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FAA Grounds Aerial Photographer

Spokesman-Review photographer Jesse Tinsley steadies his helicopter, carrying a tiny camera, in a park on Spokane's south hill Thursday. A video he shot with this craft and put up at caught the attention of a media blogger, who alerted the FAA. The federal agency has ruled that these craft may not be used for commercial purposes of any kind. The agency has pledged to create rules for their use, but that could be months or years away. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

It was New Year’s Day, and Spokesman-Review photographer Jesse Tinsley had it off.  Still, there he was at Sanders Beach, photographing the Polar Bear Plunge – the annual mental-health red flag at Lake Coeur d’Alene. Instead of a camera, Tinsley was holding a remote control unit. The images were being captured by a small camera hanging from a small drone hovering over the lake. The resulting birds-eye-view video showed squealing, shivering plungers rushing into and out of the water. “I was so tickled with it I went ahead and put it up on the newspaper’s website,” Tinsley said. With that, Tinsley landed on the unstable leading edge of an issue that combines technology, journalism, privacy, personal freedom and federal regulation. Many are watching closely to see what the Federal Aviation Administration does when it releases new rules for commercial drone use in 2015/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: The government that gave us NSA spying has problems with aerial photos of the Polar Bear Plunge. Are. You. Kidding. Me?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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