Whenever I'm asked about where the action is in the world of drone journalism, I make it a point to mention the work being done at the grassroots level. It's truly where you need to go to find the cutting-edge work, and where journalists could learn a great deal about small unmanned aircraft systems and how to use them for reporting.
I've posted previous examples here on DroneJournalism.org and elsewhere. From the small multirotor "drones" that covered protests in Poland, Russia, and Brazil, to animal rights activists recording pigeon shooting events in the US, to the DSLR-equipped radio controlled plane that exposed a slaughterhouse contaminating a creek in Texas, impressive and newsworthy footage is being collected.
Many of these people are not setting out to be journalists, but the way they use this new technology should not be ignored by journalists.
There's another group who aspiring drone journalists should look to for inspiration: small businesses that offer aerial photos and video for promotional purposes.
Recently, I wrote about one such small aerial photography outlet that was grounded by the FAA. I once asked Patrick Egan, president of the Remote Controlled Aerial Photography Association (RCAPA), how many of these "gray market" operators might be operating in the US. His conservative estimate was about 1,000.
Add one more to the list. Here's footage from a hobbyist in Dunnaly, a town in Tasmania that was ravaged by brushfires earlier this year.
According to comments by the "drone" pilot in the YouTube video, there was little concern about flying close to power lines, due to a large-scale power outage.
These fires started in January, and were extinguished just a couple of days ago. One hundred homes were reported destroyed. The Red Cross is seeking donations for the Tasmanian brushfires of 2013.
Kudos to Alexander Hayes of Drones for Good for posting this video on the Google Plus group.