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Kiwi photographer baffles Chinese authorities

Tuesday 1 Jul 2014 10:30 a.m.

Queenstown-based photographer Trey Ratcliff was recently detained while using a drone to film in Beijing.

Before that though he managed to capture aerial shots of the Chinese capital, with the resulting clip racking up more than 150,000 views on YouTube.

It was when he flew the drone too close to government buildings that he captured not just stunning images of the city, but the attention of the Chinese authorities.

"They were confused by it," he said on Firstline this morning. "You know there's that movie about the Coke bottle that gets dropped on that African tribe and they like, worship it for a while – [the Chinese authorities] were turning it over, they were trying to figure out what it was."

Before then, he'd flown it past policeman without any trouble – some even took photos of it. But not all were so trusting.

"I was with my assistant and we were detained for a bit… they were trying to figure out what I was about, what was going on, my motives."

So Ratcliff pulled out his camera and showed the guards beautiful photos he'd taken of their city, and they began to understand.

Watch the video for the full interview with Trey Ratcliff.

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