Jump to content

Proof of permit required to use a tripod at Williams Tower Waterwall?


jb4647

Recommended Posts

I think the city rule about needing a permit to use a tripod has been meantioned here before but I'm curious as to if anyone can point or link to the specific City Of Houston statute that states this?

Do we need a permit to use a tripod? Where is the proof?

This is what I like to carry with me in my photog bag:

http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

Edited by jb4647
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hines' property site only puts this about the Waterwall:

The management office must be contacted at least 10 business days in advance for information and reservations to have a wedding ceremony OR photography at the Waterwall.

(http://www.property-website.com/pws/sites/4/live/propertyprofile/index.jsp)

I don't know anything about a city ordinance/regulation about it and can't find anything on the city web site or searchable municipal code..

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I don't believe it's a city thing as much as a property management thing. It's the same at Rice University. No one will say anything when your just walking around snapping pictures but as soon as you drag out a tripod your going to be confronted.  Is a tripod to "professional" looking?  I don't know and I don't blame you for wanting to use one. That's just the way it is. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's been that way a long time. I got told I couldn't use a tripod to set up a group picture when we met up with some relatives at the Waterwall back in 1990 or so. Just wanted to do that so I could get in the picture too, with the self timer. The security guard was perfectly obliging and willing to take our picture, so apparently that comes up all the time. Wonder if they screen their security guards for photography skills? :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In all the years I lived in Houston, I admired it over the LACK of heavy handedness I saw living in both Washington D C and of course Richmond Virginia just south of D C . I wish ya the best of luck . Texas was FOUNDED by renegades , prisioners , has beens , drunks and other assorted charicters that were demed to unworthy by the "Blue Bloods " Long live and God Bless Texas !!!!!!!!!!! Scrubba

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To enter the building or shoot at the Water Wall, perhaps.

The sidewalk is a public sidewalk. Snap away. Next time he pesters you ask him to cite his source.

http://carlosmiller.com is a really cool blog about this issue.

Actually, this is not always true. You are free to snap away without a tripod, but as soon as you set up equipment (even a Wal-Mart tripod counts) many cities (New York, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Long Beach that I know of, likely others) you need a permit because you're obstructing the public way.

I thought a few years ago, Hines donated the Water Wall to the city for use as a public park. Or did I imagine that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I don't believe it's a city thing as much as a property management thing. It's the same at Rice University. No one will say anything when your just walking around snapping pictures but as soon as you drag out a tripod your going to be confronted.  Is a tripod to "professional" looking?  I don't know and I don't blame you for wanting to use one. That's just the way it is. 

Yeah, I think it's because people started using it for official photos (weddings, portraits, quinceneras, etc.) ... I know I shot a singing group's portrait out there, but had to do it without the tripod (security stood there and made sure I didn't use it).

I guess they figure tripod = profession. No tripod means - amateur (or semi-professional).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think it's because people started using it for official photos (weddings, portraits, quinceneras, etc.) ... I know I shot a singing group's portrait out there, but had to do it without the tripod (security stood there and made sure I didn't use it).

I guess they figure tripod = profession. No tripod means - amateur (or semi-professional).

Geeze, What would they do if you just continue using the Tripod? Taze you. Wrestle you to the ground and throw you in cuffs? If rent-a-cops touch you they can be open to lawsuit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The sidewalks at the Water Wall still may be on Hines property and not city property. It isn't a city sidewalk running along the street we are talking about, but a more interior sidewalk if I remember correctly. It is equivalent to the sidewalks in the quad of Rice University. You have rights from city sidewalks, but not from private property even if it is an area that people access regularly. Hines has the right to set their own rules.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hardly even an "amateur photographer", and I've been "escorted away" from various buildings and sites many times, and questioned by employees and bystanders countless times in the past couple of years. Yes, security and all that is important, but I don't get why they have to be so paranoid about a harmless architecture student with a crappy little point and click camera!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hardly even an "amateur photographer", and I've been "escorted away" from various buildings and sites many times, and questioned by employees and bystanders countless times in the past couple of years. Yes, security and all that is important, but I don't get why they have to be so paranoid about a harmless architecture student with a crappy little point and click camera!

I've been hassled a number of times. In my experience, it seems the less "official" a person is, the more likely they are to cause problems for me. Rent-a-cops, and transit cops have been the worst. City cops have been better. Federal police have been no problem.

Off the top of my head:

  • Downtown Houston, a rent-a-cop threatened to take away my equipment at Enterprise Plaza. I told him that I'd be happy to call 911 so a police office could explain the law to him. He backed off.
  • Downtown Long Beach, California a transit cop demanded to see my permit. I explained the law to her, and she was happy. I preceded it with, "I've been doing this for 10 years -- it's my job to know what I can and cannot do."
  • Downtown Chicago (Printer's Row area) -- Chicago cops asked what I was taking pictures of and why, but didn't make any threats.
  • Downtown Hong Kong (Admiralty) - Chinese military police didn't give a crap about me shooting their barracks.
  • Downtown Hong Kong (ifc Center) - Rent-a-cops were curious about me, but being a white guy, they were afraid to approach. When it appeared to me they were getting concerned (a sudden burst of radio use), I walked over to them and asked them where they thought the best locations would be to take pictures. They loved this, and pulled out a map that they drew on and let me take with me.
  • Downtown Bellevue, Washington - Cops walking by stopped in their tracks and got out of my way so I could take a shot! Holy crap!
  • Downtown Washington, DC - Taking pictures of various government buildings at 3am - United States Park Police would cruise by me every couple of minutes on a scooter, but didn't interfere. I think he was just making sure I wasn't spray painting anything.

When I was working for a large media company, our photographers were threatened all the time. The lawyers at corporate had a set of guidelines for the photographers. Among the more interesting points

- Never give up your media. If a cop demands it, tell them they need a judge's order or a search warrant, and to submit it to the company's lawyers for consideration.

- Never erase pictures you've taken. If a police officer believes you've committed a crime by taking pictures, erasing the photos is destruction of evidence. A police office cannot compel you to commit a crime.

When I had my old Sony camera, it had two media bays. I always thought that if I ended up in a situation where a cop demanded my film, I'd just pop out and hand him the empty card. Sadly, I never got the chance. My new strategy is to shoot on MicroSD cards, and if I'm in a bad situation, I'll just swallow it.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyway, the new battleground appears to be videographers being arrested and charged with illegal wiretapping for taking video of the police without their consent in 1-party consent states. It is really alarming to see this happening.

This guy has been charged with wiretapping because he videotaped the officer (who pulled his gun for a traffic stop).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyway, the new battleground appears to be videographers being arrested and charged with illegal wiretapping for taking video of the police without their consent in 1-party consent states. It is really alarming to see this happening.

This guy has been charged with wiretapping because he videotaped the officer (who pulled his gun for a traffic stop).

Very interesting. Can't wait until a cop tries this with a TV station. Someone's going to lose his pension.

Illinois wiretap laws have never been updated for the video age, so you can carry hidden cameras anywhere. It's only the sound that requires consent. That's why when TV stations in Chicago do their undercover work there's no audio.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This guy got just a misdemeanor charge for the speed racer driving, but he's facing 16 years on the wiretapping charge.

Also, a Congressman from New York has introduced a bill to ban wiretapping charges against people who videotape the police in public. http://carlosmiller.com/2010/07/16/breaking-news-congressman-introduces-bill-to-protect-citizens-who-videotape-cops/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The police intimidate me all the time, it's best to just avoid them at all costs. If you are detained, confronted, or arrested don't do anything that could make it worse. Eventually, if you are in the right, you'll have your day in court.

I was on a mass bike ride recently and unfortunately harassing the police seemed to be the norm. It disappointed me that the riders didn't know when to shut up but instead made the situation worse. The skaters have already addressed the identical situation in the 90's and have been before city council (as have i). It was unforutunate that the younger generation believes that the police were in the wrong when quite frankly, the cyclists in the group were in the wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been hassled a number of times. In my experience, it seems the less "official" a person is, the more likely they are to cause problems for me. Rent-a-cops, and transit cops have been the worst. City cops have been better. Federal police have been no problem.

I'd have to agree about looking "official". Back when I did a lot of consulting in questionable neighborhoods (think Near Northside, 3rd Ward, South Union, Sunnyside, or 5th Ward) and needed to take photos of various apartments or retail centers, I'd go out alone and wear a dark suit and walk around briskly with a grimace and furrowed brow. I would not acknowledge a police presence, even with a furtive glance or slight nod. I was set upon completing a task that did not involve them. Confidence was key. I've never been hassled by law enforcement. Not once. (It might've been different if I were shooting highrises, though, like yourself.)

Apartment property management would sometimes get in my face, but I'd just give them my card, the name of my manager, and remind them quickly and in an unwavering monotone that I was taking photos from a public right-of-way--eyebrows furrowed the whole time--like one of those TV lawyers or Spock when he's 'fascinated'. I'd continue to get the angles I wanted, go back to my vehicle, and drive off, with or without them creating a scene.

In neighborhoods like these, there weren't very nearly any white people, and they would glance at me but move along. Hispanics tended to ignore me, often trying hard not to look (in the way that I try not to make eye contact with the homeless...or cops). And black people only ever asked if I needed help or assistance in any way on account of how dangerous they perceived their neighborhoods to be. These experiences were echoed during my work with the Census, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd have to agree about looking "official". Back when I did a lot of consulting in questionable neighborhoods (think Near Northside, 3rd Ward, South Union, Sunnyside, or 5th Ward) and needed to take photos of various apartments or retail centers, I'd go out alone and wear a dark suit and walk around briskly with a grimace and furrowed brow. I would not acknowledge a police presence, even with a furtive glance or slight nod. I was set upon completing a task that did not involve them. Confidence was key. I've never been hassled by law enforcement. Not once. (It might've been different if I were shooting highrises, though, like yourself.)

Apartment property management would sometimes get in my face, but I'd just give them my card, the name of my manager, and remind them quickly and in an unwavering monotone that I was taking photos from a public right-of-way--eyebrows furrowed the whole time--like one of those TV lawyers or Spock when he's 'fascinated'. I'd continue to get the angles I wanted, go back to my vehicle, and drive off, with or without them creating a scene.

In neighborhoods like these, there weren't very nearly any white people, and they would glance at me but move along. Hispanics tended to ignore me, often trying hard not to look (in the way that I try not to make eye contact with the homeless...or cops). And black people only ever asked if I needed help or assistance in any way on account of how dangerous they perceived their neighborhoods to be. These experiences were echoed during my work with the Census, too.

This mostly correlates with my experience, too. Especially the part about appearing confident. If you make it look like you're just doing a job, people for the most part leave you alone.

Even if you have permission from the property owner, things don't always go smoothly for all the same reasons as shooting from a public street. I was hired by Hines to shoot its RIverside Plaza towers in Richmond, VA and had to explain to a rent-a-cop that I was working for his boss.

And building on the "littler the man, the bigger the mouth" theme, when Hines hired me to shoot a tower in Chicago, I was doing some lobby shots (obviously professionally, with lights, and computers, and wires and crap everywhere), and some lawyer rushed up to me shouting, "Do you have permission to be here!? My clients don't want to be in your pictures!" My response was "I don't want your clients ruining my pictures, either." His yelling brought the security guards over, who told him to calm down and leave me alone. That was nice.

I've had a number of marginal people and vagrants "offer" to show me better places to take pictures from for a small fee. My standard response is, "I don't carry cash." Which is true -- it's not the 80's anymore. If it wasn't for the collection basket at church, I would probably go months without touching money.

Speaking of the Census -- do you guys get some kind of cherry bonus? I've had the Census guys knock on my door a few times (brand new building, so for some reason there's confusion and extra verification) and they are always the nicest, happiest people I've ever met.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...