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 Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :) 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:51 pm
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Post Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
Sometimes, you just want to find a quiet spot, set up your gear, and relax reading the paper as your t/l setup clicks away. But due to the unusual nature of the gear, the amount of stares, and general weird public behavior astounds me.

Just today, I setup just outside London Bridge on a public piazza. Big heavy Tripod, Chunky 5D with battery grip, Intervalometer beeping, huge EF attention-attracting grey/white EF 70-200 lens. I was just shooting a high angle sky timelapse of a decrepit highrise building site with crane and machinery, shot against a blue sky with white fluffy clouds rolling by.

I nearly stopped traffic ! - The sheer amount stares, onlookers, general wierdos... here are some examples of what happened during my half hour shoot:

Mad general people who were firstly walking home minding their own business. suddenly stopped, saw the camera, changed their direction, and 'edged' their way in front of the camera pretending to be on their phone or something. No matter that they weren't in shot, people just seem to react differently and either a) want to get in front of your camera or b) get out their iphones and point it in the direction you're filming and start taking pictures of that too (having no clue what i'm actually filming).

- Most people just don't get the timelapse process, so they just see me standing there with a camera clicking every few seconds and you can see them scratching their heads thinking 'wtf'./

- Japanese tourists go into spasms !!!

- Also, FOUR burly security guards came storming up to me in a harassing manner, walkie talkies crackling, trying to look important, putting their hand over the lens ''you can't shoot here. it's prohibited''. When pointing out ''this is a public highway, jog on'', the guards (obviously their ego hurt) said 'you can't shoot that building it's mot allowed'. i practically snapped and spouted him the pedestrian/public highways act stating 'I'm shooting clouds, in a public place. You wanna go jurisdiction on me? Do you ACTUALLY realizing the stupidity of what you are saying?''. The four guards then walked off sheepishly, looking so absolutely embarrassed at their stupidly trying to stop someone from taking a photo of a friggin' cloud ! (sometimes, i think these lowly security guards have importance/ego trips!) But i did laugh at them, crossing my arms and shaking my head as they walked away heads bowed down.

Then the Police came up to me. ''are you shooting a film?''

''No, you need a license for that''.. i said sounding authoritative. 'Oh'' they said - and walked on realizing I'm not actually breaking into Barclays Bank afterall; They then proceeded to engage conversation. ''What are you doing they say''.

Then i have to explain the timelapse process and politely say 'Sorry mate but i only have a certain amount of light and need to setup my exposure n stuff', They politely walk on. (i don't stop to talk interrupt police when they are working... cordoning off a crime scene or something).

But basically, i was genuinely interrupted non-stop. Little old grannies stopping bemused. Japanese tourists taking pictures of me taking pictures of clouds. Homeless Hobo's tapping me on the shoulder constantly... And that''s not even to mention KIDS...filming at 3:30pm after school is REALLY BAD i had to basically cordon off my tripod area to stop hordes of kids kicking the tripod and ruining 20 mins work.

So. I'd like to know. do any of you guys encounter these problems. What funny stories do you have with 'onlookers interrupting whilst conducting your innocent, quiet T/L hobby pastime.

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Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:29 am
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Location: CO
Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
Too funny. I for sure have had my share of simular encounters. I have realized a few tricks over the years to help out the gaper factor. Its always good to remain as incognito and official looking as possible. These camera covers help:

http://www.amazon.com/Vortex-Jacket-Cam ... dslr+cover

For rural use, or urban if you want to look extra military official:
http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Camouflag ... dslr+cover

In trying to look as official and not to be messed with as possible by applying these velcro military patches on my camera bag, tripod heads,etc:
http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Colonel-I ... tches+bird

A small thing that helps incognito is to cover all camera markings with black gaffers tape. Makes whatever cam you are on not as interesting to your average passerby camera nerd.

Last get this seat, when you are sitting down and not standing by your gear it looks like you are not really doing anything, which is usually for the better:
http://www.amazon.com/Rothco-Army-Digit ... Camp+Stool

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Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:38 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:03 am
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Location: Washington DC
Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
Hah yea i get this often as well. A lot of people want a full explanation of what the equipment is, what the camera will do, etc lol. i honestly don't mind talking once the camera is clicking but some people seem oblivious when i'm setting up and don't really want to engage in too much conversation.

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Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:42 am
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Location: Denver, Colorado
Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
I think if shooting in populated areas you are going to have to expect people are going to be curious and ask about it. I generally expect it and dont mind much.

I was up on Mt. Evans setting up a time lapse when a gentleman with a 400mm f2.8 lens on a stick came over and asked me about the system, he offered and let me fire a few shots off through that $9000 lens at some mountain goats i saw. He seemed like a nice fellow. Sometimes it gives you fun opportunities.

I was doing a short video while shooting a time lapse at Clement Park in Littleton Colorado. It is right next to Columbine High School. I live in this area and did not think of it until i was halfway to the spot i planned to shoot. Nobody asked me what I was doing, but i got a LOT of suspicious and cautious stares with that time lapse rail over my shoulder and nobody wanted to come close enough to ask what that long metal rail thing was all about.


Generally i dont want people in my timelapses so I try to find places that are remote where i can be left to my own devices without being bothered. I find it very relaxing to kick back and listen to the gentle timed slap of the shutter and intermittant buzz of the motor.

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Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:44 am
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Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 11:07 pm
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Location: Portland OR
Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
Haha yeah I get this a lot. One time I was doing a camera raise looking down the aisle of a farmers market, and a guy comes up and stands directly in front of my lens, covering it 100%. Then he starts asking about all the gear (camera about knee hight). I decided to humor him to see if he would figure it out himself. Nope, after 5 minutes of explaining timelapse,, motion control, etc etc, The camera is up to the guys crotch I tell him hes been in the way the whole time, and hes like "oh you're filming right now?"


Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:41 am
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Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:32 pm
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Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
I was doing a timelapse from top a high rise, observation deck, nice dark corner. Everything clicking away for awhile looking good. Used to getting a few looks, people curious. All good.
One guy, tourist, comes up seeming curious, trying to see what the camera is looking at. No big deal yet. Then attempts to look through the viewfinder (even though preview is working). Getting a little concerned, but I'm a good natured person and people are curious. ....

....Then he starts touching the camera, pushing buttons so he can see the image and moving the lens and angle slightly as if its there for him to use... Goodbye to my good nature.

Lucky for him I was mostly done with that shot, and I'm a nice person, otherwise.... :evil:

I prefer the amused people. Have even shown them a preview if they wait around.


Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:06 pm
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Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
@ ArtsGuru

I totally get those things happening all the time!
About the security guards, were they from the building you were shooting next to?
I did some amazing shots the other day with a building and some clouds in shot, stood on the public highway not blocking anyone. The building owners eventually came out saying that if I was a freelancer then i cannot continue what i was doing.

Now I've been a TV news guy for over ten years so I know the law about shooting stuff but this guy was adamant that if I take a shot of this building, I need permission to do so.
Now I dont want to start a fight so I'm very accomodating and say I'm a teacher (True, still work on projects part time though) and I'll email him my work when its done to show him. (I see this as a good idea as I may get extra work from it :-) )

The thing is.....Afterwards I get on the internet and learn about the many issues of shooting certain landmark type buildings around the world. I cant remember where I read it but apparently stock houses wont except shots of certain buildings without permission and Philip Bloom had a few issues with his space needle film.
I wondered if I have missed something?
Can I still make money out of my shots?

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Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:15 am
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
First off, let me say I'm an old guy, so all this post 911 crap is new to me and people have become right buggers since then.

Being one of the first Americans to work in Russia after (and during) the revolution, I went around and took pictures of all the government buildings I could find. When showing them off to my Russian co-workers, many would say things like "Do you know that is Department of Defense headquarters? KGB school? Ministry of Foreign Affairs?" I'd say yeah. That was it. America is a lot more restrictive. Totally the opposite of how they portray themselves.

Having gotten over the whole illusory concept of making a career of this, I generally shoot as far from civilization as possible. Some friends at the parks department gave me combinations for locks to restricted sanctuary areas so I can setup in areas where the public is not allowed. Its wonderful. I can leave stuff setup for days. My long dolly remained in the fern forest for a month. I'd move it to a new location every evening and come out to start it before dawn. The rest of the time it was there all by itself.

During "turtle time" I was out at the beach all night, every night for a couple of months. The bobcats accepted me into their society and meowed to let me know of their presence before walking past whenever we crossed paths. I would do the same whenever entering a dark area where I couldn't see what was there, or whenever i saw one of the cats that hadn't detected me first. Even this wasn't enough to avoid the most dangerous animal though.

It turns out that there are people who like to walk naked on the most remote beaches in the state and they only do it at night. This generally prevents them from being seen by unsuspecting familys out for a day with their kids, but puts them square in the line of fire for my telescopic lenses looking down the length of the beach. Of course I get the finger every time anyone sees me. People complained to the parks department, saying they were responsible because I donate my turtle timelapse to them for free. They wrote letters to the editor which were published in our local paper criticizing the hidden cameras spying on their beaches. Cops were even called once but failed to actually find me in the dark. Some went so far as to complain to the county commission, requesting some regulation prohibiting night photography. No regulation was passed, but there were some questions about whether I had a permit to floodlight the beach. Those questions were silenced when it was pointed out that there were no lights and the film in question was shot by moonlight and starlight. For some reason, no one questioned the legality of being naked in a public place. The real question was whether or not my right to photograph should be curtailed because I might accidentally acquire evidence of someone committing a misdemeanor offence.

I miss Russia.


Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:50 am
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:18 pm
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Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
ToweringPictures wrote:
@ ArtsGuru

I totally get those things happening all the time!
About the security guards, were they from the building you were shooting next to?
I did some amazing shots the other day with a building and some clouds in shot, stood on the public highway not blocking anyone. The building owners eventually came out saying that if I was a freelancer then i cannot continue what i was doing.

Now I've been a TV news guy for over ten years so I know the law about shooting stuff but this guy was adamant that if I take a shot of this building, I need permission to do so.
Now I dont want to start a fight so I'm very accomodating and say I'm a teacher (True, still work on projects part time though) and I'll email him my work when its done to show him. (I see this as a good idea as I may get extra work from it :-) )

The thing is.....Afterwards I get on the internet and learn about the many issues of shooting certain landmark type buildings around the world. I cant remember where I read it but apparently stock houses wont except shots of certain buildings without permission and Philip Bloom had a few issues with his space needle film.
I wondered if I have missed something?
Can I still make money out of my shots?


Bet it was the Beetham Tower ! You should have said if they didn’t want people to photograph it they shouldn’t have made it so BIG . We live in a ridicules world.


Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:24 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:43 am
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Location: UK
Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
@DISPLACEMENT1

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8896

It sure was! Check out the sample reel here!

TP

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Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:04 am
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Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:30 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
I have occasionally concealed the camera in an orange coloured plastic box and mounted it on a surveyors tripod.
Standing around in a fluoro jacket and wearing a hard-hat can complete the illusion ... you become invisible.


Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:04 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:12 am
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Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
Something similiar happened to me as well. I was shooting time lapse of small city in Croatia from a pier (something like this http://farm1.static.flickr.com/191/453929527_2e0f1295a8.jpg) everything went great but after 2 or 3 hours one guy (probably dockyard´s security guy) was looking on my camera. I was about 10 meter away and nobody else was around me or him so I was calm, only bad think that could happen was that he would be mean and he would throw that equipment into a sea (well it was 50D + Tokina 11-16mm - for me really expensive gear) so I just ask him if he needs something, somehow he didn´t hear me and he just leaved. It was first time shooting in "public" place so I will be expecting more visitors like this.


Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:07 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:15 am
Posts: 99
Post Re: Street Timelapse & The Public Amusement :)
Check this forum link out regardinfg the police and timelapseing.
http://forum.timescapes.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=8783


Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:01 pm
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