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  • Relating to "National Security..."

    Hi all,

    This past weekend I was out taking some pictures on Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Norfolk, which happens to be right under the runway 23 arrival path at ORF. Now, I'm in the military, active-duty, so I obvioulsy was on the base legally. The base has a area for plane viewing (or at least, that's what I assumed it was, since it was in clear view of the arrivals path and had a parking area and what-not).

    After about a half-hour or so, a MP drives by, notices me, I give him a friendly wave, he waves back, but then turns his cruiser around. He asks me what I am doing, I tell him - taking pictures, it's a hobby of mine and what not - it was obvious what I was doing, since I had my 400D in hand. What he then said is what bothered me...

    He said I "needed permission" to take any photos on the base, and couldn't take pictures of anything relating to "national security" - I guess, with the Patriot Act, ANYTHING can be national security-related now days! I just couldn't understand the logic in his reasoning, and frankly, I think he didn't know WHAT he was talking about. He was actually the same rank as I - PO2, or E-5.

    I mean, for one, I'm in the military, have been for five years, have been on a combat deployment overseas, and was on the base legally, not bothering anyone. I left anyway (AFTER I finished my lunch), and went to the other side of the fence, at Lake Whitehurst park, and didn't get bothered by anyone for the rest of the afternoon.

    Meanwhile, in cases like Oceana's annual air show, they will let any and EVERYBODY on the base to photograph, first hand, and up close, some of America's highest valued "national security" assets! Meanwhile, on a clear winter afternoon, by myself, with my single camera in hand, with approved ACCESS to a military installation, I can't take a picture of a Delta MD-88. BoGuS!

    http://www.jetphotos.net/viewqueued_b.php?id=1309535

    (Hoists up bullsh*t flag)

    Thoughts? Any similar experiences?

  • #2
    You hear about this kinda stuff all the time...even more when it envolves the military, and I agree with you on the airshow thing. The only reason as to why I think its ok at airshows and not any other time is that at an airshow the aircraft aren't on any kind of mission. They're just there for public enjoyment.



    "Sorry Goose, but it's time to buzz the tower!"


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    • #3
      Maybe, but I work at Oceana, on the flight line. I take pictures all the time there. And no one says ANYTHING because they know that since I'm there, ON THE BASE, that I'm allowed to be there, and am not a national security threat simple because I'm THERE.

      But, it's okay if I'm John Doe, on the other side of the fence, off the base. The MP is obviously a moron. If only people would think before they spoke. :rolleyes:

      Needless to say, I've been there a few times. And I'll continue going back. I'm not really afraid to make a stink about it.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by flynavy
        The MP is obviously a moron. If only people would think before they spoke. :rolleyes:

        Needless to say, I've been there a few times. And I'll continue going back. I'm not really afraid to make a stink about it.
        You nailed it on the head right there, when I was up at NAS Brunswick doing an article on the BRAC closures of the New England Military bases I had a letter of intent from a magazine. I got there early to get some shots of the P-3s in the pattern. I was asked by on base security not to take pictures, lighting was bad so I just went on base.

        I was able to shoot on base for 2 hours, up close and everything. When I got off I went to the same spot to shoot again. The same people came out and stated I can't take pictures of the aircraft. When I stated I just spent two hours on the flightline with the PAO and ask what shots could I get out here that I couldn't get on base.

        Of course she didn't know and someone had to come out and talk to me. Tried to pass some BS that the land I was parked on was base land leased by the town and that I had to park a little further down. I was going to leave but stayed out of spite....

        I've heard of many military people needing to get approval from the base if they want to get pictures of the ramp. That would be the only thing I could suggest, just so they know.

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        • #5
          Why didn't you let this guy know your rank and your employment history in the armed forces and especially on the base? Surely he would have left you alone if you'd proven to him you weren't about to launch a RPG out of your 400D

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          • #6
            I already told you.

            Because he is a moron.

            And, since I was ON the base, what did it matter?

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            • #7
              People just get nervous when they see us out there and make up whatever excuse they can muster up.

              Apperantly its okay if I stand on an elevated light pole at San Carlos(SQL) hovering over the airport fence next to a taxiway no more than 10 feet away from the aircraft taxiing by.

              BUT if I'm taking pictures 1/4 mile away from the same airport of landing aircraft, I'm asked by security guards at the miniture golf course to "Put away the camera before it is taken by authorities" because "there is a law where you need someones consent to take a photo of them" and I "don't have the pilots/aircraft owners permission." Thats a mouthfull comming from an arcade/minigolf rent-a-cop. Of course, I continued to take pictures once they left, anyway.

              Been meaning to share that one on the forums for a while.
              sigpic
              http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=170

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              • #8
                I was with a friend and his aunt, picking up his uncle who was flying an F16 into Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH. While we were waiting outside the gate a couple MP's came up and one was very nice and was the first to talk to us. Then another gets out of the car and treats us like complete crap and says we shouldn't even be there and there's no way we'll ever be allowed out on the flight line.

                So what happens? My friends uncle lands, walks over to the fence, tells us to meet him at the door a couple feet down, he opens it and we walk right out there. The MPs just stare at us because they were basically shown up because one of them was on a power trip.
                Tanner Johnson - Owner
                twenty53 Photography

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                • #9
                  It maybe different in the US Armed forces, but when I was in the RAF at Kinloss, I applied for a base photography pass. This enabled me to go onto the ramp and take pictures around the base with the security peoples blessing.

                  I found that once people knew who you were they left you alone and, that magic bit of paper worked wonders with those that didn't know.

                  Might be worth a try to apply for some sort of legitimate pass for you to carry out your hobby. They might then lay out the ground rules for you and make the rest of the base aware.

                  Andy

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                  • #10
                    that is what my friend who was at Ramstien would do, hard to believe that the Public Affairs and Security side don't always talk to each other.

                    I would think especially seeing the original poster is military and has ramp access he would have NO problem getting this. His back ground checks have already been done when he got his ramp access.

                    Must be nice to pull something out to say "screw you, I'm cleared"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tanner_J
                      So what happens? My friends uncle lands, walks over to the fence, tells us to meet him at the door a couple feet down, he opens it and we walk right out there. The MPs just stare at us because they were basically shown up because one of them was on a power trip.
                      I do sooooooooo hope you gave him the middle finger wave as well ?
                      If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !

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                      • #12
                        I think the problem is that there is a very grey area when it comes to security and obviously when the s**t does hit the fan and something happens no security guard or MOD PLOD or police officer wants to be able to say "well i did see someone hovering about there"

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                        • #13
                          Hmm some people just have paranoid issues in that situation you should've been fine at AUS me and my friend we're spotting between two fences one side of the fence was the airport where we were taking pics other side was a gold course. A airport cop drives past us on the perimeter road asks us where our parents are and we tell em where they are and then he says Ok take some good pictures and smiles and leaves then some golfers from the other side of the fence come over later while me and my friend are still spotting and tell us we can't be where we are because "it's trespassing" that was a bunch of BS! anyways me and my friend caught a few more planes to tick the guy off who had no idea what he was talking about and then we left.

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                          • #14
                            A couple of things (most of my points have already been mentioned) -

                            1) While on base, you are subject to base rules. Doesn't matter if you can see the same thing from off base or not, when you're on base property, you work on their rules.

                            2) As a general rule, photographing aircraft operations from on base is frowned upon without permission. The issue here is divulging of information. They have no way of knowing how much of the operation of that aircraft you have and what you will use that picture and your own knowledge for, so the brass doesn't want you taking pictures without telling them beforehand what you'll be using it for. It's for this same reason that anything you send from a government e-mail address or computer or send in the mail is checked at random. It's been that way since well before the Patriot Act ever existed. Before they just didn't enforce it a whole lot.

                            I visited a friend at Wright Patt in 2004 and took some photos from the Control Tower walkway. Even as a civilian visiting base, I still got a blessing from the PAO's office (via e-mail) to post the pictures on the web that I took from there after promising not to show anything "sensitive" and agreeing that if they found out that I had revealed any "sensitive" information I was subject to prosecution. At no time was the Patriot Act mentioned, I would have been subject to prosecution under several laws that are attached the the National Security Act of 1947.

                            Most PAOs don't have a problem with you taking pictures, but may have a couple of areas or times that they don't want you to photograph at so talking to them and getting their blessing is your best bet to keep from finding yourself in your CO's office facing judicial hearings. There's a saying that I've been told several times by both memebers of the military and law enforcement - "Ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the law." I live by that idea and whenever in doubt, I get permission or check to make sure I'm within my rights.

                            Finally, the airshow issue - You'll find that even during the air show at Oceana, certain areas are off-limits for photography. Only areas open to the public or aircraft flying in the show are allowed to be photographed by those attending and I've seen MPs on more than one occasion confronting photographers who were attempting to photograph operational areas of bases that were closed off from the public.
                            Last edited by CAPFlyer; 2007-02-26, 05:06.

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