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
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.....