Anxiety in photography

On Monday I took the opportunity to take an image I’ve been eying all Summer long. The Rancocas Creek, which separates Delanco and Riverside, NJ is a beautiful body of water, and the view from the Delanco Bridge is quite stunning. I wanted to capture an image of the creek while the boats were still in the water and the leaves were on the trees, so Monday may have been my last opportunity 1.

Rancocas Creek from the Riverside-Delanco Bridge

I got one of the angles I’ve been wanting to capture, and I’m in love with the image. And yet, I didn’t capture all the angles I wanted to capture because I felt something on this photo walk I have never felt before.

I was anxious.

After being incorrectly informed the Department of Homeland Security prohibits photography of bridges, I was genuinely anxious that some mis-informed officer would take umbrage at my presence on the Delanco Bridge. I would have loved to capture the creek from the Riverside shore, but I was honestly worried I would be stopped and questioned. I felt this even though my own encounter with the Bridge Police was hugely positive 2

Previous to this trip, the only concern I had about bringing a camera along with me was that I’d be annoying 3. Now fear had crept in to my process, and I didn’t like it. While I have no problem voluntarily presenting my ID when asked 4, I am concerned by the climate which looks at my creative hobby as a potential terrorist act – even as going so far to unconstitutionally declare photography to be off-limits.

It shouldn’t be this way, and hobbyist photographers should not be concerned about mis-informed law enforcement officers implying their actions are against the law. I guess this is one of the reasons why I am so intent in setting up a way for photographers to be welcome to take photographs of and on the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. I can’t affect every bad enforcement policy, but at least I can do some good near-by.

  1. In the Fall I’ll go back and capture a similar image when the leaves have changed. 
  2. Aside from the incorrect enforcement policy, that is. 
  3. Well, more annoying. 
  4. And it is voluntary. Police cannot demand to see ID except in specific situations. Most times when an officer stops someone for questioning it is considered to be entirely voluntary. 

3 Thoughts

  1. Wes,
    You ought to try taking pictures of the creek from Pennington Park. It has some trails that go up to the creek. The park is in Edgewater Park/Delanco right off Route 130.

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