King of the Hill

King of the Hill

So I was driving around when I spotted this thing – I thought it was kind of neat perched up on the dirt pile like that and would make a good addition to my construction site HDR series that I’ve been shooting lately.

So I pulled into a parking lot, got out, and shot it through a gap in the fence surrounding the site. I wasn’t there long – ten minutes perhaps, but just as I was finishing, a cop pulls up beside me.

“What are you doing?” he says.

“Just taking pictures,” I answered.

“For who?” he asks.

“Myself,” I answered. I then I asked the quintessential “Is there a problem officer?”

“Well, you’re trespassing, for one.”

(I was standing in a parking lot, outside the fenced construction site. Technically, I suppose the parking lot is private property – but who ever heard of someone “trespassing” on an open parking lot?)

“Where do you work?” he asks next.

I really can’t fathom why that could possible be relevant to anything, but I answered truthfully.

He then asked for my information “for his own records”. I’m not entirely sure he had the right to demand this of me, but I cooperated. He seemed to be nice enough by this point, having realized I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I chatted a bit about photography while he made his notes.

Before he finished, he offered a quite absurd “You can’t be too careful, lots of stuff gets stolen from construction sites.”

Rationalize much? As you can see from the photo, the yard consists of dirt and a steam shovel – and I can’t quite imagine anyone making off with the steam shovel. Further – it was broad daylight in the middle of a Sunday afternoon.

“Well you’re fine, as long as no one complains,” he finishes, before driving off.

(Who would complain, I wonder? They clearly weren’t doing any work that day, and I can’t imagine the store cared that I was using their parking lot for ten minutes.)

It wasn’t the first time I’ve been questioned for standing around taking photos, nor do I suspect it’ll be the last. But photography is not a crime, at least not yet – so I’ve no reason to act like it is.

I just find it remarkable how overzealous security guards, suspicious cops, and other power tripping authority figures seem terribly afraid of cameras. I won’t dig too deeply into that here, other than note that in a truly free society photography would be a non-issue.

The image above is an HDR composited from 9 frames at 1 EV separation using Photomatix software.

Focal length: 18mm


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