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Major Hassle Today At ATL (long)  
User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5099 posts, RR: 13
Posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4375 times:

I spent a nice Sunday watching planes & shooting at ATL's parking deck. I just have to share "my" hassle story - it seems we have lots of photographer hassle stories here in the USA and now I join you......

I arrived and was going pretty good for quite a while up on the roof. I shot some from the south side, then hiked over thru the terminal to the north garage to try and catch some arrivals to 8L. Light conditions were perfect for this. Then I hiked back to the south side and was shooting more when suddenly I was approached, not by the usual "rent-a-cops" on bikes but by a guy in a truck wearing a red shirt with the parking company logo who was the "boss man" and he stated that it was illegal since 9/11 to photograph any aircraft or runways from the garage without permission. I told him that I, and others, have done this many times and he said that he was just following orders. Everybody I dealt with today was passing the buck. I asked him who needs to give me permission and he replied "D.O.A." which is Department of Aviation (the body that controls ATL airport). he left, and I took a couple more shots, and a rent-a-cop on a bike (Jamaican-type guy) comes up and says I must leave...that if his "boss man" finds out I am still here he will lose his job.

So I go hike back inside the terminal and ask around where the DOA office is, and I go up there. 2 Supervisors are there, and I told them what I was told, and they had a puzzled look like "what do we say?" and they said they had no problem with picture taking, and that indeed there WAS NO law against it (my god she even has an airliners.net photo from ATL as her wallpaper on her computer!), and that perhaps I should go downstairs and tell the Atlanta Police who I was and why I'm up there so they'd know. They "passed the buck"! I trekked thru the terminal to the Police Sub-station determined not to give up and talked to a Cop Supervisor who was anything but helpful. He said that he has no problem with pictures, but he does not know me without a complete background check and if anyone were to want to press charges against me he WOULD (and he emphasized that) LOCK ME UP IN JAIL. He said I need permission from the Head of ATL Security who of course is not in on Sunday. He passed the buck!!!

So I head back upstairs to the DOA, and told them what the cop told me, and I asked them if I could tell the parking garage "boss man" to call them if he has a problem. She wrote down her phone # and both names of the Supervisors on Duty. BTW, i did notice while writing down my name that she had a airliners.net wallpaper on her computer! I could not read the copyright bar but it was a rotation shot of the South African 744 that departs each morning. It was taken by one of the frequent ATL uploaders - so you know who you are and can be proud to have your shot on the Dept of Aviations' desktop! LOL So anyway, I have permission now so I'm good to go, right? NOT!

I trek back to the garage, and the rent-a-cop says did you get permission - I reply yes and I have names and phoone numbers - so he leaves. I'm shooting some more and again - here comes Boss Man's truck. uh oh. I've got this sinking feeling now. He demands written letter of permission and demands to know who I spoke with, takes his cellphone and calls. No answer. He is dialing all different numbers desperately trying to reach someone. Meantime, I hear an engine spool up and I turn around and its the LUFTHANSA STAR ALLIANCE 767 and I have just missed an excellent photo opportunity!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr  Pissed

It takes him forever to reach the Supervisor who finally tells him, "he's ok up there". FINALLY. The Boss Man said he wasn't trying to give me a hard time (yeah right) he's just following orders from higher up (passing the buck yet again) and he said have a nice day and left me alone for the next two hours.

Well.....I still managed to get 550 shots from the day through all this. Oh, and I did see two other people take pics and nobody bothered them! I was determined to get through this day.

This may have been my last ever shoot at ATL. No, I'm not giving up but I lost my job last week and hope to have some interviews very soon, and I may be moving farther away from Atlanta where I won't be able to do this again without a trip. However, experiences like this make me feel like I'm some kind of sneaky criminal when all I want to do is take pictures! I wish they wouldn't treat us like criminals!!!!!

Well...now to begin to look at the pics and sort them out.....


Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineJeffM From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3267 posts, RR: 50
Reply 1, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4261 times:

Bummer Bruce... sorry to hear that. I am sure one day there will be a post like.... "I was taken to jail today for taking pictures..." Sounds sad, but I am willing to be it won't be far.


User currently offlineAvroArrow From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 1046 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4167 times:

Bruce; I applaud your determination and the professional way you handled this situation. Despite the fact that it was most certainly a hassle getting the a$$holes off your back, I'm certain it was very satisfying in the end to know that you overcame their silliness and managed to get some good shots. I look forward to seeing some of them on this site.

Give me a mile of road and I can take you a mile. Give me a mile of runway and I can show you the world.
User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5099 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4167 times:

Well, I came away with 150 different aircraft pictured after all duplicates counted out.

You know I thought of something. Whether or not you get hassled depends on who is "on duty" as some may care and some may not give a crap, AND, we have so many levels of Bureaucracy here: Airport Ops, Parking Lot Operators, City Officials, Private Security, City Police, and now add another to the list - the TSA (thousands standing around!) What one person says probably wont get to another and nobody knows the true rule. I wonder if that is why things run smoother (well, overall) in other countries. Here in America, the solution to all our problems seems to be another regulation or government directive or new federal agency and our workforce is full of low paid people many of whom just turn their heads.


Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlineJeffM From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3267 posts, RR: 50
Reply 4, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4152 times:

Thank the Liberals for all the layers of Government! All the "feel good" laws we have just seem to make things worse. We need fewer laws, just better enforcement.

Oh well......


User currently offlineLindy field From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 3170 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4145 times:
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C'mon, man!! Don't you think it's a little simplistic to blame these security hassles on "the Liberals?" It's the forces of conservativism that have ruled since Sept. 11th! Most liberals I know, and you'd probably count me as one of them, would happily see the current Dept. of Homeland Security dismantled and reorganized along different lines. One thing I'm sure we agree on: Airliner photography is not a crime!


You did the right thing and your perseverence is admirable. Hope to see some of the photos from your weekend here on airliners.


User currently offline727LOVER From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 7447 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4142 times:

I was in ATL for 3 days in January and wasn't hassled at all!!

OKAY, they were taking off to the west the whole weekend, so I never went to the garage. Big grin Guess I should thank my lucky stars!!

I feel woozy....what did you put in that Pudding Pop?
User currently offlineJeffM From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3267 posts, RR: 50
Reply 7, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4113 times:

Yes, it is just a generalization. Relax, nothing more. I was just referring to "Big Government" in general, not picking on any one person. Just blaming the Liberals in the same manner they go overboard with animal rights, global warming, oil drilling in Alaska, regulation after regulation, new and more taxes, etc, etc, etc.

Yes, we do agree that airline photography is not a crime.

Sorry Bruce.


User currently offlineLindy field From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 3170 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4109 times:
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Jeff, did I give the impression of being excited by putting too many exclamation points in my post?!! Sorry about that!!!!

Seriously though, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree with regards to politics since I get the distinct impression that we probably vote for different political candidates and feel differently about certain issues. Good thing it's a free country, eh? Have fun shooting that Disney bird tomorrow; hope the weather's good.


User currently offlineJeffM From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3267 posts, RR: 50
Reply 9, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 4076 times:

No problem Ed. It wouldn't be any fun if there was just one party and one candidate. Difference of opinion is what it's all about.

Oh I am going to bag me a mouse tomorrow one way or the other. Thanks!


User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4069 times:

Welcome to the "Ive been hassled at a major US Airport" club Bruce  Big grin...it seems your story had a good ending though so Im glad for you...if only we could get the same out at PHL...


Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineRsmith6621a From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 194 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (13 years 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4048 times:

This is why it is important for us to form local Aviation Photographers group and begin to form a positive relationship with our local airports. The PR director at KSEA has said that they do not have a problem with photographers shooting images around the airport but they also said that from time to time we could expect a visit from the Port Police.

Chris Riepl another Anet photographer and I met by chance about two weeks ago at KBFI and spent about an hour out of our hour and a half time together discussing this issue. The KEY in our opinion is we need to educate the local airport about what it is we do and why we do it. There was a link about a week ago about EMAN(Manchester) and how they are using photogs as unofficial deputy's to keep an eye out for strange behavior. We believe that with the right nurturing we could very well achieve this level of respect and opportunity here in the states. We are looking into forming a local group here in SEA.

I applaud Bruce for his respectful handling of this situation, we will need to be submissive until these relationships are established. Being jerks will only cause us all to lose our privileges.

My challenge is to start a group in your local community, they are not likely going to listen or take one person seriously.


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