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Thread: Tripods in urban areas

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Tripods in urban areas

    I'm copying a post from the Leica area on the use of tripods in NYC.

    It would be a service to the MF landscape community if you could post your experiences on hassles with tripods in urban and other areas.

    Here's the quote: . . . I'm not certain what the deal is on tripods in NYC. They were banned; there was litigation; there was some sort of compromise. The average cop probably doesn't know about the compromise, but it has something to do with pedestrian congestion and sidewalks. There are many places you clearly won't be able to use one - interiors (Grand Central, museums and churches); "private" outdoor spaces (the plaza in front of the Seagram building or any similar site, and surprisingly Bryant Park), and surprisingly much of Central Park. Here's a link: Link on tripod use in NYC. New York is no worse in this respect than most other large cities.

    This is why I get much more use from my M9 in New York than I do from my H3D -39. It's also why I've mastered handheld stitching - I've proven to my satisfaction that a three frame stitch cannot be distinguished from the H3D on a 24x36 inch print. A tabletop tripod (the sturdy Leica version) is invaluable in this context, using a convenient tree, pole, parking meter, whatever, as a support. But I was hassled even with the table top tripod in the plaza at Lincoln Center.

    Here's a NY Times article on a story (a guy arrested for photographing an Amtrak train) that made national news (if you do nothing else today click through on this one!): Amtrak photo contest

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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    Woody,
    I took a night shooting class in NYC where we obviously needed tripods. There is a permit you can get that will allow for tripods. We had permits for various different locations. I can try and unearth the form/link and post it here. Places like Lincoln Center can be really problematic but I don't think impossible to permit.

    If anyone wants to do some night shooting on the streets in NYC I recommend Lynne Saville's class at ICP.

    We did:
    Library/Bryant Park area
    Chelsea
    Central Park
    Brooklyn down and around the bridge
    Boat Basin upper west side

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Here's a NY Times article on a story (a guy arrested for photographing an Amtrak train) that made national news (if you do nothing else today click through on this one!): Amtrak photo contest
    Now that's funny (albeit disturbing).

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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Woody,
    I took a night shooting class in NYC where we obviously needed tripods. There is a permit you can get that will allow for tripods. We had permits for various different locations. I can try and unearth the form/link and post it here. Places like Lincoln Center can be really problematic but I don't think impossible to permit.

    If anyone wants to do some night shooting on the streets in NYC I recommend Lynne Saville's class at ICP.

    We did:
    Library/Bryant Park area
    Chelsea
    Central Park
    Brooklyn down and around the bridge
    Boat Basin upper west side

    Any info on shooting in NYC is here

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/index/index.shtml

    I've been shooting in NYC for about 5 years and never had a cop stop me or even ask me what i was doing. I've shot in Time Sq several times, Wall St.. all over and never once had a problem.

    "A permit is required for filming if equipment or vehicles, as defined in the rule, are used or if the person filming asserts exclusive use of City property. Equipment does not include hand-held devices (such as hand-held film, still, or television cameras or videocameras) or tripods used to support such cameras, but a permit would be required in certain situations when the person filming asserts exclusive use of City property while using a hand-held device. "

    So according to the mayors office if its just a tripod no need for a permit...

    Most Permits are free and only take a few minutes to get. I still get them for commercial shoots just in case.
    B-!
    Last edited by Brett Moen; 6th October 2010 at 17:42.

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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    We were in Little Italy in NYC a few years back, and a woman came down the street pushing a tripod (big rolling job) with an 8x10 view camera on it. Pretty cool to see, neat person too.

    Don't think a permit had anything to do with that one. Probably the rig was too big for someone to walk off with it.
    Last edited by Geoff; 6th October 2010 at 17:49.

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    Senior Member bradhusick's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    She was stealing the rig.

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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    She was stealing the rig.
    Its happen to me here... some one went out the window with most of my studio and walked it down the street with it... almost a year ago...

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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    It's why God made the Leica M9, 21/1.4 and 50/0.95

    Off to Chicago tomorrow with above.

    Do those NYC rules cover Mono-Pods? Probably do huh?

    Never used a tripod in LA, Chicago or NYC. Although, thinking about it, it does sound appealing to shoot Times Square with MFD, 28mm and a longer exposure.

    -Marc

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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    I thought I only had to worry about big government's desire to unarm us..what do they think, if it is a gitzo there may be a browning .50 machine gun that could go on top of it?..I wonder if those guys out surveying have to pull the permits too.
    I was going to do some background filming at bryant park this week and besides the nyc permit you have to get a bryant park permit from the bryant park corporation, whoever that is...seems it is not public property, so after filling out the permit you have to send them a dvd of the finished project...Some naked cowboy can stand in times square and make a scene but I can't sit quietly with my camera and tripod! ..down right un-American.

    think about all the wonderful shots from last century of nyc alone.. steichen, steiglilz, weston, callahan, caponigro..on and on..so many now part of our visual history and due in part to the use of the now banned tripod.

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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    No where on the cities web site does it say that tripods are bannded

    "Permit Not Required:$300 permit fee does NOT apply.- Hand-held cameras or tripods are used and the person filming does not assert exclusive use of City property."

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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    I guess it would be a good idea to have a printout of the law. A cop can still stop you: they just have to mutter "blah blah blah security blah blah blah national security" and that's it. Unfortunately, this is the world that we live in today. I'm sure it doesn't happen all the time, but enough to make it in the news

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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Although, thinking about it, it does sound appealing to shoot Times Square with MFD, 28mm and a longer exposure.
    I'll have to go digging for the photo, but I've witnessed somebody doing exactly that right outside the Marriott Marquis at sunrise. He was using an Alpa something or other and had one of those rolling suitcases of equipment with him instead of a backpack or camera bag. I watched him for a few minutes and tried to make nice with some pleasant conversation but he was in "serious artist" mode and was having none of that. :-(

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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentin View Post
    I guess it would be a good idea to have a printout of the law. A cop can still stop you: they just have to mutter "blah blah blah security blah blah blah national security" and that's it. Unfortunately, this is the world that we live in today. I'm sure it doesn't happen all the time, but enough to make it in the news
    As one who photographs almost exclusively on the streets and in back alleys and always late at night, I can tell you that based upon my experience dealing with police and security guards, having a printed copy of the law with you won't have much of an effect upon their behavior.

    While it has been my experience that most security guards are a**holes and most police officers are decent, when you run into one who wants to hassle you, then they are going to hassle you regardless and there are any number of legal, legitimate ways for them to do so. BTDT way too many times, I'm sorry to say...

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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Brett Moen View Post
    No where on the cities web site does it say that tripods are bannded

    "Permit Not Required:$300 permit fee does NOT apply.- Hand-held cameras or tripods are used and the person filming does not assert exclusive use of City property."
    well I went and did the reading of the permit applications.. and yes you are right, me and my tripod can shoot on the sidewalks if not interfering..The film office also offers permits for this type of "non-permit" shooting so you can have on you to reinforce the fact you are allowed..however on that application it specifically calls out for "handheld only". So on one hand they say it is okay but they won't put the tripod in writing..so you are at the mercy of the officer if you are stopped.. "papers?,I don't need no stinking papers"..comes to mind.

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    photohagen
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    Re: Tripods in urban areas

    from personal experience: if you use a tripod - (especially) with a "serious looking camera", you will be stopped by the nyc police, questioned, and told to leave. if you haven't yet, you have been unusually lucky. Even though the law is on your side regarding a lonely tripod and camera, and even though you might be on a very quiet street, and even though you are not obstructing anyone or anything, if you are very serious about your pursuit of nyc shooting, you better have a permit if you don't want your time wasted. don't leave it to luck. and i might add, there is no use and it is a total waste of time, trying to reason with the police on the scene.

    rh

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