This is pretty much the norm in most parks. It just comes down to selective enforcement. I had a similar experience at Great Falls (Virginia side) last January.
I had climbed the fence of the overlook, set up some MF gear on a tripod, tied it and me to the fence post with climbers' rope and began shooting. Within a few minutes, a friendly VA. park ranger asked if I had a permit for photography. I said no, and added that I didn't know that I needed one.
He asked if I planned to sell my photography and I replied, "That sure would be nice." He then explained the difference between the tourist snap-shots and "Commercial" photography. He added that the Hasselblad (yes, he knew what he was looking at), the tripod, and the climber's rope pretty much ruled out "tourist snap shots."
He let me finish up and suggested that in the future I consider a permit.
This access problem is definitely a coastal problem...in the interior of the country, people are less apt to tell you you can't do something; quite the opposite in fact. I was once at a rodeo in the state of Wyoming photographing through the fence with a Leica and a 28mm. The guy with a clip board inside said, "Sir am I in your way?" I said no, and that his job was more important than mine. He then told me that I was welcome to come inside and photograph the bull ride from where he was standing...right next to the gate where the bulls come out jumping. I said that was quite alright, but thanks. I don't know if I looked like a pro or not, but no one on the east coast, where I live, has ever made such an offer. I have often been told not to take pictures however, in various situations.
I've also been given absurd explanations by differing parties about why I am not allowed to make photographs in any said situation...ranging from, "We hired the model, so you can't take pictures," to "The Patriot Act makes it illegal for you to photograph that." Civil Liberties are definitely a low priority in many places.
Also, the national parks service has a fairy lengthy and complicated system for obtaining permits to photograph in one of their parks. If I think of the link, I will post it.
Last edited by Tom Nutter; 08-23-2009 at 07:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: more info
AHHH... here it is! Now you can't say you didn't know!
...and to tie this all together... I once had a friend who was trying to photograph a building adjacent to the Liberty Bell park in Philadelphia. He set foot on the grounds of the Bell with his tripod and view camera, and before he could even line up a shot of said building, was lectured about "professional" permits and sent away, even after explaining his intentions. This was prior to September 11.
Last edited by Tom Nutter; 08-23-2009 at 08:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I can't open your link 'this'.
I support you and will sign your letter or write a similar one.
thanks stefan. i can not get it to work now either. it was just the rules saying no commercial photography. but it did not define commercial. i will find it again.
Originally Posted by Stefan Findel
thanks for writing a letter. it is easy for me to write one from me about my specific experience but it takes more to write one others can print sign and send.
thanks all. i am drafting now.
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As a visitor to the US, Florida to be precise, back in 2005. I had no problems photographing while using my baby EbonySW23 on a tripod in the amusement parks, Disney, MGM, Universal. Officials were all very friendly and accommodating. I wish I could say the same here in the UK. Photography around London can be a real pain with security breathing down my neck. Sometimes they are even breathing down my neck before I've even got the camera on the tripod.
I forget whether it was in the Patriot Act or just around the same time, but there were some US laws passed restricting photography of things you could stand and stare at all day (power plants, bridges, etc.). I recall some highly discussed cases about that. I hope those details are no longer in force, but that doesn't mean people won't claim it is the law.
Originally Posted by Tom Nutter
The only time I ever had a problem in london is when a security guard was sleeping on the job and well, me being me I could not resist and the snap of the shutter woke him up, I ran for my life...haha
Originally Posted by Trevor Crone
But I have not found any issue in the UK and I can be rather rude sometimes and just take what I want where I want, but I do try and see if I would offed people or not.
So is the UK better than the US on this issue?
The only thing I know of is the banning of photography in the New York Subway, which I have heard is not terribly enforced. I think people were made to believe things you mentioned were in the Patriot Act, but, I don't believe it's actually true specifically. That said, nobody wants to run the risk of being accused of being a terrorist and being detained indefinitely, pending investigation.
Originally Posted by DLawson
I think many times, even with parks services, it s a corporate fear of unrecoverable profits being made by others, and perhaps also in some cases, fear of industrial spying....just my opinion.
I think anybody with a brain would realize someone who was REALLY trying to do one of these things would try to do it without drawing attention to themselves, but who am I to say? Corporations don't have brains, just boards...
Last edited by Tom Nutter; 08-24-2009 at 03:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
The banning of photography in the subway has been proposed at least twice since 2001, and has failed each time. Here are some photographs from a protest of one of these failed proposals--
Originally Posted by Tom Nutter
Photography in the New York City subways is most certainly permitted, though people should use good judgment obviously in using a tripod or flash, bearing in mind that the subway conductors and motormen are coming out of a dark tunnel and need to be able to see what's in front of them.
Please see the NYPD internal memo regarding photography in New York City and specifically in the NYC Transit system attached to this post--