Old 09-03-2009, 03:25 PM   #126
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So I have a question. A BNSF cop (Friendly, didn't really bother anyone) took down the info (Name, address, etc) of all the photographers at the flathead bridge near Essex before 4449 went by.
...What does this mean for me?
I'm in an ironic situation as since I started tis thread in 2008, I've become a..... security guard.



So sometimes I take down car make and models and license numbers of cars sitting in parks at dark when no one is in them. I keep them for possible future reference. That's all. If there was a crime reported in that neighborhood, then maybe this would help the police as possibly the suspects parked here and then went through the neighborhood. Or if I hear about a missing person last seen in such and such kind of car, I can lookat my notes and see if these were the same cars.

Obviously I have no idea what the BNSF LEO did with that information, but it may have been nothing more than taking notes of it.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:30 PM   #127
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If someone calls you in as a suspicious person, they have to make contact with you. Reason is that if they fail to and just blow it off and something does happen, then they are held liable for it. As for them coming in with lights on, that just depends on the department. Might be in their policy to respond like that. Once they make contact with you they will 99% of the time call you in and have you run through NCIC (National Crime Information Center) and the state data base to see if you have any warrants or suspended/revoked DL. If you are clear, to which I hope you are, they will go on their way. As for the attitudes, alls I can say is that not everyone is a peoples person. I know many nice officers and many that you wonder why they took the job since they never seem happy.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:26 PM   #128
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Now we have Janet Naplolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security telling Americans to report any photography "that doesn't make any sense."

http://www.pdnpulse.com/2009/07/home...ographers.html

If the top people don't have it right, how is the LEO going to get it right?

Now EVERY officer will feel duty bound to question us.
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:16 AM   #129
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Now we have Janet Naplolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security telling Americans to report any photography "that doesn't make any sense."

http://www.pdnpulse.com/2009/07/home...ographers.html

If the top people don't have it right, how is the LEO going to get it right?

Now EVERY officer will feel duty bound to question us.
That's fine but they better know what the DHS's purpose is and what they are suppose to watch for according to written legislation not a "press conference".

One piece of advice is to leave a magazine or book or some published work featuring railroad photography. They ask why, you point to the photos and say you are a journalist. They will not and can not do anything about it regardless of credentials.
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:36 AM   #130
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One piece of advice is to leave a magazine or book or some published work featuring railroad photography. They ask why, you point to the photos and say you are a journalist. They will not and can not do anything about it regardless of credentials.
Or go to J school and get credentials.

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Old 09-04-2009, 11:08 AM   #131
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I wonder what she is going to come up with next. It is off topic, be she just changed the rules for the 287 g program for ICE.
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:13 AM   #132
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New to railfanning and thought I'd post an experience (albeit not as a good a story as some of the others here )

While at the BNSF yard the other night shooting (pictures, not birds), a rail security agent stopped in the middle of the road and asked me to go to the other side of the street to take pictures and to move my truck (I was parked ROW side, my bad). I saw him coming and figured he was security and before he arrived, I stopped my long exposure.

He was cool, of course, I showed no attitude, just went up to him and started talking. He had no problem with what I was doing after talking to me. The train I was shooting had just got a crew and was going through start up procedures. I had asked one of them if they were leaving soon and he said yes (would it have been more appropriate to ask if they were highballing soon?). I think I may have made them uncomfortable or something, I know Iíd be nervous if somebody came up to me in that part of town after dark myself not knowing their intentions. I donít know if they called me in or the agent was just on patrol, no matter, I had nothing to hide. I did manage to get this picture though: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=296292

I think any encounter starts with a respect for that person who is doing his/her job. Hopefully that respect is reciprocated, but it doesn't change my outlook if it is not. Just donít tell me my hobby is silly and run me out of YOUR town (especially.

I have also been told(and also read) that you should NEVER photograph military trains or those with military equipment, which makes sense to me.

Since I have a picture on RP now, can I say RP has published my work? You know, just in case I need some credentials in a situation?
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:38 AM   #133
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I know Iíd be nervous if somebody came up to me in that part of town after dark myself not knowing their intentions.
One think taught me not to be shy when in areas I don't "belong" to: walking my dog. I like long walks and I don't like going the same way all the time, so I ended up "exploring" various streets and paths. In some of the places, I was wondering if somebody would question me but nobody did so far.

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He was cool, of course, I showed no attitude, just went up to him and started talking.
I do so when I intend to take shots of employees or in close contact with them. As I usually shoot construction works in such situations, I'm asked from which newspaper will the photo pop-up at them.

Maybe I'm just lucky I shoot in the Czech Republic where there were no terrorist strucks and public fear is therefore much lower.
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:23 PM   #134
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I have also been told(and also read) that you should NEVER photograph military trains or those with military equipment, which makes sense to me.
Hmm...haven't heard or read that myself, but common sense tells me to wait a while before posting such a shot...

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Taken January 19th, posted two weeks later on February 5th.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:26 PM   #135
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Hmm...haven't heard or read that myself, but common sense tells me to wait a while before posting such a shot...

Image © Jim Thias
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Taken January 19th, posted two weeks later on February 5th.
From the BNSF website (http://www.citizensforrailsecurity.com/q&a.html):
1. Why should rail fans not take photos of military equipment?

Posting photos of military equipment and movement information on websites seems harmless; however, that information is valuable to terrorists and our nationís enemies. Citizens photographing military shipments will draw the attention and scrutiny of local police.


There are many forums out there that talk about this as well. While I am not saying it is legal or not, I know it is a grey area that may raise issues and the best way for me to not get involved is to not take those types of pictures, just my CYA that's all.
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:17 PM   #136
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Hmm...haven't heard or read that myself, but common sense tells me to wait a while before posting such a shot...

Image © Jim Thias
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Photograph © Jim Thias


Taken January 19th, posted two weeks later on February 5th.
Now if that doesn't tell Napolitano to go somewhere with her business I don;t know what will

I can't even railfan in Maple Heights, OH anymore after being called in for so many dumb reasons... AND I LIVE THERE! I've tried shooting from Granger Road bridge a few times to incorporate the NS Intermodal Terminal into my shots, and ever time I've gone, I've been called in for something. The first time, it was "suspisciously photographing the intermodal yard", the second was "attempting to commit suicide" and the third was either or. I can;t stand it, and now this? This homeland security is really throwing our hobby down the dumps...
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:03 PM   #137
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There are many forums out there that talk about this as well. While I am not saying it is legal or not, I know it is a grey area that may raise issues and the best way for me to not get involved is to not take those types of pictures, just my CYA that's all.
I wouldn't worry about it...and I don't.
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:39 PM   #138
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Just read this in the local paper so take it for what it is worth. Maybe are worries are over and Napolitano will redirect the LEO to this!

WASHINGTON - Terrorists are aiming for hotels and other easier-to-hit targets as security measures at military and government facilities continue to improve, says a global intelligence company.

Whole story here: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...ists08-ON.html

Think it is kind of funny on how it is a "Company" not the CIA telling them this information.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:51 AM   #139
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Whether you think the officer was wrong or right to question someone taking pictures of trains, he was doing his job. From the original post, it doesn't seem like the the officer was harassing the photographer. He was simply checking out a suspicious situation. These people who say officers have no right to question them, on the contrary officers have every right to question whoever they see fit. It's true some officers handle the situation differently. I've been questioned in Fostoria many times. Some police were very friendly and cordial and some were jerks. If you want to photograph trains expect to be questioned at some point or another. It's just the times we're living in.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:59 AM   #140
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Just in case you missed my LEO pic. (CPR Police)
It was inspired by this thread.

http://forums.railpictures.net/showthread.php?t=10685
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Old 09-09-2009, 03:57 PM   #141
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I can't even railfan in Maple Heights, OH anymore
Yes, you can. And you should. This is your hobby, your home town. Keep doing it legally and safely. If this keeps happening, contact the Sheriff and police chief. Get the local media involved. You weren't doing anything wrong. By stopping your photography, you've given up and let the scared folks who don't understand win. You did that, not them.
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Old 09-09-2009, 04:04 PM   #142
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Whether you think the officer was wrong or right to question someone taking pictures of trains, he was doing his job.
I don't know where anyone said anything different. I seriously doubt anyone here thinks an LEO doesn't have the right to question someone.
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From the original post, it doesn't seem like the the officer was harassing the photographer. He was simply checking out a suspicious situation.
I never said I was getting harrassed by the LEO. My problem came in when he started lecturing me on photography being suspicious. That's kinda in the eye of the beholder, don't you think? He may find its suspicious, but obviously no one on this board does.
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If you want to photograph trains expect to be questioned at some point or another. It's just the times we're living in.
I suppose everyone on this board expects to be questioned at some point in the world we live in today. It's not the questioning I have a problem with. It's when LEOs start telling folks they can't photograph trains, the photography is illegal or supicious or what have you. Luckily, I've never been treated to most of this. But I feel that as much as some folks here are trackside, it's just a matter of time before one of us goes through a truly harrassing expirience.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:11 AM   #143
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I've been questioned in Fostoria many times.
Really? "Many times" in the Railfan Capitol of the midwest, TRAIN-FRICKIN' CITY, USA?? Wow...you must be a REALLY suspicious looking individual.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:37 AM   #144
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Really? "Many times" in the Railfan Capitol of the midwest, TRAIN-FRICKIN' CITY, USA?? Wow...you must be a REALLY suspicious looking individual.
Last time I was "questioned" in Fostoria the cop was looking for a stolen car and was asking me if I'd seen it go by...

After a "nope, haven't seen it - sorry I can't be of more help" he continued on his search... (and he clearly knew what I was doing!)
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:48 AM   #145
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From the BNSF website (http://www.citizensforrailsecurity.com/q&a.html):
1. Why should rail fans not take photos of military equipment?

Posting photos of military equipment and movement information on websites seems harmless; however, that information is valuable to terrorists and our nationís enemies. Citizens photographing military shipments will draw the attention and scrutiny of local police.


There are many forums out there that talk about this as well. While I am not saying it is legal or not, I know it is a grey area that may raise issues and the best way for me to not get involved is to not take those types of pictures, just my CYA that's all.
I almost completely disagree with the logic at play here. It certainly made sense in WWII but anyone applying it today to global terrorism has no real comprehension of what this "war" is really about and is still "trying to fight the last war". Destroying part of a trainload of hardware would accomplish very little for "them" (other than us dropping some more bombs somewhere in retaliation). Their goal of fear and terror is much better served by finding creative ways to kill innocent civilians (like on 9/11). Military moves are neat and I'll still take pictures of 'em whenever I get a chance. My only "hedge" is the same as others with "waiting a little while" before posting any pictures on the internet.

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How about highway moves?

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Old 09-10-2009, 05:27 PM   #146
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I wouldn't think destroying a train of military equipment would prove as valuable as knowing of the move itself. I would think the intel of such movements is far more important for planning something or just recognizing patterns. Then again, what do I know. I would agree that if it's out in the open on a train, then it's fair game to photograph.


Side thought: waaaaaay back in this thread, somebody mentioned leaving the video running during a LEO/Agent encounter to record audio. That got me thinking, anybody with an iPhone (v 3.0 or higher) has a build in recorder; voice Memos. Why not start that (descretely of course) before these encounters. That would come in very handy for those great "Not in MY town" lectures. Besides, you can email it to yourself when done

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Old 09-10-2009, 10:39 PM   #147
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While the majority of US states allow one party consent to record a conversation, there are 12 states that require both / all parties involved in a conversation to consent to being recorded. Failure to follow the law could be quite bad for you. Check your state laws on wiretapping first.

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Old 09-11-2009, 12:43 AM   #148
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Side thought: waaaaaay back in this thread, somebody mentioned leaving the video running during a LEO/Agent encounter to record audio. That got me thinking, anybody with an iPhone (v 3.0 or higher) has a build in recorder; voice Memos. Why not start that (descretely of course) before these encounters. That would come in very handy for those great "Not in MY town" lectures. Besides, you can email it to yourself when done
Any cell phone that I have seen in the last 5 years has a recorder feature in it. Getting to it is the discreet problem though.
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:52 PM   #149
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Just pop your brand new DSLR into movie mode and let it roll
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:30 PM   #150
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While the majority of US states allow one party consent to record a conversation, there are 12 states that require both / all parties involved in a conversation to consent to being recorded. Failure to follow the law could be quite bad for you. Check your state laws on wiretapping first.

Loyd L.
Was going to say the same thing. That is why there is that annoying beep on some phone calls.
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