A Year at the Farm

Martha Stewart Living - - Contents -

Our founder’s drone pic­tures cap­ture the chang­ing sea­sons at her Bed­ford home.

An early and en­thu­si­as­tic adopter of drone photography, Martha loves to head out and cap­ture sweep­ing aerial shots of her prop­erty. From sea­son to sea­son, she doc­u­ments the evo­lu­tion of life and takes in the nat­u­ral beauty of the chang­ing land­scape.

IHAVE AL­WAYS BEEN IN­TER­ESTED in land­scape ar­chi­tect ure and de­sign, and when trav­el­ing I love to visit sp ect ac­u­lar places, like the great châteaux in France and the stately homes of Eng­land. I’m end­lessly fas­ci­nated by the vast ness of these mas­ter­pieces, and how the de­sign­ers could com­pre­hend their vi­sions when they had no aerial pho­to­graphs of the land they were asked to trans­form into the parks and gar­dens we en­joy to­day.

This is the beauty of drones. They make cap­tur­ing a bird’s-eye view sim­ple—there’s no need for hot-air bal­loons, he­li­copters, or planes. I re­ceived my first one about five years ago, as a birth­day present from a friend who knows how much I adore try­ing out new tech­nol­ogy. It was a sin­gle-ro­tor model (mean­ing it had only one set of blades). While cut­ting-edge at the time, it was chal­leng­ing to nav­i­gate, easy to lose while fly­ing, and even eas­ier to crash, be­cause it had none of the bells and whis­tles that to­day’s mod­els of­fer.

Now drones are more ac­ces­si­ble and af­ford­able, and they come equipped with mul­ti­ro­tors for smoother fly­ing, GPS sys­tems, sophist icated cam­eras, and fea­tures like “re­turn to home” and “hover.” Plus, they hook up to a phone app for quick and seam­less steer­ing. There are rules to keep in mind, though: Check with the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­ist ra­tion and your lo­cal of­fi­cials be­fore tak­ing flight. In my neigh­bor­hood, the max­i­mum alti­tude is 400 feet, and it is re­quired that you keep your drone in sight at all times.

I’ve got­ten com­fort­able fly­ing mine over my prop­erty, and I find the re­sults both breath­tak­ing and use­ful when I’m plan­ning new fea­tures, such as fenc­ing, gar­dens, and struc­tures. I also like to think about great land­scape de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects through­out his­tory, like Louis Le Vau, An­dré le Nôtre, Ca­pa­bil­ity Brown, and Humphry Rep­ton, and what they would have been able to achieve with this tech­nol­ogy.

This com­ing year, I look for­ward to see­ing how the or­chard by my pool will look as it grows, how the trees will color up next fall, and how peace­ful ev­ery­thing will be cov­ered in a blan­ket of snow.

In win­ter, box­woods wrapped in burlap flank the sta­bles and pad­docks at Martha’s Bed­ford home.

THE AERIAL ARTIST My cur­rent drone is a DJI mul­ti­ro­tor Mavic Pro ( dji.com). It ma­neu­vers well and has a high- per­for­mance cam­era that takes ex­cel­lent pho­tos.

SPRING Here, the farm is wak­ing up, marked by the vi­brant light- green grass and fo­liage, and the new or­chard I planted near the pool is bud­ding into a grid of tiny dots.

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