Shooting Time Lapses In Pennsylvania? Have A Reason Or Get Busted

Apparently taking a sequence of images for a time lapse is no reason enough, and you need to be able to tell what “they are for” or prepare to get busted.

That was the sad experience of Pennsylvania based photographer Jason Macchioni.

While taking images of traffic to get a time lapse composed Jason was approached by a cop who demanded to see an ID. As Jason committed no crime he refused to show an ID which resulted in a loop that defaulted to the cop asking Jason why is he taking pictures. The entire thing was recorded with Jason’s caemra.

Interestedly enough, another cop joined the party and threatened to arrest Jason for recording the conversation.

Jason chose not to spend the night in jail.

Here is Jason’s account of things from the youtube page.

was shooting a time-lapse which I’m still working on, I arrived at this site around 9 and was there for about 3 hours until these two cops rolled up! At first I was calm and refused to give ID, After the second cop was breathing down my neck and really threatening me. I gave in and tried to get them to leave. Then stuff got heated.

The first officer (Charles Tobias) was nice but just couldn’t grasp what I was doing after 4 explanations, He started to become angry when backup arrived, I guess so his fellow cop knew he was tough and could handle me? I gave him my ID even though I knew I didn’t have to, to try to make them leave asap, After the second cop (Cleland) notice I was recording become very upset, I guess he doesn’t like evidence when he breaks laws and infringes on a citizens rights. He also told me his dash cam and microphone was NOT on. Which I think you must have that on a call like this?

Officer (Harry Cleland) starting saying off camera that “if he wanted to hurt me he would have just came up and did it and stomped my phone and beat me up if he wanted too”. I told the officers I wanted to record to protect my self cause a lot of people being “mistreated” by the police. The officer (Celand) said well that’s mostly the “blacks” fault, People getting beat up.

He does not know Pa Wiretapping laws at all and my right to record! I have run into this cop before, I was shooting a car accident and this cop said ‘If you don’t leave, I’m going to confiscate your camera”. So now I know he has a record of violating citizens rights!

After the video stops, He (Cleland) went on a rant about people recording cops and thinking “they” know the law and about him thinking “black people are the problem, cause of drugs and crime”. They left I took a breath and checked my phone, My heart sank further knowing it didn’t catch-all of it. It did catch one thing, Him (Cleland) threatening to arrest me for recording him. Which is against the law, harry cleland

These Cops need to learn the law when it comes to photographers, and I can’t wait for my public apology.#

With perfect timing, a day after the incident, David Hobby posted how he deals with similar situations (including a link to the photographer’s rights card in the US), how would you handle this?

[via pixiq]