Beautiful Disney World at Sunset

Minor Altercation

A few nights ago, I had a minor photography/police incident at Downtown Disney (Twitter followers saw the ordeal realtime). Everything is resolved now, and maybe a result of the whole thing is that security will be easier on photographers in the future. We live in hope!

Now, I’ve never had a problem using tripods or “professional-looking equipment” at any of the Disney Parks, like the Magic Kingdom or Epcot, but Downtown Disney seems to have a special set of rules. I was approached by security when they saw the tripod – they asked what I was doing. I said I was a blogger and was taking personal photos. They pressed me more. They asked if I had permission, and I said that in fact I did have permission, although that should not matter; I’m just a photographer taking photos of a place to show the world some beautiful things.

I didn’t have my ID with me, since everyone in Disney World carries around these little Disney ID cards that you get at the resorts. You charge food, goodies, and everything on it. You don’t need a wallet or anything, so I just leave that back at the resort. Since I didn’t have ID, they called in the Sheriff’s Department. I called my wife, who was shopping elsewhere with the kids to swoop in and vouch for me.

My wife was of course quite worried and upset, seeing me surrounded by four security guards and a newly-arrived member of the Sheriff’s department. Luckily (I guess?), she had her ID with her. The police took all her information down (why?) and then left. I assume they finally got the right people on the phone at Disney that knew who I was and that I had permission.

However, I still strongly believe that even if I didn’t have permission, that I, or any other photographer, should be allowed to take photos. It’s 2010! Everyone else is taking crappy photos with their mobile phones and uploading to Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, and all over the place. I’m doing the same thing as them, but mine are simply taken with a bigger, nicer camera. What’s the crime? Even more importantly, all I’m doing is promoting the beauty of this place to hundreds of thousands of people here on the blog.

With what little influence I have at Disney, I suggested that they tell the powers-that-be to stop bothering photographers (I know good man William Beem, among others, also had a run-in). I understand there are some new conversations in the works, but I don’t know if anything will really change.   Let’s hope so.

Daily Photo – Beautiful Disney World at Sunset

Hey, you know… I can’t stay mad at Disney for too long.  I think those issues are just at Downtown Disney.

This photo below, from Epcot, is one of the reasons I keep coming back again and again.  It’s such an amazing place, and Epcot may be my favorite new spot for photography at Disney.

This is the “France” area of the World Showcase, which is a huge lake that is circumnavigated by about 10 different countries or so.  Each one has a cluster of buildings set in the theme of the country.  They are all quite authentic, and the areas are staffed with people from the countries.  The Norway area has authentic-looking and -sounding Norwegians.  The Germany area is filled with Germans in postcard-German-clothes.  The Canada area has people that look and sound like Americans.

The afternoon had ripped open a wicked thunderstorm on the whole park.  It was subsiding around sunset, so the clouds were swirling about with these wonderful tempestuous formations.  I set up to take this shot before moving over to the Japanese area to watch the big fireworks show on the lake.  While I was taking these shots, by the way, I had sent my family into one of the pastry shoppes here in the France area to load up on wonderful little morsels to keep us fully loaded during the fireworks show!

If you have seen the wonderful fireworks show at Epcot — where is your favorite place to stand?  I’ve got a new spot.. I’ll reveal that with a bunch of new tips/ideas soon!

HDR-Photo

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  • http://www.iovanalex.ro Alexandru IOVANOVICI

    You should not put any picture with Disney after the incident. They don’t deserve such beautiful pictures after what they done to you…
    Anyway, another nice work. Carry on … :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Spiteri/1188639250 Joseph Spiteri

    That sky is just amazing :O Love it!

  • http://richardpadilla.smugmug.com RICHARD

    hahahah i know how you felt… last year i got kicked out of the caltrain station in san francico, but in my case the president were in town for the Oracle event, i always carrie a big back pack for all my toys, they thought i had a bomb or something,i went back a few months later and finally got a few pics…

    here is the link…
    http://richardpadilla.smugmug.com/Photography/MyHdrCollection/Caltrain/880951806_ZRvYV-Ti.jpg

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/coolhdr/ Chris

    Awesome photo as usual. Looking forward to the fireworks tips. Going to post a shot on Flickr tomorrow from the mini-fireworks show in Portland, Oregon to kick off the Rose Festival.

  • Jim Embury

    Great photo and I am looking forward to putting into practice your tutorials. I learnt about this website from a Canadian in a camera store in Tokyo. Big world, but small world. Cheers Jim E

  • http://deysonortiz.com Deyson

    Sorry you went through that ordeal :( I just think people are way too paranoid they over react and add the fact that crime rate has been going down they will take any small incident and make it a big deal out of pure boredom.

    The picture is beautiful :) and I hope you do not have any more issues, maybe a journalism pass will help you?

    Here are some stats about crime rate and how they have been going down, the weird thing is arrests rates have been going up explain that.

    http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s0295.pdf

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/05/24/20100524fbi-crime-statistics-down-nationally24-ON.html

  • http://www.nekphotography,blogspot.com Jen Hannux

    I never ever would have thought a place driven by tourism would ever have an issue with photographers. I wonder what their reasons are or if it is just a lack of knowledge about equipment.

    And your work is complete inspiration to me! I do HDR (without a camera that has bracketing.) and I hope to one day be close to your caliber :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gail-Stayton-Moshier/513775196 Gail Stayton Moshier

    Wow, Trey, what an ordeal for you and your wife to go through!! Shame on Disney guards for putting you through all that.
    Love this photo of the France area. You are making my mouth water with the mention of the goodies ;-). Thanks for taking me places I can’t go once again. The rusty years sometimes inhibit the amount of walking one can do. Happy Memorial Day, all. Remember the reason we celebrate this day. Honor your vets, everywhere in the world!!

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks everyone… all is okay now. I don’t blame “Disney”, since, like any big corporation, they are like a multi-celled organism where sometimes strange edge-things happen that don’t represent the organization as a whole. If I got in trouble EVERYWHERE in Disney, then I’d be more on their case… since this has only happened at 1/50 shoots at Disney, it’s more an exception than the rule.

  • muggs

    It has more to do with sale of images made from within a private resort. Disney wants to be sure that if you intend on making money from their resort they are aware of it and having a nice camera with a nice tripod means that you are more likely to be able to sell the images. Nobody likes being questioned but you have to look at from the side of the security at Disney whose job is to protect the resort and the rest of the visitors not just a photographer who by his own admission did not have any ID or anyway of proving what he said.

  • amit

    Hmm I am thinking its just a downtown Disney issue as it is very busy and splayed tripod legs are not safe?? I was there last week and noticed they check your bags when you go in before ticket barrier – security guard didn’t give my tripod a s second look….

  • http://www.photofocus.com Scott Bourne

    How unfortunate Trey. I know you don’t hold Disney accountable – but I do. The badge-heavy security guards at Disney are well-known. Accordingly, when invited to photograph there last year, even though it was at the invitation of Disney employees, I declined. In fact, I have been boycotting all Disney property for the last three years due to their treatment of photographers. I have no idea why the Sheriff’s Department would be required. Was there an allegation that you violated some law? Simply put, Disney is stupid to mess with its customers like this and the wannabe cops (security guards) are punks and bullies who aren’t doing a single thing to actually make people safe. My guess is that while they were detaining you, actual crime took place somewhere else on the property. While this may have been an isolated incident for you personally – I hear these stories frequently from others. My advice to photographers is take your camera and your family and your money somewhere else that they will be appreciated.

  • http://williambeem.com William Beem

    I agree, I think it’s mostly just Downtown Disney. When I had an annual pass, I never had anyone question my gear or tripod while I was visiting the parks. If you have some contact with the right people at Disney, I hope this will change things at Downtown Disney.

    Lovely image.

  • Ahmed

    I find it funny that Scott Bourne of all people does not realize that Disney is protecting it’s own Trademarks, Copyrights, etc etc from being sold without permission. You go on and on about how you protect your images from being stolen and resold and how you loathe the people who attempt this but when a corporation does the same they are somehow evil? I have taken dozens of pictures at Disney over the years with near pro equipment what I have found is I am nice to the cops, and yes they are police disney has it’s own police force, they are nice to me. If you get all uppity like you are someone special then it’s no wonder they give you a hard time. Trust me being an Arab I get talked to whenever I take pictures anywhere and I am always nice and polite and let alone. It’s the people who are full of themselves that get the harder treatment.

  • Laurie Hayes

    So sorry you had such trouble. Great photo!

  • Dieter Zakas

    My GF worked at Walt Disney World for eleven years, and in that time saw Disney’s transformation from a great place to work to a crappy place to work (don’t get her started in their portrayal of themselves as a “family friendly” workplace).

    She was appalled when I shared another account of harassment at a Disney park, saying that it’s counter to Walt’s beliefs and philosophy.

  • casusan

    Beautiful shot Trey! Love love this – the sky is awesome too! Glad you didn’t have to go to the pokey!:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Uchytil/501351240 Richard Uchytil

    Bummer about the authorities but AWESOME photo! Love the colors, so wicked cool!!!! :)

  • Nic

    I don’t understand what the deal is with “professional looking cameras” everywhere. I mean at concerts you can’t have a camera with detachable lenses! Maybe someone should use an old DSLR and weld a lens to it, that’ll show them.
    In a perfect world we wouldn’t have any problems, but then again, we wouldn’t have these experiences and stories to tell.
    Anyway nice picture, I’ve enjoyed seeing a new one every day for a year now!

  • http://www.stevephoto.tk Steve Nibourette

    Very nice picture,just a shame you got into the small incident.

  • Tim Urpman

    Nice photo. The same thing happened to me at the Tacoma glass museum. I was working nights and i went there after work and out of the corner of my eye i saw something move and it was a face behind a wall. I kept staring and it was a security guard hiding behind a wall staring at me.. He realized i saw him and started staring at the sky like he was looking for something the whole time. I had a tripod and a nice camera what crime would I be trying to commit? Its downtown Tacoma and I’m sure there’s something productive he could have been doing. Security guards are lame

  • http://Digitaldreams.smugmug.com John

    Same thing happened to me when I setup my tripod to take picture of the transco tower waterfalls behind the galleria in Houston tx. Security guards told me you can’t take pix with a tripod

  • Holly

    Your Disney pictures are always my favorites! I hope you never get so discouraged by them that you stop shooting there. More Disney photos please!

  • Spotpuff

    If you can help make the photography situation better, please try to. Photography is not a crime. In the UK professional photographers are raising a huge stink over their treatment.

    The police want you to get in line, say yes, and follow their orders even if they are unlawful or unconstitutional. It’s horrendous. Hint: real terrorists are using phones or “non pro” looking equipment. No terrorist is going to be stupid enough to draw a ton of attention by lugging around pro gear.

  • Sergio García

    I’ve had the same problem last week at a comercial centre in Madrid, Spain. The photo was for myself and I wasn’t using a tripod (only my camera and an iPod, ha ha)
    It’s a shame what has happened to you because your work is promoting that place. Beautiful as always Trey!
    Sergio García from Madrid.

  • Kevin

    I have to ask why you didn’t have your ID? There is no place in the entire world you should go without it! Also, the CMs have the right to ask to see your ID when you are using your Key to the World card, so that is no reason not to carry it. Then given that you could not supply it when asked, that makes you look very suspicious.

    As for why DTD is more of a security target, you obviously do not know about what goes on down there. Disney does a good job keeping things hushed, but there have been some serious crimes down there because anyone can go there. The guests get a false sense of security and that is exactly what the local criminals prey on. Even beyond your common pickpockets, there have been muggings, assaults, and even some rapes. So, if you think about it, anyone out of the ordinary should become a subject of their attention. I would be happy to show the security my ID and then thank them for being so thorough with their protection of the guests.

    You entire situation would have been avoided if you had your ID and showed it to them.

  • Cheryl McGregor

    Playing devils advocate here, I worked at a large arena part time and you wouldn’t believe the number of people who are irresponsible, do stupid things, aren’t paying attention or all of the above. Toss in the 9/11 paranoia and this is how you get zealous security guards or at least those that follow the zealous rules put out by their superiors.

    There was probably some idiot with a tripod that tripped over it or someone else tripped over it and whoever fell in the pond and then sued Disney because it is always better to blame the property owner with lots o’ bucks than to think about what you are doing, paying attention to what is going on around you and taking responsibility for your own behavior and actions.

    One or two of those situations and the rules get tightened and everyone get to pay the price. As I am fond of saying – Common Sense is genetic. Some people are born with it and some aren’t. Those that aren’t can’t learn it after the fact.

  • TriniFOX

    The Water Thingie in Galleria, no problem, La puerta del Sol, Madrid no problem – King’s palace and guards in Morocco – HUGE problem, Disney Castle – always going to be a huge problem. However, once approached by anyone asking to modify your photography behavior, comply. Had an issue in Kauai (apparently were on private land and the caretaker was pissed that we were there. However in the end I got him to take some great shots of us….

    Any way see this post here: http://williambeem.com/2010/05/10/disney-responds-to-my-letter/ the linked issue previous and the comment by Paul Gowder

  • Cheryl McGregor

    Nic,
    Don’t blame the venue for the camera rules. That is all in the hands of the promoter and/or the band. There are bands that have photo contests on their web pages but the folks in the US fans can’t take take cameras in to venues because of promoter rules. One of tightest security searches (full body search) I ever saw was at a White Stripes concert and it was at the request of the band.

  • http://dlrhdr.blogspot.com Kevin Crone

    Wow Trey, I have to say, you are not the only one!

    About a month ago a similar thing happend here in California. I was taking pictures with my friends for a “Disneyland HDR” blog that we we started. We took pictures inside Disneyland the day before with no issues at all. In fact I had a pretty long conversation with a security guard during closing while I was taking an HDR with my tripod and d90. A few days later we wanted to get some HDR’s of the Grand Californian. Within minutes of shooting around the hotel (also near Downtown Disney) we were apporached by a very worried and shaken up gaurd. He came up on us rather quickly with his hand on his earpiece still talking to HQ. We told him we werent doing anything illegal and just wanted to practice photography. He then told us we need permission from the front desk to do such a thing. We cooperated and because of the uncomfortable situtation decided that we would just go to Disneyland for the rest of our shoot. Within seconds of stepping outside two more security guards had stopped us and asked if we would step aside (Do we look like terrorists?). The told us they had no issue with our DSLR’s, but the tripods were no exception, and that they presented a tripping hazard. I jokingly told them I tripped over a stroller and got ran over by one of those little rascals, and petitioned that I still be able to use my tripod. Fat chance. We then went straight to City Hall (Guest Relations) in Disneyland and asked them what the protocol was for tripods. They simply told us the security gaurds we had spoke to were wrong, and that we could have tripods, but no equipment with booms or pullies. You mean I have to leave my jib at home? :) We then walked around Disneyland all night setting up and shooting inside the park, WITH our tripods. :)

    Sorry for the novel, but I wanted to show how Disney Security is very inconsistent with their actions. I wish they would set out some rules for us, and stick with it.

  • http://digitalblin.com John

    Magnificent! I was just there about 3 months ago, you capture it beautifully!

  • Richard (Lionheart)

    I guess we all have our tripod stories. One of the most difficult things about HDR is maneuvering with a tripod. Downtown L.A. has loads of great stuff, but they’ve got it all locked up tighter than a drum. You whip out a tripod and you’ve got some dork in a suit giving you crap.

    /rantoff

    Trey, did you do any kind of a gradient on that sky?

    Or was it just the luck o’ the draw?

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks all for the comments.. interesting stuff.

    Richard – no I did not use a gradient on the sky — all original… I should upload one of the original 5 shots so you can see! :)

  • http://martinsoler.com Martin Soler HDR

    Hm had a similar run in with someone outside the Louvre in Paris. Didn’t want to make a fuss so took my shot and left. But it’s amazing that photographers are considered such a danger.

  • http://! Anne

    Those Disney folks should be paying you for the promotion you do for them with your lovely pictures. But they’re so controlling! Talk about shooting oneself in the corporate foot! Dummies!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anna-Yanev/1400226762 Anna Yanev

    Hi Trey it happened to me 7 years ago, i was with fellow students we had assignment to do night pictures. We had tripod , professional looking cameras and almost at the end the Disney security came asking the same questions. We were able to resolve the problem peacefully and keep the film in the camera. I am with you about why not people like us take nice pictures and post them. I guess everything in Disney downtown is trademarked. Oh well….

  • http://photo-o-wisp.tumblr.com Adi Widyatmoko

    Nice photo there. I ddin’t know that you could bring your tripod inside the Disneyland.

    Last year’s new year eve, I went to Disneyland Japan with my friend. And when I got to the gate, 2 officers checking my baggage. They said that I could bring my camera bag with me, but no for the tripod. So I assume, as a security measure, you couldn’t bring any tripod inside Disneyland in all of Disney. Well, maybe it’s because of new year’s eve, or probably just Disneyland Japan’s own security rule. Anyway, just be prepared when you came to Disneyland Japan. They had a nice locker where you could save your tripod there though.

  • http://JapanDave.com David LaSpina / JapanDave

    Great shot! Gad you managed to avoid too much trouble, Trey. It seems a shame to me that so many places freak out at the first sign of a tripod. To me it seems they see a tripod and think professional and they want to control the situation. Can’t let unauthorized photos leak, right?

    As to Disney, I read an article in the new yorker a few weeks ago (I think it was the new yorker…) about just how much money disney throws at cleaning. Basically the overnight staff is even larger than the day staff, their mission to clean/repaint/repair every square inch of the park before morning. The reasoning being that Disney is not dirty, Disney is never dirty. Maybe the security guard was worried you were shooting some trash and would publish it. Scandal! ;)

  • http://pixie-dust-pictures.com Experiment_626

    Wow. I’ve shot literally tens of thousands of exposures for HDR on Walt Disney World property for the last several years. A relative few were shot at Downtown Disney (all of mine, so far, in the Marketplace section of DTD), a handful of the resorts, and the rest in the theme parks. I’ve set up my tripod and shot literally for hours in one spot. I’ve never had any trouble with Disney security. I did once get asked by a couple of managers if I was “about done for the night,” but that was when I was in one of the parks for a while after it had closed and most other guests were gone. As it happened, I was done just as they approached, so it wasn’t a problem. I don’t even think Disney really worries that much about photographers selling prints of their work, as long as it is made in guest-accessible areas — plenty of people do sell their work they shoot there, after all, but few, if any, make serious money doing so.

  • Kevin

    Quote: Experiment_626
    “I don’t even think Disney really worries that much about photographers selling prints of their work, as long as it is made in guest-accessible areas — plenty of people do sell their work they shoot there, after all, but few, if any, make serious money doing so.”

    Sorry, but you are wrong there. If they catch you and think you have made anything decent off it you will be in court. They are extremely aggressive defending their intellectual property.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Davis/77000136 Steve Davis

    DAMN! I love the colors. This is one of your better shots in a while. Nice stuff Trey :)

  • Nic

    Cheryl,
    True. I can understand why bands would want to have people searched, and why promoters put those rules in place, but it doesn’t really make sense to me since fixed lens cameras get better all the time. On another note I have seen a venue that has a no camera rule (the Electric Factory in Philly).
    This doesn’t really bother me for concerts anyhow, I guess I felt like rambling (though it is a problem in other places)

  • http://onthelam.smugmug.com OnTheLam

    Three of us who follow this blog were on a sunset photo walk at Santana Row in San Jose, CA. It is a private outdoor mall with residences above the street level, done in a Tuscan-themed style and nicely landscaped. We had not set up our tripods for two minutes when security guards were all over us, asking for ID, calling their boss, and ran us off the property within 10 minutes. Apparently three dudes with big cameras are both a threat to the privacy of the residents and the commerce of the merchants.

    I used to dine and shop there, but I have been disinclined to return since the unfriendly treatment we received from the rentacops.

    I learned my lesson. Photography in public places, not commercial fiefdoms.

  • http://pixie-dust-pictures.com Experiment_626

    Quote: Kevin “Sorry, but you are wrong there. If they catch you and think you have made anything decent off it you will be in court.”
    Kevin, do you have any actual experience — or documentation of anyone else’s experience — to back this up, specifically as it pertains to photography on WDW property? I don’t think things like the daycare center that painted Disney characters on their walls, for example, really counts. I hear things like this, but never with any actual real-world experience cited.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Wilson/730559509 Dave Wilson

    Sorry to hear about this. I’m heading to Disney on Friday and was looking forward to a hassle free few days. Do you have any recommendations on how to go about getting permission prior to a visit (other than the obvious choice of asking the hotel on arrival or just visiting Guest Relations)?

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks all – very interesting comments! I read them all – thanks for the discussion.

    Dave (and others) — you will not need any special consideration to use your tripod in the parks — I have never been approached. Only downtown disney is a problem, and that is not even one of the main parks.

  • Sarah

    This is amazing! Totally reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, and it’s at Disney! :D

  • http://www.hanswatson.com/ Hans

    I have actually been surprised that you didn’t have trouble with Disney sooner. They were the first location I heard of that actually trademarked their buildings and don’t typically allow their images to be used in any sort of commercial venture.

    The best example of this is “The Unofficial Guide To Disney World” which has no photos at all while the official “Birnbaum’s Guide To Disney World” is filled with color images. The Unofficial Guide has stated that they have approached Disney numerous times but they refuse to grant image use rights for their buildings to them for their book.

    The websites and publications where you see images of Disney World can do so because of the “editorial use” clause in image rights, the same way you can publish pictures of celebrities without their permission. The catch is that you must be doing some sort of review or opinion piece about the subject of the photos and there must be a lot more text than image. This is still a grey area with copyright. If Disney were to take someone to court over it all they would have to prove is that the use of images of Disney’s trademarked architecture were being used for personal financial gain. Disney tends to be litigious having previously gone after day care centers that use images of Mickey Mouse without permission so I for one would steer clear of trying to use Disney World images in any manner where I make money off of them. They are strictly personal use photos.

  • http://pixie-dust-pictures.com Experiment_626

    Hans, there is now an “Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World Color Companion” that is filled with hundreds of photos. Some of them are direct from Disney, some are simply from fans. And all the Unofficial Guides have color photos on the cover. And the Unofficial Guides are largely opinion and reviews of attractions, so I think editorial use would be covered in that respect. I can’t help but think the main reason they previously haven’t made use of photos in the regular Guide is because the printing costs would be much higher.

  • Kevin

    Experiment_626, the only proof I have is other Disboard members peddling their shots on the boards and then being shut down by Disney. A couple still exist, but no longer selling. Take the chance of not being sued if you want to, but I will not be a fool wrapped up by their legal team for no good reason.

  • Mug

    What people seem to be forgetting is that Walt Disney World is private property. You pay for access to this property but it’s not an all access no holds barred invitation. It’s easy to vilify a large corporation but they take their IP very seriously. You are a guest of their park and as a guest you should be respectful of their place of business. A couple things to think about from the point of view of any institution.

    1. Many institutions do not allow tripods be it museums, theme parks, memorials etc etc they are a tripping hazard and they take up room from other paying customers
    2. Remember you are not the only person there. There are other paying customers that must be looked after. I know here in the states we have this “I” mentality but be mindful of others and their experience. Imagine if everyone at the park set up a tripod you would not be able to move or enjoy yourself especially in a smaller crowded area like Downtown disney.
    3. Why if you were given permission to shoot Trey did you not have your ID and although I enjoy your work and your podcast you and Mr Scott Bourne sound a bit whiny here. Like has been said before you are not the only guest of WDW they are protecting more than just their IP they are protecting other guests. I also feel that you are not giving the whole story I believe that if the Sheriff was called you gave reason to have them called.

  • http://projectonethousandfaces.blogspot.com/ Wizzythestick

    Interesting story and it was nice to read the different points of view expressed about the incident. I am an amateur and had something similar happen at a museum exhibit. I went with my family and was barred from taking photos because of my DSLR camera ( I did not have a tripod) I have to say that was the reason because lots of others were taking pics with their point and shoot. It was explained to me that one person had been contracted to take all the pictures on that day which could be purchased at front desk. Fine except no one told me this when they saw my DSLR around my neck at the entrance and again no one else was stopped from taking pictures with their point and shoot – just me. Luckily the photographer they had hired realized I was an amateur and no threat to his business that day and gave me permission to go on shooting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Teale/770885323 Jason Teale

    Trey, I had a similar run in with security while shooting a ferris wheel at a local department store here in Korea. I was at a loss for words in both languages. Having a tripod and being a foreigner in Korea, meant that I was a reporter (to the security). The guy kept his hand over my lens for the entire time he was talking to me. Behind him were hundreds of locals taking shots with their phones, point-and-shoots, and even more expensive cameras than my canon! However, because of the tripod, he thought that I was up to no good.

    I did tell him a thing or too, but then went across the street and got a better shot anyway. I think a lot of times, when security sees something strange or out of the ordinary they react heavily to avoid trouble with upper management. In this case, I am pretty sure that they didn’t want any shots of the ride from too close in case they are held liable for safety regulations or something.

    As for MUG, I see your point but how, exactly, are they “protecting other guests”? The problem with your argument is that 1) Trey was a paid guest, thus his enjoyment of the park shouldn’t take away from anyone else. MUG think about the family of 5 with the stroller and the hordes of bags and stuff strapped to them. Ask yourself if there is a difference? Who takes up more space and is more dangerous? 2) Not only did Trey pay, but he did the right thing and got permission to shoot. Thus making him a “Special Guest” at the park and therefor special rules should apply. In this case, it would be backing off from the photographer that has permission to shoot.

    Remember MUG, the arguments go both ways even when you look at it from the other side. The fact is that if a paying customer has permission to do something, then he can do it. It is as simple as that.

  • Mug

    I know that he was a “special guest” but by Trey’s own admission he had no way to prove this “special” status. He did not have any ID or papers to prove that what he was speaking was the truth. So his so called harassment could and should have been avoided by Trey a professional acting as such and making sure he has all documentation to prove his right to be there. When I shoot at Homestead motor speedway for races I do not walk into homestead as a paying customer with no documentation saying I have a right to shoot there. Trey was at fault for not having documentation.

    Also I must say I visit WDW regularly and I have had family that have worked for WDW. When protecting the rights of guests and the IP of the resort the park security does what it sees fit to make sure that ALL guests are protected.
    I have spoken with park security while shooting on WDW premises, and without going into detail they are not really allowed too, they are required to respond to certain types of photography. Also the fact that they called the sheriff leads me to believe that Trey was not as cool headed as he stated. Like I said I have shot there talked with security more times than I can count and I have NEVER had the sheriff called.
    And Jason being a photographer you know that the image you get out of that little P&S or Camera phone will not equal an image out of a DSLR and security knows this too. Like I said earlier they are protecting their Trademark and IP.

  • http://www.photosedge.com Erin Hernandez-Reisner

    I Love it!!! Looks like the Disney I wanted and expected as a kid! You are the Memory Keeper!

  • http://www.nomadicpursuits.com Jim Nix

    Trey, wonderful sunset shot. I am beginning to think of you as the “sunset whisperer” or something like that. You always seem to get wonderful sunsets. Is it some sort of Harry-Potterish spell that you cast? Like the opposite of “expelliaramus”, where you draw a colorful sunset to you? Fabulous.

  • Dieter Zakas

    I would like to add that, as a corporation, Disney has contracted out certain functions, like cleaning, housekeeping, and bellhop services. As a result, they haven’t been indoctrinated into the ideals, philosophy and culture of Disney. My GF, an 11-year veteran, says Walt would be aghast at what the company he founded, has become, and spin in his grave.

  • John

    Hey Trey, I was at Disney World from 5/26 to 5/31. I swear I saw you standing near the Rose & Crown in Epcot one night. I almost went over to say Hi, you were carrying a big tripod.. Great shot. Sorry for the hassle..

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks all for the comments… !!

    Mug – you are wrong… I was cool as always. Just because I don’t have my Driver’s License (I did have my Disney-issued ID) is no reason to call the police. This isn’t wartime France.

    John – you should have popped over to say hey!! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Ingram/1318815874 David Ingram

    Trey, As usual your photos are beautiful. You might enjoy “documentary” Exit Through the Gift shop about graffiti artist Banksy and some subversive activities at Disneyland.

    I have been stopped from photographing at places like Whole Foods (Disneyland with better food) and it strikes me that the “private property” argument is specious, in that they have a retail zoning from the city for a very public use and the public is almost universally equipped with cameras. I use a large camera, sometimes with a tripod. Obviously not corporate espionage in that tiny hidden cameras are better for that purpose. In the meantime, they have hundreds of video cameras watching the customers, no doubt for the public protection.

    Be glad you weren’t in Arizona without i.d.

  • http://pixie-dust-pictures.com Experiment_626

    I cannot say for sure, but I’ve noticed that photographers having trouble at Downtown Disney — when it happens — seems to happen mostly on the West Side, where most of the non-Disney-owned shops are located. I wonder if it is pressure from them that might be behind this. Just speculating. I’ve shot in the Marketplace section (where Disney owns most of the stores), sometimes setting up my tripod in multiple locations for as long as a half-hour at a time, and I’ve never been questioned by security or anyone else — other than a couple of people stopping to see which Nikon I’m using and asking how much I like it.

  • http://williambeem.com William Beem

    Just a follow-up from my own experience. I went to Disney World today to buy an Annual Pass. I started at Downtown Disney and had no problems at all. However, things got better as I ventured into other parts of Disney World. A lot of employees saw me taking shots and said, “if you think this is cool, let me show you something else” and walked me over to some other great scenes. It was a much more positive experience this time and I hope it continues.

    It was brutally hot and humid today, though. I was going to stay for the fireworks, but decided to get them another time. After all, I have the pass now and live about 45 minutes away.

    My only real disappointment was the big Wizard hat in Disney Hollywood Studios is now blocked by a stage. I asked one of the Disney photographers and she said it had been there as long as she had (three weeks) and didn’t expect it was coming down anytime soon. So much for getting that iconic shot.

  • http://snippits-and-slappits.blogspot.com/ Noor al Haqiqa

    You have done another first Trey. I am so against Disney that it is proof of your skill that I actually SAVED this one. It is so surreal I had to keep it. I think one of your best skills/tricks is to know the best time to take a shot and even more important, how to do it when there is no one else around. Rather as you did in some of your spectacular work at Hearst Castle.

    And when I recognized your name I had to laugh because I have been fascinated by your stuff in Flickr for awhile now. And to think I suggested you post there. Silly me. I still don’t know how I found this blog in my Gmail but I am grateful. Such serendipitous occurrences make the day worthwhile.

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks so much Noor- appreciate it !:)

  • http://twitter.com/kidnurse kristi

    Trey, I came to your blog today and just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed looking at all of your Disney World images. I really like this one in France at Epcot. Our family loves the dslr photography options at Disney World.

  • Pingback: Disney World bij zonsondergang - Multimedia Magazine van Differentieel en JeeeM » Multimedia Magazine van Differentieel en JeeeM

  • Tom Gonzalez

    Eck! good thing you were smooth with the 5.0!
    Did you use a large ND filter and long exposure to ghost out the people?
    Being that I am originally from Florida, I have battled the swarming ant like crowd and have had a difficult time with them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Thorpe-Photography/337378190939 David Thorpe

    Awe-inspiring work, as always.
    In your last paragraph, you ask “where is your favorite place to stand” when watching the Epcot fireworks. I’m going to address that instead of your unfortunate incident. I’ve found, after trying several different spots, that the best is behind the gift shop that sits at the front entrance to the World Showcase. It’s between Mexico and Canada. Get there early enough for a good spot up front. The fireworks go off on your left and right and seem to pop right in your face. Try this from the other side of the lake, which I believe is the Amarican pavilion, and you’ll find that the stage there and that globe in the water blocks your view a lot of the time. It seems to me that the fireworks show was designed to be viewed from this particular spot. Try it next time if you haven’t already. I really look forward to learning your new spot is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Pixie.Dust.Pictures Scott Baxter

    Walt Disney World does not have its own police force. They have private security guards. Anything requiring actual police is handed over the the appropriate county sheriff’s department (as Walt Disney World property is within the jurisdiction of two different Florida counties, which one is is called depends on where an incident takes place).

    But I’m sure Disney doesn’t mind you and plenty of others BELIEVING that they have their own police force, or that they’ll take legal action if you sell an art print of a photograph you make there. Obviously, the one thing I’m certain you CANNOT do is commercially license an image showing an identifiable part of WDW property — unless you license it directly to Disney. 

    I’ve searched extensively for information on the commonly-held belief that you can’t sell a print (as a piece of art) of a photo made at Walt Disney World, and the only thing I have been able to confirm is that it is a commonly held belief, based on supposition, second-hand (at best) anecdotes, rumor, and so-called “conventional wisdom.” In short, it seems to be one of those things that “everybody just knows,” but is actually based on nothing more substantial, in the end, than the ghosts inside the Haunted Mansion. Find me something OFFICIAL that clearly says you cannot sell an art print made at Walt Disney World — something written you can cite conclusively — and I might believe it. And I’m not talking about the word of a cast member in Frontierland or a guy driving a bus on property. Otherwise, believe whatever you want.

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