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Thread: NO TRIPODS for photography - but painters easels OK?

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    Re: NO TRIPODS for photography - but painters easels OK?

    I knew there was a reason for hanging on to my 5x7 Speeder.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    Del City, OK
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    Re: NO TRIPODS for photography - but painters easels OK?

    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.

  3. #13
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    Re: NO TRIPODS for photography - but painters easels OK?

    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.

  4. #14
    Foamer
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    Oct 2010
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    South Dakota
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    Re: NO TRIPODS for photography - but painters easels OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    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.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails FVu2Jun15GrrtsnBar010s.jpg  
    In contento ed allegria
    Notte ed di vogliam passar!

  5. #15
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    Re: NO TRIPODS for photography - but painters easels OK?

    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.

  6. #16
    Foamer
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    Oct 2010
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    Re: NO TRIPODS for photography - but painters easels OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    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
    In contento ed allegria
    Notte ed di vogliam passar!

  7. #17
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
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    Stuck inside of Tucson with the Memphis blues again...
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    Re: NO TRIPODS for photography - but painters easels OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    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...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    St. Simons Island, Georgia
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    Re: NO TRIPODS for photography - but painters easels OK?

    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.

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
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    GA
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    11,360

    Re: NO TRIPODS for photography - but painters easels OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by j.e.simmons View Post
    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!

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    North Dakota
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    687

    Re: NO TRIPODS for photography - but painters easels OK?

    and some hefty vet bills earlier in the season.

    I hope you aren't having puppies, not at your age.
    I tend to procrastinate on stuff. One of these days I'll do something about it.

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