The FAA rule is not as conspiratorial as Thom may imply. It reads as a technical response to protect pilots from the low-altitude erratic air traffic devoted to the oil spill. Pilots are free to fly as before above 3,000 feet above "ground level" and beyond 12 miles from US coast. Still can get good pictures up there.
See rules here: http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_0_5100.html