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stopped by the cops!
Old 08-25-2005   #1
Todd.Hanz
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stopped by the cops!

The other day as I was commuting from work I saw a photo-op and thought I oughta finish the roll in the Iskra sitting on the seat next to me. I had two frames left, so I pulled to the median, took a meter reading and fired off a shot. I was putting the camera away when I noticed someone pulled up behind me, it was a local constable. Thinking he was just checking to see if I had car problems, I hopped out of my truck to tell him I was fine...first mistake.

"Whattya think yer doing buddy?"

Nothing, I'm not broken down officer (as I put my hands in my pocket- 2nd mistake)

"Hold it right there, don't move!!! Take your hands out of your pocket very slowly and put them on your truck" (as his hand went quickly to his sidearm)

Sorry officer, my cell phone was ringing.

"Whattya taking pictures of? Powerlines? Why, you think you're some kind of photograher or somethin' ?"

Well, uh.....yeah!

So he took my drivers license and ran me through his computer, he then returned my I.D. and apologized for any inconvienence. He told me he pulled me over because he saw me taking pictures of the power lines, which were connected to the power plant directly across the street. He then explained the relation to the targets of terrorism and the importance of thinking before shooting. I told him I didn't think it was illegal to photograph such objects, he said it wasn't but it was his duty to check me out. I asked if I could take my last frame and he said sure, so I took out the Iskra....

"What the hell is that?" ,"you take pictures with that thing?", "what's that funny writing on the front there?", " say, what's a good digital camera to get my wife for her birthday?".......

Many of these stories are told where law enforcement is considered to be the villan, I'd like to say I am glad to have participated in this scenario. Sure it was a minor inconvienece and it raised my heartrate a bit, but I feel a little safer knowing someone is paying attention.


Here is the picture I took...



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Old 08-25-2005   #2
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always good to hear another side to a story.
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Old 08-25-2005   #3
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Have you thought about going down to the station with a print? He might appreciate it and it never hurts to build another bridge.
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Old 08-25-2005   #4
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Did he ask to see the pictures?
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Old 08-25-2005   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd.Hanz
"Whattya taking pictures of? Powerlines? Why, you think you're some kind of photograher or somethin' ?"
I notice you didn't ask him how he did on his detective exam

nice photo of the powerlines, but you shoulda taken his photo.. maybe in some dramatic pose where he pulls his gun on a squirrel
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Old 08-25-2005   #6
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Putting hands in pockets: BIG mistake
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Legal Rights of Photograpgers
Old 08-25-2005   #7
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Legal Rights of Photograpgers

Hi.... you should visit this link. http://www.krages.com/bpkphoto.htm

Bert Krages is an attorney with a particular interest in photography. I keep a printout of his short piece "The Photographer's Right" in my camera bad. And I spent the $20 for his softbound book "Legal Handbook for Photographers." It's been really helpful.

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Old 08-25-2005   #8
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in my camera BAG.... :-)

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Old 08-25-2005   #9
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erudolph,

I have a copy with me in my camera bag as well...the one I left at home that day

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Old 08-25-2005   #10
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I remember when the terrorist thing started, that the admin. told Americans not to let it interfear with there lifes.... Go on living as normal..... I twould be ashamed if you can't take photos without being ran thru the system .......
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Old 08-25-2005   #11
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Nice shot Todd. Worth the experience and as you say its only a small inconvenience. Almost a relief that the officers law are taking notice at potentially 'odd' situations. It shouldn't stop us taking photos though.
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Old 08-25-2005   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skinny McGee
I twould be ashamed if you can't take photos without being ran thru the system .......
I spent eight years in the Marine Corps, I have been run through the system, run over by the system, and had the system run through me more times than I care to admit ....this was a minor inconvienence!


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Old 08-25-2005   #13
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At least the picture is a stunner and well worth the inconvenience
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Old 08-25-2005   #14
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Sounds like this guy wasn't the smartest cop around, but in the end it wasn't more than a minor inconvenience. Cops are free to ask questions, which we are free not to answer, unless he has a reasonable articulable suspicion or even probable cause that some crime may be taking place. To me, the key is how nice they are, i.e. whether they ask politely or try to bully you into not taking pictures or giving up some other right. It's a broad spectrum, ranging from good police work for the public safety to the unconstitutional and tyrannical. In either case, it makes for a good story.

As for the picture, nice job. Did you use a filter to make the clouds appear so distinctive?
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Old 08-25-2005   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sooner
Sounds like this guy wasn't the smartest cop around, but in the end it wasn't more than a minor inconvenience. Cops are free to ask questions, which we are free not to answer, unless he has a reasonable articulable suspicion or even probable cause that some crime may be taking place. To me, the key is how nice they are, i.e. whether they ask politely or try to bully you into not taking pictures or giving up some other right. It's a broad spectrum, ranging from good police work for the public safety to the unconstitutional and tyrannical. In either case, it makes for a good story.

As for the picture, nice job. Did you use a filter to make the clouds appear so distinctive?
Maybe not so dumb either. He could have acted quite differently. Especially when Todd.Hanz put his hands in his pockets. Looks like he saw something suspicious, checked it out, found nothing dangerous to the public, and after apologizing, let Todd.Hanz go. All sounds good to me.
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Old 08-25-2005   #16
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I'm thinking myself get in this situation with broken english and looking like South American people. I may get 30 years in the jail. But I don't care I'm going to take picture anyway.
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Old 08-25-2005   #17
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Distance has a large bearing on it too. They generally teach what's known as the 21 foot rule, which basically says anyone armed with a knife inside of 21 ft can probably seriously injure you before you can get your gun trained on him. Most ordinary people tend to think of knives as 2nd rate, and the old adage does still hold true if you can keep the distance from closing, but inside its effective range they're potentially more lethal. Like I said, most people dont think about this, but cops sure do. So yeah, reaching in your pockets is not a good thing to do while being approached by a policeman who has a professional interest in you.

Taking pictures may have prompted the interview, but the hand in the pocket is what made it get tense.

Last edited by XAos : 08-25-2005 at 09:24.
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Old 08-25-2005   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oftheherd
Maybe not so dumb either. He could have acted quite differently. Especially when Todd.Hanz put his hands in his pockets. Looks like he saw something suspicious, checked it out, found nothing dangerous to the public, and after apologizing, let Todd.Hanz go. All sounds good to me.

I agree. The officer seems to have done his job the way it should be done. He saw something unusual. He asked questions, checked it out and went on his way. He did his job and was fairly courteous, from the sound of things. I hope officers in our area are as alert.

Really nice photo, BTW
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Old 08-25-2005   #19
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allls well that ends well. nice shot todd, looks like it was worth the trouble.
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Old 08-25-2005   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erudolph
Hi.... you should visit this link. http://www.krages.com/bpkphoto.htm

Bert Krages is an attorney with a particular interest in photography. I keep a printout of his short piece "The Photographer's Right" in my camera bad. And I spent the $20 for his softbound book "Legal Handbook for Photographers." It's been really helpful.

Ed
Thanks for the link. I've seen this book around, but always wondered about its relevance (in regard to how up-to-date it is). Nice to hear some recommendations. I've already printed out the photographer's rights sheet.

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Old 08-25-2005   #21
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Todd, good writing, humorous approach and good photo. It's indeed a positive thread, not the usual rant about how civil liberties are being eroded.

All in all, despite your hand placing, it seems this constable was a no-nonsense guy not inclined to see himself as any kind of hero. You were lucky!

And, again, good shot! I really like the cloud effect you got there!
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Old 08-25-2005   #22
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Like was previously stated, "all's well that end's well" !

To those interested, I used a red filter on the shot (Kodak series V held in place with a series V hood) I bought this setup from the infamous "Rover", thanks again!


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Old 08-25-2005   #23
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Remember the last South American to hit the news in jolly old England. He was Brazilian and got five bullets to the head for his trouble. They are on edge over there just as they are over here in the states. Good photo story though and very much like the shot you got out of it.
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Old 08-25-2005   #24
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Very nice shot Todd. Im glad the officer did his job. I understand what made the situation tense. You handled it very well as did he. You go t a great image and I like the idea of offering him a print of it....couldnt hurt .

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Old 08-25-2005   #25
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I was in London when that Brazillian guy was shot -- it was horrible. But it was also a totally different situation. He was under surveillance (wrongly, but he was still under surveillance), and then he ran from the cops. The situation went horribly wrong, but cops don't just come up to you and shoot you full of lead...either here or in the UK.
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Old 08-25-2005   #26
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egpj, I'm a Brazilian I don't thing I need any bullets in my head. I don't give any reason for that.
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Old 08-25-2005   #27
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Russian camera, you some kinda spy or something?

Nice shot, yet again.
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Old 08-25-2005   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egpj
Remember the last South American to hit the news in jolly old England. He was Brazilian and got five bullets to the head for his trouble. They are on edge over there just as they are over here in the states. Good photo story though and very much like the shot you got out of it.
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Old 08-25-2005   #29
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1st, nice pic. I like it a lot and believe me, power lines are the LAST thing I like to look at.

I had a similar situation shooting an Emergency Preparedness Drill right around the corner from my house. I showed up and the Sheriff's department said no way. I started softly complaining, and then pulled out my NPA press card. I said they really can not prevent a member of the press from shooting (I love this stuff...)

The results were worth it (well, I think so. Opinions welcomed) The police and safety people all helped tremendously with my working that day.

However, THAT said, the SWAT team FREAKED when they saw me shooting even remotely near them. The 'confiscated' my last roll of film, developed it and returned it to my house, with 4x6 prints!

Everything was shot with either a Nikon and 300mm or Leica M7.

The link is here:Rockland County Emergency Preparedness Drill

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Old 08-25-2005   #30
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Looks like the facts travel slower than rumors about Jean Charles de Menezes "... The Brazilian was wearing a denim jacket and walked into the station, picked up a free newspaper on the way and walked through ticket barriers.

It is suggested he only started to run when he saw a train arriving and was sitting down when he was shot...".

He was actually shot 8 times and we might now discover if it was the police or one or the special services that got him, but I doubt it

Link to the BBC story.
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Old 08-25-2005   #31
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It's a good thing he did not know the cyrillic writing was Russian or you would be looking at an espionage charge. If you had been at a naval base the Marine gaurd would have definatly frowned ;-)
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Old 08-25-2005   #32
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Not sure if this is universal advice, but I've been told that if a cop (and I use that term politely - my brother-in-law is a cop and at least around here that's not a rude term) approaches your car, stay in the car and keep both hands on top of the steering wheel where he/she can see them. Only roll down the window when asked. Don't get out of the car. Cops are vulnerable in that situation and they know it - don't do anything to make them nervous, like reaching for something on the seat beside you or under the seat.
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Old 08-25-2005   #33
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Todd, like you I'm glad someone is keeping an eye out. And it does sound as if you & the officer both handled the situation gracefully - except for your getting out of the car & putting your hands in your pockets, which you'll presumably not do next time.

This is how things ought to go in a free society under threat; the authorities should be watchful, and when they investigate and determine that nothing sinister is going on, everyone should say thank you and get on about their business.

The picture was well worth stopping to take; maybe you should give a print to the officer, or, if it's too difficult to locate him, to the department to hang in their station house.
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Old 08-26-2005   #34
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To add a bit more, I was in London in July of last year, and I wandered into an area that used to be horse stables and homes for what I was told later, servents back in the 1800's. But now they are a more posh and trendy area to live. Secluded from the streets and garages and go for a pretty penny. Anyway, I was wandering about and shooting a bit, when I got stopped and questioned by two very polite London police officers in a big van of all things. They asked for my passport and what I was doing. I was shooting Digital and showed them what I had photographed. They told me they were just making sure I wasnt up to anything shady. I can appreciate what they did, even though I got a bit nervous being a Yank and all

Here are two of my favorites from that day:


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Old 08-26-2005   #35
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Well, that's one advantage to digital--you can prove instantly what you've been taking pictures of. A good friend's cousin was a cop, and he told me that his greatest fear was being hit by a car while standing on the side of the road. The police do have a very difficult job, with lots of scary threats. I once got to "play" an advanced training video game, one used by diplomatic security agents, and just seeing a guy get out of his car and point a shotgun at me in the simulation almost made me pee my pants....until I shot him first!
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Old 08-27-2005   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanK
To add a bit more, I was in London in July of last year, and I wandered into an area that used to be horse stables and homes for what I was told later, servents back in the 1800's. But now they are a more posh and trendy area to live. Secluded from the streets and garages and go for a pretty penny. Anyway, I was wandering about and shooting a bit, when I got stopped and questioned by two very polite London police officers in a big van of all things. They asked for my passport and what I was doing. I was shooting Digital and showed them what I had photographed. They told me they were just making sure I wasnt up to anything shady. I can appreciate what they did, even though I got a bit nervous being a Yank and all
I think I've spotted the sensitive area they were protecting. That set of white windows in the background is an MI6 secure house and you had wandered onto it unwittingly.

Sorry, lame humor. But, its sad that what was known as the free world now gives up so much these days due to "security."

In Todd's case things were cool and cooler heads did prevail. Even though he was indeed photographing power lines. Seems the cop wasn't dumb after all.

They are all just trying to do their jobs. Too bad for those of us who just want to capture a scene. I think things will be calmer some day. Hope we are all around long enough to enjoy that day.
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Old 08-28-2005   #37
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I love the part about the cop asking for digital camera advice for the wife

I went to our Supreme Court today, and brought my camera along just in case. To my surprise, when I inquired, the guards at the entrance told me there was no problem with me taking pictures outside of the buildings, etc. One even offered to take my pic when I was shooting.
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