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Archive 2013 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover
  
 
takurpic
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p.1 #1 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


It will be interesting to see how this one turns out...

http://www.ksn.com/2013/07/10/photographer-arrested-after-flying-over-feedlot/

GARDEN CITY, Kansas (AP) – Finney County authorities say a freelance photographer working for National Geographic was arrested and briefly detained after he shot pictures of a feedlot near Garden City while on a paraglider.

George Steinmetz, of Glenn Ridge, N.J., and his paraglider instructor, Wei Zhang, of Beijing, China, were arrested for misdemeanor criminal trespass on June 28 after flying over the feedlot. The Hutchinson News reports they were held briefly in the Finney County jail before each paid a $270 bond and were released.

Finney County Sheriff Kevin Bascue says Steinmetz and Zhang didn’t have permission to launch their paraglider from private property and they didn’t tell anyone they were going to take photos from the air.

National Geographic spokeswoman Beth Foster says the organization doesn’t believe Steinmetz broke the law.



Jul 10, 2013 at 06:25 PM
swoop
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p.1 #2 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


If he was on private property without permission, I can understand that. But no one owns the air above you except the government and that's regulated by the FAA not local law enforcement. Even "no fly zones" aka Temporary Flight Restrictions aren't done locally, they are created solely by the FAA. And you don't have to tell anyone you're taking photos of anything unless you're on their property, and again, the air above is not their property.


Jul 11, 2013 at 03:48 AM
Joseph Garcin
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p.1 #3 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


But you do have property rights extending above your land.

The Supreme Ruled that landowners have property rights in the lower reaches of airspace. If the paraglider was interfering with the landowners ability to reasonably enjoy the use of their land, it would be trespass.



Jul 11, 2013 at 04:33 AM
halie
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p.1 #4 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


Just rent a piper cub, fly 500' from any person, vessel, vehicle, or man made structure, and shoot away out an open window with a good camera to your heart's content. Nothing they can legally do about it. You may get some irate Mayberry sheriff huffing and puffing, but that only lasts until they realize they don't have a clue. Which might take a little while. Flying lower than that is likely to chap someone's hide, as it would mine, and would get you closer to shotgun range.


Jul 11, 2013 at 09:18 AM
Bernie
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p.1 #5 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


PETA PITA


Jul 11, 2013 at 02:47 PM
takurpic
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p.1 #6 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


More info... http://gctelegram.com/news/HUTCH-KS-Para-glider-7-11-13


Airborne photographer lands — in local jail
7/11/2013

By AMY BICKEL and KATHY HANKS

Special to The Telegram

An early-morning photo shoot across a landscape of cattle landed a world-renowned freelance photographer for National Geographic in jail.

Well, at least briefly.

George Steinmetz, 55, of Glenn Ridge, N.J., was flying in a paraglider as he snapped photographs from the air of a feedlot at Brookover Ranch Feed Yards in Garden City. Waiting on the ground by an SUV was Wei Zhang, 39, of Beijing, China, a self-employed paraglider instructor.

Steinmetz is known for photographing the world's deserts while piloting a motorized paraglider, which resembles a lawn chair with a motor behind the seat and a parachute on top for sailing through the air. Many of his photographs have landed in National Geographic magazine, including a series depicting post-Gadhafi Libya.

In that case, according to Steinmetz's website, he got an "unusual permit to fly his motorized paraglider over parts of the country that had been impossible four years earlier."

However, this time, Finney County Sheriff Kevin Bascue said, Steinmetz and Zhang didn't have permission to be on the private property where the paraglider launched.

"The property owner called because two guys were parked on the property — they drove onto Brookover Ranch land, where it's clearly posted, 'No Trespassing,'" Bascue said.

Nor did they tell anyone they were going to be taking photos from the air over a county feedlot filled with thousands of cattle, causing concern from industry officials that it could be a potential food security issue.

A Brookover employee saw Steinmetz. He advised Bascue and his deputies that a subject who was flying over the feedlot taking pictures was trespassing and that there was an SUV on the ranch property. Steinmetz and Zhang, meanwhile, moved south of the area to a different location, but feedlot executives still wanted the two men arrested for trespassing.

"We made contact with the individuals and arrested them for criminal trespass," Bascue said. "We had an obligation to the property owner, since they had driven on the property without permission and it was clearly posted."

While just a misdemeanor, the two were held in Finney County Jail briefly and each paid a $270 bond to be released the same day on June 28.

"It's now in the county attorney's hands," Bascue said.

Finney County Attorney Susan Richmeier was unavailable for comment.

It does bring up an issue of what is trespassing in the air, said Kansas Livestock Association attorney Aaron Popelka.

After all, hundreds of thousands of cattle are fattening in a 100-mile radius around Garden City, and such incidents could turn into a food security issue — especially in an era where agri-terrorism is a threat.

Steinmetz was circling around the feedlot and taking photographs — not flying straight across it, Popelka said. Criminal statute, however, Popelka said, doesn't define how far land goes — in this case, how far up. Moreover, while Congress has authorized flights and air travel, the photographer wasn't engaging in air travel to pass through on a public air highway.

"This was a low-level entry with intent to remain in that space," he said.

"A case could be made here," Popelka said, but added it was up to the county attorney to decide what exactly to do in the situation.

KLA spokesman Todd Domer said the group continues to stress to its members to be watchful — and this incident is a good reminder the importance of being alert in an effort to provide a safe product for the food supply.

"Any unauthorized and suspicious activity should be reported to local law enforcement," he said, noting such activity is a biosecurity issue for the facility.

Such incidents have the potential to create safety issues for employees and animals, which is why feed yards want visitors to check in when they arrive on the grounds.

"Everyone knows safe food starts with healthy animals," Domer said. "We have to have those animals healthy in order to produce a safe food supply."

Beth Foster, a spokeswoman for National Geographic, said the organization was aware of the incident. She said it was the group's policy that photographers obey the law wherever they are working.

"One of our attorneys did have a conversation with the county attorney's office on July 3, but at that time, the county attorney had no information on the status of the charges," Foster said.

The magazine will provide defense for Steinmetz and his assistant, if necessary, she added.

"We don't believe he broke the law," Foster said.

Steinmetz, a veteran National Geographic freelance photographer, was working on a series about food that will be published sometime in early 2014.

"He's one of our best," she said.

Steinmetz could not be reached for comment.




Jul 11, 2013 at 03:04 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #7 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


takurpic wrote:
"We don't believe he broke the law," Foster said.



What part of trespassing on the land with the SUV parked on the private property isn't breaking the law?

While there may be a debate about air space height vs. circling vs. pass through travel, etc. ... I see zero debate about trespassing on private property. While the photography may have P.O.d the owner to file charges, the charges of trespassing would seem to stand on its own merits irregardless of the photography or non-photography activities related to the apparent trespass.

I'm a firm believer in defending our rights to photograh ... but, ummm (according to the report) they did drive onto and launch their glider from private property. How you can say the laws regarding trespass weren't broken kinda escapes me, atm.

Personally, I have trespassed with some regularity to get a shot from a farmers field, chasing Bambi, etc. No one has ever said much (well, a couple times were kinda tense) to me regarding the trespass ... BUT ... I am aware that I am liable to be held accountable for such trespass if someone should pursue it.

If I know (or can find out) who the landowner is, I'll ask for permission, but if the landowner is not available or I don't know who it is such that tracking them down will occur after the opportunity for the shot has passed ... I take my chances. If it is a shot that I can get at a later time ... I'll wait and ask first.

Camera or no camera ... it looks pretty clear to me (according to the story @ parked on private property) that this was trespassing. So where's the beef? You take your chances, so you got caught, pay the fine. No different than a speeding ticket, you knew you were doing wrong, you got caught, now pay up.



Jul 11, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Bernie
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p.1 #8 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


I say the jury's still out since everything is subject to interpretation. Stopping on the side of the road or pulling partly into a driveway might be called by some as being on private land. Others would say it's still on public easement. Still others might just see it as an opportunity to "get the photographer".

I've been accosted parking on the side of a public road taking sunset pictures. Anything on a tripod can give some folks the feeling that I'm a surveryor and a highway is about to go through....

Another time I shot the stone wall in front of a house in a picturesque community because of the way the shadows were laying on it. This was from a public sidewalk. The owner came storming out with cell phone in hand, threatening me. Try explaining the beauty of shadows to a person in heated anger. If she could have tarred and feathered me, that would have been ok... And this was a town trying to draw tourists.



Jul 11, 2013 at 07:47 PM
halie
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p.1 #9 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


"Steinmetz was circling around the feedlot and taking photographs — not flying straight across it, Popelka said. Criminal statute, however, Popelka said, doesn't define how far land goes — in this case, how far up. Moreover, while Congress has authorized flights and air travel, the photographer wasn't engaging in air travel to pass through on a public air highway."

This is downright silly. Congress doesn't authorize flights and air travel, and there is no such rule about engaging in air travel to pass through on a public airway, or flying straight across anything. The FAA makes the rules, and anything that is not expressly prohibited is allowed. It even sounds like the sheriff thought it was silly, but he was obligated. It appears that the feedlot people don't want the public to see what many would find unappetizing, and resorted to the SUV trespassing charge, and far out terrorism fear, while they try to conjure up some nonexistent airspace rules.
For anyone interested, while not directly concerning photography, here is a link to an AOPA report about authorities trying to enforce their own personal imaginary airspace rules on a glider pilot.

http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-News/2013/January/10/Secret-no-fly-zone.aspx





Jul 11, 2013 at 08:00 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #10 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


Finney County Sheriff Kevin Bascue said, Steinmetz and Zhang didn't have permission to be on the private property where the paraglider launched.

"The property owner called because two guys were parked on the property — they drove onto Brookover Ranch land, where it's clearly posted, 'No Trespassing,'" Bascue said.

A Brookover employee saw Steinmetz. He advised Bascue and his deputies that a subject who was flying over the feedlot taking pictures was trespassing and that there was an SUV on the ranch property. Steinmetz and Zhang, meanwhile, moved south of the area to a different location, but feedlot executives still wanted the two men arrested for trespassing.

"We made contact with the individuals and arrested them for criminal trespass," Bascue said. "We had an obligation to the property owner, since they had driven on the property without permission and it was clearly posted."




Take out the camera and the paraglider side issues ... and you're still left with trespassing (on the ground).
This isn't about photographic rights, this is about trespassing. Even if the landowner was peeved at the aerial photography, the simple (alleged) fact is they drove onto and launched their paraglider from the owner's property without permission.

That isn't exactly an innocent I walked across the ditch or parked alongside the road to take a sunset pic. That was a willful disregard for the owner's posted indication that you do not have permission to be on his land. Does it really matter if he was taking pictures or playing tiddly winks? Justification isn't part of the equation regarding the violation @ trespassing.

Sounds like pretty simple stuff, imo.

Edited on Jul 11, 2013 at 09:40 PM · View previous versions



Jul 11, 2013 at 08:48 PM
 

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rockant
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p.1 #11 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


I would be curious if the trespass, driving on the property, was witnessed or evidence was left.

If I called the Sheriff and said "Hey the land owner drove on my front lawn", would they arrest him? I doubt it.



Jul 11, 2013 at 09:37 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #12 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


+1 @ arrest vs. citation in lieu of arrest (socio/geographic protocol variance). I was mostly just saying that when you knowingly violate the (trespassing) law ... what is there to cry about when you get caught?

It's not like we're talking about some kid with a camera wandering around the countryside. It's a seasoned professional well versed in overcoming permissive access issues. (Not that that really matters too much, as the violation seems pretty straightforward.) He knew he didn't have permission, so I doubt it came as a a surprise, and likely why he won't have much to say about it.

Sounds like an "easier to beg for forgiveness, than get permission" approach that ... well, didn't work out the way he'd like for it too.

The odd thing about this though is the story said they "moved" elsewhere. Why didn't the just launch from the "elsewhere" to begin with? Oh well, I'm sure we'll hear more about it in time.



Jul 11, 2013 at 09:48 PM
miccullen
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p.1 #13 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


"irregardless" is not a proper word.


Jul 12, 2013 at 12:54 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #14 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irregardless




Edited on Jul 12, 2013 at 02:12 AM · View previous versions



Jul 12, 2013 at 02:03 AM
miccullen
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p.1 #15 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


Yes, as I said, not a real word:"Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead."


Jul 12, 2013 at 02:10 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #16 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


Ummm ... you took a quote out of context to substantiate your position.

Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.

According to the reference, it clearly states there IS such a word. The "there is no such word" is in reference to a frequently repeated remark (suggesting common perception) regarding the word as being perceived to be not a real word, when in fact it is.



Jul 12, 2013 at 02:17 AM
miccullen
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p.1 #17 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


RustyBug wrote:
According to the reference, it clearly states there IS such a word. The "there is no such word" is in reference to a frequently repeated remark (suggesting common perception) regarding the word as being perceived to be not a real word, when in fact it is.

I admire your ability to make up quotes. Who said "there is no such word"? "Words" get made up all the time, but the literate don't use them, they use proper words. It's also not "out of context" - it says - "Use regardless instead." If you're going to reference stuff, it's probably a good idea to read to the end.



Jul 12, 2013 at 02:23 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #18 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


"make up quotes"


I wasn't the one who said "not a real word".
miccullen wrote:
Yes, as I said, not a real word:


The cited reference does in fact make a suggestion to use "regardless" instead ... logically following its more widespread acceptance. This however, does not negate "irregardless" from being a "real word". Additionally, why would the reference continue to provide an example of its usage, and provide its etymology if it was not a "real word"?

+1 (earnest) @ regardless considered to be "more literate" than irregardless ... especially in internet photography forums (mildly snarky).




Jul 12, 2013 at 02:37 AM
mcbroomf
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p.1 #19 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


Regardless () of whether it's a real word or not it actually "should" mean the opposite of it's general intent (when used)

*Use ir- before words starting with r.
So not relevant = irrelevant
http://www.spelling.hemscott.net/prefix3.html

So placing ir in front of regardless means the opposite



Jul 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #20 · Nat Geo Photographer Arrested for Kansas Feedlot Flyover


+1 @ ir typically means the opposite/not. But in the etymology of irregardless, it is not derived on the basis of following the ir=not, it is derived from the combination of irrespective and regardless.

This is likely where the confusion @ not a proper word/not a real word comes from as it does not follow the apparent derivation of ir means opposite. Thus, it is easily attributed to appear as though it was derived on the basis of one who does not understand that ir = not. It is this perception (imo) that it is being used by persons not educated in ir=not that suggests it is a term that is neither used by "literate" people, nor a proper word.

Rather, should one accept the defined etymology of the word to be the combination of the words irrespective and regardless, its merit as being literate is more viable than as an erroneous and improper placement of "not" being applied to regardless. I would imagine that in this manner, it is prone to confusion as to whether it was derived from a lack of understanding in the use of ir = not @ typical/casual observation vs. an understanding of it being derived as the combination of the two words is largely the reason for its less than widespread acceptance.

In that regard, "irregardless" is one such word that seemingly defies the rules (thus perceived as not proper), unless one accepts it as irrespective + regardless as the etymology presents. The choice remains to either use "irrespective and regardless" or "irregardless". The salient point for me to take away from this is not whether one is correct (or proper) in using the word, but whether or not your audience will properly receive the message one intends to send incurred with its usage.

My question would be as to whether a truly "literate" audience would actually be aware of its etymology variance, or would the "literate" audience simply assume the ir to be an errant usage of a double negative from "illiterate" persons, based on attribution to ir=opposite/not without cognizance of its derivation from irrespective and regardless?

I didn't make up the word on an illiterate basis of not understanding the prospect of a double negative. I simply used it as it has been defined @ irrespective + regardless = irregardless.

The unlawful (ground) trespassing issue is both irrespective of photography and aerial space issues, and regardless of one's opinion of the photographic and aerial space implications, the law of (ground) trespassing appears to have been violated as presented in the article. Irregardless (insert both irrespective and regardless) of the red herring debate(s) over photographic rights and aerial space, the (ground) trespassing issue stands on its own merits.


Which takes me back to this:

"We don't believe he broke the law," Foster said.

Imo, they either did drive onto the landowners property without permission or they did not ... i.e. pretty simple once you stop trying to give respect and/or regard to the red herring(s).



Jul 12, 2013 at 02:15 PM
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