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Thread: Updated: Photo Permits on US and California public lands

  1. #1
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    Updated: Photo Permits on US and California public lands

    There is a new version of Jeff Conrad's Still Photography and Permits On US and California Public Land.

    Here's are comments from Jeff about the update:

    My article on photography permits is over five years old; I've been waiting
    for the NPS, BLM, and FWS to issue a new rule implementing Public Law
    106-206, but after ten years, nothing has happened and I am not led to
    believe that anything will happen soon.

    In the mealtime, much of the article has become out of date. Many contacts
    have moved on or retired, many links have broken, and even a few laws have
    changed. So much has changed that the current article may be more of a
    disservice than a help.

    I've updated the contacts, fixed the links, checked all the laws (updating a few), and
    slightly expanded the material for a few agencies.

    Based on the discussion last December
    (http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ad.php?t=56544) about
    photographers getting unlawfully hassled in California State Parks, I've
    included the rulemaking history of that law, suggesting that the current
    interpretation is dead wrong. Interestingly enough, I found a very similar
    situation with Palo Alto parks, in which the wording of the regulation
    (yes, Palo Alto actually has administrative law) is very much at odds with
    the explanation given at the commission meeting at which the regulation was
    adopted.

    I normally try to keep advocacy out of the descriptions of the laws and
    policies for the various agencies; I've added the information mentioned
    above because it seems obvious that the regulation based on commercial
    intent is not what was intended, and if someone were to challenge a
    citation based on the stated intent, the laws would probably be either
    voided or construed to mean what was intended. Making such a challenge
    would be a fairly big deal, so I don't seriously expect anyone to do it,
    but I think making the information available is a start, especially because
    it is exceedingly difficult to come by unless one goes to great lengths.

    I think I've handled it quite gently, letting the language of the
    descriptions make the case without much additional comment. Perhaps it
    will at least get a few people thinking. No one should have to endure
    petty harassment like that to which Boots McGhee, David Karp, and a few
    others were subjected.

    I've long maintained that in most cases, the intent was to require permits
    for disruptive activity, and that the authors, typically unfamiliar with
    photography, simply equated "commercial intent" with "large and
    disruptive." I now have at least two smoking guns, suggesting that I
    probably could find many more if I were to research the legislative history
    of other similar laws. Unfortunately, that's a task for which I simply
    don't have the time, so I'll need to leave it to others.

    I keep forgetting how much work it is prying this information out of
    various people (some are far more helpful than others), so I'm not sure
    when I'll get around to another update. I will update the relevant
    sections if the US DOI ever issue a new rule, though this may not happen
    any time soon.

  2. #2

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    Re: Updated: Photo Permits on US and California public lands

    You're right that nothing on the federal level has changed in quite a few years since there hasn't been any reason to change. The rules work well and no one for any side has complained or any member of Congress has offered legislation. I follow the NPS rules, which is very similar to FWS rules, and their rules have been consistent for at least a decade. Any changes are local for the site, such as for those in D.C. or other areas which are often busy and some uses, like tripods, are restricted if not prohibited.

    In short, just write the information has been reviewed and update the date of your information, and then let people let you know when it's not. As for the history of the rules, you're right, it would take considerable time and effort to dig out the agencies' administrative history regarding photography and the legislative efforts, and only really interesting to photography history buffs. But then it would be interesting. No, not going there...
    --Scott--

    Scott M. Knowles, MS-Geography
    scott@wsrphoto.com

    "All things merge into one, and a river flows through it."
    - Norman MacLean

  3. #3

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    Re: Updated: Photo Permits on US and California public lands

    I was taking photos today with my pentax 67 on a tripod and a park ranger asked me for a permit and said that I needed one and that he could give me a $175 ticket. I am not a professional and shooting a picture of a tree. He gave me a card with the Deputy Chieg of Developed Resources Operations and a name to get a permit. I emailed this person to ask what is the deal. I don't understand this is my hobby and not doing a pro shoot with models or lights or anything.

  4. #4
    Is that a Hassleblad? Brian Vuillemenot's Avatar
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    Re: Updated: Photo Permits on US and California public lands

    Quote Originally Posted by ElRooster View Post
    I was taking photos today with my pentax 67 on a tripod and a park ranger asked me for a permit and said that I needed one and that he could give me a $175 ticket. I am not a professional and shooting a picture of a tree. He gave me a card with the Deputy Chieg of Developed Resources Operations and a name to get a permit. I emailed this person to ask what is the deal. I don't understand this is my hobby and not doing a pro shoot with models or lights or anything.
    Which park was this in?
    Brian Vuillemenot

  5. #5

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    Re: Updated: Photo Permits on US and California public lands

    Santa Monica mountains in the san fernando valley. I can find the name in a second.

    Here is the location.
    http://www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=36

    And here is the name of the Deputy Chief of Developed Resources Operations
    Marsha Feldman.

  6. #6

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    Re: Updated: Photo Permits on US and California public lands

    Michael D. Antonovich Regional Park at Joughin Ranch

  7. #7

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    Re: Updated: Photo Permits on US and California public lands

    That's in the Santa Susana Mountains, not Santa Monica Mountains, BTW.

    Perhaps we could go for a group shoot over there one of the coming weekends?

  8. #8

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    Thumbs up Re: Updated: Photo Permits on US and California public lands

    Quote Originally Posted by Marko View Post
    That's in the Santa Susana Mountains, not Santa Monica Mountains, BTW.

    Perhaps we could go for a group shoot over there one of the coming weekends?
    I would love that! Do you live locally? It's really an awesome place, I have some photos I can share but I don't want to hijack this thread. Do you think if there is a group of us we won't be harassed or we will be better prepared? Maybe we can email a request to do some amateur photography from the Deputy Chief?

    I will pm you a link to some images I took at this location in the pass along with what I did yesterday, I shoot with a Pentax 67 and Toyo 45a. I wanted to get into 5x7 soon too.

  9. #9

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    Re: Updated: Photo Permits on US and California public lands

    Update email.. wow this is crazy!

    "Thank you for your e-mail. MRCA is ordanced to permit any commercial use, or potential commercial use, of any location that is managed by the MRCA.
    For students, they are able to pay 50% of whatever the location fees are. Other requirements are; a certificate of insurance, proof of an active enrollment in a film school- for the project, and additional monitor fees. We are unable to be flexible on these requirements. And yes- you can be cited by the MRCA’s Park Rangers.
    In the future, I suggest that you contact the locations’ management to be sure you have the required permits, etc. This could include NPS, CSP, La City & County Recreation and Parks.
    Best to you in the future,
    Marsha"

    I did not have a model or a crew haha, this is ridiculous.

  10. #10
    Robert Brummitt's Avatar
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    Re: Updated: Photo Permits on US and California public lands

    Here is something of a different note.
    Last year, I took my son fishing. He's of age where a license is needed. No problem, I thought, happy to support. But when the clerk asked for my son's Social Security number I stopped. Why? I asked. It's required was the reply. I didn't give one when I got mine, I handed over my driver license.
    I wrote to my state rep about the issue, he was shocked and said he would look into it. A month later, he wrote saying that the Feds require the number to catch "Dead-beat" parents. How many dead-beat 15 year olds are out there I asked? He agree but its the Feds. They with-hold funds if the states don't comply.
    So, it seems the Feds want more of the pie. If they are so incline then they should also charge other forms of art expression.

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