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Ban On Photographing Near Gulf Oil Booms

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the oiled-seabirds-are-camera-shy dept.

Earth 435

boombaard writes "The day before yesterday CNN's Anderson Cooper reported that, from now on, there is a new rule in effect, which de facto bars photographers from coming within 65 feet of any deployed boom or response vessel around Deepwater Horizon (official announcement). The rule, announced by the US Coast Guard, forbids 'photographers and reporters and anyone else from coming within 65 feet of any response vessel or booms out on the water or on beaches. In order to get closer, you have to get direct permission from the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans,' while 'violators could face a fine of $40,000 and Class D felony charges. What's even more extraordinary is that the Coast Guard tried to make the exclusion zone 300 feet, before scaling it back to 65 feet.'" Read below for the Coast Guard's statement on the new rule."The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans has delegated authority to the Coast Guard Incident Commander in Houma to allow access to the safety zones placed around all Deepwater Horizon booming operations in Southeast Louisiana. The Coast Guard Incident Commander will ensure the safety of the members and equipment of the response before access is granted. The safety zone has been put in place to prevent vandalism to boom and to protect the members and equipment of the response effort by limiting access to, and through, deployed protective boom."

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435 comments

So? (1, Funny)

Jethro (14165) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806220)

What's the problem? Not like anything interesting is going on around there.

Re:So? (2, Funny)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806236)

Yes, clearly we should ban press from all areas that Jethro finds boring.

Re:So? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806280)

Jethro never actually says it's boring. He just stares at people blankly until they start babbling, and then hits them on the back of the head.

Re:So? (3, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806528)

He just stares at people blankly until they start babbling, and then hits them on the back of the head.

Also known as a hillbilly "mating ritual".

Re:So? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806436)

Yes, clearly we should ban press from all areas that Jethro finds boring.

What gives the press the right to interfere with operational security? They can't take pictures from 65' out? Is this actually incisive reporting or cheap voyeurism? If they made a documentary about how badly they are being oppressed, would you pay to go see it?

Re:So? (-1, Offtopic)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806608)

Is this actually incisive reporting or cheap voyeurism?

      Nahh, it's just kdawson trolling...

Re:So? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806244)

I think vaginas are fucking revolting. They look like monster faces for fucks sake. They leak blood. BLOOD. And sometimes babies, little mini-people that come into this world screaming and shitting. It's both a biological oddity and quasi-mystical force of nature, and when I think of sticking my dick into one, I imagine it temporarily transitions into a multidimensional hell where up is black and down is white and people hear with their noses. And when my cock returns, it looks and feels and smells like my cock, but it is subtley transformed in some uncanny way, never to be the same again.

Re:So? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806606)

Hey, don't say that. A vagina is awesome when you realize its intended purpose was as a personal storage device. I use mine to carry around my notebook. In the winter, it provides warmth for my coffee thermos.

Re:So? (0, Offtopic)

therealobsideus (1610557) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806802)

While I find this disgusting, I must consistently praise /. for being very judicious about not removing comments. Mod +5 to the /. staff.

Re:So? (0, Offtopic)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806922)

It's not near that noble. They simply can't be bothered.

Oh, and hat's off to the original GP troll for originality.

Re:So? (-1, Offtopic)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806884)

...it looks and feels and smells like my cock, but it is subtley transformed in some uncanny way, never to be the same again.

That is because it is now mancock.

Re:So? (4, Interesting)

xmundt (415364) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806320)

Greetings and Salutations.
          Well, the questions and thoughts that spring to my mind are: Have there been any problems with photographers damaging the booms or causing breaches? While 65 feet may not seem like much, it can easily make it very hard to get clear pictures of the booms as they bob up and down in the ocean waters. THAT makes it harder to keep track of how well they are working to block the oil, or, adsorb the crude and keep it from moving on. Is this the REAL reason for the limit? Also, why would the limit be 300 feet first...then get cut down to 65 feet? That sounds more like spin control than security to me.
            Regards
            dave mundt

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806342)

While 65 feet may not seem like much, it can easily make it very hard to get clear pictures of the booms as they bob up and down in the ocean waters.

Shorter exposure. Problem solved.

Next?

Re:So? (5, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806498)

Are you going to cite the magical photo fairies next?

I don't think 65 ft is all that unreasonable, but understand that it will make a lot of photography rather harder. Longer lenses mean heavier lenses, which, as you say, means you'll probably need a shorter exposure, at least if hand-held. (Setting up a tripod can often take too long for non-posed photos.) But a shorter shutter means that you'll be compromising somewhere else: narrower depth of field or higher ISO. Narrow DOF can be nice for some artistic shots; less nice for most photojournalism. Sure, these things probably aren't so important if it's nice and sunny out, but what about if it's cloudy? Balancing all of these things can quickly become difficult.

But the real problem is that of perspective. Unless you carry around a 40' self-supporting tower with you, having to stay 65' out means that your angle is going to be MUCH lower. That does two things. First it will make it much easier for your view to be blocked. Instead of walking up to a line of grass and photographing over it, you have to photograph through it. Instead of getting closer and photographing from above the waves, you have to wait until they line up in such a way that nothing's in the way of your shot. It also means a lower angle on the ocean, which may well mean that it's harder to see the oil.

In short, putting a long lens on your camera isn't the same as walking up to something, for a number of reasons, and if you think it is, you should go back to photo school.

Re:So? (1)

mk_is_here (912747) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806854)

You must be meaning longer exposure/shutter, and DoF is controlled by aperture not exposure, larger aperture (smaller f number) leads to a narrower DoF.

Re:So? (5, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806860)

It also means a lower angle on the ocean, which may well mean that it's harder to see the oil.

I totally agree with the points you made. The obvious thing of course is to simply get a higher angle, by either getting onto an object on the beach, or by getting onto the roof/upper deck of a boat you are in. Sixty five feet really isn't that far.

Is it as good as getting a shot from 1 foot of the object? Not at all. I totally agree, but I can sort of understand why they don't want every Tom, Dick and Harry to go bungling around booms and things meant to STOP the oil.

Great for Journalism? No.
Great for folks wanting to brush this under the carpet. Yes.
Great for the cleanup/relief effort? Hopefully.

Re:So? (2, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806510)

No, that doesn't solve the problem. With distance comes additional wave peaks; any one of them can occlude the view. All you'd get would be a sharp photo of the intervening wavefront. Not the boom. It more depends on the height above the water of the camera when the photo was taken. Which in turn shouldn't be a huge problem -- it isn't like the photographers will be out there in canoes.

I suspect there's something going on here - some damage that occurred, or an injury - that they're trying to prevent from recurring. It's vaguely possible they're covering something up... perhaps the state of wildlife at the booms, or collection of heavier crude around the booms... but since you can take perfectly horrific shots on the beaches, I just don't see what the benefit to them would be to try and cover up those kinds of things, so I tend to doubt it.

Re:So? (5, Informative)

Skreems (598317) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806410)

Have there been any problems with photographers damaging the booms or causing breaches?

It's pretty unlikely, given that not a single foot of the gulf is actually boomed properly. See, actual booming requires that the booming be in the water, deployed in a zig-zag fashion with the high points leading to collection equipment. It also requires nearly round-the-clock hand maintenance to deal with changing tides, wind, waves, etc. Laying down a straight line of boom in the water, then leaving it to sit does fuck-all to contain oil, and less than fuck-all when it gets wadded up on the beach a couple hours later.

So no, I doubt that there's a serious problem with photographers damaging booms. And yes, this is almost certainly about spin control, rather than actual disaster control.

Re:So? (5, Funny)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806484)

It's pretty unlikely, given that not a single foot of the gulf is actually fucking boomed fucking properly. See, actual fucking booming requires that the fucking booming be in the fucking water, deployed in a piece-of-shit-cunt zig-zag fashion with the goddamn high points leading to fucking collection equipment. It also requires nearly round-the-clock fucking hand maintenance to deal with goddamn changing tides, fucking wind, fucking waves, fucking etc. Laying down a fucking straight line of fucking boom in the water, then fucking leaving it to sit does fuck-all to fucking contain oil, and less than fuck-all when it fucking gets fucking wadded up on the fucking beach a fucking couple hours later.

FTFY.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806512)

What's the problem? Not like anything interesting is going on around there.

But what else do left-wingers have that they can obsess over right now?

Poor Paparazzi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806224)

Fair enough.

huh? (4, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806234)

how exactly is this a ban? 65 feet seems a more than reasonable safety barrier and what photographer is going to say "shit, 65 feet, better leave as can't take photos at that range".

Re:huh? (2, Informative)

Chih (1284150) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806268)

That's what I was thinking, 65 feet away is close enough to be in the mess but far enough away to be out of the cleanup zone. Photographers will still get their pics

Re:huh? (3, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806316)

Obviously the Coast Guard, on the payroll of Big Oil, is trying to engage in a massive cover-up so no one can find out about this alleged "Oil Spill."

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806714)

Obviously the Coast Guard, on the payroll of Big Oil, is trying to engage in a massive cover-up.

Obviously you sir, are a communist! There's no such thing as "Big Oil." There's many people working very hard in the oil industry to make your and my life better.

Accidents are unfortunate, but inevitable. But overhyping the impact of this operational difficulty, this shakedown of a private corporation by the Obama's standover men, has only one aim: Putting a pan-socialist IPCC-led world government in place of the world's major oil corporations.

Only a deep-green ideologue such as yourself would suggest that an Oil Spill is even "alleged" to have happened.

You might make a joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806814)

...but I always got the feeling Thad Allen was a BP apologist everytime he talked. He never seemed to have any spine to hold BP's feet to the fire. It's almost like he was Hayward's personal mouthpiece.

Re:huh? (1, Offtopic)

Rik Rohl (1399705) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806368)

Checking...

Ah.. kdawson post.

There's your answer.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806582)

Is there some sort of petition that I can sign to get rid of kdawson? I could just block his posts, but even a broken clock tells the correct time twice per day, and I'd miss a few good stories here and there.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806722)

Not sure I understand your logic then. You don't want to block him b/c you might miss a good story. But you want to get rid of him...which would result in your seeing the occasional good story how? Are you making an assumption that the other editors would magically pick up the good stories and leave the bad ones alone if only kdawson were gone? I've really never understood the fascination with paying attention to who the editors are. I see stories that are interesting, I read them. If really interesting, I read the comments. I could give two shits what editor it was, or whether there were 40 or 4000. If kdawson stories are rubbish, don't click on them. If kdawson's stories never got clicked, I suspect /. would notice. If, instead, kdawson's stories get lots of clicks and comments....

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806792)

He would be replaced.... either by someone else or the other editors would fill in. The problem is that he posts sensationalized titles and summaries that of course I will look into, because sometimes there is something to them... however, the rate of inaccuracies in kdawson stories is much much higher than other editors, and he wastes a lot of my time.

take a look around fark's politics section (2, Informative)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806374)

or Daily Kos, or any other news outlet that isn't owned by Rupert Murdoch: This is being used to hassle anyone coming near the site, 65 ft or not.

Re:take a look around fark's politics section (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806428)

This is being used to hassle anyone coming near the site, 65 ft or not.

Perhaps you could give reputable examples so we could decide for ourselves. For the record, I consider Fox news a remarkably poor news site even by US standards and I consider Daily Kos below Fox News in terms of integrity and reliability.

Re:take a look around fark's politics section (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806654)

Mod him up. It's true

Re:take a look around fark's politics section (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806676)

There's something below Fox News in integrity? That's very difficult to imagine - even Cthulhu has some principles.

Re:take a look around fark's politics section (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806544)

This is being used to hassle anyone coming near the site, 65 ft or not.

Is there video of this alleged hassling? I'll bet it's some asshole saying something to the effect of "Look, I'm 65 1/2 feet away so leave me alone!".

LK

Re:take a look around fark's politics section (1)

ikono (1180291) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806694)

If they are 65.5 ft away, then they are outside the 65 foot exclusion zone.

Re:take a look around fark's politics section (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806642)

or Daily Kos, or any other news outlet that isn't owned by Rupert Murdoch

Daily Kos is not a "news outlet". It's a partisan blog.

Re:take a look around fark's politics section (2, Interesting)

eyrieowl (881195) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806786)

Well, while I don't disagree, I think the popular usage of "news" has long since ceased to mean "objective discovery and reporting of facts and implications of those facts". Instead, "news" has become segmented by demographic. You have news for the liberal, news for the conservative, news for the dumb, news for the elitist, news for the nerds.... I pine for a day when it was considered embarrassing for a news organization to not be making a serious and overt attempt at objectivity (and yes, of course it was never truly objective...but I think the ideal actually mattered). At any rate, by today's standards, the Daily Kos is a "news outlet" just as is Red State, MSNBC, Fox News, and all the others....

Re:take a look around fark's politics section (4, Funny)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806796)

Daily Kos is not a "news outlet". It's a partisan blog.

Well it started out that way, but clearly it has risen in stature to the point where it can now be compared to FoxNews in terms of reliability and integrity!

Re:huh? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806412)

Meanwhile, what's the crime actually committed? None. So classifying this as a felony would easily not hold constitutional muster, and I bet the ACLU will get involved. This is clearly to prevent interviews.

I think this is the issue. Not a matter of the 65 feet being reasonable or not. That's not focusing on reality.

Re:huh? (4, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806568)

like it or not, safety is a reasonable thing to expect for workers, or to infact DEMAND for workers. 65 feet is close enough to not impose any harsh restriction while allowing workers to do there job.

secondly why the hell should workers be being interviewed, they are supposed to be cleaning up the mess not standing around yapping to the press.

Re:huh? (3, Interesting)

photogchris (1847394) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806838)

I seriously have to question if you know what a felony is. A felon can lose their 2nd amendment rights, the right to vote or serve on a jury, be banned from working as a lawyer, teacher or a career in the military and with the 3 strike laws can face life in prison.
I have no problem with a 65' boundary, nothing a 300mm lens can't handle. But this should be no more then a misdemeanor.

Re:huh? (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806682)

Reckless Endangerment maybe? (don't know not really any sort of law expert) but putting the lives of the cleanup crew at risk, I believe that can be prosecuted as a felony and would seem to fit nicely with the breaching of imposed safety regulations.

Re:huh? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806908)

reckless endangerment and any kind of actual criminal charges require proof. Especially a felony.

At sea, yes, reckless endangerment is probably easier proven.

However, on the beach?

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806762)

The 20m rule will make it necessary to use giant telephoto lenses for the extreme close-ups of oiled pelicans tangled and dying in booms. This is a clearly a blatant attempt by corporate fascists to stifle the crucial 95,230,882nd oiled pelican photo.

Re:huh? (1)

cwnannwn (1354363) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806836)

Photographers can still get closer than 65', they just have to get the CG to say "ok" first, and probably have to suffer the oppressive yoke of being escorted. Just another sign that the ter'ists already dun won the war...some shiz about giving up liberty for protection seems applicable.

65 feet does not bar photography (5, Insightful)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806240)

What a crappy title. 65 feet ( 20m ) doesn't bar photography "near" a boom, it keeps idiots from bumping up against it. Unless photographers are using 1970 Instamatics, this should provide no obstacle to any serious photographer.

Re:65 feet does not bar photography (4, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806604)

Bumping against, hell I think they're mostly worried about photographers who have never been out in a boat before, piloting a zodiac [wikipedia.org] and parking it right in front of a moving fishing boat who is deploying said booms, unaware that fishingboats aren't particularly fast, nor do they have breaks. Q.E.D.:
 
Idiot photographer parks zodiac in front of fishing boat
Fishing boat runs over zodiac
Coastguard has to send out a ship to take care of idiot photographer, further stressing the thinly spread coastguard
BP profits (somehow)

Nothing to do with photography (4, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806260)

From the submitter's own link of the official announcement:

NEW ORLEANS - The Captains of the Port for Morgan City, La., New Orleans, La., and Mobile, Ala. , under the authority of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, has established a 20- meter safety zone surrounding all Deepwater Horizon booming operations and oil response efforts taking place in Southeast Louisiana.

Vessels must not come within 20 meters of booming operations, boom, or oil spill response operations under penalty of law.

The safety zone has been put in place to protect members of the response effort, the installation and maintenance of oil containment boom, the operation of response equipment and protection of the environment by limiting access to and through deployed protective boom.

In areas where vessels operators cannot avoid the 20-meter rule, they are required to be cautious of boom and boom operations by transiting at a safe speed and distance.

Violation of a safety zone can result in up to a $40,000 civil penalty. Willful violations may result in a class D felony.

Permission to enter any safety zone must be granted by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans by calling 504-846-5923.

For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.

There's no mention of photography, camera, or anything of that nature. If you get your vessel within 20m of a protective boom, you're a total moron regardless of whether or not you happen to have a camera.

Re:Nothing to do with photography (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806472)

They needn't mention photography, cameras, or observation. That's a secondary benefit of this physical restriction order.

As far as media is concerned, regarding said cameras and photographers, the severity of this spill will be measured by the years and months of cleanup. Not by the restriction of some journalists on the beach.

Then again, America has perpetual A.D.D. A complete media blackout for several months is sure to clear the publics consciousness. NASA is still producing oil spill pictures though right? The Gov. couldn't possibly censor them, could they?

Re:Nothing to do with photography (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806744)

If the rupture in the oil well has spread from the original site to within 20' of the beach, we've bigger problems than photography. Besides, the photographs that really matter are the ones from the plume. ROVs have been available for news outlets to buy for years. If we haven't seen independent media photographs from the site of the action yet, we're not losing anything with a ban on a paltry 20'.

(The oil slick has spread for miles beyond the booms, and if the newspapers could photograph Lady Di sunbathing topless from half a mile away a decade or so ago, they can photograph a ruddy great oil slick from outside the booms.)

a much bigger problem is ... (5, Informative)

jaroslav (467876) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806274)

The reports of journalists being more unofficially banned from beaches where BP contractors are "cleaning" up the oil or from flying over [faa.gov] the affected areas of the gulf.

Re:a much bigger problem is ... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806330)

Flying over? I assume you actually mean flying over below 3000 feet as your link describes. It would be an air traffic control nightmare with the vehicles involved in the cleanup. You can fly over all you like at 3100 feet.

Re:a much bigger problem is ... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806574)

You should tell him that he's not allowed to fly under 500 feet anyway anywhere under any circumstances unless taking off or landing - that should really get the conspiracy going...

Re:a much bigger problem is ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806358)

Unoffically banned? Unofficially leave.

Re:a much bigger problem is ... (5, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806448)

Did you read the link you posted?

"All pilots operating within and near this area including the shoreline should exercise extreme caution due to the numerous low level operations associated with the deepwater horizon/mc-252 incident 3000 feet and below.

Aircraft involved in these operations may make sudden changes in direction, speed, and altitude. For additional information, participating aircraft altitude assignments and awareness, all pilots are recommended to review the following web site dedicated to the aviation cleanup efforts at: https://1afnorth.region1.ang.af.mil/deepwater_spill/default.Aspx [af.mil]

With the exception of aircraft conducting aerial chemical dispersing operations;no fixed wing aircraft are authorized below 1000 feet above the surface unless for landing and takeoff"

The FAA rules are to keep collisions from happening.

Re:a much bigger problem is ... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806466)

The flight restrictions strike me as similar to the main article's complaints - they can be construed as impeding freedom of the press, but really are for safety of the responders and planes. If a boat wake poses a threat, so would the the airstream of a low flying plane. For further restrictions, the simple observation that air traffic at moderately low altitude is probably much higher/less linear than normal means that controlling more aircraft interferes with the cleanup effort. I have no qualms with prioritizing the cleanup traffic by redirecting those without a strict need to be there away. For an analogy, I'd go with keeping the press back 100 feet from a burning building so that emergency vehicles have easier access and they do not get in the way of rescue efforts.

FTFY (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806276)

which de facto bars photographers from coming within 65 feet of any deployed boom

Which bars ANYONE from coming within 65 feet of any deployed boom so that they dont break the boom.

FTFY

Nothing to see here (4, Insightful)

Rophuine (946411) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806282)

That's odd, none of the official documents say anything about photographers. The poster even fits in a quote mentioning photographers explicitly, and words it so that if you're not paying attention it implies that it's an official quote. This is sensationalist journalism at its best. Why are photographers trying to get that close anyway? With my consumer-grade camera I can take a close-up portrait of someone from rather further away than that.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806450)

With my consumer-grade camera I can take a close-up portrait of someone from rather further away than that.

So can I. Particularly if they leave their shades up.

Just saying.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

Rophuine (946411) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806470)

With my consumer-grade camera I can take a close-up portrait of someone from rather further away than that.

So can I. Particularly if they leave their shades up.

Just saying.

Yes, well spotted. That's what I was implying.

Come on Google Maps (2, Interesting)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806296)

This would be a great time to start updating those satellite photos of the gulf

Tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806298)

I never see enough !freedom tags. Has the USA lost its way?

Seems like a non-issue, RTFA (4, Insightful)

1984 (56406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806300)

I'm a hobbyist photographer and videographer, and I've been hassled for ID before when shooting in a public place. I read plenty of stories about photographers being harassed improperly, and reading the article I don't think this is one of them. They started at 300ft, which was silly, and scaled it back to 65ft when called on it. Leaving aside the who and why, 65 feet doesn't make this stuff hard to photograph. Even with a 200mm lens on a digital SLR (especially crop sensor) you can get very serviceable shots of "what's going on" at 65ft. Professional press photographers on assignment usually have a healthier complement of lenses than that, before considering telconverters, cropping in on the subject and so on.

If the story is something highly specific to do with equipment and handling of it then perhaps you need an even bigger lens or to be closer to the subject. But if you're taking shots of how they're laying out booms, who's involved and so on, 65ft isn't a big deal at all. Seems like a not unreasonable tradeoff to keep people from getting under the workers' feet. The subjective standard I'm applying here is does the restriction make it likely we'll not find out something that the public interest demands should be disclosed? No, it really doesn't.

Damage Control (-1, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806326)

All that this and related rules like the no-fly zone is damage control for the federal government who failed to either regulate BP efficiently or let the free market work and instead screwed up this entire situation. Of course Obama doesn't want anyone looking at it because if they did and analyzed it enough, they would realize that the real ass Obama needed to kick was... his own.

Re:Damage Control (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806372)

I dislike pretty much everything the Obama administration is doing, but I have to say that here the simplest answer is most likely the correct one.

I think the no-fly zone (which applies only to flight levels below 3000') is more likely to prevent mid-air collisions from casual sightseers getting in the way of coast card and BP aircraft, and from every inattentive rubbernecking pilot who just wants to go check it out. It may require a bit more intelligence to get a flight certificate than a driver's license, but common sense and intelligence are all too often independent from one another.

Re:Damage Control (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806460)

The no fly zone isn't a no fly zone.

It's a don't go under 3000 feet or you might hit someone trying to fix this mess and kill even more people.

Re:Damage Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806640)

how can you possibly claim safety rules are simply a conspiracy to cover everything up, take off your tin foil hat for a moment and have a good hard look at yourself.

There is no no-fly zone, merely an altitude restriction, there are multitudes of people working in the area and a huge number of flights around the cleanup mess. The last thing they need is some idiot sightseeing pilot causing a midair collission with the cleanup crews. Why is it unreasonable to expect the people dealing with the shitful mess created by BP to have a reasonable amount of safety taken with their lives.

Seems reasonable to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806382)

Seems like there's good precedent for this one....

FIINANLLY!! WE HAVE SOMETHING TO DO !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806402)

You think it's easy being Coast Guard? It's not. It's damn boring, that's what it is. Nothing to do weeks on end. Finally, now, we have a real job to do, and I swear, you get within 65 fett and I'll light your ass up!

Coast Guard
Because we all can't be seamen!

Re:FIINANLLY!! WE HAVE SOMETHING TO DO !!! (2, Funny)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806760)

Coast Guard

Because we all can't be seamen!

I take from this that you don't live within 1000 miles of a body of water deep enough to float a rubber duckie.

I'm all for damning high-handed government... (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806416)

But this is a common sense distance.

65 feet (20 meters) is an entirely reasonable safety margin for this situation. A good current could push you 20 meters faster than you can respond, causing you to crash into the equipment (that would be Bad [TM]).

Any photographer (professional or dilettante) who can't capture a picture of this equipment from that distance is an utterly hopeless moron. All the more reason for not allowing them even closer.

Um... So what? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806496)

They have telephoto lenses. They can get perfectly usable pictures from beyond 65 feet. It seems perfectly reasonable to keep people away while cleanup personnel are trying to do their jobs.

LK

20m, not 65 feet (3, Insightful)

dingram17 (839714) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806572)

The official announcement was that the exclusion area was 20 metres, not 65 feet. I would have thought that most people reading Slashdot would be able to do the conversion -- if not, go ask a six year old how to do it. Good too see that the US forces are starting to think metric.

Re:20m, not 65 feet (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806638)

The US military has been doing things in metric for decades; it's taking the press a while to catch up. My favorite was when I read a story in which a soldier was talking about something being "about ten clicks [sic] down the road" and the reporter helpfully explained that "a 'click' is military slang for about three-fifths of a mile." No, klick is military slang for a kilometer, which is a unit of measurement well understood by anyone with more than half a brain, and which does happen to be about three-fifths of a mile, but certainly isn't defined that way! The thing is, I suspect the reporter knew perfectly well what a kilometer was (and if he didn't understand "klick," he could have, you know, asked) but felt that it was necessary to dumb it down for the presumed audience.

Re:20m, not 65 feet (-1, Flamebait)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806646)

If it's so easy to do the conversion, do it yourself rather than complain that a story about US policy, regarding an event happening right by the US, is using US units of measurement. If this were a story stemming from a nation where metric was the norm, I might agree with you... as it is, you're just being silly, and coming off as someone trying to pick a fight.

Honestly, I don't know WTF the rest of the world's obsessions is with our units of measurement. It's our own fucking business, leave it be already. I don't go and bother other countries that they shouldn't be using the metric system because "that's not what I use here, so it would be easier for me". It's their call what to use in their own country.

Wow. /. fails again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806578)

"It's not a photography problem - any moron can shoot pictures from 65 ft."

Yeah, and I suppose you're going to interview people from that distance? Makes it kinda obvious to your work superior that you're opening your mouth when you shouldn't be if you have to YELL.

This isn't about photography, it's about censure. I don' t give a flying rat's ass that it's a kdawson post. I give a rat's ass that, once again, in the name of...something...we'll never get to find out the entire story. In fact, it's that "something" that is the most bothersome element - "health and safety" - which is now a variant of "think of the children" et. al. and other inane bullshit.

Every person here that said "dur hurr stupid photographers" needs to pull their collective heads out of their asses, in a loud, enormous popping unison so that they can understand what is really being said.

If you really believe it's about keeping out photographs, or that there's no story here - other than a loss of first amendment rights - and especially the rights of the press, which is specifically mentioned in the constitution - then feel free to continue sniffing around the inside of your illium. In the meantime, the rest of us will continue to take advantage of your precarious situation and fuck you over whenever possible. Then again - some of you appear to like ass pain.

Re:Wow. /. fails again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806656)

Who would you like to interview, exactly? And why can't you do it when they aren't working on cleaning up the mess? What happens if you get too close? What happens when you get in their way and cause a delay? There are plenty of good reasons for this, and it has nothing to do with "censure." You can take all the pictures you want. You can interview anyone who isn't on the clock.

Re:Wow. /. fails again... (1)

eyrieowl (881195) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806820)

Except that is made kinda difficult when they're all housed in BP housing, transported to and from work sites on BP transportation, and probably not wanting to lose their BP monies for chatting with Anderson Cooper.

Class D Felony (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806580)

From http://www.superpages.com/supertips/class-d-felony.html:

In some states a Class D Felony is the lowest felony class, while in New York it is the second lowest felony class, having harsher penalties than the Class E felony, but not as harsh as the Class C felony. Examples of Class D felony offenses include, falsely reporting and incident, prohibited use of a weapon, placing a false bomb in the first degree, unlawful surveillance, promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child, promoting a sexual performance by a child, criminal possession of weapon, criminal sale of a weapon in the third degree, criminal sale of a firearm with the aid of a minor, and manufacture, transport, disposition and defacement of weapons and dangerous instruments and appliances.

Class D Felony Sentences

The sentence for Class D felony offenses is determined by the court but will not less than two years or be more than 7 years. The minimum and maximum sentence for felony offenses can be enhanced for any crime of a violent nature or one with aggravated circumstances, and reduced for mitigating circumstances. When determining a sentence the court takes into account the nature of the crime and the character and history of the offender. Juvenile offenders face up to four years imprisonment for Class D felonies.

Class D Felony Enhancements

Persons convicted of Class D felony domestic violence will face a term of at least three years but not more than 7 years.
An attempt to commit a Class C felony will result in a sentence enhancement of two to 8 years.
A prior conviction of a violent offense will cause the presumptive term to be enhanced to at least five years but not more than 7 years.
A persistent violent offender having two or more violent felony convictions will serve at least six years but not more than 25 year in prison.
A prior non-violent felony conviction will enhance the presumptive term to at least four years but not more than 7 years.
Fines and Restitution for Class D Felonies

A felony fine is fixed by the court but is not to exceed the higher of $5,000 or double the amount of the defendants gain from the commission of the crime.

*The laws and penalties regarding felony classes and offenses vary for each state, however New York law presents a fair and clear representation of penal law, and is used in this article to offer a basic understanding of the Class D felony. The information contained in this article should not be construed as legal advice, and those accused of a Class D felony should seek legal counsel immediately.

Re:Class D Felony (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806898)

So, if you accidentally get too close to a boom, beach or oiled up critter, you're in the same category as someone who encourages minors to engage in obscene sexual acts? Just the same as said perv, you may be labeled a felon, and you could also stand to lose rights such as the ones below?

  • Voting rights? (Haha. No more of that for you. Sucker.)
  • Your right to own firearms? *
  • Want to run for office in order to change this lunacy? Not any more.

It all seems a bit excessive to me. If people really are out there being mischievous and endangering the safety of vessels and workers, fine. But, the government doesn't really need new rules to lay the smackdown on random troublesome assholes, do they? There are already laws which could be applied, so, one really can take this as a limitation specifically designed for journalists.

* Well, I could see how going through a felony conviction like this, for something so innocent, would make you want to shoot the SOB(s) who thought this was a good idea.

Where's the digg down button on this thing? (5, Informative)

dsoltesz (563978) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806678)

The title of this article is an absolute embarrassment. This is beyond inaccurate, it's inflammatory. Photography is not banned. A reasonable safety margin has been set around the response equipment and boats - and it's about fucking time. Scuba divers and other special activities are routinely given a 75 foot (more or less) safety margin, and it seems absolutely reasonable to make everyone stay clear while these people are trying to work. Frankly, 300 feet would have been completely reasonable. It's bad enough this "news" is already ancient (par for the course on /. lately), but now we have to deal with mind-boggling bias... is this /. or Greenpeace?

Nothing to see here. Move along.

More phony news from CNN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806696)

Leave it to Androgen Poofer and the lame-brains at CNN to try to make a press ban out of a very reasonable safety precaution. Must be a slow news day, why don't they just put on some phony BP uniforms and film themselves clubbing baby seals.

If only... (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806738)

Professional photographer had access to more powerful lenses than what's on an iPhone.
I can only imagine this being the end of photo-journalism as we know it.
Flickr is as good as dead

Wrong, what is this? Gizmodo??? (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806880)

You can photograph the booms. This is preventing issues that were happening when booms were first deployed: boaters going over booms, for example. I like my solution better: intentionally or negligently damaging a boom is punishable by a hole in the hull of your boat. Would work great so long as there aren't so many Boston Whalers out there.

think lateral (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806916)

They banned the photographer not the camera.

They have not banned anything else that I can see.

Put camera on radio controlled helicopter and whizz in to 4 inches take photo fly out. No laws broken problem solved.

Of course the purpose of the ban is clear to anyone with a brain cell (BP and your government are in bed together in wanting to cover up the real results of your governments failure to protect its citizens) so radio controlled devices will be banned under law within 3 days.

Then of course there are automatic flying/swimming/diving devices cameras could be attached to after radio controlled devices are banned within 65ft of BPs death knell.

not a very effective photography ban (1)

Nekomusume (956306) | more than 3 years ago | (#32806924)

I mean, seriously - 65 feet? You think that will stop somebody from taking a picture? That's bloody trivial, even with cheep lenses.
Even their original plans for a 300 foot ban would just mean the photographers would need to bring a different lens.

What about the sea turtles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32806928)

Who is gonna protect the sea turtles?

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