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Heroique
6-May-2014, 15:37
Being a deep woods landscaper, I'd estimate that 99.9% of my shots had no one around to bother me, so I have very little experience keeping curious, but well-meaning people from distracting me.

Maybe you work around more people than I do – if so, what tips can you share?

To narrow the scope, I mean tips that deal with pedestrians and bystanders who really don't mean to get in the way, but whose curiosity overcomes their better judgment, and distracts you from the shot that needs your concentration.

I can imagine a few common sense tips, and would like to hear more. For example, "Go when they're not there." I've enjoyed popular Yellowstone Nat'l Park attractions all to myself during peak summer season – that is, when I arrive at 6:00 a.m. and stop shooting by 8:30 a.m. I'm certain additional tips like that have never occurred to me, so I'd like to hear about your experiences.

I suppose body language can also help. One example – not initiating a greeting when people come near (that is, pretending you don't even know they're there). In other words, making yourself look busy and in little need of disturbance. And even if someone still approaches you with an overly friendly "Hello," then delaying a friendly response for a few seconds just might communicate that you're friendly too, but a little too busy for any sociable interaction.

I've never used stage props to discourage interaction, but I've seen a recent post about yellow caution tape, plus others that swear by orange construction vests. :D

Do you have stories to share, and what are your best tips to keep friendly people at bay when you need to concentrate?

vinny
6-May-2014, 15:44
orange coveralls with a few random numbers on the back. NO ONE will bother you.

Kirk Gittings
6-May-2014, 15:50
I remember working on a cover shot of a historic building for a New Mexico Magazine assignment. I was waiting for the setting sun to break through and illuminate the building right at sunset as there was a small gap in the clouds right on the horizon. I had setup and waited about 1/2 an hour. The only way I could meet the deadline was to get this shot-it was do or die. Right when the sun broke through and I was metering this brief bit of illumination a couple of tourists came up and asked me what I was doing. I told them I couldn't talk as I was on assignment for NMM and I had to get this last ray of light. I was probably a bit brusque as I shot a couple of sheets and then went under the dark cloth to check the focus then came out again re-metered and shot two more sheets and then two brackets for insurance. Then the light went away and it started raining so I quickly packed up my gear. When I looked around they had left. The next day I got a phone call from the magazine saying that they had complained that I was rude to them. I said I probably was but I got a great image for the cover. When they saw the film they said no problem "be as rude as you need to be if you bring us this kind of work".

Vaughn
6-May-2014, 15:52
Yell out, "Okay! Ready for the explosives!" if someone starts to walk in front of your 'surveying' equipment. A hard hat and safety vest would add more believability to it.

Two women walked into this scene as I had the camera (5x7) set up. I waited patiently and was rewarded with even better light after they left. Sometimes one gets lucky.

vinny
6-May-2014, 16:05
nice shot, Vaughn. If I had a dollar for every time someone walked right past me into my shot, I'd probably have a bodyguard on staff. Not that I own the place but c'mon! I consider it courteous to at least ask. I had a guy at Zion step in front of the lens (to snap his own shot) while I was under the darkcloth. Scared the shit out of me because I didn't hear him over the rushing water.

ROL
6-May-2014, 16:08
I tell them to drop their clothes over there and wait for the rest of the models to arrive. (Caveat: that does not work at Burning Man!)

Jerry Bodine
6-May-2014, 16:30
Perhaps a simple gesture would suffice: Silently place an index finger over closed lips? That's what my mother used to do when I was not to speak - even as a child that was effective.

ROL
6-May-2014, 16:40
Yes, a simple upraised finger often works.


";)" – added for the clarification of a Mr. Bodine (What finger you talkin' about Louis?).

Jerry Bodine
6-May-2014, 16:43
Yes, a simple upraised finger often works.

Yes, if you're in for a battle.

Kirk Gittings
6-May-2014, 16:54
:)..........

drew.saunders
6-May-2014, 17:26
A hearty breakfast of eggs, kimchi, garlic and beans at least takes care of anyone who's downwind...

jbenedict
6-May-2014, 17:39
Polite but direct...

"I'd love to talk in a few minutes but I'm kind of busy right now"

I'm kind of large and I just look at them with no expression on my face. No glowering but people seem to get the impression that I won't/can't talk. My LF stuff looks old and crappy but it actually works quite well. When they say something like, "Does that old camera work?" I just say "Yes." "How old is that camera?" "I don't know." "How many megapixels does that camera have? "I don't know". When all else fails, go under the dark cloth and look like I know what I'm doing.

I use black tape and cover up any name plates on my stuff. This especially works well on the 35/digi stuff. Without the tape, some gear goon wants to tell me why his camera is better than mine or wants a detailed recommendation or just wants to be a gear goon and talk about gear goon stuff. I have some stock lines. I seem to always like Nikon stuff and have a hard time understanding how other brands work- especially Canon. So I say, "I use Nikon because I'm too stupid to understand how to use a Canon". That usually ends it.

Laura_Campbell
6-May-2014, 18:28
orange coveralls with a few random numbers on the back. NO ONE will bother you.

That's an idea. :-)

Laura_Campbell
6-May-2014, 18:51
These days I ignore people (if I can) who approach while I'm in the process of making an image. I used to keep it short and polite, but people don't always respect boundaries interpreting a reply as the green light for more questions.

I was at Manzanar recently and a guy pulled over in a panel van, got out, opened up the big door on the side of the van, and began asking me questions. I wasn't polite to that one. Image making and my personal safety are my priorities when I'm in the field - unless there are other people around, chatting it up with strangers ain't my cup of tea.

alavergh
6-May-2014, 19:29
I haven't been photographing with LF a ton, but I'm surprised I haven't had more questions than I have.

I would suggest being kind, apologetic for asking people to (move, don't talk to me now, etc), and have a card ready with more info about your photography and contact info if they would really like to know more.

Looking busy is probably a good move, but when I can bring my wife with me, I like to do that so she can watch my stuff while my head's covered up.

billie williams
6-May-2014, 20:13
I always say "I'm sorry but I can't talk right now". One time a couple stayed there, positioning themselves on either side of the camera. They had a whole conversation right over my damn head. I'm like WTF? And then I politely asked them to leave - and explained that I couldn't concentrate. I have a way of smiling but also sounding cranky. Well, because I am cranky when someone interrupts my work. Or even my fun.

DannL
6-May-2014, 21:40
There is simply nothing I do with a camera that is more important than fueling someone else's interest in the process. I naturally go out of my way to communicate with anyone that shows interest in what I am doing. That is . . . photographically speaking. One of the benefits of being an amateur.

Doremus Scudder
7-May-2014, 02:46
There is simply nothing I do with a camera that is more important than fueling someone else's interest in the process. I naturally go out of my way to communicate with anyone that shows interest in what I am doing. That is . . . photographically speaking. One of the benefits of being an amateur.

I, too, tend to use whatever contacts I have with interested bystanders as a teaching or marketing opportunity. I don't consider myself an amateur, and my work is important to me; I just rarely seem to have a conflict between people and photographing.

I spend a fair amount of time in the wilderness, when in the U.S., but here in Europe it is "cityscapes" and interesting facades that interest me. Part of what I assume I have to do is wait. Wait for light, wait for the people to move out of the scene or cross in front of the camera, wait till someone moves his/her car or truck, wait till lights come on (or off) etc., etc. I certainly don't mind talking with people who are interested in what I'm doing. Conversations usually start with a, "Che bella macchina!" or "Was für einen alten Photoapparat ist denn das?" etc. I carry business cards and a sheet or two of scrap 4x5 film to show them. Some of the people that approach me are building/business owners or residents. Only once have I had someone say the felt "uncomfortable" with me photographing their building. I've had other photographers give me their book, got invitations to gallery openings from artists in other media, etc., etc.

I did have one interesting run-in while photographing the Hell's Angels headquarters in Vienna. While under the darkcloth I heard/felt an ominous rumble. Emerging from under it, I was confronted with a rather threatening-looking type with long hair protruding from under a WWII helmet and with lots of tattoos, sitting on a rumbling chopper. He said (in German, but I'll translate), "You can't photograph here. That's our clubhouse!" I politely gave him my card, explained what I was doing and showed him my camera. He said, "Well, I'll have to clear this with the Boss!" and took out his cell phone. I subsequently got permission from "the Boss" to photograph... but only from the outside (which is all I wanted to do anyway). I helped that I had had more than a few Hell's Angels friends/acquaintances in my younger days, and wasn't intimidated...

But I digress. What I find a bit peculiar is that in a large city crawling with people, I am not approached more often. Sometimes I am really "alone in the crowd." People will walk by, take a look at the camera, then where it is pointed (often they shake their heads, but sometimes I get a "thumbs-up") and then continue on. It is only a very small percentage of people who seem interested enough (for whatever reason) to start a conversation. Even in the States, when working in towns/cities, most people just go about their business.

If I'm setting up and composing, and time is of the essence when someone approaches me, I'll just say, "Hold on for a few minutes while I get this set-up, then I'll be happy to talk some more." or, "Excuse me, but I really have to get this light, then I'll be right with you." (people seem to understand this) or the like. Some wait around, others just leave. Normally, however, I can spare a few minutes to talk and show the camera while I'm setting up. I often let people look at the image on the ground glass.

All that, and I don't consider myself particularly gregarious...


Best,

Doremus

evan clarke
7-May-2014, 03:38
Problem is, if it's public property, the public has the right to be where they want when they want. I just wait for my chance. I do this just for my own enjoyment, however and don need to complete an assignment like Kirk. Much toughr in that situation. Imthink you just need to tell them, get the shot and then turn friendly afterwards, let then look atnthe ground glass. Everybody seems to enjoy that.

goamules
7-May-2014, 03:57
I've had people come up to me on waterfall trails, do U-turns and come back to the scenic overlook, and all that. I don't mind having a few words with them. I don't stop what I'm doing, don't put anything down, but I'll answer a few questions while I work. They usually leave happy, and walk away. Just like anyone who walks up to you for any reason wanting to talk, there is a spectrum of what I'll allow. Beggars or psuedobeggers (Airport solicitors, etc.) get ignored, or I say NO! when they look at me. Nice people that seem intelligent and fun, I may talk to for a half hour. It's always different. If someone gets in my way, touches my equipment, or such, I'll cut them off at the knees. But usually I enjoy a few questions and explaining what I do. We're not alone on this planet.

DannL
7-May-2014, 06:33
Though it hasn't occurred yet, I figure if I ever found myself in a position where I had to clear a crowd quickly, I would start by coughing as if I had the plague. I think that would do the job.

djdister
7-May-2014, 06:46
I'm surprised no one has talked about what to do when kids (ages 5 - 15) wander into your camera's field of view. That does add a different level of difficulty to the process...

jbenedict
7-May-2014, 07:16
I'm surprised no one has talked about what to do when kids (ages 5 - 15) wander into your camera's field of view. That does add a different level of difficulty to the process...

I was taking a shot inside the bunkers at Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA. Exposures were in the range of two and three minutes. I had a kid come down some stairs, look at the camera, turn around and run back up the stairs. Less than 5 sec. and it didn't show.

Vaughn
7-May-2014, 07:20
I'm surprised no one has talked about what to do when kids (ages 5 - 15) wander into your camera's field of view. That does add a different level of difficulty to the process...

The redwoods are infested with the little beasties...

Kirk Gittings
7-May-2014, 08:16
First off I shoot digitally for commercial work and 4x5 film for my personal work. Generally when I teach I don't shoot (except as a demo) and when I am seriously shooting I don't try and teach. They are completely different head spaces for me and I can't readily switch back and forth between them. I am a very gregarious warm teacher and an aloof cantankerous hermit of a shooter.

If I am shooting LF (only for my personal work) I oftentimes will not even setup if there are other people around-particularly digital shooters. I could absolutely care less if they understand why I am still shooting film and have no patience for their inane distracting questions. Nor am I particularly fond of engaging tourists as I am not in a marketing head space or ever really in the mood to just chat. If I am out shooting I am chasing light and that pretty much always commands my full attention. One of the reasons my personal work is so important to me is that it gives me the chance to be alone, on my own schedule, and just do what I want to do for a change without the need to be social with clients, family or students. They get the vast percentage of my time anyway. LF is very meditative and precious to me. Leave me alone so I can enjoy it!

Sibben
7-May-2014, 08:47
I just hide under the hood.

Jody_S
7-May-2014, 08:55
I'm surprised no one has talked about what to do when kids (ages 5 - 15) wander into your camera's field of view. That does add a different level of difficulty to the process...

I don't know about kids, but I once met an elderly Chinese gentleman while I was making a 20-minute exposure, one night. I had the stopwatch set, so I didn't mind chatting and explaining what I was doing. After showing him another lens and a film holder from my bag, the gent did a complete tour of my camera, stopping right in front of the lens and peering inside the camera. He stayed there for some time before I could gently explain to him that I was actually making an exposure and he was, shall we say, obstructing it. When I developed the film, there was no trace of his presence. To be honest, I was more concerned about him jostling the tripod, he got very close to the camera.

Noah A
7-May-2014, 09:09
It really doesn't take long to say that you've been waiting for the light and that you have a very short time to make an exposure and that you need to concentrate for a few minutes...then you can chat. I've never had someone fail to respect this, although obviously you are under no obligation to speak to onlookers. I don't mind, I figure anything I can do to foster goodwill towards photographers these days is a good thing. Also it might prevent them from reporting me as suspicious to the authorities. So I don't mind being approached but again, if I need to concentrate on my work I just say so.

Getting my tripod bumped, which can mess up my composition and/or a long exposure, is more of a problem for me. But mostly it's a problem when I'm shooting in very crowded urban environments, and often I'll have a fixer with me who can help with crowd control. Like here in Dhaka, the trick is often keeping the onlookers behind the camera instead of in front of it. My fixer, the guy on the left, did a great job here:

DrTang
7-May-2014, 09:15
I talk to them..what the hell? If I'm under a darkcloth..I'll wait till I get out though

people are interested

I might even put them to work: 'here...hold this'

ataim
7-May-2014, 09:24
Beggars or psuedobeggers (Airport solicitors, etc.) get ignored, or I say NO! when they look at me.

With beggers I've found that if I ask them for a cigarette before they I me for one, they will leave me be.

Jerry Bodine
7-May-2014, 09:26
Years ago I was on a one-day hike in deep woods with a buddy and my 4x5. We hadn't seen anyone all day, then in late afternoon through an opening in the trees was a scene that HAD to be photographed rather quickly, with the tripod blocking the narrow path that traversed a steep talus slope. Coming out from under the darkcloth, there stood a couple who had stopped to avoid interfering. Without a word, I shrugged as if to say, "What can I do?" and I got a thumbs up, so I finished the shot, then noticed the couple was climbing over boulders above to go around me and re-entering the path. They waived and kept going. Nice!

ROL
7-May-2014, 09:37
I just hide under the hood.

:D – http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?112925-Sonora-Pass-is-Open&p=1136006#post1136006

ROL
7-May-2014, 09:40
I don't know about kids, but I once met an elderly Chinese gentleman while I was making a 20-minute exposure, one night. I had the stopwatch set, so I didn't mind chatting and explaining what I was doing. After showing him another lens and a film holder from my bag, the gent did a complete tour of my camera, stopping right in front of the lens and peering inside the camera. He stayed there for some time before I could gently explain to him that I was actually making an exposure and he was, shall we say, obstructing it. When I developed the film, there was no trace of his presence. To be honest, I was more concerned about him jostling the tripod, he got very close to the camera.

Ahhh… now you see, grasshoppa.

David Lobato
7-May-2014, 10:16
I'm surprised no one has talked about what to do when kids (ages 5 - 15) wander into your camera's field of view. That does add a different level of difficulty to the process...

This 12 year old managed to get into the scene despite my best efforts to lookout for him.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/55432652/Big%20Spring%20Can%20Overlook%20003%20800%20LFF.jpg

ROL
7-May-2014, 10:32
Nice work, David – you vaporized him!

ROL
7-May-2014, 11:10
On my somewhat recent mini-exped to Death Valley, two things of note occurred. I headed down to the Devil's Golfcourse on my first morning out, where there were already two other vehicles parked at the end of the road. Being somewhat late in the morning, I had no expectation of doing anything remotely artistic, but set up anyway – just because, I was there. As I began to compose, a woman standing on the berm some distance away, apparently observing me the entire time, said simply and directly, and I believe this may be the best come-on line ever, "Where can I buy your pictures?" Perfection, to which I replied modestly, stupidly, and altogether imperfectly, that I didn't think these would be worth purchasing:


Devil's Golfcourse, Panamint Mts. (5x7 FP4+ Fujinon 180, polarizer – scanned unworked proof)
http://www.rangeoflightphotography.com/SupportPics/LFPF/Devils%20Golfcourse%20-%20Panamint%20Mts.jpg



On my last day I went out to the Salt Creek Playa before sunrise, where I set up alone. As sunlight touched the crest of the distant Panamints, a car drove up a quarter mile away where the barely visible digi-shooters disturbed the pre-dawn peace with there breakfast banter. Eventually, I watched out of the corner of my eye as two women came nearer and nearer from across the playa. They arced a couple of times from behind me while I hid under the dark cloth, finally suggesting to me that I should go "over there" to get good reflections. I thanked them and bid them a good morning as they returned from whence they came. For many, photography is a social exercise, but by my reckoning, I think I may have done alright without their assistance:


Salt Creek Playa (5x7 FP4+, Fujinon 450, no filter – scanned unworked proof)
http://www.rangeoflightphotography.com/SupportPics/LFPF/DVSaltCkPlaya.jpg

Drew Wiley
7-May-2014, 11:29
Just carry a little portable signboard : This Area Under Quarantine due to Plague; Survey in Progress.

Kirk Gittings
7-May-2014, 12:24
Eventually, I watched out of the corner of my eye as two women came nearer and nearer from across the playa. They arced a couple of times from behind me while I hid under the dark cloth, finally suggesting to me that I should go "over there" to get good reflections.

Wouldn't have been named Laura and Amanda? :)

djdister
7-May-2014, 12:42
First off I shoot digitally for commercial work and 4x5 film for my personal work. Generally when I teach I don't shoot (except as a demo) and when I am seriously shooting I don't try and teach. They are completely different head spaces for me and I can't readily switch back and forth between them. I am a very gregarious warm teacher and an aloof cantankerous hermit of a shooter.


I definitely get the distinction between teaching mode and shooting mode.

Andrew O'Neill
7-May-2014, 12:49
It never fails. People always come up to me right when I'm up to my neck in it... not before. Not after. I'm very shy by nature and that can come across as snotty. I usually just give a quick answer and continue working, hoping they take the hint. In Japan, sometimes people would to come up and stand directly in front of my camera to see if it was a Japanese lens. I'd always hear, "Uh...Japaneezu!"

The second image, ROL, is lovely.

Darin Boville
7-May-2014, 13:42
Weed out the photographers who want to talk shop--you're working, not hanging out.

As for the others, do what you can for them. If you are shooting something important, time critical, just tell them--to hang on, can't talk right now. But to shoo them away automatically is to miss an opportunity to share your work with another person, to giv ethem your web address, to get them interested in photography as a serious pursuit. Remember that they will go back and tell the story to others, so with two people you really have an audience of many more.

I'm mean, if you are at the tunnel overlook in Yosemite and people keep bugging you, yah, very few will be really interested and even fewer will be business prospects. But what they heck are you doing there in the first place?

On the other hand if you are some less visited place and people come up to you then you know already that you share with them all sorts of interests--they've come to this place, they've come to it now, they are looking at what you are photographing and they are interested in you and your work.

What more do you need? What more do you think the world will offer you?

--Darin

Drew Wiley
7-May-2014, 16:04
It continually amazes me how polite people are on the trails around here. Even the kids stop and ask permission before walking in front of the camera. Had that happen four times in a row when I was waiting out the wind for a long exp with the 8x10 last Sat. One old couple (well,that's relative - they might have been younger than me, for all I know) did ask me if it was a Hassle-bad (they had recently emigrated from Texas), but didn't even interrupt with the question itself until
I was out from under the darkcloth. Trailbike riders even stop and wait. ... Completely different inland. If you set up your view camera in one of those NP "scenic
turnout" places, all of a sudden a bunch of other people pull over, start walking around with their damn cell phone cameras right in front of you, and at least one kid in the crowd will have a slingshot aimed at your groundglass. That's why I stick to backroads in farm country, and even tend to avoid popular trails in the high
country. Lots of thing to photograph. Let someone else do the postcard nonsense.

Darin Boville
7-May-2014, 16:09
Trailbike riders even stop and wait. ... Completely different inland.

So true. In the SF Bay area I call them "insect people" due to all the exo-skelotal stuff (often costing $$$$$). Famous for their rudeness--although off the bike they are by and large nice people!



If you set up your view camera in one of those NP "scenic
turnout" places, all of a sudden a bunch of other people pull over, start walking around with their damn cell phone cameras right in front of you, and at least one kid in the crowd will have a slingshot aimed at your groundglass.

Now, now, Drew. We've talked about this slingshot thing before. Kinds don't carry around slingshots anymore. Haven't for a generation or two. Turn off the "Leave it to Beaver"!

--Darin

Tim Meisburger
7-May-2014, 21:05
Come on. Even mentioning Leave it to Beaver dates you to mid century. Last night I was out with some folks and one mentioned the "Cone of Silence"!

I always try to explain things to interested people. If they are in my way I politely ask if they can move for a minute. Otherwise, I wait.

Doremus Scudder
8-May-2014, 02:38
... Lots of things to photograph. Let someone else do the postcard nonsense.

+1 !!

I find that most people are very polite, as Drew pointed out. What many don't realize is that when you are under the darkcloth is when it is okay to walk in front of the camera. It's when you are out and ready to take the shot that they should wait...

Ben, your DV pictures make me homesick...

Best,

Dorems

Merg Ross
8-May-2014, 08:28
Although not directly related to the "well-meaning" people of your query, one very early experience in my life as a photographer comes to mind. It occurred in 1953 on a photo trip with my father, Brett Weston, and his wife Dody. I was twelve and on my first real field trip with a 4x5. We were starting a week long trip to the eastern side of the Sierra via Echo Pass. It was December and the ice along the American River was magnificent as we headed up the canyon. We stopped to photograph, my father and Brett with 8x10's, Dody with her 5x7 and I with the 4x5.

There we were, no doubt a curious sight, spread out along the bank of the river creating our masterpieces. And then, a car stopped on the highway shoulder and a family with young children descended to the river. They began a rock attack, taking great glee in smashing the ice, in particular that closest to our tripods. Mission accomplished, they departed as quickly as they had appeared. To this day, I have no answer for that bizarre display of human behavior. However, I worked much faster as a youngster and a resulting print is at MOMA, "Ice, Echo Pass, 1953".

Perhaps a more relevant experience occurred in 1966 while I was photographing in Bodie with the 8x10. A chap approached me and we began chatting about photography. He had dreams of opening a gallery someday. I thought little about our meeting until two years later when he wrote and invited me to exhibit; his dream had come true. The gallery was in Southern California and he had already booked Wynn Bullock and Ruth Bernhard. I accepted, attended the opening, and made good sales. So, you never know, but there is most often little harm in being polite if approached.

Drew Wiley
8-May-2014, 09:16
That's an interesting story. It's been a long time since I've been to Bodie. But it was a relatively uncrowded morning with just me and some NG photographer doing
a workshop without about fifteen students. I had the 4x5 Sinar set up for something, and he comes by and tells his class, Whatever this guy is shooting, do the same thing. So I essentially end up with fifteen 35mm shapshooters hanging around me trying to position themselves between my tripod indentations in the dirt, while their official coach wandered off to do his own thing.

ROL
8-May-2014, 09:57
Thanks Andrew, Doremus. Indeed, Salt Creek Playa is headed for FAP status once the negative is cleaned up a bit. Cropping 3:5 or 1:2 seems to favor and do justice to the DV scape. I'm itching to make a 20"x40". I'm considering the same with 5 more of the 10 total exposures on that weekend. As I've indicated in other posts, my interest in photographing DV has been re-ignited.

Jmarmck
8-May-2014, 10:28
This is an excellent thread! Thank you all for the stories!
and yes the DV, Bodie, Yosemite, stories make me miss the area even more.

Alan Curtis
9-May-2014, 05:28
In the early 90's I was co-teaching a LF workshop in Santa Fe with Jim Bones. We were in town, a gentleman started asking me questions about the workshop, being in teacher mode I went into some detail about the virtues of a view camera and black and white photography. We talked for a couple of minutes then he then went over to Jim, they obviously knew each other. Jim then introduced me to William Clift. I really wanted to hide under the focusing cloth.

jp
9-May-2014, 06:33
I'm having a like problem with my DSLR. I've been using it to make video of people working. Usually when it's on the tripod and recording, I check in the liveview once in a while but don't stay too close. People come up and start conversations, chit chat, walk in front of the camera, The little green "writing to flash" light on the back is essentially meaningless and hard to notice. I've got all sorts of crazy conversation recorded on video and have often needed multiple takes to get what I want. They think it's just a still camera sitting on a tripod while I'm chilling or supervising. People are still accustomed to video being captured with a shoulder mounted beast of a camera.

With LF, people still like to talk, but stay away from the front of the camera even when there is not film in it, or at least ask to make sure they aren't in the photo.

Regular Rod
9-May-2014, 06:34
Yell out, "Okay! Ready for the explosives!" if someone starts to walk in front of your 'surveying' equipment. A hard hat and safety vest would add more believability to it.

Two women walked into this scene as I had the camera (5x7) set up. I waited patiently and was rewarded with even better light after they left. Sometimes one gets lucky.

Worth the wait...

RR

Drew Bedo
10-May-2014, 05:02
I have not shot on assignment (no-one has assigned me). With no deadline or must-have-money-shot to get I have to consider myself a fellow tourist. When setting up a shot people walk into and out of the composition, often asking permission first, When ready to make an exposure I may ask folks to not enter the area of interest for a moment or two, make the shots I want and go on to the next composition.

I have never had to be "rude" but a brusk and business-ike manner does help.

j.e.simmons
10-May-2014, 05:16
Most of the people who interrupt me while shooting are cops. With their hands on their guns. I figure I'd better talk to them. Large wild animals tend to interrupt me, too.

Drew Wiley
12-May-2014, 11:55
Well, I guess I should apologize about the slingshot comment. It's perfectly obvious that little boys in this day an age carry assault rifles instead. Still bad for your
groundglass and general peace of mind when out photographing.

Michael E
13-May-2014, 14:42
A few years ago, I had set up my camera and was almost ready to click the shutter when a gentleman approached me, told me about the old view camera of his grandfather and asked me if I wanted to buy it. Very fascinating, I said, but right now I'm taking the big group picture of this wedding with 70 guests. Maybe later...

Usually I just talk to people approaching me. Most of the times, folks are really nice.

djdister
13-May-2014, 15:33
So here's an example of the positive side of things. About 30 years ago when the wife and I were driving through southern Colorado, I decided to stop and take some shots of a really old gas station with my 4x5 Speed Graphic. As I was finishing up with my tripod shots, a very old gentleman slowly approached and asked what I was doing. I explained my interest in the old gas station and we chatted for a bit. Suddenly it dawned on me -- I asked him if he was the "Louie Whitten" whose name was on the gas station - and spoiler alert, it was! So I asked if I could take a quick shot of him before I left - the first shot was on a tripod, the second one was handheld with the Speed Graphic - a quick grab shot, but so worth it when combined with the other shots I had taken that day.

115346 115347

Vaughn
13-May-2014, 15:48
The classic example happened to me this past weekend in Yosemite Valley. I set up the 11x14 in the middle of El Cap Meadow. The camera was fighting me a little -- at over 100 years old it gets cranky sometimes. The light was changing rapidly on the face of El Cap and I was in a hurry to achieve the balance of light I wanted on the face.

An old guy comes walking the 100 yds or so across the meadow to me. I tried hard not to be short with him, but my concentration had to be on the camera and scene. He eventually left, walking right in front of the camera all the way back to the road, but fortunately the image I was trying for did not include the meadow itself. Wish I could have been a bit more friendly with him and that he felt he could stick around until I was finished.

ROL
13-May-2014, 16:21
The classic example happened to me this past weekend in Yosemite Valley. I set up the 11x14 in the middle of El Cap Meadow. The camera was fighting me a little -- at over 100 years old it gets cranky sometimes. The light was changing rapidly on the face of El Cap and I was in a hurry to achieve the balance of light I wanted on the face.

An old guy comes walking the 100 yds or so across the meadow to me. I tried hard not to be short with him, but my concentration had to be on the camera and scene. He eventually left, walking right in front of the camera all the way back to the road, but fortunately the image I was trying for did not include the meadow itself. Wish I could have been a bit more friendly with him and that he felt he could stick around until I was finished.

It was nice to meet you, Vaughn. Cameras aren't the only things to become cranky as they near 100. :D

Vaughn
13-May-2014, 17:24
Oh, oh! :D

jnanian
16-May-2014, 17:37
i used to just have a policeman run interference for me
it worked OK

David A. Goldfarb
17-May-2014, 20:14
I usually engage people in a positive way and say something like, "just a moment while I get my shot," and if they wait around, I'm happy to talk about the camera, show them the groundglass image, and generally evangelize for large format photography.

John Jarosz
18-May-2014, 08:11
Simple - use an 8x20 camera.

I have found that since I began using 8x20 people tend to leave me alone. When using 4x5 and even 8x10 people would routinely come up and ask questions

So I believe when people see the 8x20 they say to themselves "He's gotta be crazy - so let's ignore him, pretend he's not there".

Of course there are a few brave souls that DO come up and talk with me......but I'm not on assignment :-).