Photos in the park


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Oct 13, 2015
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Friendswood TX
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Good evening all

I was at a local county park here in Southeast Texas today. One of the park attendance was telling me that soon people will not be able to take photographs in the park because there have been a lot of professional photographers taking professional pictures at the park and selling them. He told me that this is against park rules. I told him that I was just a beginning photography enthusiast and will probably never be good enough to sell my photographs. He told me that for now no problem at all but in the future even photography enthusiast will not be able to take pictures in the park because it is too hard for them to tell if the photographer is a enthusiast or professional.

I am not sure if this park attendant had all the facts or miss informed because it seems to me unlikely for a county park to say you can't take pictures of wildlife and things happening in the park.

Have any of you heard of this and what do you think. Do you think that Texas parks would be able to ban photographing.

One interpretation I read says the RULE is designed for big production type film teams making movies. Some park employees and some photographers misunderstand. The rule just says they need a permit, which may or may not be authorized.
I know one of my nicer local parks has the 'no shooting in the botanical garden without a permit' rule. You pay like $100 and get to shoot for an hour or 2. The rest of the park is fair game to anyone, anytime. The botanical garden is small though, so it's probably more for crowd control.
It's very common, and becoming more wide-spread all the time. There is generally one more of several reasons behind it: (1) The "professionals" have caused damage to the grounds; (2) prevented or attempted to prevent members of the public from accessing certain areas while shooting ; and/or (3) responsible governments take the position that it's unfair for a member of the public to profit by the use of public spaces. I place the word "professional" in quotation marks because, IMO, while some people may be getting paid for their work, a true professional would have taken the time to determine what was required, or even if shooting was allowed, prior to setting up. While I don't like having to pay fees, in most cases I understand it, as long as it's not also applied to the public who simply shooting for their own pleasure. As mentioned above, often times local employees don't fully understand the rules, and attempt to enforce them with a little too much entheusiasm.
There are liability concerns when a big movie company or TV commercial shooter take over a park, scare everyone out, leave trash etc. One time when the old Starsky and Hutch TV show was shooting in a big park in Los Angeles, they found some trees were blocking the view they wanted so they tore them out. And one time a Disney crew painted over some Native American rock paintings so they would show up better in their movie. But there is another factor, too. Nobody seems to know how to distinguish a professional shoot from an amateur frolick. So they just hassle everybody. Some photogs go into the park real early and get out before the rangers come to work in the morning. Not a good idea to "look like" pros, even if you aren't. No tripods, reflectors, hordes of assistants, that sort of thing. Not a good thing.

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