The Light

Almost Getting Caught

When you are somewhere taking a photo, do you keep taking photos until you get caught? Or do you just take photos and then retreat away before you get caught? As for me, always the former.

Daily Photo – The Light

La Sainte-Chapelle is really an amazing place. I can’t believe it took me so many trips to Paris to finally see it. It wasn’t exactly a blind-spot, but I knew it was some place that I had to visit at some point, and I finally got there.

Tripods were forbidden, so I decided to use a tripod to get a shot.

I did manage to squeeze off several rounds until security came up to make me stop. Of course, the only reason I ignore their rule is because I think it is does not have a solid foundation in logic or rational thought. I wasn’t bothering anyone. I wasn’t going to trip anyone because of the configuration of my tripod and body. Everything was cool.

The LightLa Sainte-Chapelle is really an amazing place.  I can't believe it took me so many trips to Paris to finally see it.  It wasn't exactly a blind-spot, but I knew it was some place that I had to visit at some point, and I finally got there.Tripods were forbidden, so I decided to use a tripod to get a shot.  I did manage to squeeze off several rounds until security came up to make me stop.  Of course, the only reason I ignore their rule is because I think it is does not have a solid foundation in logic or rational thought.  I wasn't bothering anyone.  I wasn't going to trip anyone because of the configuration of my tripod and body.  Everything was cool.- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

  • Susan

    Wow…..soooo beautiful- the detais are amazing!

  • It was so worth it!

  • You would think that these churches, museums and national monuments (I was told off at the Lincoln Monument in the US) and such that have that silly rule would take a moment to consider how much better THEY look when tripods are used… don’t they want people to see gorgeous images like this and to want to come and visit?! At least letting people use them when the spaces are so obviously deserted and when you are a pro. You should start a smear blog where people can rat on the places where the tripod rule is strictly enforced. I see another winning IPhone app, myself. πŸ˜‰

  • I went to Windsor Castle yesterday and every room had a great big ‘no photos’ sign, I couldn’t use my camera at all. These people were serious enforcers too, I saw someone swoop down on an Asian tourist in a non too subtle fashion. St George’s Chapel had a blinder of an HDR in it but it’s gonna take a pro to get it. By comparison Salisbury Cathedral is unbelievably tripod friendly and my mate got this incredible reflection shot in the font.

  • that is a fantastic shot!

    Inspired by your “in church” photos I wanted to do the same in Zurich a few weeks back, only to find out that your not allowed to take any photos at all. Now I would ignore this, if there wasn’t somebody always standing there to make sure nobody takes a picture.. I really don’t understand why it’s not allowed!

  • Csaba Mocsonoky

    Beautiful! These rules about not allowing tripods (or phorographing)in certain areas are so silly. Do people personally have anything against photographing public areas, so they forbid it? Others see them anyway.
    One more thing, Trey: would you circle me on G+? I would really like to share some thoughts.

  • Jason Piper

    Great picture, nicely processed as always!

  • Mike

    Beautiful shot!

  • willingandable

    Yeah, same thing happend to me in the DOM in COLOGNE a few month ago. The priest there told me, that years ago an old lady slippt because of a tripod and broke here leg. So from that day on tripods were forbidden. But you can get permission to use them. You have to ask in adavance at the office.

  • Patrick Ahles

    Stunning picture, Trey! How did you get so much in focus using f/4?

  • Carol Robbins

    Wow – that was so worth it. It’s the sense you get when you actually stand there – the overwhelming beauty. I’m way too Canadian to break rules – something I need to work on. I sure didn’t have anything like this from my last trip to Paris.

  • One of my favorite parts when the tripod police come up is if they don’t speak English. I have so much fun! My most fun moment was at the Beijing Central Train Station and a very shrill lady cop came up to me. It was so much fun because commie cops are so used to being feared and obeyed, but they are so powerless when dealing with an American tourist who can’t understand Chinese. It was delicious! I was laughing by the end and she kept getting more and more indignant.

    Just today I had a Japanese staff member who didn’t speak English try to tell me to stop using my tripod at the Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, Japan. She finally gave up and left.

    For me, as you can tell, when they tell me to stop, that’s when the real fun begins! πŸ˜€

    (However, the part before is fun too. For instance, in St. Peter’s Basilica in The Vatican, I took a good 40-50 frames (over about 10 minutes) less than 10 feet from two security guards (one of whom had earlier told me to stow my tripod) chatting with each other at my 8 o’clock. St. Peter’s is very quick to tell you to stow your tripod. In the past, I’ve gotten 45 seconds max. However, this time, I was shielding the front of the tripod with a fence and the back of the tripod with my body and I got a good 10 minutes. When the security guard (which had earlier told me to stow it) came and told me it was closing time, he got a very surprised look on his face when he saw I was shooting with a tripod.)

  • Ann Gardner

    That shot was beautiful and almost worth getting arrested for (you, not me!).
    Oh well, if you’re ever in Houston and need bail money for tripod crimes, call me!

  • Insubordination rules, Trey.

    Next time you’re in Chicago, there’s a church a few blocks west of the Hancock Building that I was told is a replica of this place.

  • Gail in Montana

    Wow, beautiful photo, Trey. That is a silly rule. Glad you got a few shots in before security got to you! Have a wonderful first day of fall πŸ™‚

  • All these stories of tripod bravery are making me think more boldly. Thanks!

  • Churches are weird about photography. Sometimes they don’t mind, but others really have an issue. I believe it’s the personal connection people feel to the space and they don’t want you there because you are violating their special connection with the space.

    Recently when I was in Pasadena, CA I wandered into a church and instantly got the feeling that everyone was watching me. Clearly I wasn’t a regular (backpack on my back, camera around my neck). People seemed to lurk through the shadows in every corner of the building. Eyes followed me as I made my way from the front doors, threw the pews and to a seat near the back. A dark haired man turned as if he felt my presence. The deep sockets from which he glared seemed to sink far into his head. He gave me a one over then turned, stood and slowly made his way through a door. I sat alone, but not really alone. There were people here, watching. A chill ran down my spine. I took a moment before making my way to the center aisle with my camera. Once I got the shot I rushed out knowing that I was not wanted.

  • What a cool shot Trey!

  • “Tripods were forbidden, so I decided to use a tripod to get a shot…” β€” Thats a classic quote mate! I’ll remember that one πŸ˜‰
    I’m frequently in forbidden/dangerous situations taking photos… I find it’s often easier to seek forgiveness than seek permission. Recently, a friend and I got kicked off some land while trying to shoot an amazing sunset. This woman went absolutely nuts at us, and it wasn’t until we were driving away that I realized I could have completely avoided having to leave if I had simply answered “Yes” to her question: “Do you own land here?!?!” β€” How would she have known? Haha… The way I figure, the worst that can happen is you get told off and get a slap on the wrist. Totally worthwhile if the results you get from being ‘out of bounds’ are like this:
    I jumped a few fences today to get photos… Can’t wait to get some processing done, but it’s nearly 3am here in Queenstown and I’m about to fall asleep at my desk!

  • My friends just returned from spending a couple of weeks in Europe, including Paris. Both photographers, they were dismayed to discover that not only are many churches forbidding tripods, but any photography as well.

    What is it about photography that sparks such reactions? People love photos, but how dare you take a photo of them or their property! I just don’t get it. Churches are filled with beautiful art, but they don’t want anyone else to create it.

  • Superb! Fantastic colors.

  • A month ago I was in Neath, Wales. I was told about an old Abbey that was worth a visit so I decided to take a cab there after work. The cab dropped me off, and then I found out it was closed πŸ™
    After taking some photos behind the fence, I looked around and saw that there was not a soul to be seen. So I hopped over the fence with my tripod and camera and took a ton of photos inside the ruins. It was amazing, I had the whole place to myself, the sun was setting, and I had a ton of great things to see around every corner. No one came by, and I had a great time!

  • Big Matty

    Great shot Trey! It’s funny how the most beautiful churches security are so up tight about being photographed. Maybe they don’t want to get blown up or robbed? What is their reasoning? I go to a megachurch church in California, and if I showed up every Sunday with my camera and started snapping people would just start posing, and the youth pastor would probably try to take me on a mission trip to document the thing.
    I shot lots of pics in churches in Russia and no one said anything, they just looked at me and kept walking.

  • How’d you get the tripod in there, just fully closed like a walking stick? I tried to do hand-held HDR but there was so little light it was too blurry. Best I came up with was this:

  • its so pretty im gonna cry;D
    ,seriously, its an astonishing view!!!

  • I think in many cases it’s because they’d prefer you to buy their own professionally (or not so much…) done postcards or other photographic merchandise.

  • Yeah, Ste Chapelle is the most amazing church in Paris (and me too, despite having lived 4 years in Paris, walking or riding the bus daily in front of it, I visited only once for some reason).

    Concerning the tripod rule, it’s silly if you think of one photographer with one tripod.
    Now, imagine the same place with 20 tripods…
    Believe me, none of those rules are silly, even if they look like it at first glance at times.

  • Has anyone thought of using a monopod you can tell them its not a tripod love the pic

  • Thanks everyone !

    Eden – hehe I’m glad you liked that quote πŸ™‚

  • Jeff

    I liked Saint-Chapelle but some of the windows really show how much restoration work needs to be done there. It was really nice, don’t get me wrong, and a photo like this that captures the entirety of it is impressive, but as far as the individual windows of glass there were other churches that I liked better.

    Personally, I almost always follow the rules in these situations because often, though not always the rules are there for a reason. Sure, Trey might be smart enough to use a tripod in a way that won’t interfere with other peoples enjoyment of the church but if they allow people who know what they’re doing to use them it also means that idiots who don’t know what they’re doing will use them and set them up in a place that is in the way of others. I don’t like it when churches charge you money to get in, then say that you can’t take pictures inside, that to me is silly, but I completely understand it in smaller less touristy churches that are a church first and foremost and not a tourist attraction, because I can see how people praying or whatever find it bothersome.

  • You set up a tripod and continue to shoot till you get stopped. Best Inspector Clouseau accent “You ‘ave no respect for the lorre.”

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  • Steve

    Hey Trey why is so easy to FB like your photos in three or four locations but only G+ it after hitting comments and scrolling to the top of the page?

    Great image with some awesome stained glass captured!

  • What’s the deal with churches always telling us how to live our life :0) Fortunately most of us figure out how to do that best ourselves. Beautiful stained glass and light; thx for sharing dude-

  • “Tripods were forbidden, so I decided to use a tripod to get a shot” Great! πŸ˜€ I was there few weeks after you, in August. I also decided to ignore that rule but, after few second I take out the tripod out of my bag, a Miss has materialized out of nowhere kindly asking me to take out the tripod. So I had to shoot my HDR keeping the camera by hand. I opened the lens more than I could, and sitting on a chair and keeping the breath, I took my three photos. Anyway, great photo Trey πŸ™‚

  • It is the same in Italy. They have a strict “no tripods” rule here for all their natiional treasures (in the Campagnia Region anyways). I have been booted for many a ruin for “being a professional photographer”. I am just a person who loves photography – I am in the military for God’s sake…. I don’t get it. It is frustrating. Also, I love places that won’t let me haul in my DSLR because it is a “professional camera”, but these lousy point and shoots, some even with their little dingy P&S tripods, are all over!!!

  • Thanks thanks…

    Yes Steve I am struggling with all this too!

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