Taking photos in rough neighborhoods

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by MarcusM, Sep 20, 2007.

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  1. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

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    I just wanted to get some feedback on taking photos in rough parts of town. I don't live in the ghetto, but it's not the nicest area either. For the most part it is pretty safe, but there are definitely "pockets" here and there of drug users and delinquents. Mostly it is the rental properties in the neighborhood that are the trouble spots.

    Does anyone else have experience shooting in rough neighborhoods? There are so many photo ops here, it's hard to pass up (older buildings, nice architecture, etc.)

    I would hate to be a target and get mugged walking around with $1000+ worth of equipment in my hands. I realize that this is an inherent risk any time and any place with photography, but are there any special precautions I should take that would lessen my chance of running into trouble?
     
  2. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    start packin'
     
  3. JDS

    JDS TPF Noob!

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  4. BEvaristo

    BEvaristo TPF Noob!

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    I have a concealed carry permit here in Georgia but rarely ever carried. Now that I've gotten into the hobby and carry around my camera and lenses, it is nice knowing I have it.

    I strongly recommend taking classes on safe handling first. Before you start carrying one, make sure you are mentally prepared to use it without hesitation if you need to. If you think you can't use it when the time comes, then don't carry it. In the end, it's better to give up your equipment than have your own gun used on you. Things can be replaced, lives can't.
     
  5. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Do not go armed!!! That will get you in more trouble than you would ever want. You will have your eyes and hands on your camera and when you finally realize you have a problem and reach for your gat, you are only going to anger someone who already has the drop on you.

    If you really want to shoot there, then go find yourself a camera you won't feel too bad about loosing. I would suggest you see if you can find a Canon QL17. There were a ton of them made and it shouldn't be too expensive. It's an old 35mm range finder with a fast 40mm lens (f1.7) and it will fit in a jacket pocket. It's also very quiet. (this from a Nikon guy ;))

    So if someone wants your camera when you are out there, give it up and walk away. This will be much cheaper than hiring a lawyer if you manage to shoot someone or a doctor if they take your gun too. It'll also give your family a chance to say "I told you so" so that you can hear it rather than to your corpse.
     
  6. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm, I don't know if I need to go as far as carrying a gun...I was thinking more along the lines of carrying pepper spray
     
  7. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Much better! I also agree with simply carrying a camera that doesn't have as much 'curb appeal', so to speak - if all else failed you could drop it and run. :lol:

    Pepper spray if you really think you need to be armed; better to go with a buddy or two, be inconspicuous, let others know where you'll be and don't carry anything of real value.
     
  8. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Here's a better idea. Get insurance on your equipment, and if it gets stolen then you are not out anything except a small deductible... nor do you have to spray the neighborhood with bullets.
     
  9. JDS

    JDS TPF Noob!

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    From a self-defense point of view, pepper spray can be effective, but isn't always. And even if I'm sprayed in my eyes (Yeah, it'll burn really bad), it'll just make me more angry. Take the following scenario:

    If I'm a thug wanting to steal something, I'm not going without a gun or at least a knife, so that I can overpower my victim. If I'm sprayed, I rub my eyes with one hand and shoot with the other, or lunge with a knife.

    I don't like those chances if I'm that victim...that's why I do have a handgun carry permit, and why I always carry. But to each their own...

    The best bet, whether you're armed in any way or not, is to avoid any confrontation by not even being there in the first place.
     
  10. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Canadians don't carry guns. It is, with very few exceptions, illegal. I have wondered around at night shooting, (with a camera that is..) in Qu├ębec all year round and in Ontario as well. The only place that I had serious problems was the Carribean islands.

    In some areas, a fast pocket camera with an f2.8 lens is good. Avoid being too noticeable and looking like a pro carrying lots of expensive equipment. Take someone with you, if possible. My son is over 6 feet tall and built like a brick wall. A good sized dog (which I have) is also helpful.
    Watch what you wear as well. It is easy to remember the jeans and forget you are still wearing a noticeable expensive watch or rings.

    skieur
     
  11. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Simply put... if a thug wants it, he/she will get it. Carrying and drawing a gun is just asking for trouble.. thats a lesson repeated and repeated in classes/training required for concealed weapon license in Texas. I would never draw a firearm in order to protect my camera. To protect myself.. yes... Carrying a lesser weapon (pepper spray for example) is not a bad idea but not a good idea in practicality. In a bad neighborhood where you are dealing with gangs and drug dealers, 9/10 they are operating as a group. All you will do is piss them off.

    The best idea posted here is to get insurance and shoot. If you have a camera you don't really mind loosing, take that. Besides, any good photographer will create a photo using anything. Be smart.. try to blend in.
     
  12. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The insurance is a good idea. Other than that, blend in as much as you can. Dress down and drive a POS mobile if you got one. Be unobtrusive and keep your eyes open. Have your keys where you can get to them. Have a plan but don't keep driving by a place making it. Don't carry a camera bag. Can you look like a killer?
     
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