I went to Daytona to fly this morning and thought I’d head up to the top of the parking garage to get a better vantage point. I didn’t know it, but it was an “event day” so they charged me ten bucks to get in. I found a spot and took the elevator to the top floor, and it deposited me onto the roof. Everything looked normal enough except for some building materials laying here and there and some patchy concrete, and two guys working on the other side of the roof. I found a nice spot and put the drone up and started filming.
After a few minutes, I hear a voice say, “Excuse me – what are you doing up here?”
It was a guy in a construction outfit. I had no idea who he was or why he was approaching me, so I answered, “I’m just taking some photos.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond. It was downtown Daytona Beach at sunrise, on top of a building overlooking the beachside, so it seemed like a stupid question to me. All I could think of to say was, “Because I’m a photographer.”
“This whole area is a construction zone. You can’t be up here,” he explained.
“Oh, sorry. I just came up the elevator and walked over here. There were no signs or indicators that I couldn’t come up here.”
“That elevator,” he asked, pointing to it, to which I nodded. “The fifth and sixth floors are supposed to be locked. Someone must have left them open.” His tone started to soften as he realized that his own team had created a liability situation that had allowed someone to wander in, unaware that they were in a potentially hazardous area.
I told him I would pack up and leave and he said thanks and left me to it. I don’t know if he had seen the drone, but that wasn’t what had upset him. I think he thought maybe I meant I was taking photos of their work, but that was the last thing I’d want to capture. I went down to the sidewalk and got all of the shots I had planned out. I drained all three of my batteries, so I made sure I got my ten bucks worth for parking.