tiktok drone pilots

Joanna Steidle: how she uses drone photography to help marine life

Joanna Steidle, an acclaimed drone aerial photographer, has earned numerous awards for her work. Her love for the ocean and drone photography has become a powerful tool in the fight for ocean conservation.

The team at Drone Girl recently connected with Joanna Steidle, a professional drone pilot based in the Hamptons, Long Island, New York. She shared how she got into drones, continues to break barriers, and how her drone photography supports ocean conservation efforts on the East Coast.

Using drone photography to protect the ocean

Joanna Steidle grew up going to the beach, and since she started flying drones, the ocean has been her favorite place to fly. “It’s like a second home to me. There’s such a huge amount of marine life; you never know what you’re going to see,” said Steidle. 

She enjoys the unpredictability of marine life, saying, “They can move out of frame in a heartbeat. I find it challenging and really enjoy that aspect.”

Joanna has turned her love for capturing the ocean into conservation efforts. She uses her drone to track whales and sends her photography to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

She also uses her platform to spread the word on how conservation efforts can improve marine life, explaining how something as simple as putting a catch limit on certain fish can cause their populations to explode.

 “Now, the populations of sharks, whales, and rays have really rebounded,” said Steidle. 

Joanna loves to take budding drone pilots out on the beach, where she not only teaches drone techniques, but shares the importance of protecting the ocean and marine life. 

Photo courtesy of Joanna Steidle

Beyond ocean photography

Joanna’s curiosity about drones goes beyond ocean photography. She first got into flight at a young age, thanks to her grandfather.

 “My grandfather flew model aircraft when I was little, and my first flight lesson was on my 18th birthday,” said Steidle. However, it wasn’t until she was 42 that she began flying drones.

Her first drone was a Hubsan, and she spent an entire winter flying it around her house.

“I just loved it, and once I had a camera drone, it was game over,” Steidle said.“I fell in love.” 

When Joanna isn’t shooting marine life, she enjoys flying FPV (First Person View) drones. “FPV gives me a thrill because I always want to fly as fast as I can,” said Steidle.

Photo Courtesy of Joanna Steidle

Joanna Steidle’s top gear

For FPV flying, Joanna flies DJI Avata. DJI Avata is the Chinese drone-maker’s FPV drone, capable of flying outdoors but particularly well-suited for indoor flying. And while she has flown many different brands of drones, DJI remains her number one.

“DJI is pretty much all I fly,” she said. “DJI drones are the ones I can rely on.”

Photo courtesy of Joanna Steidle

Being a female drone pilot

Joanna Steidle continues to break barriers in the drone industry, a field predominantly male. She was recently honored as a Global Woman to Watch by Women and Drones and became the first woman in the United States to be invited as a DJI creator.

As a DJI creator Steidle is able to give DJI recommendations and her work is featured across DJI’s platforms.

“It’s really flattering because I don’t always know if something is good,” said Steidle, adding that she’s previously been hesitant to share her photography because she didn’t know how it would be received.

“I have this one photo, of a surfer and people loved it,” Steidle said. “It’s strange to me and it took me a long time to put my work out there.”

Steidle continues to break barriers as a female drone creator. For women looking to enter the world of drones, she recommends finding a mentor.

“I have mentees that have grown out of me, and it’s really a wonderful sight,” Steidle said. “There are tons of us in the drone community, and we’re all very willing to help each other.”

Lastly, she advises women to ignore the voice in their head that says they can’t.

“I know a lot of women have that voice in their head. Get out there and fly.”

If you know any great drone girls like Joanna Steidle who deserve to be profiled (including you!) contact us here.

Leave a Reply