­spec­tive of the hol­i­day sea­son in Colorado.

My two young kids watched in amaze­ment as my drone flew higher and higher above our heads.

“Watch out, Dad! If you go too high, you might hit Santa up there!” they said.

That in­spired my photo es­say, “Views from Santa’s Sleigh,” which fea­tures Colorado scenes shot by my drone dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son.

The Den­ver Post has re­cently started us­ing drones as part of its vis­ual sto­ry­telling. Fel­low pho­to­jour­nal­ist Hy­oung Chang and I hit the books to study and took the test to get cer­ti­fied to fly drones for com­mer­cial use.

Don’t worry — as a hob­by­ist, there is no test in­volved. Drones are one of the most pop­u­lar gifts this Christ­mas sea­son, so here are a few tips to help get you started:

• Read the in­struc­tions. Most man­u­fac­tur­ers also have great startup videos to watch on­line. Slow down and make sure you know what you’re do­ing be­fore your first flight.

• If your drone hits the weight re­quire­ments, you need to reg­is­ter it with the FAA be­fore you fly. Most man­u­fac­tur­ers will sup­ply in­struc­tions on how to do this for your de­vice.

• OK, you’re ready to fly, but your liv­ing room of kids and Christ­mas chaos is prob­a­bly not the best place to do it. Find an open area, such as an empty park­ing lot or a park that is sparsely pop­u­lated.

• Now that you’ve found a safe place to fly, it’s time to look at the con­di­tions. What kind of ob­sta­cles will be in your way? Scout out a good place to take off and land your drone, and al­ways con­sider the weather in which you are about to fly.

• Fi­nally, al­ways make safety your first pri­or­ity. Even if you bought your drone in the toy sec­tion at your neigh­bor­hood store, these de­vices can be dan­ger­ous. Al­ways su­per­vise kids while fly­ing.

The Ge­orge­town Loop Rail­road makes its way along a snowy moun­tain­side in Ge­orge­town on Mon­day.

Michelle Som­merville trans­ports a Christ­mas tree on horse­back in Steam­boat Springs on Dec. 9.

Dec­o­ra­tions light up a home in Edge­wa­ter on Mon­day.

Peo­ple ice skate at a rink in Boul­der on Tues­day.

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