Once in a while when shooting architecture, I'll be approached by some well-meaning citizen who is concerned I might be a terrorist. I know you can't tell from this blog but, I am a very American-looking male, speaking non-accented English, on the older end of the 0-40 demographic. So, while I don't fit the stereotype of a terrorist, I still might be one since I am armed with...a camera.
During the questioning phase, I am always accommodating, polite and respectful. I know their intentions are not to stand in front of my lens to ruin my dusk shot. But after I give them my business card, ID, first born and answer the "How many megapixels?" question, I have to get back to work.
The funny thing is that I shot the Sears Tower in Chicago a few weeks ago (it's currently the tallest building in America) and no one said a word while we camped on the street for over an hour. The sad thing is that with technology today, anyone planning do do something evil can get images of any building, airport or other structure covertly, within seconds. (If you doubt me, please click here to see how a real terrorist gets his pictures with $150 and a button-down shirt.) If I know this, you can be sure the bad guys know it too.
So the next time you see a photographer out in public, using a tripod, tethered to a MacBook and doing 45-second exposures, the only evil he's probably doing is forgetting to watch his histogram.