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Author Topic: Photographer Safety While Traveling  (Read 8319 times)

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« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2016, 12:32 »

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

100% well said every word. that is why the new mirrorless or leica in their heydays of cartier-bresson captured the best people pictures of all time.
i used to be in a booth with "professionals" all carrying the biggest longest (phallic symbol LOL)...
and me with the tiny minox or leice or nikonos. the pros look at me like , "who's these amateur???"

needless to say, when i turn away from the venue and started shooting the crowd,
no one stared at me or told me to stop.
otoh, when i was at a country-fair , sort of a woodstock type thing where all is love and free.
i happen to walk there after a "pro shoot"  with my biggest and longest .
i don't know how many dirty looks i got from both men and women
just walking . i didn't have to point the camera at them, ...
just the perception, "don't you dare point that at me or my gal".

even from a distance, when i point it in the direction ...
i can still see from the pictures i got.. lots of nasty faces...

ie. they knew someone was taking shots at them, and they did not like it.

« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2016, 12:52 »

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

even from a distance, when i point it in the direction ...
i can still see from the pictures i got.. lots of nasty faces...

ie. they knew someone was taking shots at them, and they did not like it.

This is why I'll never travel with a DSLR again. Unless it is strictly a landscape or wildlife trip.

As soon as you pull out a large camera and point it at someone they will notice. If you try to do it "sneaky-like" they won't like it.

I often used a cheap point and shoot to get shots because I knew it wasn't appropriate to use my DSLR. Sucks, but you have to be smart about things sometimes.

« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2016, 16:48 »
A photojournalist friend of mine always used Leica rangefinders when doing street photography, travelling to poor countries, war zones, etc with crappy looking black tape all over them to making them looking like old pieces of junk. He still does that now with with Sonys.

« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2016, 18:09 »
Some advice from Russian here.

Before going to a country you never been before ALWAYS google its local emergency numbers (phone numbers for police and ambulance, they're not always the same). 911 or 112 are not an option in far too many countries.
Note: sometimes emerg. numbers vary from one cellular provider to another (google provider you are going to use, for example: vodafone emergency numbers). It is always better to buy a local SIM card, because with your home SIM you will be able to dial only 112 (which can fail you in some not-so-rare cases).

Toughest situations I got into happened with me in Israel (100 for police and 101 for ambulance, if you care :-). Nothing really tough though. Just bunch of muslim teenagers who have tried to rob me. Discrete posture and rude language worked well that time.
Large cities equals constant danger, keep that in mind. Safest place I ever been is Montenegro.

Do your best to learn how to pronounce name of the place you are going to, preferably in the native language.
Always prefer shoes and clothes in which you can run fastest (sneakers instead of heavy boots, you know).

If you feel in danger, better call a police. If you forgot to save a particular emerg. number in your phone, call 112, or simulate a call. Stay at the distance and stare directly at the source of danger, while describing it in details to your (imaginary or real) phone interlocutor. In case of real danger this will probably work much better than trying to take a photo or video of subject onto your phone camera (feel free to do it after a call).

ALWAYS keep your distance, especially when someone is following you.
At evening and night you can carry a metal flashlight with you (on flight put batteries in the regular luggage and not carry on luggage). Those things have two useful functions: blind aggressor with light and smash him in the head, but really-really good strategy is to blind aggressor and run away.

« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2016, 21:55 »
I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, and looking poor and inconspicuous will confer 2/3 of the protection you need.

Camera stays in the bag unless there is something to take a picture of. Camera strap and camera bag do not have the brand written on them. Look around before and after you take a shot. Clear out as soon as you are done with a location, make sure you are not being followed.

Having other people around makes no difference, robbers have no problems attacking groups of people. It can even worse: more photographers around, more  stuff to rob.

Now, these days thieves seem to prefer ipads and iphones and fancy phones over cameras. That's a relief.

« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 22:00 by AlessandraRC »

« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2016, 01:58 »
Some of beautiful and high quality images i took in districts of Brussels where it is not safe to come with expensive gear. No secret. A policeman was with me. Regarding weddings i have regularly calls for false orders. The purpose - they want a photographer to come in not secure place/ not secure time. Of course, if for wedding they don't want to give details and sign a contract with identity proof, then no go to their quarters for "soire de mariage".

« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2016, 05:25 »
I am often in Barcelona (pickpocket capital of Europe) - I have a bright orange piece of string knotted around my wrist which is attached to a pin in a very loud alarm in my bag/s - (which comes out of the 'alarm' when pulled)   This is noticed by thieves and I have not yet been attacked. Told this to a friend who bought one and when a skateboarder grabbed his briefcase, the fright was so great that he fell off, dropping the briefcase and abandoning the skateboard.  My friend took both back home.... You can't stop the alarm except by pushing the pin back in.

« Reply #33 on: February 29, 2016, 11:39 »
if you carry any offensive weapon (which knife is) - you have increased possibility that you will actually use it some day.
 which you DO NOT want.
 o.k. i live in country where carrying guns and knifes is illegal, and people are not really aggressive in general - so almost no one is stabbed or killed by guns at the streets.
 so, from my point of view (i said my - it has not to be someone else's) - it is better for you even to sustain even injuries  rather than to actually kill someone.  but as i said - people do not kill each other at the streets here where i live. fights after sport events, or at late weekend hours - here and there - yes, but stabbing/shooting/gang shooting/firearm victims -no. (it happens, but so rarely that i can say "no")

« Reply #34 on: April 06, 2016, 19:58 »
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...
I second this, I have $2 insurance for no questions asked insurance in my $3,500 worth of camera gear.  Not worth the risk to your life unless you are home with your concealed carry.

« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2016, 00:44 »
On our first trip to India we found ourselves on a busy train station with a bunch of apprehensive elderly people while the guide went to sort out the train.
At my suggestion we put all their belongings with ours and I stood watch over them making eye contact with anyone who even looked in our direction.
Amazingly enough every time I looked in their direction the potential miscreants hastily walked away.
It was some 15 minutes later that I realized why when an Indian policeman with a big stick came along the platform. I was dressed so similarly to him that I was obviously being mistaken for a police officer and he was not carrying the stick for show.
If he didn't like the look of anyone they had to move fast before he could give them a good whack with the stick.
I can imagine that there are places where being mistaken for a cop could cause no end of problems but in India it would appear that confidence, eye contact and dressing like a cop can help to avoid incidents.

« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2016, 03:48 »
I had an escort of a police truck with a big machine gun in the back in Guatemala. That seem to have scared off potential robbers.


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