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Willie
9-Aug-2018, 17:34
Two friends recently returned from a West Coast trip. They visited a number of old Missions on the trip and some old towns/semi ghost/tourist towns as well.

At least four places they were told NO TRIPODS for photography. Asking about it they watched a number of painters with easels set up in the places they were interested in. No tripods for photography, but painters were OK?

Anyone understand the reasoning behind this one? Maybe because there are so many more photographers? Don't think there are all that many willing to set up a tripod for a view camera, but I don't visit those places and just don't know. My friends never got a rational explanation for it. Just know they won't be going back there and will visit Oregon or Washington instead next time.

Drew Wiley
9-Aug-2018, 17:59
Legally depends on exactly where on mission grounds you are - namely, who is legally in charge. I know this because for decades my sister held the landscaping contract for gardens at Mission San Juan Bautista, legally operated by the State Parks dept. But the buildings themselves were under diocese jurisdiction, so whatever the resident Priest decided was the operative rule. In that case, there was no sign telling you the boundary line. A perimeter garden patch might be owned by the State, but flower beds adjacent to the adobe buildings, by the Church. Only in the sanctuary was there a posted a notice not to take unauthorized pictures when anything was in session. Weddings were common. In that specific case, the local Padre was a friendly guy and I had no problem using a tripod anywhere. But I was careful to use rubber feet on my tripod rather than spiked feet. It's been awhile, but in Missions frequently inundated by tourists, rules tended to be understandably uptight; but at remoter missions, nobody seemed to pay attention. There is also a more recent "politically-correct" reason for revising rules. And I gotta be a little careful stating it cause I don't want this to turn this into an argue fest. But at the moment there is an enormous amount of controversy over the canonization of Father Junipero Serra. I don't care to comment here on who was a good guy and who a bad guy among the Spanish back then; but the controversy itself has brought in a number of activists demanding respect for certain native American stereotypes, like not wanting their "souls captured" using a camera. I grew up with Calif. Indians, have studied them a great deal, and never heard of anything like that. But there is a noisy group of neo or pseudo Indians who make that claim. I worked with one of them. So my intent is not to induce ridicule for a blatant misrepresentation of aboriginal attitudes, but simply to answer your question about seemingly arbitrary rules. I realize some of this explanation is not logical, but neither is the premise itself. Maybe less of your soul gets captured using a typical
handheld cellphone than a serious tripod camera. Dunno. Can you get ten at once using an 8x10 camera? But that pseudo
Indian I know who's involved in that kind of activism came from the Dakotas, not Calif.

Mark Sawyer
9-Aug-2018, 18:03
It shouldn't be too hard to put a Ries or Bogen head on a painter's easel...

Bruce Watson
9-Aug-2018, 18:33
Anyone understand the reasoning behind this one?

Prejudice needs a reason?

Two23
9-Aug-2018, 19:17
...but the controversy itself has brought in a number of activists demanding respect for certain native American stereotypes, like not wanting their "souls captured" using a camera. I grew up with Calif. Indians, have studied them a great deal, and never heard of anything like that. But there is a noisy group of neo or pseudo Indians who make that claim. ...


I would show them a book about Edward Curtis' work & life, and then ask them, "What the hell?"



Kent in SD

Drew Wiley
9-Aug-2018, 20:14
I love Curtis' images, but they were not only staged, but he had the habit of carrying various costumes around and dressing up his subjects in regalia totally unrelated to local tribal costume. Reminds me of young Monache Paiute kids in my old neighborhood dressing up as eastern Iroquois warriors and putting on some make-believe dance for casino customers, then off to the pizza parlor. Their actual ancestors wore next to nothing, and I have tintypes to prove it. The local tribes were extremely hygienic and routinely bathed in streams and rivers, made deodorants from plants, and couldn't stand the smell of the white miners who started arriving. The just didn't have much use for clothes. I could relate a lot of analogous stories. There's a colony of wannabee Indians across the river up there who weave baskets looking like something from Aaron Brother's Craft store, none of whom even remotely resembles an actual Indian; and they teach all kinds of ridiculous stereotypes about Indian life. Ironically, just a mile away there is an actual school of ancestral customs and language which was started by two full-blooded locals who were my cross-country running pals in high school. And the last living authentic local basket maker was a friend of my mother's and had her work film-documented by the Smithsonian. Those baskets can sell upwards of $50,000 apiece, that is, if any are remaining the mafia didn't steal to sell on the black market, or aren't otherwise locked up in museums. It gets silly. Now there's a group of wannabees re-enacting solstice ceremonies over on the coast where the tribes never practiced any agriculture until they were forced onto missions, and even then wouldn't be involved in some Druid-like solstice ceremony. "New age" stuff. Southwestern and Mesoamerican tribes held astronomical calendar events; but they planted corn and didn't have an abundance of shellfish and other marine life at their feet all year long. Some people have a vivid imagination as well as a bone to pick, I guess. But don't get angry at the folks who manage
the missions as themselves basically museums; they've just trying to dodge unnecessary squabbles. Some vandalism has
already occurred over the Junipero Serra controversy.

Eric Woodbury
9-Aug-2018, 22:22
When I was in Turkey, "camera with legs" meant you were a professional. In that case, they didn't want you to compete with 'their' photographers selling their postcards and books. But you could make an appointment 30 days in advance for a 4-hour window.

In the US, it is usually because tripods are a trip hazard.

You might try a bean bag or, if enough light, a monopod.

John Kasaian
9-Aug-2018, 23:23
Could be their insurance, could be the taint of commercial photography. Nowadays there are also security concerns as Drew mentioned.
It's hard to say.
With churches my SOP is to always write them in advance for permission on whatever date I'm planning on because they often have very full calendars and the bride might not appreciate me crashing her big day.

BrianShaw
10-Aug-2018, 04:45
At Mission San Juan Capistrano, owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Church, I was told that the tripod ban was because itís a sign of professional photography. So I used a monopod with a Speed Graphic and had a lot of explaining to do but successfully carried on. On another visit a Hassy on tripod went unnoticed despite the sing regarding tripods at the entrance

vinny
10-Aug-2018, 06:24
Photography isn't art.

John Kasaian
10-Aug-2018, 07:34
I knew there was a reason for hanging on to my 5x7 Speeder.

jim10219
10-Aug-2018, 08:04
I once was detained by a local Sheriff for over an hour while photographing a ghost town. I set up from the side of the road, which is government property and totally legal. He didn't like the idea of outsiders coming in to his town, and proceeded to accuse me of all kinds of things. He said he saw me joyriding through so and so's field, despite the fact that my tiny car wouldn't make it through the field, and there were no tire marks in the field. Then he accused me a of trespassing and voyeurism. He threatened to arrest me. Needless to say, my girlfriend who was with me was terrified.

I, on the other hand, was calm. I've spent a lot of time in small towns as a kid, and know how the good ol' boy system works. When he went back to his car to call in my plates to check for warrants, I discretely pulled out my phone and looked up the name of the judge at the county courthouse, and the name of the county clerk. When he came back, I asked him how the judge and clerk were doing, and pretended my dad went to college with the judge and my mom also went way back with the clerk. I told them that I remembered meeting them a few times as a kid, but hadn't seen them in years to avoid any probing questions that might give me away as a liar. In the end, he let me go and even suggested some "really nice areas you gotta check out".

My point is, it's often better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission. And if you do get caught, remain calm, be polite, and if you can name-drop some people they might know, do it. Try to make the authority figure your friend, and above all, always act like what you're doing is what you're supposed to be doing. Don't hide. Don't explain it like you did something wrong. Better yet, ask the authority figure for a hand before you set up, to get them involved and let think you're supposed to be there. If they ask you to leave, leave. You can act confused, but don't act mad. You don't want to elevate the situation. It's weird, but it works.

Of course, it's also not a bad idea calling ahead of time to see if you can skirt around the rules. Sometimes they put rules in place to try to head off problem people. If they realize you aren't going to be one of the problem people, they will often give you a free pass. Just be sure to do it several days (or better yet, weeks) before so they don't figure out that the you're the guy who asked for permission, was denied, and did it anyway, acting like you got their permission. That'll really piss them off. Small towns especially like it when professional photographers come through, so long as you agree to portray their town in a positive light.

Drew Wiley
10-Aug-2018, 10:10
Sounds a bit risky, Jim. In some of those small Boss Hogg towns, the highway patrolman or sheriff and the judge are in the same family. All it takes is having out of state license plates to get stopped. I never mention anything remotely legal, but might try to gently divert the conversation by asking if he owns any horses or how the fly fishing is around there, something human and not official. But some places have a distinct reason for being hostile, with the law itself running the drug distribution scene or acting as the enforcers in some local cult. Seen it all. In those kinds of places, having a camera at all can get you trouble. There is no positive light. Tell em you're just passing through, quickly. When in doubt in redneck country, I use medium format and a telephoto quickly, instead of a slow view camera. Otherwise, someone might aim back with something more lethal. I grew up within the vicinity of such circumstances, so know the routine. No picture is worth getting shot for, or getting run over for.

Two23
10-Aug-2018, 15:47
But some places have a distinct reason for being hostile, with the law itself running the drug distribution scene or acting as the enforcers in some local cult. Seen it all. In those kinds of places, having a camera at all can get you trouble. There is no positive light. Tell em you're just passing through, quickly. When in doubt in redneck country, I use medium format and a telephoto quickly, instead of a slow view camera. Otherwise, someone might aim back with something more lethal. I grew up within the vicinity of such circumstances, so know the routine. No picture is worth getting shot for, or getting run over for.

I have no doubt there are drug-corrupted law officers in California, just one more reason I've avoided the place. However in my own travels I've not had any real trouble with police. That's remarkable considering I often photo at night. In the Midwest especially, I've found small town cops & deputies mostly quite friendly. In fact on two occasions a call to the local sheriffs' office bailed me out of a couple of nasty late night confrontations with hostile drunks from a nearby town bar.


Kent in SD

Below photo:
Garrettson, SD
Home of some cool elevators and
easily excitable drunks.

Drew Wiley
10-Aug-2018, 16:47
In CA there are several distinct narco counties, but most of the Cartel growing or whatever is going on way back in the woods. Most of the trouble I've run into has been in certain sections of NV and polygamous areas of UT. Rural areas are no different than big cities, and it's important to keep your eyes and ears open. Some of the closest calls I've had in several states in the Fall has simply been due to drunken deer hunters shooting randomly. It's an obvious risk coinciding fall color and its inviting weather with hunting season. Most of these once-a-year outdoor types are horribly out of shape and don't get very far from the road. But if I intend to camp or photograph near a road I always drive around a bit to see if there is hunting activity, or any empty-headed types target shooting. I keep a lonnnnng ways from suspected meth heads. But there is utterly no reason to avoid California in general. It has extensive deserts and mountain ranges, a gigantic agricultural footprint, and a tremendous diversity of people. I'll admit the freeways in urban areas can be miserable at times; but there's no need to even go there if you don't wish. I just don't want to tangle with any long drives this year due to the high price of gas and some hefty vet bills earlier in the season.

Two23
10-Aug-2018, 17:56
Some of the closest calls I've had in several states in the Fall has simply been due to drunken deer hunters shooting randomly. It's an obvious risk coinciding fall color and its inviting weather with hunting season.

A good opening for me to make a public service announcement:

During rifle antelope & deer season (usually between in Oct. 1 & Thanksgiving in most states) do NOT wear anything white. I always wear either an orange jacket or vest, and an orange hat. Wearing anything with white on it is a very bad idea.


Kent in SD

Mark Sawyer
10-Aug-2018, 22:23
A good opening for me to make a public service announcement:

During rifle antelope & deer season (usually between in Oct. 1 & Thanksgiving in most states) do NOT wear anything white. I always wear either an orange jacket or vest, and an orange hat. Wearing anything with white on it is a very bad idea.

Indeed. To do otherwise would be like walking into a convention of wet-platers wearing a gas-mask and a bowler derby hat...

j.e.simmons
11-Aug-2018, 04:03
I’m thinking about picking up a walker like old people use at the thrift store, and attaching a tube and tripod head to it. It’s probably too light for a view camera, but should fe fine for medium format.

Bob Salomon
11-Aug-2018, 05:29
Iím thinking about picking up a walker like old people use at the thrift store, and attaching a tube and tripod head to it. Itís probably too light for a view camera, but should fe fine for medium format.

Not only old people need a walker!

Willie
11-Aug-2018, 12:07
and some hefty vet bills earlier in the season.

I hope you aren't having puppies, not at your age.

Michael Kadillak
11-Aug-2018, 13:58
At Yellowstone falls I hand held an 8x10 shot with a 600C Fuji and it was more about the congestion on the viewing platform than a tripod. Out of the side of the dark cloth when I got the focus set I could see one of the side set knobs lining up with a specific point in the scene and closed down the shutter, set the shutter speed at 1/30th and f16 I believe lining up with that spot I pulled the slide and held the camera in both hands and used my chin to stabilize things and took the shot. Turned out great much to my surprise. T Max 400 and a long subject surely helped. When you ask for permission to photograph ie. use a tripod, hand then a business card from your day job. Sometimes you just need to get creative.

LabRat
11-Aug-2018, 13:59
Since I have been using vintage gear to shoot with now, people think less "pro" and more amateur than when using scary, black, $$$, money making endeavor than you wood camera thing...

Life's easier if they assume you are not a pro... ;-)

Steve K

BrianShaw
11-Aug-2018, 14:11
Not only old people need a walker!

True, but itís a brilliant idea.

Jim Andrada
11-Aug-2018, 19:34
I modified a hiking stick by drilling a hole down from the top and packing it with a bit of JB Weld, then shoving a piece of 3/8 - 16 threaded brass rod into the hole. Works about as well as any other monopod, but it's a lot lighter. Unfortunately my back is acting up these days so I actually need it to get around much, not just as a camera support:(.

12pmc
15-Aug-2018, 04:38
I modified a hiking stick by drilling a hole down from the top and packing it with a bit of JB Weld, then shoving a piece of 3/8 - 16 threaded brass rod into the hole. Works about as well as any other monopod, but it's a lot lighter. Unfortunately my back is acting up these days so I actually need it to get around much, not just as a camera support:(.

12pmc
15-Aug-2018, 04:48
I live in the South of France and we have tripod police too, they tend to be gate keepers on abbies, churchs and public buildings etc. After being told I was unable to use my tripod as it was “clearly a professional endevour” I was advised to write to the department whose responsibility it is to caretake these places. I assured them I was not professional and I received an open dated letter granting me permission to use my tripod at will at this particular location. Once armed with this letter the tripod police were charming... Not sure if this is possible in the US but worth some research.
Peter

jim10219
19-Aug-2018, 12:04
Sounds a bit risky, Jim. In some of those small Boss Hogg towns, the highway patrolman or sheriff and the judge are in the same family. All it takes is having out of state license plates to get stopped. I never mention anything remotely legal, but might try to gently divert the conversation by asking if he owns any horses or how the fly fishing is around there, something human and not official. But some places have a distinct reason for being hostile, with the law itself running the drug distribution scene or acting as the enforcers in some local cult. Seen it all. In those kinds of places, having a camera at all can get you trouble. There is no positive light. Tell em you're just passing through, quickly. When in doubt in redneck country, I use medium format and a telephoto quickly, instead of a slow view camera. Otherwise, someone might aim back with something more lethal. I grew up within the vicinity of such circumstances, so know the routine. No picture is worth getting shot for, or getting run over for.
Yeah, that might have worked. I didnít approach it from a ďyou better do right because I know powerful people attitudeĒ, but rather an ďitís okay, I know some people you knowĒ attitude. It made no sense to pretend I knew a farmer. He knew I was from the city by looking at my driverís license. But there are no colleges or universities near by, so that seemed like a likely place to meet someone from around there. Plus, I didnít have a lot of time to think or plan out my scheme. Anyway, I wonít be back there.

I had a professor once who told us a story about a time he took a class to the top of the Chrysler Building and took a bunch of photographs from the observatory. It wasnít open to the public at that time, and they had to pass through a conference room with a conference in progress. He said he told the security at the front and the people in the conference that he was the guide for the 10:30 tour. No one stopped them. After spending some time out there, someone got suspicious and called security. When they left, they were met by the security at the elevator who escorted them out of the building. By acting like he was supposed to be there, everyone let him pass through, and even by the time they caught wise, they couldnít be certain, due to his confidence, that he wasnít right and there was a mix up somewhere. The moral, he told us, was to always act like you know what youíre doing, and people will generally leave you alone. Itís probably the most important thing I learned in my 12 years of college. Well that, and itís a lot easier to do the things you love well than the things that are more practical. Iím a much better artist than I would have been an engineer, actuary, or mathematician. And Iím much happier too. Because when you hate your job, you hate your life, and soon, youíll hate yourself.