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12-07-2007, 12:12 AM   #1
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My first encounter with snow & the law

Well it was bound to happen. A couple of new experiences for me and my GX-10: run-ins with nice wet weather and nice law enforcement. Yeehaw!

I got my camera pretty wet after a very recent snow here in Chicago. I "knew" in my head that the camera would be fine, but I still had the old worries as I watched big fat flakes land on my camera. When I got to my train I looked down and watched as the snow melted into all the nooks and crannies on the top and back of the body. (I kept it pointed down since the lens is not sealed) I even took a couple of pics with my poor quality Razr camera phone:







Eh, nothing happened. I got a paper towel and mopped up the biggest spills. Ignored the rest. Everything was just fine. Of course.

The next day I ran into the law. Walking into the train station with my camera on, I was looking around for interesting things to take pictures of. Saw some icicles hanging on the train, especially a couple hanging on the underside of the train. Then I took one of a switch inside the door and sat down. 2 minutes later this very stern and vaguely frightened man comes up to me asking me if I was taking pictures of the train and why. I started to explain but then he asked me to the vestibule to talk about it. I saw where this was going but I went along, stepped through the door and met 2 police officers, 2 conductors and the man who turns out to be the train master. "Uh, hi guys!"

I get grilled about who I am, why am I taking pictures of train equipment, am I from around here, am I from out of the country, what am I going to do with these pictures, etc. etc. ("I'm an amateur photographer.... just practicing with my new camera..... taking pictures of things that catch my eye...") I even heard the train master at one point say that someone on the phone he was talking to recommended that I delete all of the images from the camera. One of the cops looked at him and said "You can't do that". (at least someone was calm other than me!) The other cop "accused" me of being a "rail fan", not that there is anything wrong with that. ("Uh no more so than anything else, officer")

After a few minutes of this and looking at my drivers license and the images on the camera (which conveniently included a picture of my newborn son) they explained why they did what they did ("the way things are nowadays"), apologized (sort-of) and told me to tell someone official next time I want to take pictures of a train or anything around a train. Nervous train master-guy even shook my hand on his way out.

I stayed calm throughout, was happy to explain things, showed images, smiled (it was actually hard not to smile/laugh observing all of the bluster and attitude of one of the questioning officers). Being polite is certainly the way to diffuse nervous people. I was tempted to ask if I could take a group picture of them all when it was over, but thought that would be pushing my luck.

All-in-all an amusing- if somewhat disturbing- encounter. I wonder when or IF we will ever move past our current climate of fear and distrust in the US.

The most troubling thing in it all was that the icicle pictures were all too blurry (even with the SR turned on) to keep! It was really dark so I knew it was a crap shoot. Oh well, still learning!

--
John

12-07-2007, 12:32 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnM Quote
I wonder when or IF we will ever move past our current climate of fear and distrust in the US.
Wasn't the idea a few years ago that if you keep the people scared, then they'll vote for the person they reckon most likely to keep them safe? Although, that sounds like it has a lot of Michael Moore in it...
12-07-2007, 12:45 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by G M Fude Quote
Wasn't the idea a few years ago that if you keep the people scared, then they'll vote for the person they reckon most likely to keep them safe? Although, that sounds like it has a lot of Michael Moore in it...
Man you know how badly I wanted to quote Michael Moore when I wrote this? Honestly I blame President Bush primarily for the way things are. He's not the only reason, but I think he is one of the biggest.

Anyhow, another discussion for another time.
12-07-2007, 12:52 AM   #4
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Well, you won't get any argument from me, anyway!

And I'll also tell you I'm impressed with the way the camera stood up to the snowflakes - the K10D in whatever iteration is scared of nuthin'! (well maybe 2 metre drops onto hard surfaces).

12-07-2007, 04:18 AM   #5
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I had something like that, only it was from a city employee at a local marina. He told me to stop taking photos of the boats in the Marina. Something to do with some wacko taking photos of boat registrations for some nefarious purpose. I told him that the numbers are on the boats for public viewing. Furthermore, that he was harassing me simply because I had a big camera with a real big lens, on a shinny aluminum tripod. He agreed. I also asked him if he did this to other people with smaller cameras. He informed me that his boss told him to look out for "Pro" gear photographers. I left and didn't cause a scene after telling him that if I was interested in recording public information in a city owned marina, all I would need is a pair of small binoculars and a notepad.

The scary part is this, as I was on city owned land, paid for by my taxes and everyone else’s, in the eyes of the law however, it is the city Mayor that owns the land by office. The city employee was acting upon the office of the Mayor, could have easily called the police had have me removed from said land.

Man was I ticked off to the four winds on that one. I have gone back with my camera since, and never did get hassled again. It was an odd incident...but not as scary as yours.

EDIT: Nice to know that the K10D can take that much water. Personally, I would be having heart failure seeing that much H2O on the camera. Must be all that pre-conditioning of years using non weather sealed gear lol.
12-07-2007, 06:05 AM   #6
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Interesting stories. you are so correct you get more by being as nice as you can and remeber they (the law or security) are doing what they are told. (Used to be one of those security guys many moons ago ) Glad it all worked out but still stories all over the place where things went the other direction. Lets see some of those shots
12-07-2007, 06:09 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnM Quote
Man you know how badly I wanted to quote Michael Moore when I wrote this? Honestly I blame President Bush primarily for the way things are. He's not the only reason, but I think he is one of the biggest.

Anyhow, another discussion for another time.
I'll bet you the Train Master called up Karl Rove. Either that or Dick Cheney. I mean, we all know that GW is too stupid to orchestrate something as complex as the terror network, so installing paranoia in Union personnel must be due to one of the evil masterminds in his administration.
12-07-2007, 07:39 AM   #8
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As far as I see it, you get questioned, a few minutes of your time, and if you're not doing anything untoward, on your way. It's a small price to pay to keep ourselves and our families safe.

If you were polite and respectful, and it was returned, I couldn't see a problem with you asking to take a group photo. All they could say was "no".

Glad it worked out in the end and you were on your way.

12-07-2007, 08:42 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by vievetrick Quote
... Lets see some of those shots
OK. Like I said, most of the ones that probably scared them were a bit too blurry so I had deleted them before they confronted me. But here is one that I converted to greyscale in Lightroom. I am still learning how to use this program, but it is pretty cool so far.

12-07-2007, 09:27 AM   #10
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My wife and I drove 2 hours to and 3 hours back to take photos of an interesting Bridge in South Brooklyn using our Pentaxs. The Marine Parkway Bridge, built in the 30s, has a popular pedestrian walkway. Perhaps 100 yards away I passed two out of uniform officers (inside a police facility fence) and asked if this was the right sidewalk to get across the bridge. One said, "Yes, but you can't take that camera." You can't photograph any bridge that enters or leaves New York City. Mind you I'm 17 miles from Ground Zero in Manhattan...

I thought of all the wonderful photos we've taken of the Brooklyn and Queensboro Bridges which apparently are illegal as well. We saw dozens of tourists with Point and Shoots on the Brooklyn Bridge. As Chako said if I had a "non-Pro" camera in my pocket I would not have been stopped.
12-07-2007, 09:33 AM   #11
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I was discussing a situation like this with some folks on another website and I tried to make the point that, (if we were to go by how often each of these things have actually occured) it was more likely that the police officers were imposters than it was that the photographer was terrorist-related. Now, I'm sure most of us would agree that it would be silly to automatically treat a police officer as if he were an imposter...and I would agree with that...but I just think our law enforcement folks need to be reminded that it's hundreds, if not thousands, of times LESS likely that the photographers they encounter have any sinister motive.
12-07-2007, 09:56 AM   #12
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It's too bad it's come to that, but we live in a post 9/11 world, particularly in USA/Canada and it is what it is. It is incumbent upon ALL of us to take a proactive role in protecting our families, friends, and neighbours. If that means I can't take a picture of a bridge, it's a small price to pay (agreed it is a price that didn't exist pre 9/11, but a small price nonetheless). At least that's my humble opinion. Yes I fully agree it's sad we have to be cognizant of what we photograph for security purposes, but it is what it is, and fighting/arguing with the officer on the street doesn't make anybody's life easier, safer, or more enjoyable.

And, all of you on here seem to be making spectacular photos in spite of the increased restrictions/security.
12-07-2007, 10:15 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Leaf Fan Quote
It's too bad it's come to that, but we live in a post 9/11 world, particularly in USA/Canada and it is what it is. It is incumbent upon ALL of us to take a proactive role in protecting our families, friends, and neighbours. If that means I can't take a picture of a bridge, it's a small price to pay (agreed it is a price that didn't exist pre 9/11, but a small price nonetheless). At least that's my humble opinion. Yes I fully agree it's sad we have to be cognizant of what we photograph for security purposes, but it is what it is, and fighting/arguing with the officer on the street doesn't make anybody's life easier, safer, or more enjoyable.

And, all of you on here seem to be making spectacular photos in spite of the increased restrictions/security.
Basically, I agree with you. By all means, if someone is taking pics of a train, building, mall...whatever...approach them, ask to see some ID, and take a look at their pics. If there's nothing suspicious though, that should be the end of it. There's no need for 2 police officers, 2 conducters, and the train master to get involved as in the OP's story. I believe we should be cautious, but not let our lives be ruled by fear.
12-07-2007, 10:23 AM   #14
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In reality if we cave in to all this rediculousness such as you can't take a pic of a bridge we have only to blame ourselves for our loss of freedom. In most instances a terrorist would be much more sneaky to get the info he wanted, such as going to the hall records and getting the plans for the bridge which are readilly available.
12-07-2007, 10:26 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikeD Quote
In reality if we cave in to all this rediculousness such as you can't take a pic of a bridge we have only to blame ourselves for our loss of freedom. In most instances a terrorist would be much more sneaky to get the info he wanted, such as going to the hall records and getting the plans for the bridge which are readilly available.
Agreed fully.
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