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Wonder what Ansel Adams would think about this . . .

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by dpaultx, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. dpaultx

    dpaultx Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 19, 2014
    North TX
    Forest Service says media needs photography permit in wilderness areas, alarming First Amendment advocates
    Here's the link to the official U.S. Forest Service publication which is currently open for public comment until 11/03/2014.

    I hope that this item isn't considered "too political" for the sensibilities of the members of this forum, but if .GOV can do this to the press and to commercial entities, what is to prevent them from applying it to anyone with a camera?

    • Like Like x 2
  2. Aushiker

    Aushiker Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    This was posted on PetaPixel on September 26, 2014.

  3. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    These rules apply in Australia in all national parks. It primarily applies to commercial activities, but some states have very clear guidelines that if you intend to sell any resulting photographs, then you need to apply for a permit, whether you consider yourself a professional or not. It was raised as a hot topic by our two photography associations, but I haven't followed this for some time.
  4. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 4, 2014
    Well with permits costing up to 1500 and fines being up to 1000, I guess it makes sense in some areas to just take the chance if you are a reporter. I wonder if it is some way of getting money and limiting traffic from large crews doing nature shoots (Nat Geo), or what the intention is. I don't think they would ever get away with charging private citizens to take pictures in any case.
  5. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    I will completely agree on to start regulating commercial workshops in national parks and wilderness areas.
    My last experience: 20+ people occupied the deteriorating and thus fenced off slope of Zabriskie Point in Death Valley NP for sunrise shots - simply disgusting.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Aushiker

    Aushiker Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Here in Western Australia there are only restrictions in respect of commercial photography which is defined as

  7. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I was a member of the AMCP and they had a fair amount of discussion on how these rules could affect all photographers. While there are variations in the theme between states, they were very concerned at the potential impact on any professional photographer undertaking photography in a national park. It's words like these in the WA guide that concern the associations:

    The DPAW could rightfully interpret this to mean anyone that takes photos with the intent to sell them requires a licence. I have never found any logical reason for this, but that's the way it's set. I could well understand restrictions on major undertakings that involve many people, have the potential to interfere with visitors/tourists and potentially affect fauna and flora, but I can't see what the difference is between a tourist taking photos, a serious amateur starting up a business, or a sole professional taking photos. Governments work in mysterious ways.

    On another note, I wonder if Google Earth needs a licence?
  8. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit Photon Mangler

    Dec 10, 2013
    Glasgow, Scotland
    There seem to be so many cuts to the Forestry Services in the USA that I'm surprised they'd be able to provide the staff to oversee such regulations.

    It's a nice revenue generating idea but it seems to me that it would be completely unenforceable - unless the photographer just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was a ranger(?) at the location. In which case, I'd be tempted to switch to another venue a few miles away.
  9. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    So this is a bit of a tempest in a tea pot as the quoted news stories actually are not entirely correct.

    First of all, realize that the current and proposed regulations make a distinction between video and still photography and the permit requirements for video are more stringent than for stills. For example, for video you would require a permit to film a documentary on NFS lands. However, you would not for stills.

    If you actually look up the relevant parts of the code here are the conditions in which stills require a permit:

    This has been the distinction for a long time and the proposed changes do not affect this definition at all.

    So the more interesting question is the hypothetical about someone filming a documentary on park management, here are the definitions on video:

    As you can see from that it would seem that investigative reporting is not "breaking news" and that as even investigative reporters need to earn a living you could argue their reporting is for the purposes of "generating income".

    But really, when you look at this not much is actually changing these above definitions have been in place for awhile and all that is actually changing is the application and approval process.
  10. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    None of this changes the hoards of people who follow each other around thinking "the other guy" is framing up "the shot"... That amuses me to no end when I see it happening. I think Adams was more concerned with the people travelling through and leaving garbage in their wake. In the few books of his I have, towards the end of his life he repeatedly laments having to edit out garbage from his photographs that he didn't see while he was framing up pictures on his groundglass.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    Seriously, so much hype over something that needs to have clear regulation, and updates are occasionally needed, language has been in place for 48 months anyway.

    Applies to commercial still photography and commercial video, so if you're gonna make money pay the man, because they're going to have to pay someone to make sure you're not messing things up. And don't mess up the land for anyone else. If you're going to use the publics property this forces a list of rules on how not to screw up the park for everyone else, so if the whoever looks over your permit use application see's you want to do something incredibly dumb, dangerous, or harmful to the park they can say no. They obviously leave certain elements up to each park, but it gives them the power to enforce when they say no to someone's dumb idea, or yes to someone's good idea.
  12. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    IIRC, workshop instructors are already supposed to be paying in NPs (under an older statute).

  13. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    So as a few of us assumed this was mostly a tempest in a teapot, people reading a lot more into this minor update than the USFS was ever intending. Obviously it is good to clarify confusing language though - so the concern expressed wasn't a waste or anything.

    Update from WP:


    Relevant quote from linked article:

  14. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I thought we were not to talk politics ...
  15. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Interesting. Some of my best shots are in several different National Forests. Granted, no props or setups or anything for them. Just taking shots of the beauty.
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