Cancun, Mexico is an amazing and accessible destination for drone photographers. I recently headed South for a Winter getaway to capture some of its beauty. For the total of 7 days and 6 nights, DJI Mavic Pro drone and I explored the beauty of Caribbean coastal beach in Cancun, the local nightlife in Playa Del Carmen, and the beautiful Mayan ruins of Tulum. I was immediately sold and in love with the place after seeing the beautiful warm turquoise color of the water and the realization that I would not even need to edit my photos much. The water is really that blue and beautiful!
On this trip, I packed my portable DJI Mavic Pro and 3 extra batteries. The weather in Cancun is always great and the sun is always bright, so I decided it would be a good idea to get a polarised lens for my drone. Not only does it reduce the glare from the sun, it also helps you catch a smooth footage while filming with high frame rate. The lens I got came with with N2, N4 N16 and a polariser. I also did get a sun hood which I thought was very helpful. We all know the pain of having to photoshop out the sun flare.
Our first stop was the strip. We picked a public beach area called Playa Marlin that has a public access. This spot was perfect because there were fewer people. As you may know, the strip is occupied by many luxury resorts and it can sometimes be packed. I always try to avoid flying when it’s too crowded in case something goes wrong. One of the things I always find challenging at the beach is the take-off and landing spot. Since the beach surface are sandy and uneven, you always want to make sure that the area is flat so your drone can balance itself properly before taking off. In this case, I wasn’t prepared so I put a beach towel over a beach bed which got the job done. For my next beach trip, i’ll probably get something light weight or carry a small towel with me just in case. Sand is your worst enemy when it comes to any kind of photography. It can permanently damage your lens so never wipe it off using your finger or camera cloth. Just blow it gently!
If you’re going to fly at this location, please also keep in mind that there are lots airplane banners as well as parasailing. The air traffic on the beach can get busy sometime depending on the day. Always make sure that the area you fly is clear before taking off.
Playa Del Carmen
Our next stop was Playa Del Carmen. We didn’t get to stay at this town for too long but I was able to get a shot during sunrise. Getting a drone shot at the beach of Playa Del Carmen can be tricky because the water isn’t as blue and clear when compared to Cancun. If there isn’t natural light, the water will not look as appealing. Make sure to fly on a sunny day or when it’s not too dark or cloudy to get the most beautiful shot of Playa Del Carmen.
The last stop on this trip was Tulum. The sand in Tulum was so white and soft but the downside is the reflection from the sand. It can bring your exposure up and makes everything looks too bright. I always find it hard looking at my phone screen when it’s too sunny out. A lot of photos I took was out of focus because I couldn’t see the screen from my phone very well. As much as focusing on capturing the perfect photo, you also want to look for a perfect spot for you to control your drone. Another difficulty was finding a spot to take off because there was no flat area. Again, I’d highly recommend bringing along a towel as your takeoff platform. Tulum has an archaeological site of the Mayan ruins right by the beach which was beautiful too.
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