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General photography questions and answers: Discuss A day at Canary Wharf........As some of you may have seen I spent this afternoon at Canary Wharf in London. It was an interesting ...
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Old 14-02-2005, 00:56   #1 (permalink)
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A day at Canary Wharf.....

As some of you may have seen I spent this afternoon at Canary Wharf in London. It was an interesting trip to say the least.

It started off with me leaving home with sunny skies, fully charged batteries and 512Mb of memory to use up. First sign of things going wrong, it starts snowing on the way there. Nearly turn around and go home, but decide to plod on as you get an early view of Canary Wharf as you travel along the M2. My first glimpse of it and it is bathed in sunshine. Game on.

Get there and get parked easily enough, residents parking does not count at weekends. Get my kit and start to walk towards the complex, jeeze it was freezing! Get some nice shots of the towers from across a dock. I then see an interesting looking shiny black building across the road.

I cross over and see that the building is served by a big courtyard with a pub in it. No signs to say private property or no photography. Digitalfailure had warned be about over zealous security staff who were particularly funny about photographers. So I start snapping away thinking no problem, I am not in the main complex so no one will mind. Wrong....

Voice - "OI you canít take photos here"

I look around and see the voice belongs to an over weight, should be retired, far too sweaty security guard.

Me - "Why's that then?"

Guard - "Cos I said so!"

Me - "and you are?"

Guard - "I am security."

Me - "Thatís nice. There are no signs to say this is private property and that photography is not allowed."

Guard - "Well I am telling you you can't."

Me - "There are no signs or gates so therefore this is a public place, and I can do what I like, with in reason".

Guard - "That building is private and you canít take photos of it. By order of the building management"

Me - "I'll bare that in mind next time I am here, thanks for telling me."

At this point I kneel down to take a shot of the building he so adamant I don't photograph. This is what I captured......



Guard - "I said no pictures".

Me - "And I said I am perfectly within my rights to take photographs here."

Guard - "Right you better come with me."



Guard looks extremely uncomfortable by this point and is not quite sure what to do next so I give him a helpful hint...

Me - "You could try calling the police."

Guard - "Right I'll do that."

Me - "Yes I am sure they will be very interested."

With that the guard walked off and I carried on with what I was doing with a sly grin on my face.

I continue on to the main Canary Wharf complex. This is differen't, big signs saying private property this time. Still nothing to say no photography. Pass two men of middle eastern apperance, each with a small compact digital camera. They were quite excitedly showing each other their photographs. I saw numerous tourists with camcorders and compacts taking photos and videos of everything. Just the ticket, clearly allowed in here. Wrong again!!

Within five minutes i was approached by another security guard. A younger far more pleasent guy this time. Who explained that photography of the buildings was not allowed and that it was private property. This was all due to the current security situation. He went to say that if I continued I could be escorted off the complex as a tresspasser. Due to the guys nature and he clearly knew what he was talking about and didn't argue. I was a little annoyed that i was singled out over and above the miriad of tourists who were present, but not a lot I could do about it there.

So one me and one to the guards.

So I am thinking we could organise a flash photography mob in the middle of Canary Wharf and see what happens. :wink:

Still I went on to get some fairly decent images that will be appearing in my gallery soon.
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Old 14-02-2005, 08:36   #2 (permalink)
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Yay one for the little man and his camera!!!!


I must admit thats not something I've come across yet but as you say would be an interesting one if the police were called!! Look forward to more pics without security guards hands in the picture
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Old 14-02-2005, 18:11   #3 (permalink)
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Your just a trouble maker steve!
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Old 14-02-2005, 18:44   #4 (permalink)
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I think one all is a fair outcome for the day. You were definitely correct with your stance on the first challenge and secretly every single one of us would like to have the courage and bottle to stand up to the jobs worth with the attitude. [smilie=t:

As you have said already you knew that on the second location it had signs up to say private property but more so, the security guard was pleasant and polite when he approached you. This makes all the difference to me and I would have reacted in the same way as you did. The issue that would have annoyed me though is that others were openly also doing photography and allowed to continue while you where singled out.

This is the big drawback with our hobby, as we progress and buy better equipment which is usually larger and more obvious, it attracts attention. Itís a no win situation especially as security and paranoia is increasing countrywide. Not only is trying to capture photographs a tricky and thought intensive process, we also have to be wary of the rules, laws and other factors like the security of our equipment. All this makes capturing even a apparently simple photograph become a taxing and tricky task.

The joys of photography
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Old 14-02-2005, 18:58   #5 (permalink)
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Did the guard say who you could ask for permission?

I'm sure that your status as a serving [insert job description here] would stand you in good stead, they may even allow you to go inside and do some shots from the roof or balcony areas.
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Old 14-02-2005, 19:24   #6 (permalink)
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This sort of thing's becoming all too common these days. If you're on public land, or on land with the owners permission, you can photograph anything you can see from those places, with a few exceptions such as those protected by the official secrets act or if you're photographing into private property where privacy is invaded. B***dy jobsworths! [smilie=a:
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Old 14-02-2005, 19:37   #7 (permalink)
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This is where the whole private land thing get a bit sticky. If a place is open to the public by express or implied permission then it is a public place. This has been proven time and time again in court. However when they have signs up telling you it is private land with condtions of access you become a tresspasser if you breach those conditions. Then they have the right to eject you. Thats where you have to be careful.

With the first incident the guard was an ass from the moment he opened his mouth. He also let slip he was the guard of the building I was taking pictures off not of the land I was taking them from. So I was safe in the knowledge he didn't have a leg to stand on either way. I could argue with the guy because i was totally confident of my rights and he didn't have a clue.

I knew I was on a sticky wicket in Canary Wharf so thats why I didn't argue and behaved myself.
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Old 14-02-2005, 20:00   #8 (permalink)
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How you resisted showing the contents of your wallet I'll never know, LOL
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Old 14-02-2005, 20:03   #9 (permalink)
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There are times when an SLR is a disadvantage! :wink: Last October I acted as Press Officer for an exhibition visited by the Duke of York. The press photographers were not allowed to follow him around, and could only take shots from two agreed locations. Even there, they were not allowed to get closer than about 10 metres, and if any of them dared to move a little closer, one of HRH's minders would order him to move back. Meanwhile, all the ordinary visitors to the event were snapping away merrily with their digicams and camcorders, with no restrictions whatsoever.

Absolutely ridiculous IMO, and if that sort of situation arises again I'll dump the 10D and borrow my wife's A75.
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Old 14-02-2005, 20:23   #10 (permalink)
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How you resisted showing the contents of your wallet I'll never know, LOL
With him that would have generated a lot more grief. He would no doubt have started demanding my number and all sorts. If by some strange miracle the police had turned up then I would have had a quiet word and that would have been the end of the matter no doubt.
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Old 15-02-2005, 09:58   #11 (permalink)
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Good on you DSPG! Glad you stood up to him. As has been said I'd consider it a good one-nil result for the day.
However, although i'm the biggest wuss there is, if I'd known I was in the right all along, I'd like to think I would have stood up to him and just told him where he (and I) legally stand.

However I can understand the temptation to show him the contents of your wallet as it were. If anything just to see the look on his face, which would have been priceless. I hate jobsworths.


Even though I fully agree with you, lets look at it from a different angle?
He's in a difficult position, he has a job to do. He's been told from his boss to stop all photography, and they don't care how he does it, and from the other side, he's being told to shove his strongarm tactics. What if he genuinely was worried about the terrorist angle?
(Just playing devils advocate really).

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Old 15-02-2005, 16:34   #12 (permalink)
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For all situations there are right and wrong ways of approaching them, the first guard acted like an ass and got what he deserved. He may well have had genuine concerns and if he'd acted the way the second guy did he may have got a better result, that might be his fault, might be lack of proper training which is more than possible.
Either way we need to stand up for our rights too, if we let the scaremongers and bullys win we have only ourselves to blame.
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Old 15-02-2005, 21:09   #13 (permalink)
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The first guard didn't have a valid reason other than his boss said so. I am not sure he had the slightest clue about terrorism.

I knew he had a job to do and was calm and curteous with him, almost to the point of extreme sarcasm. I even felt a bit sorry for him.

My e-mail to Canary Wharf management has gone un answered. :roll: I guess i'll have to phone them.
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Old 15-02-2005, 22:09   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Digital SPG
My e-mail to Canary Wharf management has gone un answered. :roll: I guess i'll have to phone them.
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Old 16-02-2005, 21:27   #15 (permalink)
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To be honest, Canary Wharf is a location that terrorists might think about hitting. However, I'd say that this isn't a reason for a guard to be stupid over someone who's clearly not doing any harm. Photographs of Canary Wharf, and Canada Square and the surrounding area are easily enough found.

I've been in the area last weekend, and the weekend before. If I'd had time, I'd have got out the camera, I love it down there. It just looks so great.

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Old 04-03-2005, 19:59   #16 (permalink)
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Update....................


I was put in touch with The Canary Wharf press office who are more than happy to issue me with a photography permit. Just have to let them know when I am going up there and what equipment I will be using. They will then fax me a permit, or I can collect it on the day.

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Old 04-03-2005, 20:21   #17 (permalink)
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marvelous stuff!
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Old 04-03-2005, 20:39   #18 (permalink)
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Isn't it great when things just.............................................. .........














work!!!!







Hoorah for common sense in a barmy world, I'm glad they are allowing you to have access in that area.
I'm sure pictures of their buildings will only serve as free publicity.

I look forward to seeing some OFFICIAL images, and see if you can blag a couple of shots from a high'ish floor to get some skyline shots.
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Old 04-03-2005, 23:03   #19 (permalink)
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Pah! Too much effort!
More Lugers in faces, I tell you, that's the answer...
In the old days a gentleman carried a sword. Any who impugned his honour stood a good chance of being run through.
Laws against duelling were brought in not because of the risk to the general public, but because being a bunch of randy bu**ers, the gentry kept shagging each others wives and were killing each other off at an unsustainable rate.

Sidearms should be available to all who are eligable to vote. People would be far more polite to each other if they thought there was a real chance of meeting my friends Mr Smith and Mr Wesson.

Don't believe me? My Bro lives in central London and the politeness you see late at night is tangible - mostly on account of all the wannabe gangsta's carrying 9-milli's ready to off anyone who disses 'em.

I'm laughing because most of them couldn't hit a barn door from the inside, especially when thier piece jams coz they're holding it sideways! Stand your ground, take aim and one round in the nut will do the job.
After a year or so all the riff-raff will have been buried and the rest of the survivors can live normal, peaceful lives.

No Uzis though, that's cheating.
Saves money on court costs as well.
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