Photographer Takes to the Sky After Being Denied Access to Oil Mines

When photographer Robert Johnson of Business Insider was denied so much as a tour of the Alberta Oil Sands, he could have given up. Instead he chose a more… aerial approach, renting a Cessna 172 to secretly photograph the secretive operation from just over 1,000 feet.

The Alberta Oil Sands are the second largest oil deposit in the world behind Saudi Arabia, and some of the pictures, all of which are now up on Flickr, go a long way in showing how huge an operation like this has to be. In fact, it’s a good thing they denied Business Insider access, photos from the ground probably wouldn’t have done the sands nearly as much justice.

The Canadian Oil Sand Mines Refused Us Access, So We Rented This Plane To See What They Were Up To (via Kottke)

  • CameraMan


  • ravan52

    my buddy’s sister-in-law made $18108 a month ago. she worrks on the internet and bought a $525400 condo. All she did was get blessed and put into action the instructions given on this website ===>> ⇛⇛⇛⇛►

  • Mike T

    This pretty much looks like every other open pit mine I have seen. There are hundreds just like it (or much worse) all across the US and Canada. At least these guys are trying to reclaim their tailings ponds – unlike the the places that provided you your gold jewellery. 

  • Michtou

    Mike T…so because gold is dirtier, it’s okay to allow it with coal (which is far more widespread and cause environmental damage after mining also?)  

  • Mimyofoto

    Looks terrible, but America will buy it. If not, China will. 

    It’s nice to see what the business people will be investing in. Can’t plead ignorance as to the scale of this industry. 

    I noticed the photos don’t seem critical of the oil sands, just trying to show what’s going on there.

  • A Canuck

    Not sure what the point of this story was… So someone doesn’t get his way, and he shows ‘em by renting a plane and flying overhead of an industrial site? Seems a little overboard to me, and contributes to negative viewpoints about photographers. [Disclaimer: I live in Alberta :) ] 

  • Chris Newhall

    Really? You’re looking at it completely wrong. This isn’t even close to the same thing as, say, an urban decay photographer trespassing somewhere. This is a journalist who was denied access to a location (if he had uncovered some illegal, ecologically detrimental practices I’m sure your attitude would be different). There is nothing wrong, or illegal, or sneaky about what he did.