Actually, I drove within a couple miles of the station and that would have been brilliant. Oh well, next time ...and there's sure to be one.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
One example might be photographing at an airport where it might be helpful to let the Port Police know beforehand so that when you are reported they will know it is you. However, it is not YET illegal to photographing public facilities, Federal buildings, etc. Though trying to be helpful, the general public has no ideal what to look for as far as terrorist activities are concerned.
Originally Posted by Bill Mobbs
But if you contact them beforehand, maybe they will think you're trying to dupe them into thinking you aren't being paid by the terrorists when you actually are! Maybe the police will start a file on you just in case. Maybe they will attatch a little bug to your butt and follow your every move. Maybe they will bug your phones at home and at work. Maybe they will dig into your past looking for any suspect affilliations. Maybe they will scoop you up and take you to some out of country prison in Cuba or Eastern Europe where those pesky civil rights lawyers can't get a hold of you, and where they can really work you over to get you to spill the goods.
EEGAD...what a mess!
Another option is to be obvious about specifically taking photos of the guy tailing you before you head to the police station. Be obvious about taking a shot of his car with the license plates showing clearly. Walk around to the drivers' side and get a head shot. Ask him to roll down the window and hold a fill card. Treat him like the suspect, ask him for ID, then lead him to the station if he still wants to follow you.
Of course you could just pull out your handy 9mm and shoot at him.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
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I've been subject to very similar incidents while out harmlessly, boldly shooting in public but I'd like to relate a more hopeful story on the topic.
A few weeks ago I was out photographing, and after getting all set up in a difficult position I noticed that a Police car had pulled up across the street and the officer was eyeballing me intently looking none too friendly. I guess that he was trying to think of any reason why _anyone_ would want to take a picture of a small, picturesque, historical stone church on a beautiful Fall day with large dramatic clouds and colorful foliage in the background, taking his time with a 4x5 view camera on a tripod next to a busy roadway in broad daylight, making no effort to conceal himself or his actions... unless he were somehow plotting the downfall of Western civilization.
After a while he drove away without even bothering with the obligatory, routine photographer harrassment. Chalk one up to freedom to photograph without interference from the authorities.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
The point is I should have found a way of heading it off before pulling 6 of the best and brightest off their crullers (with apologies to any APUG police officers -- I understand they were only doing their jobs).
Anyway, I'm more and more convinced there's greater safety in using the larger formats. I've never been bothered with a 4x5 on a tripod and 20 pounds of gear strewn around me. Cops have driven right by me in that situation without tapping the brakes.
I should have put a smiley face on my last post here, but my point is that turning the tables on someone can sometimes be your most effective course of action.
I also think it helps a lot to carry yourself with an air of confidence and self-assurance, and to be firm without being confrontational.
I've been stopped once for photographing, in the richest enclave in Ft. Worth, TX while accompanying a friend who was doing a photo essay on rich and poor. He was shooting houses (the Tandys of Radio Shack and neighbors) and I had a telephoto on, taking pictures of downtown from a distance. We were shooting from a public street.
The police who tried to chase us off threatened to confiscate film, etc. They backed down after we firmly asserted our rights and demonstrated that we knew what they were. It helped to mention the names of some friends, including a newspaper editor, a well-known police detective, and a friend who was clerking for the county courts. We also dropped the phrase "illegal search and seizure". That was nearly 30 years ago now, but it was the last time I was confronted for photographing. But to be honest, my first instinct would still be to start photographing someone who was watching and tailing me.
If we don't assert and defend our rights as Tanya did, they'll erode away.
Oh, and it wasn't you who pulled the police from more important things, it was some paranoid who watches too much TV, doesn't understand what to take seriously, and insisted to the police that you were a dangerous photographer.
Well the good news is the Traveling Portfolio arrived today so I'll have lots of samples of "my" work to keep in the car for the next terrorist stop. You folks will just have to start another one
I was set up on the side of an Interstate, 8x10 on a tripod at rush hour about 30 miles out of town, and the light was tearing through a hole in the clouds, driving a shaft of light across the prairie toward two cottonwoods.
State trooper pulls up behind. I turn and all excitedly yell, "look at that light ! it's going to hit those two trees in about 30 seconds !"
He looks at me, looks at the trees, looks at the light...
Runs back to the cruiser, pulls out a Nikon, runs over to my Deardorff and we shoot it.
He says two things I've never forgotten:
"My wife just bought me a Linhof for my birthday."
and, "I've gone up and down this road every day for ten years and I never NOTICED those two old trees ! "
It ain't the cops, folks. Fire the commander in chief.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"