Drew and I invited our neighbor, Blake Dawson, over to our place to chat about flying drones, taking photos, and getting them out for the world to see.

You may have seen some of Blake’s photos already. Back when we did our #BuffaloCameBack project after the major snowstorm last November, his work dominated the post. Since then, he’s kept the great content coming and built a strong brand for himself.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 8.19.25 PM

Do you ever get any shit about flying the drone around different places in town?

No. Nice thing about Buffalo is that everyone is usually just curious, even the police have walked up and said “What are you doing?” I said “Taking pictures!” “Alright… carry on.”

One time I was taking pictures of the lake outside the Coast Guard station, and they came out sort of alarmed, but once I showed them how it worked, they really liked it.

Blake was doing some still photography and some video before deciding to go airborne. He was getting a little bored, and feeling like the best architecture shots in the city were already posted and only being copied with some different filters.

When he got his first drone, the North-American release of the Phantom, he fitted his GoPro onto it and took off to try and film the Rochester Americans outdoor game going on a couple years ago. He was kicked out because the shots were within a no-fly zone near Rochester’s Airport. He and his friends decided to go back home to Buffalo and were playing pond hockey on Hoyt Lake and got to flying and people really loved the angle.

I started heading downtown, and to the medical campus, the waterfront. All of this evolved into obsessively checking the weather report for conditions and wind, and seeing what time sunrise and sunset were. I was heading out at sunrise, coming home from work for sunset, and trying to capture new things from new angles all the time.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 8.19.43 PM

He upgraded to a Phantom 2 for the end of 2014’s summer, and into the winter of 2015. The Phantom 2 lost its life in Niagara Falls in the freezing mist, a story that pains Blake too much to tell.

He’s now flying a DJI Inspire 1. The camera has upgraded from a GoPro to Inspire’s stock camera, which can be swapped out every time there’s an upgrade. He told us that within the past year, it’s been night and day with the technology.

Blake has been working with other drone pilots to encourage them all to play by the rules and not get letters from the FAA for flying above 400 feet, too close to the airport, or too low over crowds, while they wait to see what new regulations from the FAA may be released. Blake hopes they allow a little more freedom, so long as no one does anything stupid in the meantime.

Check out many many more amazing photos at blakedawsonmedia.com

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 7.49.17 PM

So on to the promotion of Friday’s event.


Sean Heidinger of The Public approached Blake with the idea of doing a show last April. They put together an event at 19 IDEAS‘ offices on the West Side where Blake was able to project his videos in a conference room that looped throughout the party, intriguing people enough to buy some prints.

For this Friday’s show, Blake will be looping more videos and putting out more brilliant prints, but this will also be a party! Check out:

Ashker’s Juice Bar/Bistro/Gallery 1526 Main St at Ferry. (Yes, Ashker’s opened up a 2nd location!)
GLDN Girls will be DJ’ing.
Complimentary libations will be provided including Lockhouse Distillery.
Buffalove Notes will be letting you type out your deepest, warmest, feelings for your friends and your lovers.
Allentown Pizza is keeping you fed all night.
Play PLINKO and get in on other auctions to benefit Massachusetts Avenue Project.
Wrafterbuilt will be providing places to sit and talk with furniture he made himself, dubbed “The Wrafter Lounge.”

6-10P, FRIDAY June 26