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Author Topic: Photographer Safety While Traveling  (Read 7375 times)

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PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« on: February 21, 2016, 21:33 »
0
Was out shooting in a city I hadn't been to before and ran into trouble. I noticed a guy across the street checking me out. Sizing me up. Then he started following me. When I went to go back down the street he crossed the street and stood in my way yelling something. I stopped and he was about 15 feet in front of me. He was probably in his early 30s, strong build, and may have been homeless, on drugs, or just a mouthy thug looking for a victim. I'm a pretty big guy and just stared him down until he backed off. He still followed me and kept yelling.

I've had a few minor run-ins with people but nothing as close to a brawl as this. When I'm in my hometown I carry a knife. Can't do that when traveling on an airplane.

Ever have any problems like this? You carry any extra protection while traveling?
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 08:08 by PaulieWalnuts »


« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2016, 04:27 »
+5
Was out shooting in a city I hadn't been to before and ran into trouble. I noticed a guy across the street checking me out. Sizing me up. Then he started following me. When I went to go back down the street he crossed the street and stood in my way yelling something. I stopped and he was about 15 feet in front of me. He was probably in his early 30s, strong build, and may have been homeless, on drugs, or just a mouthy thug looking for a victim. I'm a pretty big guy and just stared him down until he backed off. He still followed me and kept yelling.

I've had a few minor run-ins with people but nothing as close to a brawl as this. When I'm in my hometown I carry a knife. Can't do that when traveling on an airplane.

Ever have any problems like this? You carry any extra protection while traveling?

The only weapon I carry is comprehensive equipment insurance. Getting mugged means a camera upgrade for me...

Tror

« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2016, 04:38 »
0
Was out shooting in a city I hadn't been to before and ran into trouble. I noticed a guy across the street checking me out. Sizing me up. Then he started following me. When I went to go back down the street he crossed the street and stood in my way yelling something. I stopped and he was about 15 feet in front of me. He was probably in his early 30s, strong build, and may have been homeless, on drugs, or just a mouthy thug looking for a victim. I'm a pretty big guy and just stared him down until he backed off. He still followed me and kept yelling.

I've had a few minor run-ins with people but nothing as close to a brawl as this. When I'm in my hometown I carry a knife. Can't do that when traveling on an airplane.

Ever have any problems like this? You carry any extra protection while traveling?

The only weapon I carry is comprehensive equipment insurance. Getting mugged means a camera upgrade for me...

Better Idea than a knife :-) In which country was Paulie? Mind sharing the city?

Shelma1

« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2016, 05:04 »
+1
I've been attacked, grabbed, hit, threatened, yelled at...I think some men feel it's their duty to harass small women. I've carried pepper spray a couple of times but never used it. An iPhone is sometimes effective...when people see they're being recorded they try to calm down. I would think pepper spray would be better than a knife, because you don"t have to be so close to use it. But I'm always concerned that I'll wind up being sprayed more than they will.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2016, 07:42 »
+1
Was out shooting in a city I hadn't been to before and ran into trouble. I noticed a guy across the street checking me out. Sizing me up. Then he started following me. When I went to go back down the street he crossed the street and stood in my way yelling something. I stopped and he was about 15 feet in front of me. He was probably in his early 30s, strong build, and may have been homeless, on drugs, or just a mouthy thug looking for a victim. I'm a pretty big guy and just stared him down until he backed off. He still followed me and kept yelling.

I've had a few minor run-ins with people but nothing as close to a brawl as this. When I'm in my hometown I carry a knife. Can't do that when traveling on an airplane.

Ever have any problems like this? You carry any extra protection while traveling?

The only weapon I carry is comprehensive equipment insurance. Getting mugged means a camera upgrade for me...

Insurance is great for replacing equipment but what about your life? Some people just want to steal but some seem more interested in doing harm.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2016, 07:43 »
0
Was out shooting in a city I hadn't been to before and ran into trouble. I noticed a guy across the street checking me out. Sizing me up. Then he started following me. When I went to go back down the street he crossed the street and stood in my way yelling something. I stopped and he was about 15 feet in front of me. He was probably in his early 30s, strong build, and may have been homeless, on drugs, or just a mouthy thug looking for a victim. I'm a pretty big guy and just stared him down until he backed off. He still followed me and kept yelling.

I've had a few minor run-ins with people but nothing as close to a brawl as this. When I'm in my hometown I carry a knife. Can't do that when traveling on an airplane.

Ever have any problems like this? You carry any extra protection while traveling?

The only weapon I carry is comprehensive equipment insurance. Getting mugged means a camera upgrade for me...

Better Idea than a knife :-) In which country was Paulie? Mind sharing the city?

USA. Major southeastern city.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2016, 07:44 »
+1
I've been attacked, grabbed, hit, threatened, yelled at...I think some men feel it's their duty to harass small women. I've carried pepper spray a couple of times but never used it. An iPhone is sometimes effective...when people see they're being recorded they try to calm down. I would think pepper spray would be better than a knife, because you don"t have to be so close to use it. But I'm always concerned that I'll wind up being sprayed more than they will.

Wow, sorry to hear that. Good point with the phone.

Shelma1

« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2016, 08:16 »
+2
I've been attacked, grabbed, hit, threatened, yelled at...I think some men feel it's their duty to harass small women. I've carried pepper spray a couple of times but never used it. An iPhone is sometimes effective...when people see they're being recorded they try to calm down. I would think pepper spray would be better than a knife, because you don"t have to be so close to use it. But I'm always concerned that I'll wind up being sprayed more than they will.

Wow, sorry to hear that. Good point with the phone.

Thanks. The funny thing is that I've been threatened, attacked and screamed at in Manhattan...which I guess is to be expected, perhaps...but also in quiet suburbs, where I apparently threaten and infuriate men by cycling and walking my Chihuahuas. You know when I never, ever got harassed? When I walked my German Shepherd. A big dog is really the best deterrent, and a camera phone makes people think twice.

« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2016, 09:03 »
+1
I've been attacked, grabbed, hit, threatened, yelled at...I think some men feel it's their duty to harass small women. I've carried pepper spray a couple of times but never used it. An iPhone is sometimes effective...when people see they're being recorded they try to calm down. I would think pepper spray would be better than a knife, because you don"t have to be so close to use it. But I'm always concerned that I'll wind up being sprayed more than they will.

Wow, sorry to hear that. Good point with the phone.

Thanks. The funny thing is that I've been threatened, attacked and screamed at in Manhattan...which I guess is to be expected, perhaps...but also in quiet suburbs, where I apparently threaten and infuriate men by cycling and walking my Chihuahuas. You know when I never, ever got harassed? When I walked my German Shepherd. A big dog is really the best deterrent, and a camera phone makes people think twice.

A dog is excellent for protection. The bigger and meaner looking the better. And pepper spray sounds good too but if someone's going to attack and rob you, why would they let you keep your phone? Especially if you took their photo with it. For simple harassment maybe it will encourage civil behavior but not in a full on assault situation.

« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2016, 09:14 »
+4
I live in downtown Sao Paulo, very close to an area formerly known as crackland now at the very early stage of gentrification. Since it's been years, despite being a foreigner here in Brazil  I learned the street slang, body language and I know my "neighbours" (dealers, prostitutes, homeless) which guarantees me safety.

Besides the insurance, when I travel to unknown cities, either here in Brazil or in my case major African cities, I usually try to get in touch with local photojournalists or even amateur photographers to show me around or to join me in urban exploration. It's been a great experience and I made many friends along the way, not to mention increased security and access to less explored suburbs.

Insurance is great, but when you are in the middle of a trip it could take weeks to replace all your equipment so my extra layer of security and threat mitigation is provided by local companion.

EDIT: pepper spray or knife can be useful against a lonely mugger in a deserted street, but quite ineffective in crowds or unknown places with no safe zone to go afterwards
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 10:54 by sigalavaca »

« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2016, 11:23 »
+1
Having a local guide can be quite useful, but the best idea is to avoid ** places like Detroit, Malmo, Cairo, Salvador altogether. If you must go, bring your worst equipment, a crappy give-away phone and just cash for the day. Traveling in two or more is a good deterrent, but not enough if they have guns or in large groups. More likely they just want to rob you and keep out of trouble. If they really want to hurt you, not many options left - run or fight back.

ShadySue

« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2016, 12:28 »
0
Having a local guide can be quite useful, but the best idea is to avoid ** places like Detroit, Malmo, Cairo, Salvador altogether. If you must go, bring your worst equipment, a crappy give-away phone and just cash for the day.
MALMO? I screamed. In SWEDEN? So I Googled,  and right enough, there it was, in a list of the top ten most dangerous cities in Europe and sounding very scary. Then I noticed it was #9 and  they had Glasgow at #3!!! That latter opinion is at least 30 years old for a city whose tagline (taken from an extensive visitor survey) is 'People Make Glasgow'.
Still, Malmo sounded much scarier.
So far, reactions to seem to be along the lines of: "She doesn't  look like she'd know what to do with a camera like that."
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 14:54 by ShadySue »

« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2016, 13:30 »
+6
Monopd with a heavy ballhead can serve more than one useful purpose

« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2016, 14:49 »
0
i always go on a shoot in my M1 Abrams

« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2016, 15:44 »
0
My husband is usually with me and our dogs.

One time a mentally disturbed man in a big city started yelling at me and getting in my face.  Scary. 

« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2016, 15:48 »
0
I had a guy really get in my face when shooting a home for a RE agent with my drone. I was over the listed property but he was the neighbor. I was calm and professional... but he kept playing tough guy...

then i snapped and started screaming in his face and he freaked and turned into a kitten and apologized so I would calm down LOL

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2016, 18:17 »
0
Monopd with a heavy ballhead can serve more than one useful purpose

We have a winner! I can finally use my monopod for something. Just have to figure out how to add a trailer hitch ball to the end. And practice my martial arts yells.

« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2016, 19:25 »
0
Monopd with a heavy ballhead can serve more than one useful purpose

We have a winner! I can finally use my monopod for something. Just have to figure out how to add a trailer hitch ball to the end. And practice my martial arts yells.

monopod came in handy also for fending off dogs while trekking the Andes

« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2016, 19:31 »
+2
i travelled all over the world, only carrying as little as i can, with as little money i can in a neck strap envelope containing very little money. i dress very simply, probably less than a mugger.
wherever i go, i hear doors slamming as i approach in the early mornings past midnight.
nothing ever happened to me.

one day last year, back home, i was out taking shots for a client. in what i consider my home turf.
very safe. i ended up being confronted by a guy and i was civil to him. i turned around to walk away and he turned me around and smashed me in the head against the concrete before someone
up in a building called the cops.
the cops came and instead of arresting the guy, laughed because he was a friend of the crooked cops. i ended up with 7 stitches and concussion and bruises all over that kept  me in hospital for a week. the ambulance people told me they had known of this guy and never was he ever arrested.

really, there isn't anything to keep you safe. unless you carry a gun. if they want to hurt you,
they will. it has nothing to do with robbing you.
and yes, i know capoeira and it still didn't help.  if i had won , it would only be in time before that brute come finding me again.
needless to say, i moved out of that city. also, i no longer consider any place safe.

in another incident, a friend of mine was attacked by a bunch of guys. he grabbed the knife off one of his attacker. because he was black, he was threatened by the cops for carrying a knife; never mind being the single person being attacked by a group welding knives.

in other words, don't play hero. usually, the innocent guy ends up being charged with A&B, especially if you're the pigeon.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 19:35 by etudiante_rapide »

« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2016, 02:58 »
0
i travelled all over the world, only carrying as little as i can, with as little money i can in a neck strap envelope containing very little money. i dress very simply, probably less than a mugger.
wherever i go, i hear doors slamming as i approach in the early mornings past midnight.
nothing ever happened to me.

one day last year, back home, i was out taking shots for a client. in what i consider my home turf.
very safe. i ended up being confronted by a guy and i was civil to him. i turned around to walk away and he turned me around and smashed me in the head against the concrete before someone
up in a building called the cops.
the cops came and instead of arresting the guy, laughed because he was a friend of the crooked cops. i ended up with 7 stitches and concussion and bruises all over that kept  me in hospital for a week. the ambulance people told me they had known of this guy and never was he ever arrested.

really, there isn't anything to keep you safe. unless you carry a gun. if they want to hurt you,
they will. it has nothing to do with robbing you.
and yes, i know capoeira and it still didn't help.  if i had won , it would only be in time before that brute come finding me again.
needless to say, i moved out of that city. also, i no longer consider any place safe.

in another incident, a friend of mine was attacked by a bunch of guys. he grabbed the knife off one of his attacker. because he was black, he was threatened by the cops for carrying a knife; never mind being the single person being attacked by a group welding knives.

in other words, don't play hero. usually, the innocent guy ends up being charged with A&B, especially if you're the pigeon.

Yikes! Where do you live? Chicago? Seriously though, that sounds like some terribly broken police.

« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2016, 10:31 »
0
Yikes! Where do you live? Chicago? Seriously though, that sounds like some terribly broken police.

not , no chicago or even boston nor manhattan. i lived all over the place due to my job entails.
but what i mean to say is not where you live that is known to be dangerous that matters,
but that it is where you drop your guard and think it is the safest city in the world that gets you into trouble.  yes, i have worked and lived in the most dangerous cities in the world ...
according to Forbes... but i never got robbed in those cities.

i got robbed ... and beaten up ... in the most known to be safest cities . it's all politically correct
but the cops are not all they show in magazines... esp if you're ethnic different 8)
as i said, manhattan, sao paulo, chicago, boston,etc... are full of ethnics, people are used to seeing
different culturals and caucasians alike ...they mix very easily with you as you do not appear like a martian. it is where you stand out that is more prone to trouble and where the duke of hazard type police do not always side with the good guys ;)
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 10:51 by etudiante_rapide »

« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2016, 11:32 »
0
I worked as a photojournalist for many years and although I was threatened too many times to count, the only people that actually assaulted me were the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the Maple Leafs players and the corrupt Mayor of a small city. (None were actually much of an assault) I was always lucky I guess, but also had a good sense of what I could get away with and when to back down, etc. 

« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2016, 11:43 »
0
I worked as a photojournalist for many years and although I was threatened too many times to count, the only people that actually assaulted me were the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the Maple Leafs players and the corrupt Mayor of a small city. (None were actually much of an assault) I was always lucky I guess, but also had a good sense of what I could get away with and when to back down, etc.

well said. and with the experience comes knowing when and where to not stand out conspicuos or obnoxiously.  a lone foreigner or visible with a bag of expensive equipment
is not only bait to muggers, but also a threat to ppl like you said... owner of venues or politicians with territorial mentality.  even venues official photographers can get you into trouble too.
..
as no doubt i am sure it was how you got into trouble at maple leafs.

i once got into trouble just being where some politician was walking with a sweet looking young lady .
i was not even shooting photos of them. .. but pointed in that direction.
before you know it, i had plain-clothes police and body-guards asking for my passport.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 11:45 by etudiante_rapide »

« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2016, 11:43 »
0
Scary stuff here. I guess I am lucky I have not run into problems yet despite all the traveling I've done. These stories almost make me think I am overdue.

« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2016, 12:10 »
+5


I've always found that being discreet is about 90% of the battle as far as keeping your gear and yourself safe.

Don't walk around with your camera and a big lens around your neck. You look like a naive target. Buy a shoulder bag (not something that looks like a camera bag).
If you are travelling alone, keep alert. If you look like you are paying attention you probably aren't worth the risk. Don't stand around staring at your phone or map looking lost. Stick to areas with people. Don't walk down empty streets. Just be smart.

One of the riskiest spots I ever found myself in was some area of Sao Paulo that I don't really need to ever go back to. But, once I clued in it became pretty clear that I needed to get out of there. Pay attention and when you start to feel uncomfortable, just leave. It isn't worth risking your gear and your life for a photo.

95% of the stories I've heard of travellers getting into trouble involved walking around at night and alcohol. Just be smart about it.

Having said that, you can get mugged anywhere. Good insurance can bring you alot of piece of mind.

Folks who carry knives and clubs, would you really be willing to stick that knife into a person's brain (do you even know how you would do that?) to stop an attack? Do you think that stabbing them anywhere else is going to save your life? Do you have any idea what it would be like to defend yourself in court over a matter like this (he was trying to steal my camera so I killed him)?  :o

Discretion is the better part of valor.


 

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