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  1. #1

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    Hassled in Death Valley

    Some friends and I decided to meet in Death Valley for the weekend of February 23,24, and 25 2007. It so happens that most like to photograph. 1 had an 8x10, 2 had 4x5’s, and 1 had medium format. The others used D****** Cameras. We all arrived late Friday after noon and set up a schedule of meeting places and time. The way it worked was at 5:00 be at Zabriski (sp) Point if you want. 9:00 Sand Dunes by Stove Pipe Wells as an example. All meeting places were voluntary but Dinner was required.

    All was going well until Sunday Morning when four of us were at “Hells Gate”. A park ranger truck showed up with two Rangers and they proceeded to give us a hard time about photographing with out permits and licenses. The cameras in use were 1 8x10, 1 4x5, and 2 D******. The asked if we were a workshop, the answer was no. They asked if we were a photo group and the answer was no. We told them we were friends and we were out enjoying the day and doing some photography and none of the images were for commercial use.

    One ranger’s response really surprised me. He said “you are using a tripod so the pictures must be for commercial use.” One friend started to explain why the tripod was needed when I just gave him a look to pack up and leave.

    We managed to avoid a ticket but we were followed around the rest of the day.

    As I traveled around the valley I saw many people with large format cameras and tripods but they didn’t get bothered. How do I know? I asked a few of them.

    So I guess the message is, don’t congregate in groups to go photographing in our National Parks.
    "He who expecteth nothing,
    Shall not be disappointed." Robert Willingham, 1907

  2. #2
    david b's Avatar
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    what is a d****** camera?

  3. #3
    Curt's Avatar
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    What were the names of the Rangers and their badge numbers?
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    One of the DV rangers is an LF photographer himself and is on APUG. I think his userid is something like "RangerBob." Try sending him a PM and I'd bet he'd be willing to brief his colleagues. A search on "Death Valley ranger" should turn up some of his posts.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  5. #5
    FrankB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary892 View Post
    “you are using a tripod so the pictures must be for commercial use.”
    I've see this kind of remark on other threads about officious peaked-cappedness. I do wonder at the thought process (for want of a better term) that must be going on in order to come out with this kind of nonsense.

    • You need a special "professional photographer" ID Card or they won't sell you a tripod?
    • Tripods are so amazingly expensive that only professional photographers (who are, by definition, all rich) can afford them?


    When it's a undertrained, knuckle-dragging private security bod who's obviously parroting what he's been told to say by a jobsworth chair-warmer it's irritating but understandable. When it's a park ranger, one wonders...

    One thought - If you tell someone (accurately) that you're a not a professional photographer and they maintain in front of witnesses that because you're using a tripod you are a professional and are therefore breaking some law...

    ...is that slander?
    The destination is important, but so is the journey

  6. #6
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    The NPS Director's Order #53 on special uses states:

    "14.1 Permits Requirements. The Special Use Permit (Form 10-114) is the instrument used to authorize filming or photography in NPS areas.

    A permit is required for any filming or photography that:

    * involves the use of a model, set, or prop; or
    * requires entry into a closed area; or
    * requires access to the park before or after normal working hours.

    A permit is not required for:

    * A visitor using a camera and/or a recording device for his/her own personal use and within normal visitation areas and hours; or
    * A commercial photographer not using a prop, model, or set, and staying within normal visitation areas and hours; or
    * Press coverage of breaking news. This never requires a permit, but is subject to the imposition of restrictions and conditions necessary to protect park resources and public health and safety, and to prevent impairment or derogation of park resources or values."

    Note that the word 'tripod' does not appear in this policy, and therefore its use was a matter of interpretation by the ranger involved. Likewise, the policy makes it very clear that commercial photography is allowed and does not require any special permits.

    I suggest sending a letter to the superintendent of the DV park, with a copy to the director of the NPS, complaining about the treatment you received. You may not get an apology, but hopefully the superintendent will see the need to educate his rangers.

    For what its worth, I was photographing on both the Marin Headlands and Muir Woods parks (both NPS properties) last with with a 4x5 - no problems whatsoever.
    Louie

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt View Post
    What were the names of the Rangers and their badge numbers?
    Exactly. I would have demanded a ticket...oh please give me a day in court over bullshit like this...
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. In velit arcu, consequat at, interdum sit amet, consequat in, quam.

  8. #8
    jstraw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monophoto View Post
    The NPS Director's Order #53 on special uses states:

    "14.1 Permits Requirements. The Special Use Permit (Form 10-114) is the instrument used to authorize filming or photography in NPS areas.

    A permit is required for any filming or photography that:

    * involves the use of a model, set, or prop; or
    * requires entry into a closed area; or
    * requires access to the park before or after normal working hours.

    A permit is not required for:

    * A visitor using a camera and/or a recording device for his/her own personal use and within normal visitation areas and hours; or
    * A commercial photographer not using a prop, model, or set, and staying within normal visitation areas and hours; or
    * Press coverage of breaking news. This never requires a permit, but is subject to the imposition of restrictions and conditions necessary to protect park resources and public health and safety, and to prevent impairment or derogation of park resources or values."

    Note that the word 'tripod' does not appear in this policy, and therefore its use was a matter of interpretation by the ranger involved. Likewise, the policy makes it very clear that commercial photography is allowed and does not require any special permits.

    I suggest sending a letter to the superintendent of the DV park, with a copy to the director of the NPS, complaining about the treatment you received. You may not get an apology, but hopefully the superintendent will see the need to educate his rangers.

    For what its worth, I was photographing on both the Marin Headlands and Muir Woods parks (both NPS properties) last with with a 4x5 - no problems whatsoever.

    I think I'll stash a copy of that in my camera bag.
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. In velit arcu, consequat at, interdum sit amet, consequat in, quam.

  9. #9
    ann
    ann is offline

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    i have had in the past 6 months been approached when using a tripod, and have been asked to leave. Tripod =professional=not a good thing; or so it seems to be these days.
    http://www.aclancyphotography.com

  10. #10

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    Perhaps someone could check to find out if this policy has been re-validated... it may have expired in Dec 2006:

    DIRECTOR'S ORDER #53: SPECIAL PARK USES

    Approved: /s/ Fran P. Mainella (signed original on file)
    Director

    Effective Date: April 4, 2000

    Sunset Date: December 31, 2006 (or when superseded)

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