Discussion in 'Large Format' started by panpei|1, May 2, 2003.

  1. Hi, all,

    Here below is the true story happened in Singapore on 27-April
    afternoon, in front of the main entrance of "The Esplanade",
    The Esplanade is the new Art Centre which consists of theatres,
    showrooms, national library, restaurants ETC, it is a public
    building that belong to all Singaporean & officially opened
    months ago. We were told it plays an important role
    in "Singapore Renaissance".

    My friend (using a 8x10' camera) and I (using 4x5 camera)
    setting up our cameras in font of it, adjusted everything,
    probably 15 minutes later, 2 security guys came to us and blocked
    before our cameras, "Hi, do you have a permit?" we were
    shocked, I asked one of them: "I don't know any rules &
    regulation of shooting picture have to apply permit in advance,
    can you show me the black & white?" they simply refused to
    show and said it is the instruction from management that
    "big camera user" must be professional and the Esplanade's
    image always being misused by them. I argued why those people
    using P&S and SLR camera can shoot without permit, they insisted
    bigger camera let them worried, not small ones.

    To avoid further argument, we packed our cameras and left.
    I called up The Esplanade management office the next day and
    almost got the same answer, they admitted that their security
    did been alerted for stopping any one using "strange equipment"
    trying to take the building's picture.

    Isn't it ridiculous? Singapore claimed it is a developing country,
    after this happened, I doubt it. I would like to know is there
    any similar thing happened in your country?
  2. In New York, one is, by law, requred to have a permit for use of a tripod. Like many laws in NYC, this isn't enforced consistantly, but depending upon location, I have on occasion been hassled.
  3. Actually the tripod permit goes back along time; at least before 1938. That is why the invasion started in Grover's Corner New Jersey; instead of New York.
  4. There was a recent post where someone mentioned having problems in the Imperial Gardens in Japan- the assumption being, that anyone using a tripod was a professional. And other recent posts have concerned limitations on photography in general at various places. So it's not just Singapore.

    If you can find out who makes these decisions at The Esplanade, it might be worthwhile to take some of your photos by and talk with them beforehand, about who you are, what you do, etc.
  5. sounds like a tax, they just want a cut.. dave
  6. Very frustrating but you may experience the same in France, where also one is by law required to have a permit for use of a tripod. As always with thoses kind of laws, it is not enforced on a consistent basis, but you may be hassled in big cities and/or in front of some monuments.
  7. As far as I know there are no legal restrictions on tripod use in
    Australia, but I have been examined when using one re my
    "professional" status ( I wish!)

    Australians will be aware of recent events which occurred at a
    holding centre for 'irregular immigrants' when the police mistook
    a tripod used by one of the folk protesting refugee policies of the
    Australian government for a weapon and called in heavily armed
    riot squad goons. I understand that they eventually apologised.

    Ross Chambers
  8. All this only serves to illustrate that there is a serious mis-equalibrium in nature, in that there are far more horse's asses than there are horses.
  9. syd


    Ross is right about Australia not having or requiring any permits for tripod use, and though I am not shocked at the gestapo tactics employed in somewhere like 'recalcitrant Singapore', as they are known in our region as being a big-brother police state, I find it alarming that a kind of Orwellian revolution seems to be occuring in regards to the free liberty and right of the tax paying individual to photograph, and enjoy the society around them, in any way they please, which does not involve the harming or disturbance of such! This baloney regarding National Parks and Wildlife, which is now becoming more serious in Australia for photographers, is pretty frightening really as a recent article in Australian Photography magazine pointed out by way of an article on one of our fine Landscape Photographers, Ken Duncan. Duncan called for an outright cessation of photographic activity by pro's and amateurs alike, of national icons such as Uluru (Ayers Rock) and other places by way of protest, if these laws and legislations continue upon their natural progression.

    The reason for this was that new restrictions were now being put in place which would require photographers to purchase expensive permits in order to photograph and enjoy Austrlia's natural wonders! He went on to say that if this continued he would cease photography in Australia altogether and go overseas to take photographs. I think it's pathetic and extremely dodgy that laws are being created to inhibit the pursuit of photography by the public, whose right it is by virtue of their citizenry, or not, to have whatever access to public lands they deem suitable so long as that does not involve damage or disturbance to it. If we follow the same rationale as this, which seems to apply to photographers only, are we going to alter the statute of limitations to allow a posthumous taxing of all fine art paintings from those who sat on a river bank and created a masterpiece of Rome, London, New York or wherever?!

    What about intellectual property by those who might think up a story and mention it in their book which involved the reproduction or utterance of a buildings name, on a public street, which belongs to some anal company that wants to be in total control of it's image, but who doesn't want anybody depicting it or even thinking about it without their explicit guidance or stamp of authority upon it.... or a cut of any profit gained by way of it's depiction, eh? If we continue down this road you might as well say, bye, bye to liberty at all. The same applies to those who make money from writing guide books to all these incredible locations that we visit. Are we to become paralyzed by the beaurocracy of GREED which is readying itself to control the most simple things in life and create great monpolies of basic rights and liberties that ought to be inherent to every human being from birth until death... oh yeah, they have a tax for that too! The question remains, what sort of world do we want for our children and grand children?

    I don't want my grandchildren to be asking me to tell them stories about the days when anybody could just walk through a national park without first passing through the huge golden gates, buying a $4000.00 one year membership first online and then signing up for the extra $2000.00 membership for those planning on taking photographs which you can only have private use of! At some point *WE* the public have to take a stand and send a message to those creating this *JOKE* future in *OUR PRESENT* that this is not acceptable! You know what the alternative is right?

    Orwell said - "If you want to know what the future looks like, imagine a jackboot on the face of humanity... forever."

    Singapore have been moving in that direction for years.
  10. Well of course it is ridiculous, so get a speed graphic or other hand hold camera.

    Better yet try taking photos of airports in the usa with a telephoto lense when in plain site or take some of the lovely border bridges between canada and usa and you will also meet uniformed people.
  11. Singapore has had a reputation for many years about being highly restrictive. I recall traveling through there 30 years ago and being advised to make sure that I got a haircut before the trip; otherwise, one could expect a hassle.

    The issue of security guards at public places harassing photographers has been discussed at great length. If it's truly a public place, there then are legitimate issues. I had an very unhappy experience at Ft. Ticongeroga two years ago of being refused admission with a tripod. I can understand that there are safety concerns when there are crowds, and to be honest, it was a Sunday afternoon and they had a special activity that drew an enormous crowd, so I can agree that my timing was pretty bad. On the other hand, I made a conscious effort to search their website the night before to see if there were any restrictions, and there were none. Furthermore, there were no signs when I got there - just a big guy who refused to let me in. So the issue there was the manner in which they publicized and enforced the rules.

    BTW, I will be visiting a fortification in Maine in a couple of months, and this time I wrote ahead to ask if there would be any problems.

    The third dimension of this is that not all "public" property is truly "public". We had an episode recently in which a gentleman was arrested for wearing an anti-war t-shirt in a shopping mall (the very same mall that sold him the shirt, no less). Legally, the mall is private property, and has the right to impose whatever rules they want, including a rule against photography. In fact, for many years, the notice on each door to this mall said that photography was not allowed. In this instance, the guard to arrested the man was firec for overstepping his authority, but eventually it came out that he had carefully checked with mall management and was acting in accordance with specific directions. So the result is that the mall got a lot of very bad publicity, the man who was arrested has the basis for a nice law suit (and he happens to be a lawyer), and the guard became a hero and ended up with a far better job.
  12. Over in Chicago part of the developing Ashcroft dictatorship. I have had several students tell me that they have had police aproach them and take away there film when taking pictures in Chicago near bridges, government buildings,and during protests. These are photo 1 students with 35mm cameras, we've been give a memo by the department to tell our students what they can and can not take pictures of. Didn't we just "liberate" the Iraqi's so they would have more freedom? Maybe they'll come help us next.
  13. I was recently photographing the exterior of the St. Petersburg (Florida, unfortunately, not Russia) Art Museum using an 8x10 camera on a tripod. I was standing on the front porch of the building. A security guard told me that permission of management was required in order to photograph the exterior of the building. He didn't distinguish between point and shoot cameras and large format cameras on a tripod. I don't know the exact legal status of the building's ownership but even if it is owned by a private, non-profit organization I'm sure it's funded in substantial part by the city, county, and state. This whole area of when you can photograph and what you can use is very inconsistent and I think depends a lot on the whims of the property managers and/or the particular police types you happen to run into. I think some of the people in both groups hassle photograhers partly just because they can and partly because they think someone may be making a buck and they aren't getting their cut. There probably is in some cases a legitimate security concern too. Let's face it, not everyone knows what's going on when they see a strange looking object mounted on a tripod and someone who's hidden from view peering into it from underneath what looks like a big blanket.
  14. Things like that happen when we (any country including mine) continue to elect (and re-elect) incompetent bureaucrats, and they in turn appoint other incompetent bureaucrats. These "officials" are stupid. We are stupid for keeping them in office. The best way to get their attention is to stay away in droves. When they don't get their little entrance fees, photo permits, "adventure permits" or whatever it is called, and the money stops coming in, you will have their full attention.

    There are two things that are infinite, universe and stupidity, and I am not sure about the univers - Albert Einstein
  15. Recently I was trying to photograph a tree in a public park in Rochester, New York, when a police cruiser pulled up beside me and told me I could not photograph trees. When I asked him why, since it was a public park, he simply said I could take pictures of people, but not of trees. So I packed up my 4x5 equipment and left. Unbelievable.<br><br>I have a friend who tried to take a photograph of GEORGE EASTMAN'S own house, and somebody came out and said he couldn't do it, so he packed up his Wisner and left. I can't believe that this happens in the very city where the man himself lived!!!
  16. Hello, James, and everybody who have contributed to this thread. I really this will not degenerate into a political forum. I am not a Singaporean, but have lived here many years. I took a photography course in Singapore about three years ago. I remember very well the comments made by the instructor who is a rather well known photographer. I was informed that there is no law against taking photographs in public places. As far as I am aware, I believe the law still holds. Then we need an explanation why James and his friend were subjected to the harrassment. As have been written by several contributors earlier, this is really not unique to Singapore. It happens every where, especially after 911. The paranoia still persists. Please understand that not long after 911, "recalcitrant" Singapore managed to stop some terrorist activitites that were essentially targeted against US military personnel. As part of their plans to bomb the local subway often used by US personnel, videos and pictures of the local subway were taken by the terrorists. Regretfully the paranoia persists, and overzealous security personnel certainly do not help. However this phenonmenon is really not unique to Singapore, if one cares to read the forum. I remember reading in this forum, that photographers, whether using large format or even the more "benign-looking" medium cameras, were stopped in Cambodia when they put the cameras on tripods. This also happened in Greece at the Acropolis, if my memory do not fail me. I have also read that even using something as simple as a 35 mm camera to take pictures of the bridges in the United States were frown upon, and photographers harassed by security personnel. From these examples, surely a rational person cannot say that James' unfortunate experience is unique to Singapore? Is is rational to therefore say that Australia is "recalcitrant", and Cambodia? and Greece? and the United States? Whatever personal differences and disagreement one may have against the Singapore government, surely James's experience should not be used as an excuse for Singapore bashing. Many people who form such opinions really have not been in Singapore to understand Singapore. Even for James. I do not know where you are from, but an isolated experience like yours do not negate the fact that Singapore, while not as "liberated" as say USA (like having your freedom to buy Playboy and Penthouse, or to possess arms, or to smoke cocaine, and ecstasy etc), have actually come a long way. Do not judge the standards of another country by your own standards. Every country has it own unique problems. BTW, Simon, I have many American friends who would rather live in "recalcitrant" Singapore than "liberated" America. Believe me, there are many virtues in "recalcitrant" Singapore to attract my American friends. These are difficult times, and combative comments do not help, but create more alienation. As far as I am concern, I will try to bring this issue to the local authorities. I am not sure it will make any difference, but I will certainly try. Chong
  17. Oh, just reading the posts above have "convinced" me that the United States is also extremely "restictive" amd perhaps "recalcitrant"? (Wink, wink) Chong
  18. Just on a return trip from France and the Netherlands. France was terrible on tripods, period, lf or 35mm. IE) Denied photographs of the Arc de Trompe' using a tripod! It's centuries old, public domain. But denied. Ridiculous! I plan on writing France's tourism and complaining. And I don't have any plans upon returning anytime soon as a result.
  19. James,

    I have been living in Singapore for the last 20+ years and also in the US for 1 year.

    I have been taking photographs in Singapore for at least 10+ years and for the last 2 years with a large format camera. I have never been stopped while taking photos.

    To clarify, there are certain places in Singapore, for example, CHIJMES, where using a tripod or "Professional" cameras would incur extra permits and fees. These places are considered private, hence, usage of these premises would be under the conditions that the management of the building sets.

    I guess a good solution would be to lug my Arca Swiss 45 down to the Esplanade with the largest tripod I have :)

    I'll post an update after I've done this...
  20. This is not a public policy issue as some have been over quick to point
    out. It is instead a private property issue: the managers don't want the building
    photographed. And yes I agree it is absurd, but then nobody ever accused private
    security guards of being particulary smart.
  21. I'm planning a trip to NYC soon and naturally want to bring my tripod along with my Ebony RW45. The problem I have, is that I travel with my tripod in a case. Does this mean I have to have a Concealed Tripod Permit?
  22. In response to Ellis:
    <<<<<<<<<<<This is not a public policy issue as some have been over quick to point out. It is instead a private property issue: the managers don't want the building photographed. And yes I agree it is absurd, but then nobody ever accused private security guards of being particulary smart.>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I agree with you on the point about private property but I have to disagree about the public policy. Yes, it is public policy in the United States not only since 911 but long before. I have been a staff photograher at the U. S. Capitol in Washington for nearly 20 years and even as an employee, I have always been required to have a tripod permit in order to do my job. The public is required to have the same permit. The rule is very strictly enforced by full fledged heavily armed police officers who have no sense of humor at all. I have asked but never received an answer about the origins of this rule but I know not to challenge it. Congress is famous for arbitary rules. Similar but different and more arbitary rules apply off of Capitol grounds when photographing the monuments in Washington that are administered by the National Parks Service.

    I work closely with security officials as part of my job and I can assure you that the mentality is very narrow and getting narrower each minute. No one has accused the publiclly paid security officials of being particularly smart either. Power and secrecy begets more power and secrecy. George Orwell's 1984 is here having arrived 20 years behind schedule.
  23. syd


    My comments were not politically motivated and I was in no way Singapore bashing as you would have it, but indeed living in Australia, a nation very much in the same region, and having been to Singapore quite a few times myself, I have an impression of the place which leads me to believe that the society, attitudes and lifestyle aren't exactly what I would call 'open' and 'tolerant'.

    Infact I feel recalcitrant to be an apt phrase and while it may not extend to the individual man on the street of Singapore I certainly feel it extends to the Singaporean government. This is not unique and I have personal issues with my own government here in Australia also. Infact I marched at the S11 protests against the WTO in Melbourne in 2000 and voiced my opinion in regard to many issues which relate to my government and big business. So, please do not feel that I have picked Singapore out of a hat and decided to brand it in isolation. I have not. Singapore was the country in question and that was why I expressed an opinion, which believe it or not is still my right, atleast as far as Australian law is still concerned. I don't think I'd have it as easy trying to express my views or live my alternative lifestyle in Singapore, therein lies the rub.

    But to take you point by point....

    "Is is rational to therefore say that Australia is "recalcitrant", and Cambodia? and Greece? and the United States?" ----------------------

    If I find these countries including Australia to be so, then yes it is. Singapore I find recalcitrant, deal with it.

    "Whatever personal differences and disagreement one may have against the Singapore government, surely James's experience should not be used as an excuse for Singapore bashing." ----------------------

    I think your are grossly overstating my position. I am merely expressing a view which did not stretch beyond the word 'recalcitrant'. The rest of my tirade was actually spent dealing with Australian legislation generally and other matters pertaining to my argument. Are you one of those Singaporeans so desperate that everybody fall in line with your view of Singapore and *your* view alone? Thats pretty recalcitrant if you ask me. Allow for the fact that not everybody see's the world the way *YOU* do.

    "Singapore, while not as "liberated" as say USA (like having your freedom to buy Playboy and Penthouse, or to possess arms, or to smoke cocaine, and ecstasy etc), have actually come a long way." ------------

    Well this is one heck of a statement Chong. I merely point out that I think Singapore is recalcitrant and you jump on me for a generalisation and indiscretion. And yet you follow this up with the above statement. I'm sure you put allot of your American freinds on side with that brief but sensitive analysis of all that is American Culture and freedom, summed up!

    "Do not judge the standards of another country by your own standards."------------------------

    How else would you have me form an opinion Chong, by vacuum?

    "Every country has it own unique problems." -------------

    Quote me where I have stated otherwise?

    "BTW, Simon, I have many American friends who would rather live in "recalcitrant" Singapore than "liberated" America." --------------

    Great, they must like recalcitrance then, I don't.

    "These are difficult times, and combative comments do not help, but create more alienation." ----------------------

    Times are only difficult when you *CAN'T* express an opinion. As they say, may you live in interesting...

    Thanks for playing, Si
  24. Needless to say, things are the same in Los Angeles because of the movie industry. Every little town has its hand out and wants a piece of the action.

    A few years ago while assisting a commercial still photographer shoot a model on the street in Palos Verdes, we were stopped by a passing police patrol car. The cop made the photographer ride with him to city hall to purchase a $500 cinematography permit, even though we were shooting stills. The cop claimed our Hasselblad EL with 70mm back and NC-2 finder could not possibly be a still camera, and refused to be convinced otherwise.

    Wonder why so many films are now shot in Spain?
  25. I had a similar experience in Kyoto at one of the temples (the Kinkoji) a few years ago - the security guard (who did not speak English) told me I could use my 35mm camera, but not my handheld medium format one. My Japanese was not good enough to follow up on the reasons.
  26. Hi Simon. I am glad that you are not singling out Singapore. You have your opinion, and I have mine. Let us leave it at that. Let us agree to disagree. BTW, if you had read carefully, I had said right at the beginning that I am NOT a Singaporean. Having live in Singapore for more than 30 years, I think I do understand Singapore a little more than many who merely visited Singapore. There are things I like and there are things I don't like about Singapore. Nonetheless, my opinions are mine, and I will not impose my opinions on others. I wish others will do the same. But of course liberated people have different ways of looking at things. Chong
  27. wah wah wah... you want some cheeze with your whine?

    -look, a licence is required to drive, to fish, to hunt, to sell hot-dogs from a cart, to sell liquor, etc, etc. Similar arguments could be made about freedom to hunt so you can feed your family, why do i need this licence, etc. So remember that a licence is about regulation (and taxation).

    Regarding security at certain buildings harrassing you.. You should respect the wishes of the property owners/managers. Even if the location is so-called 'public', certain regulations may be in place. For instance, most museums request that you refrain from using flash photography. -No one would think twice about complaining about that rule. Well you may not think you are causing any harm when photographing the outside of a building.. but if the country, building owners, etc want to regulate who is taking photography, you should respect it.

  28. syd


    G'day Chong,
    Thanks for your courteous reply. Yes, let's by all means agree to disagree.

    Best, Simon
  29. I guess the trick is to having the right camera at the right time.

    For those cases where the tripod seems to be the problem, get one of Peter Gowland's 8x10 TLR's (take a few steroids) and go photograph handheld.

    For the cop that thinks a Hasssy is movie camera, use large format with big bellows, the bigger the format, the better.

    James, some of these rules come about by good intentions, but are then applied wrong. For example, in some places all "professional" photographers get lumped together, so a person shooting 35mm is held to the same restrictions as a 30-person film crew. Some of these security/ police type people don't know a telephoto from a bazooka, so anything different must be wrong. Someone mentioned above about the police taking their film away. They probably technically couldn't do that- no law against it, certainly no laws requiring police to confiscate film- but when a person with a gun and bad attitude suggests you do something, it gets a little awkward to argue with them.
  30. The problem with the "law" on tripods is such a grey area in most

    I have photographed two architecture books on in NYC and the other in
    Paris and these are my experiences:

    In NYC, you need a permit to use tripod on the street. You also need
    a permit to use a tripod in the Park. The reason for this is a
    liability issue- if someone trips over your tripod the city is
    responsible. Yes, almost no policemen say anything-but some will
    usually depending where you are. If your on 136th street and Adam
    Clayton Powell Blvd. no one will say anything. If you are in front of
    the Empire State building someone will. The bottom line is- almost no
    one will say anything, and if they do it will be "Please leave." Most
    policemen in New York City, are pretty understnading. I usually say
    "can you give me 10 minutes???" and usually they say "I am going
    around the block, if your still here when I'm back...." then I get the
    job done.

    The law in Paris, is that TRIPODS ARE LEGAL!!!! Long as they don't
    block pedistrian access. No permit is needed. The problem, is that
    Paris policemen don't listen. We had the law on official "Hotel
    Deville" (city hall) letterhead, and they still would say we were
    wrong. Again, just leave. Paris policemen will beat the s*it out of
    you-I saw it happen twice in broad daylight.

    The law almost everywhere is that if the building can be seen from the
    street, than you can photograph it legally from the street for
    EDITORIAL usage only. Since most of us aren't shooting ad work this
    isn't a problem. But, again everybody is an expert so I have found out
    the hard way that arguing with a guard/policeman/office worker/doorman
    just does not work. Just come back later, and you will get the shot.

    After 9/11 in NYC (and probably the USA in general) everyone makes a
    big stink out of taking pictures of anything. Again, just deal with
    it-you aren't going to get anywhere arguing. I know I have tried!!!

    Life is to short to get your equipment confiscated, and remember you
    can catch more flies with honey than vinagar.

    thanks jdjd
  31. Just about a month ago i stopped to take a picture of a very
    interesting building , that turned out to be a Courthouse ( it was
    in Southern California ) .
    I set my tripod and i knew that someone would show up in
    uniform to ask question ,
    To note that next door to this building there was a police station ,
    Sure enough , in a matter of 2 or 3 minutes two guards with a
    overly outoritative expression showed up and asked what i was
    doing ...
    I told them that i was fascinated by the building , ( with an artist
    flare ; - ) ) and i told them that if they wanted i would pack my
    gear and leave meanwhile offering them my businesscard .
    They looked at the card , got back inside , then returned a few
    minutes later ( i already got my shot )to say that it was allright .
    Life is short , film is expensive , but as long as i have both , I
    will use them
  32. Carry a Polaroid 195; and give the guards a few photos of themselves; we did this many times in tough areas.
  33. It's all about setting the right expectation. If you know you have to have a permit, then one can plan ahead, but when you are just slammed unexpectedly as in the original question, and several others posts, then someone needs to answer for the situation. Unfortunately, in government as in most of society, it would be very hard to find anyone who will take responsibility for anything. Things like this are getting worse, not better.
  34. Can anyone tell me what tripod permits or photo permits cost in all these
    places you've been talking about.

    2nd, are there any organizations dedicated to defending photographers

  35. In NYC, there is no fee for a tripod permit, and it is a relativly
    hassle free operation. You must contact the Mayor's Office of Theatre,
    Film, and Broadcasting. BUT- you cannot get a "citywide" permit, you
    must list specific addresses and/or crossstreets (eg: "57th street
    between 8th and 9th avenues")

    In Paris, there is also no fee but it WILL get tied up for weeks in
    redtape. How it works is you must go to the "Marie" in whatever
    arrondissmont you wish to photograph a particular building in, and
    obtain permission there. The process will take anywhere from a week to
    3 months!!!

    I really would not worry about trying to get a permit, like I said in
    my previous post no one will really bother you. Unless it is a picture
    of something like the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, or City Hall in New
    York City. To get tripod photos of something of the aformentioned
    stature, usually takes alot of sway, and months of badgering civil

    It may sound un-ethical, but I have taken to not even asking
    permission when photographing what I like to call a "public private
    place". What I mean is a hospital, college campus, etc. Everytime I
    would try to go through channels, I would hit so much redtape, that I
    decided that I would try to get the photo and play dumb if I got
    caught. I always got the photo, guards only seem to make a big deal if
    your within 20 feet of their respective workspace.

    The best thing to do, is just use your judgement. If it is a high
    profile area, get a permit. If its not, just go ahead and shoot. The
    most that ever happened to me, was being told to leave. With the
    exception of being threatend with prison once!!!

  36. Thirty years ago I was thrown out of a Safeway supermarket in Los Angeles for attempting to make a quick snapshot of my wife with an Instamatic.

    Apparently, earlier that year there had been a rash of kids drying and smoking the linings of banana peels. In response, all Safeway stores posted large signs in their produce departments stating, "NO BANANAS WILL BE SOLD TO MINORS".

    A reporter from the LA Times had taken a photograph of it and ran it in the paper, causing some embarrassment. From that point on, no cameras were allowed in their stores.
  37. A particular "public" garden in the Seattle area requires a tripod permit which entails a million dollar liability policy, a tripod use fee, at least a week's notice of the date you want to photograph (good luck guessing what the weather will be). They do allow you in the garden on the one day of the week it is closed but you have to pay the hourly wage of the gardner who is there with you. Needless to say I haven't taken them up on their offer.
  38. I used to do lots of bird photography in the SF Bay Area wetlands. It's no longer possible to be out there with a big lens like a 600. I quit shooting birds locally about a year ago after constantly being harrassed by local police who thought I was there to spy on something. Of course, if I were there to truly scout for terrorists I wouldn't be carrying a tripod and a big lens. I'd dress like a jogger, stay on trails, and shoot with something that easily slips in a pocket or fanny pack.

    There's just something strikingly incompetent about suspecting the conspicuous...
  39. "There's just something strikingly incompetent about suspecting the conspicuous..."

    Ahhh... but if you were a good spy/terrorist, you would know that and would be conspicuous on purpose, in order to be... erm... inconspicuous...

    Bottom line is: it's all rubbish. It's just a bunch of jobsworth idiots in uniform told to act even stupider than their natural inclination by even bigger fools in suits, who are implementing "action plans" created by more expensively suited incompetents, who are acting on advice from stupid, foolish, incompetent AND lazy politicians, who are acting up to the media: trying to look like they are doing something constructive.

    The other thing is: having established that you are not a terrorist/madbomber/paedeophile/insertwhateverthecurrentfadisinthemediathisweek why continue to insist you go away? Either you are an undesirable and you need to be arrested and shipped of to Cuba, or you are a harmless citizen and can be safely left to continue your hobby/job in peace. But then, logic is also not a strong point of any of the above mentioned individuals....

    Now, has anyone seen a Steadycam for sale on eBay lately? Might be the answer....
  40. Just to add more kindling to the bonfire: There are no permits required to shoot in National Parks, so long that it isn't a commercial venture(i.e., a Ford Explorer on Half Dome type commercial) That I can understand, but out of courtesy I usually contact the park rangers to inquire about the neccesity of permits when traveling to a park I'm not familiar with( hint to those interested: always ask to talk to the District Ranger & get his/her name---sadly, many 'seasonal' rangers don't have a clue). Now there is a new wrinkle---it seems more and more national historic districts and urban national parks are evident which brings up the question, what if you're shooting in a National Park or National Historic District thats located in a City which requires a tripod permit? Is the Park part of the City or is it a National Park entity within, but not governed by the City hence not subject to city ordinances?
  41. Bob, you have precisely summed up this topic.

    BTW this apparently is not a new problem. I own a permit that was issued 1905 permitting a photographer to photograph the U. S. Capitol on one specific day and, even then, only during certain hours.
  42. Loosing a good image is a price too high to pay for the stupidity
    of the employees who are trying to implement regulations that
    display a fundamental lack of elasticity .
    I have already been held in a police station twice , but i have
    always been able to bring the images home .
    Do they ask permits also for painters who set up easels , in the
    same way they do for photographers with LF cameras ?
    Is there any difference ?
    I believe that disregarding a law is unethical or immoral only
    insofar it harms somebody in anyway .
    If the foundation of a law is total ignorance regarding the object
    to which the law is referred i see nothing wrong in disobeing it .
    Of course you must be ready to deal with the consequences .
  43. After 9/11; our local sports arena banned "professional" cameras; for about 1 year; now they have lightened up alot. "Professional" means to the "guards" a ; 35mm SLR's with a ZOOM lens; 35mm SLR's with a lens longer than 50mm; or any BIG camera. Point and shoots were ok; or even P&S cameras with zooms!. I got no hassle from using my Leica M3 Rangefinder; and 135mm Nikkor; 105mm Nikkor; 85mm Nikkor; or 50mm Summicron; becuase these are considered NOT a "professional camera". <BR><BR>The lowest priced Walmart Canon Rebel EOS 35mm slr with a short 80mm F4.5 starter zoom was considered to be a pofessional camera; and thus banned as being dangerous. Sometimes the guards seemed only to focus on black cameras of any type; while cute Britney Spears pink cameras are always ok...I wonder if a Pink Canon EOS and Pink zoom would be ok :)<BR><BR>At the local airport last Christmas; the TSA crew got all weirded out when I used my Luna Pro to meter the light; for a Leica shot of a relative. I waited at the reservation area for 1 + houra and grew real bored. The TSA crew here dont know what an exposure meter is; but know an Leica M3 is some sort of camera; since it has a lens. There were about 18 TSA people within the 100 feet. Taking out the camera didnt cause that much of a ruckus; but bringing out the exposure meter did.
  44. I just went to the Esplanade with my Arca swiss 45.
    Here is what happened:

    I set up my tripod (Gitzo 410) and got ready to take the shot at the main entrance.
    A policeman came by and asked what I was doing.
    Once I explained that I was taking a photo, he was ok with the explanation and told me to go ahead.

    Later, I went inside, the same policeman approached me and advised me not to take any photos inside with the tripod.

    So I see that there were no problems with taking photos of the exterior.

    So I would say this: I do not see the restrictions as overly restrictive - rather, this seems to be just like a lot of other countries.
    As photographers, we just have to be polite and follow the rules that the management of a property has decided upon, and write ahead if we want to be exempted from the rules.
  45. Novoflex 640s look like anti-tank rifles, so the press tended not to use them in Northern Ireland during "The Troubles".

    In the UK you can legally photograph anything you like from public property (or property accesable to the public) without copyright problems.

    "They" do, of course try to "discourage" flash photography at concerts, Museums, art Galleries etc.
  46. Laws vary from tribe to tribe; stupidity don't.
  47. "Laws vary from tribe to tribe; stupidity don't."

    This is true.

    When we finally get to Mars, you can just bet that a Martian in a uniform will pop along, shaking his head(s) saying "You can't park that there" and asking to see the Lander's parking permit...
  48. Four weeks before 9/11 I was harassed my self from security guards at WTC area in New York City. They said that I needed permission but they were not able to indicate me where to get one, so I left saying....well, I'll come back another time...
    What a senseless law is that?
  49. My Solution to the problem,

    I wasnt going to post, but I just had to after reading everyone's comments.

    I use a Voigtlander Bessa II (6x9) with 400-800 asa film. Along with a small fanny pack and a tiny gossen pilot light meter.

    I realize (6x9) isn't LF, but its a decent compromise when stelth is important. I've used this combination in my travels to Europe and Asia quite succesfully.

    No one takes me seriously with this camera and by the time anyone realizes it might actually be a camera, I'm packed up and on my way.

    The film speed negates the need for a tripod, and the image size keeps the enlargements down to a minimum.

    It works for me. :)
  50. Looks like sales of 5x7 and 8x10 Hobo's are going to go up as well as other hand held LF cameras:)

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