|Be prepared for a very, very high security level this week in DC due to the state funeral for former President Ronald Reagan. This is a National Security Special Event. They are expecting world leaders to come into town. That means lots of police, lots of security, and moderate headaches for photographers.
Tips to make your life easier:
-do not under any circumstances take pictures of security related equipment. This includes barricades or metal detectors. Especially not inside buildings.
-take pictures of law enforcement officials at your own risk. Keep in mind that security is high this week and it is really, really not worth it to get into a fight over your rights as a photographer. The whole National Security thing kinda becomes an issue, and it's a pain to argue with it.
-expect to have bag checks at every single federal building you enter. This includes museums. Pack all metal objects into your camera bag. Follow the directions posted. Most of the Smithsonians do not have x-ray machines, so you will need to open all pockets in the bag. At the National Gallery, you may be required to check your bags. Not sure about the other art galleries.
-DO NOT use tripods in front of the Capitol building, on Capitol grounds, and on White House grounds. This is federal law. Has been since the 1960s. And this week, the nice Capitol and Secret Service police may not be as nice.
-National Cathedral will be off limits to the public on Friday. So plan any shooting accordingly.
-there will be very heavy crowds downtown. Keep an eye on your personal posessions. It's a great time for pickpockets and snatch and grabs.
There are many flavors of law enforcement in DC. The FBI and Secret Service will be out. They do not wear uniforms. If you are approached, ask politely for ID if need be. No matter what, they are required by law to correctly identify themselves.
-be polite. Yes sir, no sir, yes ma'am, no ma'am will work wonders.
-explain that you did not realize you were not permitted to shoot there. Play the tourist card.
-show them the last 4-5 images you shot before they ask. If you are asked to delete an image DO SO. Again, it is not worth it to get into an argument with the officer.
Before I get deluged with "photographers rights" comments, let me say I don't like deleting images. And I believe in the rights of the photographer. I also believe in the wisdom of choosing battles. This week is not the week to win those battles. :)
And as always- if you see any unattended bags, packages, or other strangeness notify one of those nice police officers ASAP. :)
Have a great time in DC.
Message edited by author 2004-06-07 10:01:43.