To: POP Editor
Subject: Restrictions on Photographers

Is it just me, or does it seem that more and more travel destinations are becoming “photographer unfriendly”? Many places ban tripods and monopods, but some (the Grand Canyon Rim Overlook) bans photography completely. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Press Office was good enough to explain to me their policy:

“Thank you for your inquiry. There are three reasons we prohibit the use of tripods and monopods:

1) Visitor safety. I agree monopods are easier to control than tripods, but we can’t make exceptions for monopods for the following two reasons.

2) Visitor access to exhibits. We’ve found that photographers using monopods and tripods often take up a prime spot in front of an exhibit and stay there a long time, regardless of how many people are around. We’re trying to be fair to the other visitors.

3) Proprietary issues. We prohibit private sales of images of our exhibits and animals, especially as stock images. We state on the visitor maps that people are welcome to take photos for their private use, but any commercial photography must be licensed and falls under location fees. With the advancement of digital cameras and camcorders, we are finding more and more people selling images taken here – a private business that receives no public funds – without a license. We find these regularly and contact the sites to remove the images, and take further action if needed. We’re a non-profit organization, and feel strongly that any sales of images should benefit our education and conservation research programs – whether they’re taken by our photographers or outside photographers under contract.”

And this is completely understandable. My question is this: how do we adapt our passion/craft/hobby so that we are not increasingly forced to leave our cameras at home?

Bryan Quattlebaum
Gold River, CA