So I was with my girlfriend taking her daughter to the orthodontist. I was bored, so I snuck out to the main road in Tullahoma, and under the cover of the blinding sunlight at 2:30 in the afternoon I started taking pictures of cars and trucks passing by on the 5 lane Highway 41A. With an f-stop of 22 and a shutter speed of about 1/20, I tracked the cars using my tripod, trying to get a nice blur behind them.
About 20 minutes and 200 or 300 pictures later, a cop showed up.
From The first time I layed eyes on him it was obvious that he knew the score.
He said, “What are you doing?”
I said, “I was thinking about the good time I had with your wife last night.” wait no…
No, I got up from my stealthy sitting position and tried to tell him that I was taking pictures of cars and I think I even mentioned the blur effect I was after.
Come to find out that NO! I wasn’t taking pictures of cars, I was taking pictures of the people going into the federal building across the street. It seems I hadn’t consciously noticed the maximum security post office on the other side of the 5-lane highway. I knew then that the jig was up.
It’s a good thing that I had read something about my rights so I wasn’t really angry, I guess I was just kinda bemused by the whole thing. I told the officer that I was just trying to pass the time while waiting for someone at the orthodontist. He told me he needed to see my ID so I said “hold on I’ll go get it from my car” As I started to walk to the car once again the officer got the better of me.
“Leave The Camera Here!”
Oops foiled again. So I left camera, got my ID and showed it to him. As I walked back another cop rolled up and got out of his car.
“I caught this guy taking pictures of the Post Office,” the first officer told him.
The second cop took my ID and I explained to him what I was actually doing. He seemed a little more reasonable then the first cop. He took the License to his car and the first cop got called away-perhaps there was some actual crime going on. Well he asked me where I lived and said I better get an in state drivers license soon or I’d be in trouble. He had someone on his radio check my ID and I didn’t have any warrants out. He said he’d have to file a “Field Interview”
He told me that someone had called in to the police and told them what was going on and they had to check it out.
Perhaps it was this guy?
Well I came up clean and my license was valid though I don’t see how that mattered. I was told to point the camera the other way if I take any more pictures there. Here it seemed he might have been a little embarrassed by the zeal of his fellow officer who had laid this on him. But he did ask to see my photographs. He had me scroll through all the photo’s on my compact flash card (He never suspected I’d have a second 😄 card) and when i was done he let me go.
I’m not sure what all this means but there have been times in my life that something like this would have really angered my and in principle it does but it also seems pretty sad. Here are these grown men driving around in big cars with big guns and they just don’t really have a clue. Oh well!