Water Leaders Summit 2019

     Right before the fourth of July, Vagabond Photography had the pleasure to work the with The Water Council at the Water Leaders Summit for the fourth year in a row. It is always a fun and educational experience to work with them. This year’s summit took place at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 26-27th.

Charles Fishman - During opening statements

Charles Fishman - During opening statements

     Normally as photographers, we go to a conference or seminar to photograph the event but we always seem to come away with something a little more tucked away in our brains by the end. This year, main take away was during the opening statement by events the MC Charles Fishman, “Every time we do a search on Google it uses two tablespoons of water.”  As a photographer I use the internet a lot to look up how to fix camera/lighting equipment, learn new techniques, to my guilty pleasure of looking up Babylon 5 and Star Trek memes. Never in a hundred years would I have thought for one minute that we really use water in that process. But Google and all the internet search engines do, its used in keeping the servers cool. It also made me think how much water goes into making a camera? So I did some searching and didn’t come up with an answer but I would wager it is many, many of gallons between the circuit boards, plastic, metals and glass in a camera.

Eleanor Allen & Charles Fishman

Eleanor Allen & Charles Fishman

         It was a great day filled with great speakers from all walks of life. Touching on multiple subjects from Rethinking Water for People, How actions and awareness are no longer the domain just of the water sector and Rethinking Water Use: Risk, Stewardship and Value Creation and Rethinking Water in Corporate Governance. This year focused more on how we use water and the risk of pollution and running out.

     Eleanor Allen spoke with Charles Fishman to talk about her work when with the peace corps to bring clean water and better out houses to communities to prevent the transmission of disease to people in foreign countries. She went on to explain how some communities for all for clean water while others didn’t really care but once one community got on board with the project others seemed to be more receptive to it.

     During the last panel of the day they talked about rethinking water in corporate governance and as a person who has worked in many fields from photography, to industrial, and farming to commercial it really got me to pay attention while working the rest of the event. They noted if companies really had to pay for the water they use, items we use would cost us a whole lot more money but the companies would also be a lot more apt to stop leaks and save themselves money. One of the speakers stated that one of the biggest leaks for a plant is in its fire suppression system and that was mainly due to leaky valves or connections in pipes.  It was interesting to hear them talk about how Ford Motor Company managed to reduce their over all use of water in manufacturing use to help water stressed areas be more sustainable.

So think of how you use your water.

Xiaofeng Zhao and Valeria Orozco

Xiaofeng Zhao and Valeria Orozco

Clean Rivers Clean Lakes Conference 2018

Last week we had the joy of returning for a third year, to cover the Clean Rivers Clean Lake Conference for our friends at Sweetwater based in Milwaukee WI at the school of fresh water siences.

This year’s Clean Rivers Clean Lake Conference was held at Alverno College. Alverno College has such a beautiful campus and was a great location for this event, the staff was amazing and very helpful. If you ever have the chance tour this beautiful campus I highly recommend it.

This year’s discussions and panels focused on creating purposeful drainage areas inside the urban landscape, porous pavement, new policies and regulations and how we as good stewards can do out part in these endeavors.  

As much as it is a day of work for us it is also a learning day. I come from a family with farmers and every year I am impressed to see what these fine people come up with. Some of it in the past I have taken back with me to my uncle’s farm to see if there is something we can put into practice as it pertains to curtailing field runoff into the streams and waterways.

Here are some of the photos from this year’s Clean Rivers Clean Lake Conference.

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Why Can't I Fly There... Without a Waiver

Vagabond Photography(VB): It’s great day, we at Vagabond Photography now offer UAV(Drone) services to our clients and we can fly anywhere we please. Today we’re going to fly the port of Milwaukee.

FAA Rep: Not so fast Mister.

VB: why?????

FAA: because where your client would like you to fly for their assignment in located inside a restricted flight area. You’ll have to apply for a waiver.

The above is true for a Part 107 pilots, as certified pilots we cannot just fly anywhere we or a client would want us too. In much of the Greater Milwaukee area we have to work around controlled airspace via General Mitchel Airport(class C), Timmerman Airport(class D) and Waukesha Co Airport(Class D with a Class E extension) (see map 1).  To fly in those areas, we would need to obtain a FAA waiver under part 107.41 requesting airspace authorization.

Restricted flight map of Milwaukee

Restricted flight map of Milwaukee

Say a client was to approach us and says we would like you to photograph our new building project on Jones Island and can you do this in the next 20 days? First, let’s refer to the map the little red dot in the shaded purple circle represents where said client would like us to fly. This helps us answer our clients question a little, the right off the bat answer is no not currently. To fly in that shaded area we must apply for a waiver from the FAA. Then provided the FAA gives us permission the answer is yes but it sill could exceed the 20 days the client had requested and take as long as 90 days for a yes, no answer. Also the waiver is time sensitive which mean the pilot in control has to fly at the time requested on the waiver or on the backup date during the approved time.

You may ask what does a waiver do for us and why does the FFA require us to obtain one? For the proposed Jones Island assignment there are a few answers. 1. Provided we are granted a waiver, it allows the FAA and air traffic control to notify incoming and outgoing air traffic there is an unmanned aircraft working the vicinity of the airport to the Northwest. If you refer to map 1 again, you will notice that the proposed location is adjacent to the inbound flight line for runway 19R(marked in gray). 2. In the waiver we must explain to the FAA how we plan to ensure safety going above and beyond what part 107 requires. This can be done by adding additional spotters to notify the done pilot of incoming aircraft or by making the drone more visible to oncoming traffic and explain that we do not place to fly outside of a certain radius keeping us away from inbound traffic. Also, that we are not a distraction to other pilots.  3. It saves the pilot and customer from a fine from the FAA if caught flying without a waiver. Through some research the fines that have been given out range between $400 to $18.700 with one outlier being levied at $1.9 million (story here) and also for the pilot it can also mean revocation of his/hers certificate.

We've obtained a waiver now what? Great the FAA decided to grant us a waiver and now we can fly, though there are going to be some stipulations on the when and possibly from how long. Also make sure you have planned for a secondary date encase of inclement weather.

I understand the a potential client this may seem like a lot of work just to go though to fly around and photograph/video a building or a job site. Though, it is something unmanned pilots and I know is necessary, for safe flight operations for those on the grounds and flying in the sky and at the end of the day you’ll be happy you have an unmanned pilot that took the time to do it right.