Topic Author
Posts: 378
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 1999 9:52 am

Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Sun Mar 26, 2000 7:13 am

Hello fellow photographers

I am sure this has been a topic before but what do you think of airport police telling you not to take pictures of aircraft. Today, while I was waiting to shoot a picture of a Delta MD80 taking off from Columbia Airport (CAE), a police cruiser stopped and the officer came out and told me that I was not allowed to take pictures. She said I was caught by surveillence cameras and that's why she was sent out. She also said something about the airport being private property and that I would need permission from the airport authorities to take pictures. Personally I think this is ridiculous since I stayed out of the fenced area the whole time. What do you think?

Posts: 223
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 1999 1:22 pm

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Sun Mar 26, 2000 11:28 am


I've been there with cops telling me to leave. I usally look at them and nod my head...leave...but take your time...

Also, if you're not in an employee parking lot, and you're on the outside of the perimeter, you aren't tresspassing on airport property. If you're on the sidewalk, you're on city property, and the airport cops cant do anything to you.


Posts: 1511
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 1999 11:08 am

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Sun Mar 26, 2000 2:22 pm

Uh, don't be too confident where the airport boundaries are located. Just because there is public access (ie a road or sidewalk) doesn't necessarily mean it's not private property.

I mention this because I am currently doing extensive low scale mapping of LAX where I work. I've got a diagram of the LAX property lines and they extend out quite a bit in some areas, including some commercial and residential areas on the north and east sides. On the west side of LAX the property owned by the airport includes that dead area with the roads.

In another note, I had a security guard get really mean with me while I was at LAX last October. He too told me I wasn't allowed to do it and I was on private property, etc... I knew he was full of crap and I wanted to challenge him on it, but I was less than 90 minutes away from my flight home and didn't want to risk missing it over something like this. So I just left and went into a different terminal and took more pictures. The thing that really made me mad was that I missed Air Force Two taking off while I was agrueing with the guard. I'm sure Al Gore had nothing to do with the incident through...this guy seemed to really have a bug up his ass for some reason and just wanted to feel important I guess.

I've never been approached at MSP or ORD, and I've done extensive spotting/photography at both places.

Mark Abbott
Minneapolis, MN
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man...
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 1999 1:22 pm

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Sun Mar 26, 2000 5:02 pm


Actually, Gore's plane probally had something to do with it.

I've been to LAX 4 times to shoot (all within the last 16 months) and just once, i had been asked to "get down" (off a nice 7 foot high perch) this was because "i could fall" and get hurt.

Never have I been harrassed by cops at an airport, with the exception of LGB. The Boeing Security guys dont like photographers. However, if you shoot at LGB, go out onto the sidewalk. McBoeing can't do anything to you there, according to what the cops said.

LAX is a very friendly airport. I've even had cops come up to me and talk to me while Im taking pictures. My advice is, just dont look -too- ovious. (Meaning dont get too close to the top of the fence and dont try to hop it!)



RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Thu Mar 30, 2000 6:52 am

I am sure Air Force Two had a lot to do with it..

I shoot at Dulles all the time, and I have had cops give me a hard time in the past.. I just ask the office to call his supervisor and that works everytime..

As for Air Force One and Two, when they were at Dulles in 98, I was there shooting, and had my bags searched five times becasue of it..

Posts: 4971
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 11:55 am

I Was Told I'd Be Fined $10k

Thu Mar 30, 2000 8:12 am

I was stopped by a construction worker telling me if I was caught I'd be fined $10k, and my film would be taken. I didn't leave, and went on with my business. He's been out there other times while I've been shooting, and he hasn't said anything since. I've had MCO operations pass me hundereds of times, and police drive by, and haven't been stopped yet. I think it's stupid that they have the nerve to hassle us about it. It's not like we're doing drugs or anything, we're just taking pictures of planes!
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 12:35 pm

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Sat Apr 01, 2000 2:51 am

Where would be a good place to take pictures of planes without being hassled at JFK and EWR. I ask this because I plan to take pictures and I don't like to miss planes because of being hassled by airport police.I took pictures at GAT and LHR from the inside of terminal 4 and security said nothing. I was standing right next to them and just snapped away. They were really nice as well and even gave me advice on how to take better pics. LHR and GAT rules.
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2000 7:03 pm

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Thu Apr 06, 2000 6:13 pm

Well, do you have El Al Israeli Airlines flying to your airport?...
The police in Hannover(Germany) don't force you to go away, but all this checking the passport and, when El Al is flying, the big limousines with dark windows and the armoured cars really don't make you feel very welcome...
I understand there is a need for these safety actions, but sometimes they seem to get a bit paranoid...
Posts: 2728
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2000 6:02 pm

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Mon May 01, 2000 8:27 pm

Thank you very much for discussing this topic. Recently I attempted to take a photo of a Condor 767-300ER (D-ABUE) at one of my nation's airports (TAB; Crown Point International) and a security guard came up and in point-blank fashion said that no photos were allowed. Since that time I have been wondering how and where would be the best locations to film aircraft at both TAB and POS. How do you all deal with the security issues? I send this since in the past I took shots of widebodies at TAB from the Waving Gallery without any problems. It may well be the drug menace but what does that have to do with photography?
Hop to it, fly for life!
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 1999 4:36 am

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Mon May 01, 2000 11:00 pm

I frequently go airplane watching down at ATL andif I'm paying an hourly parking fee to watch airplanes and/or shoot video from a parking deck, I don't feel as if they've got any reason to hassle me. I'm not a terrorist and I don't appreciate being treated like one either.
Posts: 1253
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 1999 1:42 am

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Wed May 03, 2000 6:37 am

I haven't been stopped by anybody in my picture taking adventures (yet) I've been shooting pics at SFO extensively, police officers just walk by and smile, say "hi" or a little something, same with the security personnel, they probably know what you're doing when you're walking through the portals with a lone camera (but once they told me to put it on the belt, it came out the other end and started flipping end over end on those spinning metal rods), all they do is either ask me to take the lens cap off and look through it and wave me through, or wipe a cotton pad around where the lens attaches to the body and stick it in their machine. Same at LAS & HEL, nobody ever bugs you.

Head in the clouds... yet feet planted firmly on the ground.
Posts: 273
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 1:01 pm

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Thu May 04, 2000 10:24 am

I went to ORD awhile back and a "little man" (private security guard) told us that no photography was permitted in the terminal. I asked him who told him that, and he replied "his boss". We had already got the shots we wanted, so we motored-on. A few minutes later we confronted two Chicago Cops that were strolling the terminal. We asked them what their policy was and they acted like they could care less, as long as we weren't taking pictures around the security checkpoints. I can understand that.

Moral of the story, don't believe what a $6/hour security guard tells you. Ask the cops if in doubt...

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Fri May 05, 2000 6:20 am

I photograph in Sweden and the security guards are very nice! For example, there is a dirt-road to one of the runway's at Stockholm-Arlanda, which has a "no unauthorized entry" sign. Every day you see security cars driving on the inside and outside of the fence, to the approach lights and so on. When you are at the "no unauthorized entry"-road and photograph aircrafts at approach, one or two security cars usually drive past, but they don't mind you as long as you're outside the fence. We often nod at them to say hello when the drive past us, and they nod back.

A friend of mine photographed aircrafts with a big telephoto lens which rested on one's shoulder, and a security car with a guard stopped by asking if the camera really was a camera - I guess it looked suspicious with that big "bazooka" aiming at the aircrafts at the end of the runway.

So far I haven't had any bad experience with security guards - while photographing aircrafts! Otherwise, uhm... well, that's another story!  

/Fredrik Hjort
Posts: 247
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2000 12:17 pm

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Mon May 15, 2000 11:23 am

I have been shooting pictures for a long time and NEVER been bothered. When I was in LAS, the police were there and never bothered me. Besides they cant do nothing to you anyway. There are no signs that say no photos. I even took photos of BIZ-JETS by where they park and when people are boarding and never been stoped. So if you get stopped ask where the sign says no photos. Most of the time they have nothing else better to do.
Jason Whitebird
Posts: 176
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 5:45 am

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Wed May 24, 2000 5:47 am

I also like to go out to CAE and take pictures and have never been told to stop. I was even out there trying to take a picture of Air Force One when it landed. And there was hundreds of cops out there at that time. I guess you had an anal cop that day.

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Sun May 28, 2000 8:07 am

Dear Friend,

I too think it is very ridiculous as we photographers stayed out of the airport,taking pictures outside the fencing.I have been caught before at Changi Airport while taking pictures.


Posts: 3758
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 1:04 pm

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Sun May 28, 2000 8:44 am

So what happened, when you were caught by the police Alvin ? I plan to visit SIN sometime next year. Is photography at Changi forbidden ? if so why ?

"Show me the Braniffs"
Posts: 4138
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2000 9:14 am

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Mon Jun 05, 2000 10:23 am

All I know, I've bee ntaking pics in US airports alot and never been bothered. I've taken pics at IAD where there is a gate for employees and their are always guards there. I've talked to him once and he never told us No pics allowed.
I was in Bogota, Colombia's Airport and seen signs saying "No Photography" I guess for terrorism.

RE: Police Apprenhension While Shooting Pictures

Mon Jun 05, 2000 2:34 pm

Oh no were taking pictures of airplanes and going to sell them to other airlines for money (Ha Ha Ha).... But seriously if they didn't want us taking pictures why is there so much glass in the airports???? Also I agree with Nikon LAX has great people I've taken pictures there for quite along time and the security is more interested in all my neat looking gadgets not for the reason of terrorism but for the reason the want to learn somthing about photography!!!!

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