I could overhear the young security guard as he spoke into his walkie talkie. He was obviously reporting my step by step movements to somebody in the building’s command center. Was that a laser dot I imagined on the back of my neck? Or was I just being paranoid?
This was a recent encounter I had on my way to work. I’d stopped at a downtown street corner with camera in hand to take advantage of the Fall morning light as it spread across downtown Cleveland.
The sun is quickly getting lower in the sky. The shadows are growing longer. This creates an intriguing pastel interplay over the bridges and tracks that crisscross the Flats. It’s a photographer’s dream and my favorite shooting venue. Unfortunately I was capturing these scenes from the plaza of the Federal Courthouse. My actions attracted a security guard who seemed to appear from nowhere.
"Ore Freighter Alcoway on the Cuyahoga"
Our “introduction” went well since I made it a point to be pleasant and cooperative in response to his questions. I even referred him to my website where he could view my work. I have no doubt that he and a variety of cameras kept a close watch on me. But I made sure to direct my camera and attention away from the Federal building. They don't like people taking closeup photos of the building.
"A Rainy View from the Superior Viaduct"
I respect law enforcement. Police, the Feds and security guards have a tougher job today since 911. Anything perceived as suspicious behavior becomes suspect. Mundane activities can really be hidden threats. In partial defense of the Establishment I can understand this attitude.
"Guardian of Transportation - Hope Memorial Bridge"
I know what I am doing when I photograph a cityscape. But how does that appear to law enforcement? Extra effort must be made to act responsibly and with common sense these days. Now more than ever you have to be aware of your surroundings.