I have heard it before but never experienced it for myself – until now.
For my latest project I am taking pictures of buildings designed by the Regency architect, John Nash. I am taking some during the day and some in the evening. Those of Marble Arch, the Institute of Directors, the Theatre Royal, Haymarket and the Royal Pavillion in Brighton all went well and without incident. However, when I moved to the steps between the two sections of Carleton House Terrace, things changed.
It was 8.00pm in the evening and already dark and I was using a tripod, an 18 to 200mm zoom lens and mirror up with a remote shutter release, but the place was deserted and I wasn’t in anyone’s way.
The way I read it was that someone left an office in Carleton House and had a close look at me as they drove from the car park in front of the building and into the Mall. About one or two minutes later, a police car arrived, went past me, did a U-turn and parked about six feet away, to my left. You can see their arrival in the picture below.
Nothing else happened. They were out of the cameras’ line of site; they ignored me and I ignored them. When I had finished, I packed my gear and walked away. I looked into the car but they appeared engrossed in paperwork.
Perhaps the rally in nearby Trafalgar Square when photographers protested about police intimidation has had some effect but clearly there is still something about a serious photographer with a tripod that disturbs people. Unless they park there every evening, of course – but I don’t think so!