An American Terrorist

Normally you would see one of my blog posts start with my sharing an image, sadly that isn’t the case with this blog post, let me tell you why.

As you know from my last couple blog posts I am on the road this week and working out of my companies offices in the Phoenix area.  As the day was winding down today it was becoming clear that the sunset was going to be one of those epic Arizona sunsets that most people outside of Arizona have no idea about.  Since I had just made a #WayBackMachine post featuring an image made from a parking garage near 7th St. & I10 I thought I would head back there tonight to shoot the sunset that was developing before my eyes.

As I arrived there were already 2 other still photographers and a guy with what appeared to be broadcast type video gear shooting the sky as the sun was starting to set.  I started setting up my tripod and getting my camera ready when a security guard approached us.  His first question was what we were doing there.  At pretty much the same time all of us said we were talking pictures of the sunset.  The guards response what “that makes no sense, your obviously not middle eastern but there are a lot of American terrorists and I suspect you are targeting airplanes.”  I asked him if he was serious and he insured me that he was, and that American was full of terrorists and there is “no other reason to be taking pictures.”

At this point I started putting my gear away, I hadn’t actually finished setting up and hadn’t made a single capture yet.  The security guard started insisting that we leave and he started taking pictures of us and the video guy asked him what he was doing, the security guards answer was “getting evidence for when one of those planes explode.”  I’m serious, I don’t think I could make this up.

Since I was on private property I simply packed up my gear and left, but I am getting so sick and tired of this “war on photography.”  Sigh!

This entry was posted in Photography.


  1. Bryan Hellman February 15, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    I could understand him thinking you are a terrorist if you hold holding a RPG over the side of the building, but a camera, really? Like I said on Twitter I was kicked out of West Gate in Glendale because the security said this was a ‘high risk zone for terrorism” and my camera can capture too detailed photos for planning an attack. Isn’t that what the terrorists want in the end, for us to be afraid. And when we start accusing each other of being terrorists for simply taking a photo it makes one wonder who is really winning the war on terror.

    • ScottWood February 17, 2013 at 9:31 am #

      I honestly don’t know what he was thinking, if it even was, and if I would have been on public property I would have handled it differently, but I think this was the right way in this case.

  2. Kris Koeller February 17, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    There are some equally absurd restrictions on photography in NYC, such as the GW Bridge. Most of the rules appear to be made up on the spot by over zealous security guards who get a thrill from being a tough guy. Sounds like you played it right.
    Kris Koeller recently posted..After the Snow: The Flatiron BuildingMy Profile

    • ScottWood February 17, 2013 at 9:31 am #

      I’ve never been to NYC but I can suspect that there are some crazy restrictions there.

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