Hardly a week goes buy on the photography forums without someone telling the story of being prevented taking pictures by some security guard jobsworth type. It seems that you are usually OK if you use the camera hand held but set up your tripod and its like a red rag to a bull for the average security guard.
Prime spots in London to meet this sort of thing are Canary Wharf and the London Eye, the later I find particularly amusing as they did once run a London Eye photography competition, but to add that extra element of challenge they still had their security guards stopping you using a tripod.
I once experienced it myself at the Lloyds building, I was trying to take a picture of some feet walking down the steps similar to my Treads photograph. I was composing the shot, waiting for the right moment, when I was tapped on the shoulder by a security guard and the conversation went like this:
Guard: "Do you have permission to be doing that ?"
Me: "No, do I need it?"
Guard: "Well I would rather you stopped"
Guard: "Well its not very nice to take pictures of peoples feet without their permission"
At that point I decided to leave, heaven knows what nefarious activities he thought I would get up to with a load of telephoto feet shots!
At other times people can be so obliging it is hard to believe. on Friday I was down at Limehouse Basin and a chap who owned a boat in the middle of the dock wandered up and asked me if I wanted to get on to the jetty, as I could "get some good shots from there". He was happy to let me in through the security gates even though he had never met me before.
A few years back I was standing on a jetty at Coniston Sailing Club setting up to take this picture:
Now I knew had walked through a gate marked private to take the shot, so I was a little bit nervous when one of the club members approached me. I shouldn't have worried though as it turns out he was an ex-professional photographer and we proceeded to chat for about an hour or so as the sun went down. At the end of the conversation his parting words were "by the way, I suppose you know your trespassing?". To which I could only reply "err yes", then he left with a smile and a wave.
The latest incident happened on Saturday evening as I was standing waiting for the light to be right on this shot:
I have been waiting for a while, when a bloke comes out of the house nearest the field and starts walking the 100 or so yards towards me. Figuring I'm about to chucked off what is private land, I fire off a few shots and then await the inevitable confrontation:
Him: "Do you have permission to be here?"
Me: "Err no, I didn't know who owned the field"
Him: "Well if anyone asks, I said it's OK"
With that he wanders back to his house....and in case you are wondering, no one asked!