Knowing the Boundaries - Your Rights as a Photographer

The right to take photographs in the United States is being challenged more than ever. People are being stopped, harassed, and even intimidated into handing over their personal property simply because they were taking photographs of subjects that made other people uncomfortable. Recent examples have included photographing industrial plants, bridges, buildings, trains, and bus stations. For the most part, attempts to restrict photography are based on misguided fears about the supposed dangers that unrestricted photography presents to society.

Ironically, unrestricted photography by private citizens has played an integral role in protecting the freedom, security, and well-being of all Americans. Photography in the United States has an established history of contributing to improvements in civil rights, curbing abusive child labor practices, and providing important information to crime investigators. Photography has not contributed to a decline in public safety or economic vitality in the United States. When people think back on the acts of domestic terrorism that have occurred over the last twenty years, none have depended on or even involved photography. Restrictions on photography would not have prevented any of these acts. Furthermore, the increase in people carrying small digital and cell phone cameras has resulted in the prevention of crimes and the apprehension of criminals.

As the
flyer states, there are not very many legal restrictions on what can be photographed when in public view. Most attempts at restricting photography are done by lower-level security and law enforcement officials acting way beyond their authority. Note that neither the Patriot Act nor the Homeland Security Act have any provisions that restrict photography. Similarly, some businesses have a history of abusing the rights of photographers under the guise of protecting their trade secrets. These claims are almost always meritless because entities are required to keep trade secrets from public view if they want to protect them. 

Cleaning your Camera by Jerry Griffin

Notes taken during Tom Johnson's talk, Close-up Expeditions, February 2002

a) use a clean towel on the table to put everything on. This will keep things from rolling around, falling on the floor and getting dirty.
b) NEVER clean lenses/filters dry on dry. ALWAYS supply some moisture!

Outside of Camera Body and Lenses
a) Use Boars Hair Bristle brush ( shaving brush) to clean outside of camera body and outside of lenses. Do not use on lens glass or on filters. Keep this in a separate container.
b) You can also use a toothbrush (unused) to clean outside of camera body.
c) Use a damp washcloth (wring it out!) to wipe outside of camera body.

Lenses and Filters
a) If you want to use lens cleaner for something like a fingerprint, use ROE or Singh Ray cleaners. Do not use Kodak lens cleaner as it has a tendency to leave a film on the lens. Put lens cleaner on a lens cleaning tissue and NOT directly on the lens or filter.
b) Use a microfiber cloth and breathe on the lens/filter. Using the condensation as a moisturizer, gently wipe the lens/filter from outside edge towards the center. If you work from the inside out you will leave residue at the edge of the lens.
c) ALWAYS clean from the outside to the inside in circles.

Inside the Camera Body
a) Always clean camera upside down by holding camera up above you and letting gravity help the dirt fall out.
b) NEVER use canned air inside the camera.
c) Use a small hand blower (an ear syringe is fine) to blow out loose dirt from camera body.
d) Use a camel's hair brush to clean mirror by gently wiping it across.
e) Use a camel's hair brush to clean film pressure plate by gently wiping it across.
f) Using denatured alcohol (not rubbing or isopropyl alcohol) dip rolled up Q-tip into alcohol. Gently go over the camera lens ring, the metal parts of the camera body inside (like the film tracks) and hot shoe contacts. Treat contacts GENTLY! Also use C)-tip with denatured alcohol to clean metal contact points at back of lenses.
g) Use clean new pencil eraser to clean battery contacts.

Your Camera Cleaning Kit should include:
a) small amount of denatured alcohol in leak proof container
b) Q-tips in zip lock bag
c) Camelís hair brush in zip lock bag
d) Boars hair bristle brush in a container to keep it fresh
e) Small blower in separate container to keep fresh
f) Unused toothbrush (optional)
g) Lens cleaning solution
h) Lens cleaning tissues
i) Microfiber cloths (you can never have enough of these)
j) Pencil eraser in a zip lock bag to keep fresh


How to Avoid the High Cost of Specialty Photo Gear

For a fraction of the cost of purchasing that 400mm lens, professional-grade DSLR or other special-purpose equipment, here are a couple alternatives:

So if you want to upgrade your equipment just for that special photo event or job, or "try before you buy," this is an alternative to look into.


Notes from Tools, Tips & Techniques (Kenny McKeithan)

Tools: solid tripod that can lay flat to the ground, cable release, bubble leveler, graduated neutral density filter, circular polarizer (cannot be replicated during post-processing)

Techniques: rule of thirds, leading lines, "thin" horizon if not helping the photo, "thin" sky if not interesting, vertical lines, horizontal bands, diagonals, shoot both vertical and horizontal P

HDR: expose +/- two stops for three shots or +/1 one stop for five shots, process with NIK HDREFEX Pro 2 (free download from Google), NIK SILVEREFEX PRO, NIK COLOREFEX PRO, Topaz Simplify

Panoramas: must be level on tripod; use PSE or LR for merging

Nighttime: set ISO at 3200, wide open aperature, 30 seconds

Favorite post processing adjustments: black, clarity, vibrance, sharpness, lens, white balance, de-haze if available