© 2023 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Exploring Buffalo's architecture through a drone's lens

There are numerous books on the market that celebrate Western New York architecture. But one volume, by a local graphic artist, offers scenes of local landmarks through the lens of a drone.

Christopher Hyzy has two passions, aviation and photography. Through his book, "B is for Buffalo: An Aerial Alphabet," he has been able to utilize both in a tribute to Buffalo landmarks, presented in an A-to-Z format.

Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO
Christopher Hyzy pilot his drone in downtown Buffalo. He turned his passions for flying and photography into a book celebrating Buffalo architecture.

The idea was born when he was urged by his friends to acquire a remote-controlled aircraft, or drone.

"It started as a running joke with my friends, because my friends knew that I had wanted these for several years," said Hyzy, who works as a graphic designer for WNED|WBFO. "Every once in a while they'd find an online sale and they'd try to goad me into buying one online. I started saying I can't really afford it, it's really expensive, so we threw around the idea of a Kickstarter."

The idea was to offer prints of Buffalo architecture to those who would contribute to an online fundraiser. Hyzy says that never happened, but he did acquire a drone and took photos of local architecture for enjoyment, planning only to post them on social media.

They were discovered by a local publisher, who encouraged him to turn it into a book.

His small craft allows him the ability to move much closer to buildings than helicopters or other manned aircraft. And Hyzy explained the technology lets him view images seen by the drone's camera on his smartphone, helping him set up and take quality photos.

"It has a built-in on-board computer which uses GPS coordinates, so basically I can just let go of the remore control and it will just hover," he added. "The actual aircraft handles all of the intricacies of keeping it aloft, keeping it steady where my input is basically telling it where to go."

He is licensed to use the drone for commercial purposes, including his book, but he explained that air restrictions prevent him from working in certain areas, including near airports, the international border and near any military installations. Such restrictions have prevented him from pursuing one of his desired destinations to photograph, Niagara Falls.

He released his book last fall, on Black Friday, and says sales have been a pleasant surprise.

"It's been truly humbling, to be honest," Hyzy said. "I did it as something I thought would be fun, to have a book out there, but the reception has been really incredible."

Click here for a link to the publisher's site.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
Related Content