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It’s been a while since I posted and I haven’t had time to shoot anything noteworthy for a while. So determined not to let too much time pass between posts I decided to go through my Lightroom catalogue and find an image that has a good story around it.

My image “Eye up high” proved a little tricky to get due to the tripod police. They don’t mind folk taking photos but an erected tripod will attract security guards rather quickly in some places. I understand, the area around the London Eye can get quite crowded and a collection of photographers shooting with tripods can become an obstruction and a nuisance.  However, it was not crowded at the time, so I had a go.

My first attempt, or should I say non-attempt was due to me saying “yeah, ok”, when told “no tripods” by the first security guard I encountered.  Then I went to find somewhere to sit. My camera was still attached to my tripod but I was not shooting and less than a minute later another security guard was on my case.  It was all rather irritating and my response was not polite, in fact I was a bit rude. I was a little disappointed in myself for this.

Anyway, I got up and walked away and gave myself a little while to calm down. The thing was, I saw a good shot here with my fish-eye lens and didn’t want to let it go. So I did a little thinking and the phrase “you’ll catch more flies with honey” came to mind. I decided to go back and try again, but this time prepared to stand my ground with a smile and not let any irritation get the better of me.

I began my setup away from the area with my camera set low on the tripod.  I moved into position and framed my composition.  A couple of minutes later, sure enough, a security guard came to challenge me. The conversation went something like this; “You were told before, you can’t use tripods here.” said the guard.  “No offence but I think I am going about my lawful business in a public place and I need to use a tripod to get this shot in the dark, I’ll be gone in a few minutes.”  The guard then said something about the area being private property and I still can’t use a tripod. I said “This looks a very public place to me, are you a police man? Because if not, and again, no offence intended, but I’m not sure you have the authority to tell me that I can’t do this.”  I admit I knew this was a private area, so I was a bit cheeky with that one.

While all this was going on I was shooting a few shots with my remote shutter release and checking the results. Because I was using a fish-eye lens and the guard was standing next to me, he was in the shot and spoiling it.  So again with a bit of cheek, I asked, “Would you mind taking a step back please as you are in my shot.”  He actually obliged while on his radio telling someone I was failing to respond to the request to stop using a tripod.  I then fired off a few shots, checked the results and could see I had one I was happy with.  With that I got up from my crouched position and said, “OK, I’m done, nothing at all personal, I know you’re just doing your job, but I’ll get out of you’re hair now.”  The security guard then gave me a broad smile and actually thanked me for not getting personal, I shook his hand and was on my way.

This has left me feeling much more confident in the face of security guards in the future. Staying calm and polite while standing your ground is the way to go.

Eye up high
Eye up high

A lovely bonus for this image is that I entered it into a set subject competition at my local camera club. The subject was “Up in the air” and it was the winner.  🙂