Jderden777 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1749 posts, RR: 31 Posted (12 years 1 month 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2453 times:
the story is pretty much explained in this e-mail that i sent to the security chief at TRI...here it is and let's see what you think...
During a recent visit to Tri-Cities Airport to pick up a friend returning from Des Moines, Iowa, through Cincinnati, I had an interesting encounter with an airport security officer. I arrived at the airport to find that my usual photography spot was blocked off by a Sheriff. I stopped my car and asked if it was possible for me to be allowed to photograph aircraft from this spot. I have been to this spot a countless number of times over the past 2 years without any problems with security. My proposal was rejected and I was sent on my way. Now I made my way to the terminal, where I passed through the security search at the entrance to short-term parking. I asked the officer present if I could walk over to the employee parking lot (just across the street) to take photographs of the aircraft that my friend flew in from Cincinnati that day. This officer agreed to let me take pictures, and told me that in case anybody hassled me, that I could tell them that "he said it was OK." So I went across the road into the employee parking lot and stood at the edge of the lot (out of any parking space). I proceeded to take a few pictures and I was there for about 10 minutes when the aircraft was preparing to depart. This was when I could take the most valuable pictures because there would be nothing around the aircraft. Just as the aircraft was pulling away, an airport security officer rushed up to me, yelling at me to stop taking pictures. I did indeed stop and he told me how I was a possible threat to security and that his lieutenant told him to run me off. This angered me, because I was not told that I was breaking any rules or regulations. As far as I know, photography is not illegal at airports. The security officials are worried that someone will use my photos for intelligence. This is not the case, as there are numerous aviation websites with FAR better pictures than mine that anyone could use for whatever reason. I believe that this was an extremely unfair encounter and this hassle was not necessary for security measures. I think that the airport security officials could use their time more wisely, rather than forbidding photography to teenage student pilots/aviation photographers. This incident does not speak highly of the officials at TRI. They have abused their authority and this is unacceptable. The need for heightened security is apparent in the wake of the September 11th attacks, but there is absolutely no need to forbid photography. Either I was completely misled, uninformed, and out of my bounds that simply taking PICTURES was against the law, or a hasty security official wanted to be extra sure that a teenage boy can no longer enjoy his longtime hobby. Something should be done to give photographers the chance to engage in their hobby while not posing as a threat to security. At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the 3rd busiest in the USA, Jonathan Birdwell (a fellow photographer) and I offered a ramp tour in an airport operations vehicle with a security escort that would take us all over the grounds of the field, providing us with ample photography opportunities. We have both been accomodated very well at major airports such as Chicago's O'Hare, New York's Kennedy (JFK) Airport, Atlanta's Hartsfield Int'l, and Knoxville's McGhee Tyson airport, and at many different airports throughout the country. We are both appalled because there is nothing available here at TRI for anyone interested in aviation photography. There are no opportunities for ramp tours with security escorts or anything of the sort here at TRI. TRI used to be known to us as a friendly, hometown airport. The attitude has changed drastically as a result of this dispicable and unnecessary incident. We would both enjoy an appreciation for aviation photographers here at TRI, and some respect for our hobby which we invest much time and money in. Also, ramp tours in airport security vehicles would be fantastic for photography. So all we ask for is respect for our hobby, as we do not pose a threat to security. If photography is illegal at TRI now, then we must know so we do not violate this rule. We need an outline of what we can and cannot do, as it seems getting permission from a security officer is unreasonable now. We would both like to know our limitations, yet we clearly know our rights.
Thank you for your time,
Jonathan Derden; written with help of fellow photographer Jonathan Birdwell
now, is that asking too much? just some respect for our hobby and passion? and maybe, just maybe an opportunity to arrange a ramp tour at TRI? things have gotten way out of hand...it's time to take a stand against senseless stuff like this...what do YOU think?
Jderden777 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1749 posts, RR: 31 Reply 1, posted (12 years 1 month 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2307 times:
i forgot to mention what the aircraft was...it was a Comair CRJ (N978CA) in the new colors...the first CRJ i'd seen in the new colors at TRI...i expressed this to the security official who gave me permission to take photos and he understood well...the 2nd guy didn't...
Gocaps16 From Japan, joined Jan 2000, 4314 posts, RR: 22 Reply 3, posted (12 years 1 month 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2254 times:
Yea, great letter Jonathan. The officers at DCA are like that too. I usually call ahead of time to airport ops to recieve my permission to take photos at the employee lot and usually they'll approve then later on you'll see this fat slimy officer walking to you eating a donut and tells you to leave the airport ground telling you're a possible threat to the planes and the airport. All nonsense BS. Anyways, I'm avoiding that spot since it's in the perimeter fence of the airport and hell, I ain't gonna get arrested by a lousy officer.
One day I was shooting at that spot, taking landing and takeoff shots on RWY 1 at DCA on July 15, ops gave me permission to shoot then 30 minutes later this officer guy came to me. I started getting mad and changed my voice tone a bit (slighty anger) that Lt. Bob* (not a real name) gave me permission to spot here but then he kicked me out of that spot and said I could move more down the parking lot near the Potomac River. Then he suggested me to go to Gravelly Point since it's for the public (no shit, LOL...I've lived here for like 8 years now)
But Gravelly Point sucks during north ops. I rarely go to the park when runway 1 is in use, esp. now since the northbound takeoffs are now like at SNA to decrease the noise in the neighborhood.
AndyEastMids From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 998 posts, RR: 2 Reply 6, posted (12 years 1 month 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2219 times:
Well, this just seems to reinforce to me the impression that the US is currently going barking mad. Officers of the law spending all their time driving photographers out of places where they are doing no harm whilst at the same time there's folks walking through security with seven knives and a taser! Someone needs to get their priorities right in your part of the world, and victimising photographers ain't it!
I wondered how long it would take for someone to use the "you're gathering intellegence for terrorists" line of s**t, but really - are they stopping folks from photographing tall buildings too?
I'm still mystified as to what legal basis any cop can use to move folks on if they're standing in a legally accessible public area... I thought that the US was the land of the free - when are people going to stand up for their law abiding rights to be in a public place taking photographs.
Jderden777 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1749 posts, RR: 31 Reply 7, posted (12 years 1 month 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2201 times:
i couldn't have said it any better...it's gotten way out of hand...security is still a joke...and they are running harmless photographers out of public places...i guess we ain't free to take pictures no more!
p.s. to get a ramp tour, i just ask airport operations if it would be possible to arrange a ramp tour on such and such a day at a certain time...usually they will accomodate such requests (as DFW airport has)...but TRI (my hometown airport) doesn't believe in this...
Lanpie From Canada, joined Aug 2000, 297 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (12 years 1 month 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2187 times:
Depending on the airport, security officers can be a problem to photographers. I know at Mirabel Airport if you stopped on the road and go near the fence it does not take to long to have an RCMP vehicule come to the area and the officer asking you to leave.
Usually, regional airports are more accomodating to photographers. It is new to me that some airports provide ramp tours.
Mike_Steffen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (12 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2157 times:
It really makes me sad to see that spotters sometimes are treated like criminals.... We love aviation that much so why are they not realizing that we are the least likely to do anything illegal!!!
If we could only make them see that spotters can be an advantage for airport security... After all, it's an extra set of eyes that keeps a good lookout and that knows exactly what goes on at an airport, maybe even better than the police.....
Dstc47 From Ireland, joined Sep 1999, 1409 posts, RR: 3 Reply 12, posted (12 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2158 times:
I understand that persons taking photographs of bridges in the Bay Area,the Golden Gate etc have also been hassled. As if there are not plenty photos in the stock photo libraries for saboteurs. Webcams even.
Of course taking a photograph of an aircraft is really, really, dangerous. Standing in a public place with a camera is a dangerous sign of interest in aircraft.
Well if and when we get the Ladybird Book of Terrorist Identification, that some of these security guys must use, we will know what they are looking for.
Or is it that standing around all day, without doing something, however stupid, to break the monotony is the real reason for hassle.
Jderden777 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1749 posts, RR: 31 Reply 13, posted (12 years 1 month 6 days ago) and read 2135 times:
i got a response back today...what really pisses me off is that i had inquired about a possible tour over a year ago and was refused...now they say they had tours before sept. 11....anyway here's the response to my e-mail..
Thanks for your e-mail regarding your encounter with airport security. I haven't had a chance to talk with Public Safety or our Deputy Director of Operations yet regarding your experience, but I wanted to get back with you to let you know that we will bring the matter to their attention.
I'm surprised that you weren't allowed to take photos of the aircraft from the employee parking lot, especially after having been give permission from another public safety officer. Photos from public areas should not present a problem. I will check with public safety to see if they have received a security directive from the FAA or the airlines regarding this issue. That could very well have been the case. Regardless, I will be happy to ask for more specific guidance regarding rules for public photography and pass them along to you.
As far as the rest of your comments, since September 11, so many things have changed at Tri-Cities Airport as well as at every other airport across the country. I'm sure our public safety officers were acting under the
premis that it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to activities that are somewhat outside the norm. It is impossible for them to know what your intentions are regardless of whether you are an amatuer/student/teenage photogapher or not.
You have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to tour ramp areas of some of the largest airports in the US. You did not mention whether your
tours were before or after September 11, but I would certainly be surprised if you were given such freedoms after September 11, unless you were on a specific media assignment that had been prearranged well in advance.
In the past, Tri-Cities Regional Airport has had a very active tour program that we hope to reinstate in the future if security efforts are relaxed. At this time, we do not foresee security returning to its former state. It's
unfortunate that we can no longer allow people access to certain areas of the Airport for filming purposes. Even official news crews aren't allowed past the security checkpoint at this time as requested by the FAA, so
unfortunately a ramp tour is out of the question at this time.
I realize that persuing your hobby is very important to you, but you must understand that the airport has to concentrate efforts and resources on
ensuring passenger safety and the saftey of airline opperations. Perhaps in the future we will be able to reinstate some of the freedoms we all enjoyed prior to September 11, when the terrorists ruined things for lots of people, not just those who have been inconvenienced by additional security at airports.
When we have additional guidelines for photography, we will forward them to you.
Tu154m From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 672 posts, RR: 6 Reply 14, posted (12 years 1 month 6 days ago) and read 2127 times:
Good to hear you got a response! I grew up in a small town and the police there went out of their way to look for trouble. Maybe this is what happened at TRI....I can't see a Comair CRJ drawing alot of attention, so maybe they were just "excited" about having someone in their area!? As for the support about my first post, thanks guys, I guess they took it off(probably thought it would tick someone off). Anyway, I didn't mean to offend anyone with it, just expressing my opinion! Happy spotting!
Tu154m From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 672 posts, RR: 6 Reply 16, posted (12 years 1 month 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 2097 times:
Your post really struck a nerve as I have experienced the same kind of "hostility" while trying to shoot since 9/11. I just stated, more or less, that it seems the only way this will ever calm down is when the persons responsible are brought to justice. I also stated that it is sad that police are so worried about people who try to contact them first taking a picture of an airplane when, at ORD this weekend, an individual can pass thru security with mace, knives and a stun gun, give his address as one associated with known terrorists, and be released as "he was not a threat"!!!! Give me a break! I'm just sick and tired of hearing about how dangerous we are as individuals intrested in aviation when we have people in this country illegally and on expired student visas who get away with murder.....literally. I could go on and on but we have heard it a million times. It is really sad to think that a great country like ours can be terrified by the acts of a few. That is exactly what has happened. As HORRIBLE as 9/11 was, we have let them alter our lives, which means in the short term, they have won. I have friends all over the world and of many different ethnic groups/backgrounds, and they all have voiced an opinion that maybe the US has become to "free" with letting people do what they want to here. Unfortunately it looks like those of us who have been here all along will be brought down with the bad ones. I wasn't saying the need for increased security doesn't exist, because it does. We just need to channel it in the right directions so it will be effective, not absurd!
BO__einG From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 2765 posts, RR: 19 Reply 17, posted (12 years 1 month 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2084 times:
one of your pictures were used where countless eyes of North Americans as well as world had seen.
I bet that picture alone is one of the most popular pictures ever in the modern world now.
You got some fame. But a risky fame.,.
Lukily thsoe american guys at ops are very nice..
In calgary I get emails with 1 paragraph saying No with 2-3 reasons and rambling on and that is it..
And even with the latest incident at Ohare.. How sad..
What you guys should do for future trips.
Id highly advise that you guys contact Ops before you go out shooting/spotting.. Let them know the basic info like how you look..(they dont wanna see a OB Laden like person in the field)..
If possible try and get written permission.. with Signatures from the airport cops or even your city cops.. perhaps that will delay any encounters.. as long as you got your proof that you can be there.
Or.. You can do with the gluttony way.. Buy about 2 packs of 24 Donuts of motley assortment and keep it in the back seat of your car and when trouble arises.. Treat them with Donuts.. Cops and those round dohs have some special bond and if lucky.. your genorsity may pay off with them leaving you alone...
They may perhaps smile at you and only charge you for trespassing instead of possesion of camera/etc..
Bo.. OB-hmm backwards for Bo.. uh oh.. :0
Expanding my global domination one spotter at a time..
CO777 From South Africa, joined Apr 2000, 261 posts, RR: 12 Reply 19, posted (12 years 1 month 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2059 times:
I am not surprise this is happening. Most of the airport authorities have closed of viewing area at least a few places I have been to lately. I think its sad that the Police are more worry about people takeing photos of airplanes then what happened at O'Hare this past weekend. And now I may have to take a trip to Canada,Europe or other parts of the world to take photos of airplanes since the Police in the US are panicing.Its sad but true.
Da fwog From United Kingdom, joined Aug 1999, 867 posts, RR: 9 Reply 20, posted (12 years 1 month 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2061 times:
It really is a bizarre situation. And I think the problem with the security staff is that they think they should be doing SOMETHING, but they don't know what. Here's an example:
3 weeks ago, when I was at Newark, I was about to get on the monorail, and decided to snap a quick pic through the window. The SECOND I had my camera up to my eye, I was accosted by an airport employee and told photography was forbidden.
A few days later, flying back from Terminal 4 at JFK, I has passed through the security checkpoint, and was taking a pic of the old TWA terminal through the glass and was accosted again by an employee. I was told it was forbidden to take pictures of the ramp, although I could take photographs INSIDE the terminal if I wished.
Compare this with what happened to me at LGA a week earlier. I was inside the central terminal building, taking pictures through the glass. I'd been there for an hour or more (another guy had been taking photographs through the windows a little way away, and he wasn't getting hassled, so I figured it was ok) - and a security guy had walked past me a couple of times on his way around. As I was still there when he next came by, he went off and found a cop to come and talk to me. The cop asked me a few questions: what was I doing, where was I from etc. and then told me he was quite HAPPY for me to take photographs through the glass, as long as I didn't take any pics INSIDE the terminal, and particularly not of the security screening areas. He then went away left me to it.
Now, this just tells me that no-one knows what they are supposed to be doing. A cop tells me I'm quite ok to be photographing airplanes, as long as I don't take pictures inside the terminal. A different airport employee completely contradicts this and tells me I CAN take photographs INSIDE the terminal, as long as I don't try to take photos OUTSIDE.
I think I'll just stick to what I know: I can take photos OUTSIDE the USA, just not INSIDE!
Thomasphoto60 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3779 posts, RR: 24 Reply 21, posted (12 years 1 month 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2043 times:
As Chris infered, the various agencies are not communicating with each other and there even seems to be little communication within a given agency.i.e. the police, one cop may say its o.k. then his another says it is not! . Each seems to have its own agenda, while ops officials at airport A, the police may see you as a threat and chase you off, regardless of the o.k. that local airport officials may have given. There reverse is often true as well.
Until the FAA, Airport managers(ops), Police, ect.... start communicating with each other, there is going to be an element of risk venturing out to any US airport with a camera for some time to come.
As I have said before, I certainly hope that the FAA and Airport managers start taking lessons from various European operations and apply European style security at US facilities that do not impede on our right to enjoy our pasttime. Sadly, knowing how the US goverment overreacts to certain situations, unless we spotters have an articulate spokesman to explain our mysterious and relatively unknown hobby (at least here in the US) the hobby may soon dissappear, in as far as anything more than approach shots from the few designated spotters areas, no more parimenter shots, or touchdown shots, ect......
Jderden777 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1749 posts, RR: 31 Reply 22, posted (12 years 1 month 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2018 times:
I got another e-mail today...here it is..
I talked with our deputy executive director who is over security at the airport about your situation. He agreed that it is unfortunate that our directives to maintain a heightened level of security at the airport have
caused many inconveniences, not just to photographers. He is uncomfortable in setting out specific guidelines for photographers because those guidelines would be subject to change without notice depending on certain
situations. It is the very nature of security that we cannot be too specific, because then the bad guys would know exactly what to get around to cause mischief. Part of the concern is having people photograph the secured area at the Airport, not just the aircraft. He also verified that while he was not overly concerned about amature photograhers, our public
safety officers can't know the intentions of everyone who is taking pictures.
While the observation deck will remain closed for the forseeable future, we agreed that it would be okay for someone to pre-arrange a photo session on the obversation deck or the employee parking lot, but it would have to be a one-time deal because someone would have to escort the photographer and stay with them the whole time. Frankly, we simply do not have staff available to do this, especially if the photography is not being done at the request of the airport.
I know this doesn't help you very much. Please understand that we don't mean to be uncooperative, we simply have to use our staff wisely based on the importance of the task. It is truly a new world after September 11, especially at airports, and I'm afraid you will find aviation photography a much more difficult hobby than before.
well, looks like i'll only have one shot at taking any more pics at TRI from any public area...the OB deck is closed and will not re-open anytime soon...i have no chance of getting a ramp tour with anyone...geeze...this is outrageous...i think we should all go bomb those stupid towelheaded radical freaks who follow bin Laden and get on with our own lives, just the way they were before all this happened...and excuse me if that offends anyone who is courageous enough and has the balls to stand up in defense of the attacks on Sept. 11...cuz i sure have the balls to stand up for what i believe in...
Tu154m From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 672 posts, RR: 6 Reply 23, posted (12 years 1 month 5 days ago) and read 2004 times:
Da Fwog is 100% right! We can take photos OUTSIDE the US just not INSIDE!!!! My buddy in the UK(who is also in the British Army and who recently returned from the Mid-East) and I are planning a trip either to CDG, MAD, Ostend/BRU, and/or ZRH, LGW/LHR, DUS/FRA. You get my drift!!!! Time to look elsewhere US spotters! By the way, Air Force One arrives ATL tommorrow around 1630......maybe this will be a good time to start photographing here again. NOT!!!!!!!
Planeboy From India, joined May 2005, 199 posts, RR: 1 Reply 24, posted (12 years 1 month 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1998 times:
America is a great country but right now she is a little bit shocked and confused. She won't let grandma into the terminal to greet her grandchildren upon arrival, she won't let wives into the terminal to see their husbands off on business trips, and well - you know what I mean.
The terrorists who put this all into play held tickets. They showed their tickets and boarded the planes and then all hell broke loose. They had no cameras - they were not photoing magnificent flying machines. They had knives in their pockets and a ticket to ride the machine. So they were allowed entry and you know the rest...
Security controls little. Love, hate, and fate control the rest. We all saw who got their way on September 11, and unfortunately they are still winning today.
Will things change? It's hard to tell. America has struck back by dropping bombs and food at the same time. America is a big, wounded animal. And she is very confused...
I was questioned recently at PIT for photographing planes on approach to 10L. My wife and I were enjoying the action when security drove up and asked why I was taking pictures. I was very nice to this fellow- I figured he was doing his job. So I gave him respect and he gave it right back. He drove away and my wife and I enjoyed watching more landings.
I hope America gives respect. I think she does, but how can we know of all her dealings ? Obviously, there is an element out there who feels America is wrong. So what can we do ? Drop bombs and food ? Things could get worse - but I hope they get better.