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Old Sep 25, 2008, 4:56 PM   #1
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Location: Sacramento, Ca
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Wasn't sure where to post this

For the last two months or so I've been taking daily walks every afternoon in order to get a little exercise and even more so just to get out and away from this computer. And of course I always take along some camera equipment. Many days the camera never comes off my shoulder and other days I will shoot quite a bit.

At about the half way mark of one of my normal routes there is a fairly big park with some nice trees in it. I usually stop here to rest, enjoy the view and take a few pics of the squirrels or what ever else strikes me.

The other day I was in the back of the park checking out some interesting branches when I saw two rather large unsavory men approaching. I could tell right away by the look on their faces and the way they walked they were not coming over just to say "hi". My first instinct was to secure my gear and keep my distance. I was pretty sure I was about to loose my camera.

When they stopped, the conversation went like this.

What are you doing here?

Enjoying the park and taking a few pictures.

What are you taking pictures of?

Trees, squirrels whatever catches my eye.

Looks like your taking pictures of children.


From their it went down hill. it would have almost been better if the had been muggers. They were sure I was shooting picture of their kids. I tried to reason with the guys after all I am a parent myself and understand their concerns. But these guys weren't interested in reason. These guys were just plain jerks. Looking for any reason to act tough. In the years I've worked security I have seen the type many times. They told me they were watching me and threatened to kick my ass. Blah, blah, blah

Now came the part that really ticked me off. They walked away, back to their families. It turns out they were part of a child's birthday party that was being held way on the other side of the park. I couldn't have taken a picture of their kids with my 400mm and a teleconverter. Which is way to big to carry around on a walk.

OK so maybe I'm an jerk too, but I refuse to be intimidated by people. I have every right to be in that park. So I made a point of "Not leaving" . I wondered around. I sat on a bench. I walked passed these guys a few times as they gave me their hard stares. I wanted them to know the bully routine does not work.

It's really too bad that they left the park before the cops showed up. They pulled over behind me as I was walking home. And I would have loved for those jerks to hear the conversation we had, The cops were quite nice. I let them look at my pictures after they agreed that they had no legal authority look at them with my permission. They even complemented me on a few of them. And they agreed with me . Even if I had been taking picture of children their was nothing they could do about it. It's not illegal. There is no expectation of privacy in a public place.

Now let me make it clear. I am a parent too. I understand peoples concerns. Believe me if someone were to mess with one of my children they would be hurting. Hell for that matter I would be the first to jump in and help if I though any child was in danger. But this situation was just ridiculous. When these guys approached me I hadn't even raised the camera to my eye. I was nowhere near any children. They saw a guy with camera and made an assumption. A stupid one at that.

I've been taking pics for 30 plus years. I can remember when mothers in the park would approach me and ask me if I would take a pictures of their children for them. What happened to our world that a man can not enjoy a day in the park without some paranoid parent threatening him. Yes there are plenty of weirdo's in this world. But that is no excuse for this behavior. At best, if they truly were suspicious they could have approached me in a civilized manor. They could have ascertained the truth before making threats.

I don't know if the cops talked to these people after talking to me, but I hope I run into them again so they can see the cops did not run me off. They need to know that their actions were wrong. They need to know that, though wanting to protect their children is admirable, their paranoia and their behavior was uncalled for. Remember they not only threatened me but they called the cops after doing it. These people were convinced that they were in the right. That they held some special status over others. That they, for some reason, had rights that superseded mine.

Has anything like this ever happened to you?

OH I suppose I should post a picture

Not my best effort buy the cops really like it
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Old Sep 26, 2008, 4:25 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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I had a similar experience Feb 2007

Whilst walking in a local seafront park, Nikon D80 straped in front of me

lenscap still on and looking around me for anything that might be

interesting enough to shoot, as I walked along a path in the park

my attention was caught by the furor and ruckus going on in a

play area for children some thirty feet away on my right side I stopped

momentarilyand I turned my head to lookfor a few seconds, I turned

my head back and proceeded to walk along the path, when all of a sudden

I got this piercing hi decibel attack alarm in my right ear, I turned my head

toface where it was coming from and the sound stopped, this happened

several times, same thing as I turned my head towards it the sound stopped. I proceeded

on my way hand cupped over ear and after some 20 paces or so the sound stopped

this really had me puzzled, what the heck is going on I thought, well what

came to my attention was a middle aged couple sitting on a park bench at the rear

of the play area, the woman was peering at methrough binoculars some 70 feet

away and I had the strangest feeling that this was the source of the

annoyance some gadgetry in the binoculars I thought...I had a think for a few

minutes whilst sitting on a park bench further down the path and decided to go

back and approach the couple but whenI went back to look they had gone.

I subsequently checked the web for any such gadget without success and I

thought of the damage that could be inflicted with gadgetry like this in the wrong


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