All posts by Paul

Problems With Proposed Drone Registration

Registration of Drones is a Far Less Effective Than Geofencing.




The U.S. Government will soon require drone enthusiasts to register their drones with the FAA. The Department of Transportation (DOT) which oversees the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to have a plan in place by Christmas 2015. The specifics of proposed legislation is largely speculation as details have not been fully explained. Will the rules cover new sales? What about the estimated 700,000 already on the market? Will the rules cover all unmanned aircraft or be limited to drones made of specific materials and weight?

Lets Dive Into Those Issues

  • The shear number of drones being sold would be an enormous task for the government to manage. For example Amazon is selling more than 10,000 units per month. 3DR with sales of around $40 Million in sales for 2015 alone translates into some 53,000 drones. DJI, perhaps one of the most profitable companies in the drone market have filled some 400,000 orders. Many of these units were its signature Phantom series drones.
  • What happens to drone owners that no longer own drones. Individuals are selling them on eBay, Craigslist, garage sales, flea markets, ect…. Are they going to be required to forward paperwork to the authorities as to who these buyers are? Would they even do that? I think not.
  • What will the FAA be regulating exactly. What I mean is will they regulate the batteries, the motors, the transmitter, the flight controller? Is it only a whole aircraft? Are drone kits regulated or just fully assembled drones? Currently the rules say “Aircraft means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.” Logically, only a complete airworthy drone could fit into this criteria. This means that parts sold individually could be put together to gain airworthiness. But sold separately one could bypass legislation.
  • How would a drone sucked into an aircraft engine be identified? It would be obliterated and unidentifiable.
  • What is registration going to do to prevent reckless operators from doing stupid things?
  • What would be considered a drone thus requiring registration? Drones can be as small as to fit in the palm of your hand. Would this be regulated?
  • How would the FAA justify regulating drones that are on the ground?
  • The budget question asks where the funds to undertake a task like this comes from? Registration fees are certainly going to have to be high enough cover costs. Some would call this another TAX. That very word leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. How about yours?

Geofencing, as I understand it, would prevent drone launches in restricted areas. DJI currently accomplishes this through firmware updates. Drones could even be equipped with transponders that could relay owner information in its transmissions. That measure alone could prevent operators from doing things they shouldn’t be doing. I’m no longer against regulating drones because some operators have made this necessary by their actions. I see some legislation as inevitable because the media has chosen to sensationalize this industry. When privacy concerns failed in the news safety took a front seat. New rules are also likely because politicians, trying to make a name for themselves, also sensationalize these crafts. I just hope and pray that the new rules, however they may evolve, make sense. The rules whatever they are will NOT do anything to address those that make drones in their home workshops and believe me it’s being done everyday! I hope they don’t stifle a new and rapidly growing industry. Time will the story… Make it a good one.


Public Exhibition for Photographers Forum (Chicago)

If you’re like most folks with a camera, you’ve probably got some killer images that belong in the Museum of Fine Art. I sure feel that way about a lot of my images. I’ve lived in the Chicagoland area for about three years now. I’m looking to collaborate with other local photographers with similar ambitions. My idea would be to rent a space somewhere in the city to publicly display what we’re about as artists. A chance to let others into your eyes, if only for a moment, to see what you saw. What would a venture like this would look like? I don’t know yet but I’d like to hear your thoughts and ideas. I’m wanting people that are passionate about their photography. A passion that makes the viewers’ minds wonder and wander. Yes… I’m looking for photographers interested in going in on the setup / rental of a space to show the city what you’ve got. I think that this kind of exposure, especially in a big city like Chicago, can only help to get yours and my name out there.

Morning Glory
Morning Glory

Experience spoke to me one day and said “hey… it doesn’t make a difference what kinda camera you got. they all take great photos.”.

This photo was taken using my GoPro HERO4 Black. Though only a 12MP camera I think it did a pretty decent job considering.

If you’re in the Chicagoland Area and would like to rent a space to exhibit your work, leave a comment below.


Illinois Railway Museum

The Illinois Railway Museum is located at 7000 Olson Rd Union, IL 60180-9628. That’s roughly 60 miles North West of downtown Chicago.

Friso 1630
Friso 1630


The museum is dedicated to preserving American Railroad artifacts. The railroad was the largest private employer supporting many American families.

The above address will get you into the museum. But if you go a short distance down the road to 8107–8617 Seeman Rd Union, IL 60180 you get a free look at these beautifully restored machines as they chug down the tracks.

Brink of Day

For this post I thought it would be interesting to examine what I call the edge of the day. The edge being that part of the day when the sun, whether rising or setting, still remains below the visible horizon. Others consider this part of the “blue hour”. Whatever you call it, there’s magic about the skies during this special time of day. I decided to embark on this for a little while. Here you will not find the sun visible in any of the photographs, thus the word “BRINK“. Check back weekly as I will try and add to this post weather permitting of course. Drop me a line in the comment section and let me know what you think. Give me other suggestions. I’d love to hear your ideas.


Lazy Morning

Coloring Book



All That Glitters

Spring Morning IMG_1917



Iconic Chicago Transit Authority

Founded in 1947 the CTA also known to the native as the “EL” or just simply “L” serves as a major part of the city’s transportation infrastructure.  In 2011 the CTA provided about 532 million rides on its busses and trains.


IMG_5466This monumental part of this city goes directly to defining Chicago. With that said, I thought that I’d add some images I’ve taken along the tracks of CTA.

Drone Use Becoming a National Problem


Drone And Plane In Near Miss Close To Heathrow

Senator Feinstein Now Using Safety Concerns To Target The Drone Industry

FAA List Of Reported Drone Incidents Indicates A Problem. But It’s Not What You Think.

Drones From Santa Could Bring Penalties If Misused



Do you see a problem in these headlines? Do you see how the media uses these stories to sensationalize an otherwise mute story? With the advent of smart phone technology you would think that someone in the world would have video of that near miss with that reported passenger plain encounter. Someone would have certainly got a photo of that drone pausing as it flew by Emily’s bedroom window.

Yes there’s good and bad across all spectrums of life and drone enthusiasts are not immune to this sort of thing. I admit that some legislation is needed only because I know it’s inevitable. The media has made it so. After all they are in the business of selling news. And when they do that well, advertisers will come. Motive is strong. Politicians looking to increase their notoriety make issue of drone technology to keep their name out there. Visibility means that they can spend another four or so years doing nothing at tax payer expense. An even stronger motive.

Aerial Photography Origins & Future



Americans’ fascination with aerial photography began more than 150 years ago when Gaspard-Félix Tournachon aka Nadar took the first aerial photos of France from a tethered baloon flying some 1600 feet above the ground.

Aerial photography came to the United States thanks to the work of James Wallace Black a couple of years later. His technique of using hot air balloons provided America with its first looks of Boston from above.

As technology progressed through the film era, the techniques evolved to include things like kites. Kites were being sent up with cameras and fuses to set them off. After World War II the CIA used carrier pigeons with cameras to determine enemy positions.




Well we’ve certainly come a long way in a short period of time. Pictured here is the DJI Phantom 2 Vision +. This and other drones like this have meant that an average person can now take aerial photos that up to now have required an aircraft to obtain. Large scale companies like Amazon want to use devices like these to make deliveries. Hollywood wants to use them for its filmmaking. Government wants in on the act as Fire and Police contemplate these devices for search & rescue missions.

The future of drones remain questionable however. Drone use aka “Radio Controlled” or “Unmanned Aircraft” is facing ever increasing restrictions in the name of the law” and not.

Drone (Unmanned Aerial Devices) are currently banned in all 84 million acres of National Parks. Law enforcement seem to react to these aerial devices in a negative way towards hobbyist like myself even though no laws exists at this time.

On October 27, 2014 the FAA drafted this Notice to Airmen; 4/3621 NOTAM Details. In this they’ve cautioned us drone users against flying too close to stadiums and other sporting events. Specifically the announcement says in part that “…THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA) CLASSIFIES THE AIRSPACE DEFINED IN THIS NOTAM AS ‘NATIONAL DEFENSE AIRSPACE’. ANY PERSON WHO KNOWINGLY OR WILLFULLY VIOLATES THE RULES PERTAINING TO OPERATIONS IN THIS AIRSPACE MAY BE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN CRIMINAL PENALTIES UNDER 49 USC 46307. PILOTS WHO DO NOT ADHERE TO THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES MAY BE INTERCEPTED, DETAINED AND INTERVIEWED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT/SECURITY PERSONNEL.” An article written by  David Kravets, Navigate a drone too close to a stadium, go to jail can be found at

My thoughts???

  • It’s too bad for responsible drone owners that idiots have the devices too.
  • Privacy concerns are largely over-blown by folks that over estimate the drone capabilities.
  • Police are people too. To them I’d like to say that it’s okay to be curious about what a drone pilot is doing. Don’t make up rules that don’t exists to discourage this currently lawful activity.
  • The FAA says that legislation is coming in 2015. I hope they make sense and that whatever they come up with, they make it known to the general public. Had a friend not sent me the article mentioned above, I wouldn’t have known about the Stadium restrictions. Not that I would have flown my drone over a crowded stadium anyway.
  • American skies are about to get a little more crowded in the future as drone flight become more common place.