Removing The Camera Drone from the Scene of the NYC Gas Explosion Was the Right Thing to Do

A screen grab from Brian Wilson's Instagram.

On Wednesday, Harlem’s community suffered tremendously when a gas leak explosion brought down two apartment buildings, killing 8 people and leaving over 70 injured. The NYPD was again faced with the task of digging through rubble to find any signs of survivors in a demolished area, bringing back memories to many people of what happened back on 9/11. A bizarre incident, however, did manage to make an appearance in the midst of everything when one photographer, Brian Wilson, caught some attention for his camera’s setup; it was on a flying drone.

The flying drone, a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter, managed to take a (pretty well done, might I add) aerial shot of the debris from the explosion that morning, and the photo was posted to the photographer’s Instagram account. It wasn’t, however, until the drone caught the attention of the NYPD that things got slightly controversial. I take that back; it already started turning heads of other people before it got noticed by the police, and even the people themselves got worried.

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Photographers and Their Constitutional Rights: A Few Words from an NPPA Attorney

Video available at PDN Pulse.

Video available at PDN Pulse.

With cameras becoming more accessible and easier to use, we have more of an incentive to film anything interesting that’s happening within our view. It’s not just CCTV or a security camera that’s catching crimes happening on the street, and it’s not just LiveLeak that’s giving us videos of people acting out of line. And for every good cop out there, there’s a cop that feels threatened by the fact that his actions are more likely to be put on record.

Right now, it’s more important than ever that people know their rights when photographing anything; NPPA Attorney (National Press Photographer’s Association) Mickey H. Osterreicher recently sat down with PDN Pulse last thursday to give a few tips on the matter.

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