Questioned for shooting photographs in Washington, D.C.

Discussion in 'General Gallery' started by elsapo, May 18, 2005.

  1. elsapo

    elsapo TPF Noob!

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    I left work a few minutes early yesterday, and decided to wander downtown. The newspaper said sunset would be around 8 p.m., so I figured I'd have about 90 minutes of soft light before the shadows got too deep.

    While I waited for the train at the Rosslyn metro station, I shot a few random images. I was taking a picture of a station sign when a man approached me, asking what I was doing. He looked vaguely military, and Rosslyn is filled with military contractors, so I assumed he was curious-nervous about what I was doing, given security these days. Which would have been fine, except he seemed borderline confrontational. Really, I'm taking a picture of this sign. It's just this thing I do.

    I wandered around downtown and ended up in front of the White House, where I talked to a man holding a vigil to end nuclear proliferation. We chatted for a bit, on subjects from digital photography and nuclear weapons to his dog's name. He said he's been protesting there for years, and I have no reason not to believe him. He seemed like a nice guy.

    I shot a few pictures of him, and walked to the corner of Pennsylvania-and-Something. I've been shooting a lot of abstract stuff lately, and I shot the image of some buildings reflected in a window on the corner. Immediately, two uniformed secret service agents stopped me. They checked my drivers license, called in my social security number and looked at the last photos I'd shot. They were polite, stressed that I'd done nothing wrong and told me my cooperation was voluntary. None-the-less, I never felt I could leave without further confrontation.

    Once they were satisfied that my picture of a window was not a threat to national security (the window was of the Treasury Department, for what it's worth), I wandered down to the Washington Monument and then back to Metro Center. Next to a fountain, and underneath a sign for ice skating, I watched a man praying. I took a few pictures but felt vaguely like I was intruding. Over by the metro station, I shot pictures of a man playing guitar and felt less like I was intruding.

    The picture I'm attaching here is a reflection in a puddle of water. It seemed like a nice representation from the day.

    I have a lot of thoughts about yesterday – inside of 90 minutes I caught an interesting cross-section of Washington's diversity. The two confrontations over my photographs did not take me by surprise, and in fact I had expected to eventually run into something like this. But still, it was a bit ironic to meet a man whose right to protest in front of the President's home is protected, watch a man exercise his religious freedom in the park, and at the same time catch some flack for shooting a picture of a window.

    Robert Walton Photography

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Unimaxium

    Unimaxium TPF Noob!

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    I'm not seeing the image :(
    EDIT: nevermind, now it's working. Very nice photo!
     
  3. aprilraven

    aprilraven TPF Noob!

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    your last paragraph says it all....

    very ironic..and your story is extremely interesting........thanks for sharing it...
     
  4. mentos_007

    mentos_007 The Freshmaker!

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    yeah thanks for the story.. but I can't see the photos :(
     
  5. mad_malteaser

    mad_malteaser TPF Noob!

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    Beautiful photograph with an interesting and highly ironic story.
     
  6. JonMikal

    JonMikal TPF Noob!

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    i really like your pic...well done!
    your reflected building is the willard hotel. i dont know why the secret service would approach you there...seems strange; but you never know around here.

    that guy and his people have been protesting in front of the white house since 1981..amazing!
     
  7. Nan C

    Nan C TPF Noob!

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    I love your photo.....and i too have walked around DC "trying" to get some nice shots and have been stopped and asked what I was taking pics of. Again very nice photo
     
  8. John E.

    John E. TPF Noob!

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    I have to admire the patience you photographers have to have down south, personally after a couple of times of being stoped for takeing photo's I would start blowing my stack at these security people.

    Good photo and interesting story.
     
  9. Raymond J Barlow

    Raymond J Barlow TPF Noob!

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    well written series of events, and an interesting conclusion and perspective. Its amazing the places that a simple camera can take us, and the wonderful situations we can encounter.. every trek is an adventure, and I think its awesome that you can share your experience with so many fellow photographers... just wish I could see a pic! maybe a series from the day??
     

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