What On Earth ?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Lensmeister, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. Lensmeister

    Lensmeister TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Messages:
    1,488
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this EN
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Well I have to share this with you all.

    Sunday evening while my wife was in the local store getting some food, I retrieved my camera from the boot of my car and then started taking some night photos, light trails etc. As I was reviewing I git a tap on the window and there next to my car was the police. He asked me to wind down the window, and asked what I was doing. Taking photos was the acruate reply. He asked me of what to which I replied anything. He asked for some ID so I gave him my driving liesence, he said he was going to check me out. and promptly reversed behind my car.

    Now. If I was by a school, or a miltary building or something like a police station I could understand this.

    He returned and said all was ok. He apparently is part of the Anit Terrorist squad. He said that I didn't fit the profile of a terrorist (what does one look like?) but was suspicious why someone had a caera poking out of the car. I might like to add here I had my two children in the backseat.

    So all was well and off I went.

    This now makes me pretty concerned about the situation.

    Will anyone with a camera be challenged taking photos in the street ?

    Without sounding racist what does the profile of a terrorist mean ?

    Will tourists in central London be stopped by police photographing Downing Street ?

    Well another story in the life of the Lensmeister.
     
  2. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Messages:
    34,814
    Likes Received:
    814
    Location:
    Lower Saxony, Germany
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    This is, indeed, a situation that will make you wonder.
    My all-German husband has been taken through five security checks at London Heathrow back in 2001 (late autumn, mind you!), always getting called out of the queue and asked to step to the side for further controls of his documents, on-board luggage and whatnot, until the lady in the line for boarding (out if which he was called the fifth time during this one transit!) said that if this man apparently was so dangerous that he needed to get checked over and over again, and no one would take him off the flight, then SHE would no longer use the plane he was using! And honestly enough, she and her friend decided to take another plane. Only because my husband was tanned after summer (he tans easily and fast) and - without him ever find out the reason why - got checked so often. Apparently he had a resemblance with some terrorist.

    But the question really is: what meets the profile of a terrorist? My (totally harmless - no reason to take the next flight with him on board! - husband) apparently did meet it for four times until the fifth check up proved that he was just a harmless, German-with-no-roots-to-anywhere-remotely-terrorist businessman. :roll:

    Makes a good anecdote after all these years, but it was certainly NOT pleasant for him at the time.

    But it seems like taking photos from out of the car window makes you more suspicious than taking photos while standing - touristlike - somewhere snapping away...
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    478
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I've been to some of the local ports here in seattle shooting oil tankers and i've never had anyone ask me what i was doing.

    Guess i've been lucky.
     
  4. You are indeed lucky. The tightest security other than airports is seaports. It is actually illegal to take pictures of the harbor and related equipment and activity in the US, just as it is at airports.

    I found that out the hard way.
     
  5. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,484
    Likes Received:
    0
    In major cities, sadly the answer is yes. But challenged by different parties, and I guess I'd rather be challenged by the police than by people who want to steal my camera, people who assume the presence of a camera means I have plenty of money to give them, or people who have a problem with tourists (1: I'm not a tourist, and 2: What's wrong with tourists, any idea how much they contribute to the economy?) In this case it sounds like you were stopped because you were taking photos from the car, and in the evening. Basically anyone taking photos that aren't obvious snapshots appears suspicious. This is very unfortunate, not only because being stopped by the police can be time-consuming and embarassing but because it suggests a culture where anyone who takes photos for neither professional or family/holiday snapshot purposes is considered either a pervert or terrorist. If someone were to set up an easel in the street and start painting at night, they might be considered odd but I very much doubt they'd be questioned by the police.

    Good question. I seem to remember at some point it was generally recognised that there was more than one variety of terrorist with different aims and methods. That doesn't seem to be the case any more. I sincerely hope the authorities are not only concerned with a particular profile, because I seem to remember Christian and non-religious white men blowing people up too. Apart from which, as much as I'd like the police to stop acts of terrorism I can't help thinking that those who stop people to ask why they're taking photos would be better deployed elsewhere in the country where they're usually nowhere to be seen. Oh well...

    At least one thing we can be grateful for is that we don't much go for rent-a-cops here. From the few experiences I have had with them had I can safely say that private security are infinitely worse than the police when it comes to photography. Central London landmarks I understand, but do you really think I'm taking shots of a suburban retail or leisure centre for the purposes of terrorism, or even industrial espionage? Honestly, some security staff should be equipped with portable Nintendos or PSPs if they're finding it that difficult to fill the time.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    There are still plenty of places in the USA where police regularly hassle folks for the color of their skin, so I can't imagine that with the war on terror in full swing it's going to be getting better anytime soon.

    Cops are being trained that terrorists take photos, and they should check up on someone with a camera. The general public tends to think that most criminals are caught red handed, but cops know that more often than not, they (the cops) just stumble onto the criminal. They pull over a car for a broken taillight, and find it's stuffed full of cocaine and guns.

    The cop can't tell much about you from a distance. They are going to get a lot more information in a conversation. Just be cool and polite, and they'll usually go on their way.

    If you run into an asshole cop, follow the same procedure, but try to get some ID on the cop for later action. There's no point in being belligerent to an asshole cop, that's what they are hoping for.

    There is also a lot of news these days about perverts shooting candid photos of women and kids in public. In my mind this is really more problematic. This is turning the public against public photography. If you ever see someone pulling this crap, beat them. But don't damage the camera, it will be needed for evidence. If anyone reading this post does this kind of stuff, just rent a porno movie you jerk-off!

    I was hired to photograph a sculpture in a public park by the sculptor. The sculpture was in an area that had been landscaped with tall grasses, and was right across from the police station. When the sculpture went in, I'm sure the grass was short, but when I was doing the job, it was taller than the sculpture. The grass made it really hard to get good shots of the sculpture, and every few minutes a cop came by questioned me. As they were driving by all they could see was a camera lens and tripod in the bushes. they thought I was surveilling the cop shop.
     
  7. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,484
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just because I like to use any excuse to bring this up, before going anywhere tourists might do well to research not only their photographic rights but also where they can walk. :lol:
     
  8. Funky

    Funky TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I think Ksmattfish summed it all up in that post...very fine work :D
     
  9. Lensmeister

    Lensmeister TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Messages:
    1,488
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this EN
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I take on board your points and agree.

    BUT ........ would a terrorist have a largr camera ? Have their kids in a car with them ? And be taking a photo of a dull rather uninteresting street ?

    Maybe the authorities should be thinking about banning mobile phone from having cameras. After these are more likely to be used to covertly photo people and places ;)


    He was an ok cop. I just think that maybe we've be come too oversensitive maybe. Maybe he wanted tips on how to do it and was just afraid to ask ... :lol:
     
  10. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,028
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Haha who knows. There are plenty of countries where you can get robbed at gun point by a 10 year old so... I would think from a cop's point of view they wouldn't be so quick dismiss any situation just because it isn't stereotypical.

    I don't think that's a racist question at all. It probably just depends on what the person has with them. I'd imagine certain items / criteria would raise a flag in the airline's security system and that person's ticket would get flagged for higher security. For example, very expensive or professional looking photo gear might but, who knows. Obviously this isn't public knowledge.

    I had flown a few times just after 9/11 and was flagged for extra security every time. I figured the fact that I was flying alone, I'm in my mid-20's and I'm male was enough reason for them to pull me aside.

    Yeah it's a pain in the ass but in perspective if tight security causes me a 5 minute delay when flying yet it might help them stop some f-er from blowing up a plane... I'm not going to complain.
     
  11. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    478
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    REALLY? I did not know that.

    Actually, today was the first time a cop asked me to "vacate the premises". I was in downtown seattle with a 4x5 view camera and was about to take a shot of a cunstruction site when i cop told me leave.
     
  12. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    650
    Likes Received:
    29
    Location:
    The Space Coast of Florida
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Huh... I thought it was illegal to take photos of the security screening area, but it's NOT illegal to photograph airports elsewhere. I'm sure security will run you off but it's not a crime. I was challenged at a port near my home, and I asked if it was a local law, or a state statute, or a federal law, at which point the cop left and said that I shouldn't look for trouble.

    I respect law enforcement, but ignorant police are dangerous!
     

Share This Page