Tripod restrictions NYC/NY state parks 2009
my experience on august 22, 2009.
we were at a NY state park yesterday in NYC. it is in Brooklyn. we wanted to shoot across to the Manhattan skyline. great clouds etc.
we walked through the gate and were accosted by the "guard" about our tripods. we politely asked to speak with his supervisor. he was happy to send us there. The super explained to use that NO COMMERCIAL photography is allowed in the NYS parks. "THEY" (not these two i am sure) have decided the definition of commercial is tripod use. we collected the necessary info for the "permit" which includes a $1,000,000 insurance rider!
we turned in our LF cameras for hand held MF stuff and shot what we could.
we will be drafting a letter to the various departments regarding their definition of commercial.
we will post the letter we draft here so others can print it and send it in as well. i believe it will be most beneficial if we used snail mail as snail mail is not easily dismissed with the delete button.
i found this so far. again, some one told the employees that the definition of commercial photography=tripods.
if any one cares to help or write letters please do. i will try and get something drafted but i may not be the best writer for this.
i spoke with the supervisor named Mechelle Morgan. a very nice and professional person....just miss informed IMO.
I've been approached by guards for this reason in Battery Park and in the parks along the Hudson up the west side of Manhattan up through Chelsea. Usually they just inquire whether the photographs are for commercial use and accept the explanation that they are for personal use. I'm sure the interpretation can vary from one park to the next. For instance, they're usually more restrictive about tripods at Fulton's Ferry landing in DUMBO, where people like to photograph the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, so it could be a Brooklyn issue, and maybe a letter writing campaign should focus on whatever division of the NYS parks service is responsible for Brooklyn. No one has ever bothered me with a tripod on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, but it doesn't seem to be a very actively patrolled area, at least not by Park police--just the NYPD, and they aren't worried about tripod use.
Usually I'm photographing in places where no one cares about a guy with a strange camera on a tripod--
I had a similar experience at Fort Ticonderoga a few years ago.
The frustrating part of this is that you made the effort to visit the venue only to be told that you weren't allowed to make photographs. These places need to understand that if they are going to have rules that exclude certain people, they need to post those rules where prospective visitors can look for them and then decide whether to visit.
They also need to understand that their rules need to be explicit and not something that requires interpretation by the minimum-wage high school dropouts they hire as rent-a-cops.
I can certainly understand prohibitions against commercial photography in these places. And I can understand that in some places (and at some times), there is a logical issue with the use of tripods as a matter of public safety and crowd control. But what I can't understand is how a bureaucrat can decide that the use of a tripod ALWAYS equates with commercial photography. You are generous in calling it misinformed. Another interpretation is it is blatantly discriminatory. There are handicapped people who must use a tripod to do photography - New York State Parks are very sensitive to the issue of access for the handicapped.
Final thought - TripAdvisor.com provides an opportunity to write travel reviews. I wonder what would happen if some of these places started being reported as "NOT PHOTOGRAPHY FRIENDLY".
this is not just common to your part of the world. It is a strange thought pattern that leads folks down that path; however, i have been "kicked " out of a cemetry for the same reasons ; tripod =commerical whether it is true or not.
i hope you are successful with your campaign
thanks so far.
it would be helpful if others would print out the letter i WILL post here and send it off as well. it would be great if they got more than two letters. all it would require is a stamp and an envelop.
i will try and get something put together ASAP.
i am sure the workers i encountered were told to say what they did. IF not i am sure their boss is going to give em an earful. lets see what i can come up with.
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Thanks for the heads up on this issue; I never realized NYS Parks had this kind of policy in place.
Unrelated but back in '88 I had a farmer roll up on me holding a shotgun.. Scared the hell out of me but taught me a lesson I've never forgotten. I always ask, very nicely. Nice goes a long way, I've found
While I've never had this problem I understand it does exist for many. I will sign your letter Eddie.
I've been approached once in a awhile here in Richmond, Va about using a tripod for the same reason.
Sorry to hear you had the trouble. I often shoot in that park and have never been bothered. They just ask if i am a pro, I say no they move on and I take my photos. I would be glad to sign the letter. Probably happened because you did not drop me a line. HAHA
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.