Paranoia will destroy ya!

Picture: Car driving on suburban street in downtown Pleasant Hill, California.

Car driving on suburban street in downtown Pleasant Hill, California

File this one under: Photography is not a crime, or “Are you by chance a little paranoid?” After all, it was the British rock group, The Kinks, who reminded us that paranoia is The Destroyer.

Not long ago I stopped into a local camera to shoot a few frames on the Nikon D700. I wanted to test the focus tracking and frame rate, so the guy behind the counter walked outside with me while I burst off a few sets from the side of the street, aiming at random oncoming cars. A few moments later, a woman comes into the camera store and asks me what I was taking pictures of and why. It turns out she said she was a manager at a nearby Courtyard Hotel, and that “several of her guests complained.” This was at 2 pm on a weekday afternoon.

Ok, my immediate thought is, sarcastically, “Several Guests?” Let me guess… these are people who are there with someone OTHER than their spouse.

I looked at her blankly and said, “I’m testing the speed capability of the auto-focus servo and frame rate in conjunction with the continuous high speed shooting mode.”

What I really wanted to say was, “Yeah, I was spying on several of your ‘cheating’ customers. Why? What’s the problem with that? I was standing on a public street taking pictures of things in plain view.” I would’ve loved to hear her answer to that.

BTW – I hid the identity of person in this car, just in case they were guilty, or innocent.

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17 Comments on “Paranoia will destroy ya!”

  1. Richard Wong Says:

    Lol. Great response Gary.

    Some people have their head too far up their (themselves).

  2. John Wall Says:

    Several guests complained about a guy taking pictures from outside a camera shop?! That’s hilarious!

  3. QT Luong Says:

    It’s actually a concern. In some of my photographs (for instance of sidewalks), some people appear together as a couple. I am wondering what may happen if they were not “legit” and the spouse would happen upon the picture. If such a situation happened, would you feel bad about it Gary ?

  4. enlightphoto Says:

    QT – I’ve actually thought about that on a couple (pun) occasions, and to tekk the truth, no, it wouldn’t bother me. File under : C’est la vie.

  5. Jim Goldstein Says:

    Had I known it was you I wouldn’t have complained.

    LOL Classic tale Gary šŸ™‚

  6. Jon Cornforth Says:

    I never would have thought of this, but it is sad & ironic.

  7. Moira Pomeroy Says:

    Definitely one for the archives, Gary – to be retold over copious amounts of beer (although I’m not sure even that could improve on it).

    I have to confess, though, I’m a little paranoid these days – of being harassed for taking shots in an urban environment. But that’s possibly because I’m British and I keep reading these outrageous stories of ‘togs being arrested back home and the statutes being twisted & abused and so on. I keep hoping for an outbreak of sanity. It’s a bit sad to be comforted by the idea that these things are less likely to happen over here because the US is too litigious…

    I have this sudden vision of everyone running around with Harry Potter wands, but instead of “Expecto Patronem!” it’s “Ex parte Litigatem!” Nyuk nyuk.

  8. Greg Russell Says:

    Not long after moving into our current home, I was following a red-shouldered hawk through the neighborhood in my car while crows harassed it with my telephoto lens. I parked and was snapping shots when a neighbor came out (immediately) and asked if he could help me. I didn’t figure it would help much to say I was “chasing the hawk.” I said it anyway. It didn’t help, and I left; he came by to apologize later when he saw me out mowing my lawn. I wanted to suggest he buy a print to make up for it, but I held my tongue. šŸ™‚

  9. Links – May 21, 2010 « Beautiful Flower Pictures Blog: Floral Photography by Patty Hankins Says:

    […] Gary Crabbe has Paranoia will Destroy Ya […]

  10. G Dan Mitchell Says:

    ā€œIā€™m testing the speed capability of the auto-focus servo and frame rate in conjunction with the continuous high speed shooting mode.ā€

    Gary, you are giving me lots of great ideas. Next time someone comes up to me and asks, “Are you a photographer?” I think I answer, “I’m conducting tripod stability and torsional rigidity of optical image capture and data conversion/storages systems under optimal field conditions. And you?”


  11. Todd Fitchette Says:

    Love the sarcasm Gary. I guess my response would have leaned more towards your second one.
    With people like this it makes me wonder how close we are to the kinds of laws the British have where anyone with a camera on the street is challenged by those claiming to be in law enforcement.

  12. Patrick Smith Says:

    Don’t get me started… okay too late!

    First of all, when you are in public, there is no implied expectation of privacy. She has no ‘leg to stand on.’ It is not as though you are shooting into someone’s back yard. The only issue are model releases as far as I’m concerned.

    I very rarely get angry but you handled it better than I would have! You know… I would go on but this is a public forum where I have *no* expectation of privacy so I will not write anything more!!!

    Good topic,


  13. Dolly Says:

    “I’m testing the speed capability of auto focus servo and frame rate in conjunction with the continuous high speed shooting mode.”

    You cracked me up! People who heard me laughing while reading your blog must think I was nuts!

  14. yardstick Says:

    Hi Gary,

    Just a general comment about your blog. There are black bars on both the left and right sides of the screen, and one of them partially obscures the text in the middle such that the blog entry can’t be enjoyed!

    Just wanted to let you know in case others are experiencing the same issue.


  15. Patrick Smith Says:

    well…. I do see black bars with a little text extending into it. Wait.. I hit refresh and now no text is extending. Strange! I’m on a very old version of explorer at work. I’ll have to check from home later. On Chrome and IE8.


  16. Patrick Smith Says:

    Okay, I’m home, and in Chrome, Firefox and IE8 it looks fine. The only thing I see is at the very bottom of the main page, the page numbers are too close to the bottom. It is like that in all 3 browsers!



  17. Mark Says:

    By the particular tread wear on that vehicle, I would say that person is in deep trouble! šŸ˜‰

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