Man Sought for Photographing Texas City Refineries

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Gary Edstrom, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. Gary Edstrom

    Gary Edstrom Guest

    Gary Edstrom, Jul 19, 2004
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  2. Gary Edstrom

    Alex Guest

    "While it is not illegal to take pictures of a refinery from a highway
    or street, officials would like to talk to the man to find out his
    reason for taking the photographs."

    I hope they don't find him and they keep worrying like morons.
    Alex, Jul 19, 2004
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  3. Gary Edstrom

    Steven Wandy Guest

    I hope they don't find him and they keep worrying like morons.I assume you don't live in Texas?
    Steven Wandy, Jul 20, 2004
  4. Gary Edstrom

    ColynG Guest

    I suspect this person was just taking a few photos but in a time where
    we are under threat of terrorism, I have no problem with the law
    wanting to find this person.. If he was just taking innocent photos,
    he shouldn't be afraid to come forward..

    I live near a Naval Air Station here in Texas and for years would take
    photos of the aircraft flying in and out of the base but since 9/11
    they have been somewhat more watchful of who is doing it..

    Colyn Goodson

    email hidden
    ColynG, Jul 20, 2004
  5. Gary Edstrom

    ColynG Guest

    I hope he comes forward of his own free will..

    The only morons in this case is you..

    Colyn Goodson

    email hidden
    ColynG, Jul 20, 2004
  6. Gary Edstrom

    Stan Guest

    Stan, Jul 20, 2004
  7. Gary Edstrom

    Stan Guest

    Not too long after 9/11, I called the FBI to discuss their take on
    photographing refineries, bridges, ferry boats, ships, etc., all very
    interesting topics for photographers, and are subjects right in my
    backyard. What the agent told me was very simple -- "Use good

    If you are on private property, or are photographing sensitive topics,
    you would be subject to questioning, even before 9/11, but now everyone
    is a little more on edge.

    If you are challenged or questioned, explain what you are doing and
    why. Don't be an asshole.

    * * * To reply, remove numbers from address.

    Stan, Jul 20, 2004
  8. Gary Edstrom

    Stan Guest

    Stan, Jul 20, 2004
  9. Gary Edstrom

    ColynG Guest

    I agree with him..

    Since these subjects are now potential terrorists targets, they are
    naturally a bit uneasy about anybody photographing them.

    Most of the security personal at the Naval Air Station know me and
    since they also know I am a Navy Vet they leave me alone as long as I
    contact security prior to shooting.
    I couldn't agree more..

    Colyn Goodson

    email hidden
    ColynG, Jul 20, 2004
  10. I live in Houston and regularly work in one of the major Texas City

    About a month ago a Flamingo that is rarely seen in the area drew in
    many photographers from several states. One of the newspaper photos
    showed a refinery in the background.

    I have worked in an around Texas refineries for 23 years. They can
    potentially be beautiful photographic subjects, but there have always
    been photographing restrictions that are now even tighter.

    Something else we have a lot of in my area:

    Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, but I think it's all...

    Richard's fault!

    Visit the Sounds of the cul-de-sac at
    richardsfault, Jul 20, 2004
  11. Gary Edstrom

    C J Campbell Guest

    Almost any official nuttiness is justified these days by saying "since
    9/11." The same nuttiness used to be justified by mouthing the magic words
    "but this is the nineties." Neither 9/11 nor the number of the year have
    anything to do with whether taking pictures of refineries (or anything else)
    is a dangerous activity.

    Is allowing people to take pictures of refineries a security risk? I suppose
    there is a remote possibility of that. Can anything be done about it?
    Probably not. People are going to take pictures of refineries, power plants,
    bridges, military installations, airports and everything else. They are
    interesting photographic subjects. The only way you are going to stop it is
    to confiscate all the cameras, in itself an impossible task.

    Okay, suppose some security guard or policeman accosted this photographer
    and asked him what he was doing. The photographer might have simply said he
    was taking pictures of the refinery. What would anyone do about it? The
    activity was legal. There is no requirement for this gentleman to explain
    himself. The police or security guard would have no cause to confiscate his
    camera equipment or even ask him for identification. They would not have
    probable cause for a search. In fact, any interference (depending on the
    nature of the interference) with his activity might have invited a lawsuit
    by the photographer and possible criminal prosecution of the police or
    security guard for assault, theft, conspiracy to deprive the photographer of
    civil rights, or interference in a business transaction.

    Time was in this country (and still is, though to a lesser extent) a black
    man could be picked up by the police and jailed just because he was driving
    an expensive car. Later on it was the hippies who were picked up for having
    long hair. Now it is photographers going about their ordinary business. The
    reasoning is the same, and just as bogus.

    As a pilot, I am especially sensitive to some of these issues. There are a
    great many flight restrictions that are likely to spring up without warning.
    They serve no real security purpose. What terrorist would abide by these
    restrictions? The government is powerless to do anything about people who
    violate the restrictions except to take away their pilot licenses, like a
    terrorist would care. On any given day there are half a dozen airplanes that
    fly too close to the President. I suppose we could shoot them all down if we
    cared nothing for innocent bystanders in the air and on the ground. Killing
    a dozen people a day simply because they got lost or did not know the
    President was in town probably would not be a good political move....
    (Imagine headline: Family of four shot down by Secret Service in tragic
    accident; stricken airplane and explosive missiles hit nearby school --
    dozens of children killed or injured). Heck, it nearly happened: the
    governor of Arkansas came within seconds of getting shot down as he was
    flying in for Reagan's funeral. The height of silliness was notices to
    airmen to avoid 'loitering' over power plants, dams and manufacturing
    plants, along with the refusal to tell us (for security reasons, of course)
    where these plants were so that we could avoid them.

    No, I am not going to buy the idea that anything is justified if it is done
    in the name of security. I want effective security, not a police state.

    One of the more popular photo flights I do is to depart Tacoma Narrows
    airport. I circle over the Narrows Bridge (the infamous 'Galloping Gertie')
    and the construction going on there, fly up the Colvos Passage at 800 feet,
    do a low pass by the Space Needle in Seattle, turn west and fly between
    Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Bangor Trident Sub Base to the Olympic
    Mountains, turn south and fly over Lake Cushman and Tacoma Light's dam, then
    head east back to Tacoma Narrows. The trip is very popular, especially in
    the early evening if I can time it so that we get back just as the lights
    are coming on over the bridge and the city with Mt. Rainier glowing red in
    the background. Now, I really have to ask: would a terrorist want to do
    anything different if he was 'casing' the area? The sad fact is that all the
    popular tourist spots are also terrorist targets. Banning access to all
    these places would be tantamount to banning tourism. That is just not going
    to happen.

    How can things be made more secure for such a flight? Well, I can ask for
    photo ID, which I do. I can stay in radio contact with ATC even though it is
    not required that I contact them at all. Mostly, though, I fly with the
    knowledge that I cannot allow anyone to take over the airplane. It used to
    be that pilots would cooperate with hijackers in order to keep them from
    blowing up the plane. Those days are over. Anyone that tries to take over an
    airplane now will have a take no prisoners fight on their hands, even if it
    means immediate destruction of the plane and all on board. That's just the
    way it is. All the rest of the security measures are just window dressing to
    appease a nervous public.
    C J Campbell, Jul 20, 2004
  12. Gary Edstrom

    Alex Guest

    Agreed. I wonder what would happen if they found out terrorists don't
    use cameras because they attract too much attention. Start accosting
    people drawing in the vicinity of refineries?
    As much a security risk as someone with a photographic memory (or a
    lot of time on their hands) looking at the refinery and then stepping
    inside their apartment and drawing it. After all, these terrorists are
    being funded for this stuff - they can take all day scoping out a
    potential target, this is their job after all.
    They would give him grief so long as he didn't hire a lawyer. :)
    Be careful on that last statement: Some states have
    you-must-identify-yourself-to-authorities laws and the Supreme Court
    has ruled that they are constitutional.
    Alex, Jul 20, 2004
  13. Gary Edstrom

    DP Guest

    Last summer I was taking a rather nice landscape shot of Menwith Hill in
    North Yorkshire (UK) which is a US military listening post and has lots of
    nice round white radomes. As I was leaning over a wall, 2 very polite but
    armed policemen (which is very rare in Britain! (The armed bit I mean,
    british Bobbies are always polite)) came up and asked what I was doing. I
    told them it wasn't illegal, and they agreed. The checked my car
    registration and later that evening I had a knock on the door from my local
    police checking that my car was still in my possion. At least the British
    aren't completely paranoidlike our transatlantic cousins.
    DP, Jul 20, 2004
  14. Gary Edstrom

    Stan Guest

    I don't think it is a matter of being paranoid -- it's a matter of

    * * * To reply, remove numbers from address.

    Stan, Jul 21, 2004
  15. It's like the cartoon of a sheriff and his deputy in the Old American West.

    Sheriff says, "Deputy, shoot first and ask questions later." Just then, a
    stranger walks up.

    Deputy draws his six-shooter, fires, then yells, "What's yer name, Mister??"

    Yes, just a matter of style.
    Larry CdeBaca, Jul 21, 2004
  16. Gary Edstrom

    Chris Guest

    And, of course, they make it look like he's a "wanted" man, likely scaring
    him half to death not to come in, yet if he doesn't, they'll say things like
    "what's he got to hide?"

    If he's not suspected of a crime, don't make it seem so. It's not the time
    to be looking heavy-handed for no reason. I see "Homeland Scrutiny" is
    They've got a growing history of not liking people who take pictures, except
    of course for their pre-arranged photo ops.

    "al Qaeda" is mentioned in the press statement, although the man is only
    sought for questioning. They only would like to know why someone would take
    photos of what includes the 3rd largest U.S. oil refinery. Who would want
    to take a photograph of a big and somewhat famous object? Must be a

    Innocent until proven guilty, except when a Bush is in the chair.
    Chris, Jul 21, 2004
  17. Gary Edstrom

    C J Campbell Guest

    Even more frightening is that Kerry keeps saying that Bush is not doing
    C J Campbell, Jul 21, 2004
  18. Gary Edstrom

    Chris Guest

    Gestapo tactics aren't enough. It's important that, instead, they find out
    who is actually doing something, in a clear and methodical manner, and THEN
    bring that person or persons in.

    1 bonafide arrest is not worth 100 false alarms, many of which are made at
    the behest of Homeland Scrutiny's own Tom Ridge. Only in today's world, do
    we have a press conference, with NOTHING to say, and no desire to prove it's
    important with facts.

    Either fix the department, or remove it.
    Chris, Jul 21, 2004
  19. Gary Edstrom

    Steven Wandy Guest

    1 bonafide arrest is not worth 100 false alarms,

    It is if it prevents another 9/11 type incident.
    Steven Wandy, Jul 21, 2004
  20. Thank you! It's kind of convenient that people complain that nothing was
    done to prevent 9/11 and those same people are complaining because extra
    measures are being taken to prevent it from happening again.
    Michelle Griffin, Jul 22, 2004
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