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Old Jul 16, 2005, 12:16 AM   #1
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Hi everyone,

A few words for those snapping photosaround large American cities, especially in New York City:

It was a very nice night so I set out with my tripod and FZ20. First stop was some shots at Grand Central Terminal (I haven't had a chance to try it at night.) After my first shot, I was approachedby a lady who came out from behind a desk to ask if I had a permit for my tripod. I said "I wasn't aware I needed one" and politely complied.

I confirmed this with an officer who said I had to go to the station master and pointed me in that direction, but said they most likely wouldn't grant one right now.

So... I walked outside and noticed there were low-level clouds rolling in... these can look very cool against the high rise buildings. So, I set up my tripod and began photographing, trying all sorts of settings, playing with shutter times, etc. I was really excited and got some great shots! About 20 minutes later, an uniformed security officer and a guy in plain clothes approached me. The plain clothed man asked if I had a permit. I asked "for what?" He questioned why I had a tripod and was taking photos of high rises at night and standing in one spot for so long. He then showed me his badge and asked for I.D. I was polite and complied. I explained that I was just an amateur photographer and invited him to look up and see what I was taking photos of (the bright lights from the skyscrapers looked very neat as the clouds passed by) He basically said he wasnt accusing me of anything and that the city is on high alert for anything suspicious. He was very direct, but polite in all of his questions. I packed up my tripod and shook his hand and he said have a good night and we were both on our way.



So...
if you're in NYC, be advised that thingsare still on high alert and I would not recommend using a tripod anywhere near transportation, high rises, landmarks, etc. You're probably fine in places like Central Park.

Above all, I wouldsuggestjust being polite, and above all, honest,with anyone who questions what you're doing.

Just thought I'd share my experience with the group.

Take care!
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Old Jul 16, 2005, 1:31 AM   #2
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a PERMIT for a TRIPOD???? sheesh!! only in New York.... :roll: thankfully those in charge of "security" out this way are smart enough to figure out that a tripod isn't a suspicious device, and that if they're worried about you taking pictures, it's the act of photgraphing something they're concerned about, not what you use to do it.

the mindlessness of some big-city bureaucrats notwithstanding, you offer good advice as far as how to handle the situation. be polite, but know your rights; don't antagonize the guysin the rent-a-cop suits, cuz even though they aren't real cops, and can't arrest you, they can make things difficult, and most photos just aren't worth the hassle. cooperate and let it go at that, and make a note to take your pictures (and your dollars) somewhere else in the future.
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Old Jul 16, 2005, 8:06 AM   #3
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Very interesting .not than I ever plan on visiting NY again.

Thanks
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Old Jul 16, 2005, 8:17 AM   #4
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In London for several years now you have not been allowed to take photographs or video inside stations or the underground without prior arrangement.
This is because terrorists etc might be doing that to study lay out etc. I suppose.
I was stopped just at the entrance to Victoria station as two guards came from nowhere as I was taking a photo of the departure board. They were nice about it and explained very tactfully why it is not allowed.
It is a shame of course for a photographer as stations are great places with lots of photo opportunities.
People are still taking pictures in such places though but if spotted they will be told not to do it.
It is sad that everyday things like this are all affected by these threats. All litter bins were removed from London Underground stations in thh 90's for this reason and so there is nowhere to put your rubbish but to either carry it with you (the good thing to do) or throw it on the floor (bad thing) which then adds to the presence of the million mice and rats we see every day inside the stations here.
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Old Jul 16, 2005, 10:01 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, smilez. I suppose its easy to see why they found that a little suspicious, guess they cant be too carefull with everything thats happening at the moment. maybe a little over cautious, but better safe than sorry. Like you say, as long as you're polite and honest, i dont think there would be too much of a problem.
(The fz series could look particularly suspicious with its 12X zooming!)
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Old Jul 16, 2005, 10:08 AM   #6
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The newer cell phones with fairly good imageing capability built in must really be annoying these security freaks.

Or are they going to start banning using cell-phones because you might be taking images. :blah:

Peter.


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Old Jul 16, 2005, 12:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
In London for several years now you have not been allowed to take photographs or video inside stations or the underground without prior arrangement.
At one point late last year, they wanted to do the same in NYC. The gov't decided against it because they saw no harm in a couple tourists taking each other's photos in the subway. They will still stop you if you "look suspicious" however.

Squirrel, I like my dollars in this fair city (and even ifI didnt...I don't have much of a choice as to where to put them right now because I live and work here right now!) haha.

Spidamonkey, I agree that they should be on the lookout for things that are suspicious. I have to say I'm almost in favor of giving up some rights to allow those who protect us toensure that things are safer.

by the way, here's one of the very cool (at least I think so) photos from last night! (not a lot of post work done to it ....yet!)
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Old Jul 16, 2005, 1:15 PM   #8
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Heh. I had a chance to shoot at an event where strippers from all over South America and Latino countries were promoting themselves. (Although, the person running the event never cleared that with the owner of the bar, and I ended up NOT being able to shoot there...) They were telling everyone, leave your cell phones in your car..or leave.

I had never heard of this prior..but about three years ago, I started my trip to AC by taking a picture from my car while driving across the bridge. Later someone pointed out to me that it isn't legal to do that. I was like, "Huh?!?!?", but I looked it up, and he was right. And then I heard it mentioned a few times on the news since then. But they also added airports and train stations and major overpass routes to the mix.

I thought its real bad that some stuff is being put into place to exclude suspected terrorists from the Geneva conventions, but when you look at whats going on, I can understand why the government is getting that desperate. I just hope we can find all the terrorists and eliminate them before we lose our souls in the process.

FZFUN/MainFragger
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Old Jul 16, 2005, 3:11 PM   #9
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smilez03 wrote:
Quote:
Spidamonkey, I agree that they should be on the lookout for things that are suspicious. I have to say I'm almost in favor of giving up some rights to allow those who protect us toensure that things are safer.

by the way, here's one of the very cool (at least I think so) photos from last night! (not a lot of post work done to it ....yet!)
giving upsome rights to "ensure that things are safer" is a very dangerousfallacy. if wegive up our rights, the terrorists win, and we are still no safer than before. a very wise man once said, "those who will sacrifice a little liberty for a little security will lose both, and deserve neither." truer words were never spoken, and it's something we all, as Americans, need to remember and make sure our elected "leaders" remember as well.

that is a cool pic, though...


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Old Jul 16, 2005, 6:31 PM   #10
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Perhaps I shouldclarify my opinion a bit...

Correct me if I'm wrong (I may be!) -- prior to Sept 11., had someone questioned why I was taking photos and told me to stop, I could have said nothing except thatI was well within my legal right to photograph anything I wanted in a public place. (right?)

I was saying thatin the "new world" that we live in (and yes, life is a littledifferent than it was four years ago), Ihave no problemtelling someone what I am doing, and if need be, stop doing it.


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