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Thread: Street Hassle

  1. #1
    lharby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Northampton, UK
    Posts
    26

    Street Hassle

    Hi

    I am relatively new here.

    TL/DR: I am interested in hearing if anyone has encountered horror stories when shooting LF and having people either be a nuisance or destructive.

    My hope is that the stories are limited. It might be some paranoia on my part.

    A few weeks ago I was out at night shooting MF. I was set up along a watercourse which has a cycle path running through. At one point I saw a cyclist approaching as I was nearing the end of a 2 minute exposure. I was on a footbridge and started moving the tripod. I am sure nothing would of happened although I would have been impeding his path had I stayed there.

    I have much heavier gear for the MF so the movability of it would be an issue, but the cost of replacing or repairing equipment would be pretty heartbreaking.

    I have had the odd bit of street hassle in the past, although never any equipment damaged (apart from my own misuse).

    I hope this is the right place to post, I did search the forums and found an amusing thread about animals attacking us, but was interested in human interaction.

    If you have some heartwarming stories, feel free to post those too!
    Everything should be tried once, except incest and folk dancing.

  2. #2
    Foamer
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    1,007

    Re: Street Hassle

    I shoot at night a lot. I prefer winter, as no one ever bothers me once the temperature starts falling below 20F. I always carry a small flashlight to warn any approaching bicycles. In the wilder, remote areas I carry either a small 20 ga. shotgun or pistol to discourage mountain lions. I've never really had any problems, but I tend to avoid high crime areas.


    Kent in SD
    Die Gedanken sind Frei

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Northwest of Chicago
    Posts
    1,280

    Re: Street Hassle

    I know that some people have had problems, but I am not one of them. I work primarily in urban areas, many of which are not the most desirable, and the worst problems I have had is drivers blowing car horns in an attempt to startle me—which usually does work. On the other hand, most people simply ignore me. Those who don't, express interest and support in what I am hoping to accomplish, or simple curiosity about my weird looking camera. I have had homeless men look out for me and invite me to share a bottle of wine. Police have waved at me as they go by, although a couple have stopped to talk with me about cameras.

    Maybe I'm just lucky? I assume people are generally good and nice and I have not been disappointed so far. I do remain aware of my surroundings and have either not gone to certain areas, or left if I don't like the way they feel. I also carry pepper spray which is more to make me (and my wife) Feel secure, but is probably a questionable deterrent if things were to go bad.

    Good luck!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    SooooCal/LA USA
    Posts
    998

    Re: Street Hassle

    In urban areas, plan your shot, set up/shoot, don't dawdle around when finished/bail... Don't make a big production when shooting... If the area is questionable, have a big, scary looking assistant watching your back...

    FWIW, the biggest problem I have had is with security guards, even when I was on proper city property (the street), that were telling me to leave because no photography was permitted...

    As always, use good judgement...

    Steve K

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    4,433

    Re: Street Hassle

    Never had a significant problem. Once detained/questioned by private security but I was on their private property. Offered to wait for the police but all they wanted was a rational explanation of what and why I was photographing. Total time involved was about 10 minutes.

    Several times had folks comment about my cool antique camera... And the stand in front of me admiring the view I was trying to photograph. Annoying but never a major problem.

    When photographing in a rough or unfamiliar area I try to bring a friend to watch my back... Just in case.

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,601

    Re: Street Hassle

    Well I've never related mountains lions to street photography. And I never worry about them. After all, they prefer easy game whenever possible, like fawns or
    poodles, or photographers with little smartphones, not someone lugging a big mahogany box atop as set of spiked feet. To borrow words from Ed Abbey, any critter that eats digital photographers can't be all that bad. And as far as night photography in the city goes, I simply don't do it underneath a darkcloth unless someone else is with me as a lookout. Getting hassled in relatively predictable: if you're causing a potential inconvenience to pedestrians or traffic, if you're hanging around paranoid burbs or exclusive rich estates like obnoxious paparrazi. Or maybe some neophyte to law enforcement has never seen a large camera before and is worried what it is. If your are questioned, a mild sense of humor and friendliness goes a lot further to defuse tensions and standing on a soapbox shouting your rights.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    St. Louis, Mo.
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    2,695

    Re: Street Hassle

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    If your are questioned, a mild sense of humor and friendliness goes a lot further to defuse tensions and standing on a soapbox shouting your rights.
    And if all else fails there is also the spiked end of a Ries tripod leg.


    I live in St. Louis and I've never been hassled so far. Of course I use common sense and try not to be in anyone's way. I also stay out of the dangerous areas.

  8. #8
    K. Praslowicz's Avatar
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    May 2004
    Location
    Duluth, MN
    Posts
    189

    Re: Street Hassle

    Nuisance: often
    Destructive: never

    And by nuisance, generally not intentionally trying to ruin the image or anything. Just curious people walking up and asking questions while I'm trying to focus and hurry to set up for a rapidly changing scene. Ruined one photo of a race start a few years back because some guy kept telling me how he likes to collect old cameras and wanted to buy mine on the spot. Can only pretend to be under the dark cloth and not hearing them for so long. Should have offered it to him for 5x the value and bought a better camera the next day.
    Website | Watershed
    Gear: Camera - Light - Instinct

  9. #9
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    Location
    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico
    Posts
    9,718

    Re: Street Hassle

    Most of the problems I have had were people wanting to talk to me while I'm concentrating on a shot. Once while on assignment for New Mexico Magazine some people approached me. There was a small gap in the clouds right at the horizon which would give me killer light on the building-but very briefly. I had to concentrate on the image and my tight deadline. I was shooting 4x5 chrome and needed to nail it-no time for a polaroid or to bracket. I tried at first to explain the situation and that I would be happy to talk with them after the sun went down, but they wouldn't friken shut up. Yak yak yak. We've been here and there and tomorrow were going over there......... I finally told them very bluntly to be quite please so I could concentrate. They got very upset and called the art director at NMM the next day. She got a good laugh out of it and loved the shot. She thought they were total narcissists from their telephone call. I have often encountered tourists with an amazing sense of entitlement like I am their taking pictures for their entertainment. It makes me realize why so many of my native American friends hate tourists.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    St. Louis, Mo.
    Posts
    2,695

    Re: Street Hassle

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    Most of the problems I have had were people wanting to talk to me while I'm concentrating on a shot. Once while on assignment for New Mexico Magazine some people approached me. There was a small gap in the clouds right at the horizon which would give me killer light on the building-but very briefly. I had to concentrate on the image and my tight deadline. I was shooting 4x5 chrome and needed to nail it-no time for a polaroid or to bracket. I tried at first to explain the situation and that I would be happy to talk with them after the sun went down, but they wouldn't friken shut up. Yak yak yak. We've been here and there and tomorrow were going over there......... I finally told them very bluntly to be quite please so I could concentrate. They got very upset and called the art director at NMM the next day. She got a good laugh out of it and loved the shot. She thought they were total narcissists from their telephone call. I have often encountered tourists with an amazing sense of entitlement like I am their taking pictures for their entertainment. It makes me realize why so many of my native American friends hate tourists.



    How many times have people walked out in front of your camera like you aren't even there? It's not being hassled but it is a hassle.

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