Photo by Geoff Greene
As you might have seen on my post yesterday, we ran into what is typically becoming an issue in most cities these days, the dreaded tripod security squads. The truth is that shooting in DC has always had it’s challenges because most of the locations where people want to shoot are located on National Park Service property. One reader who is coming to DC soon asked me if I had any advice for navigating the bureaucracy. So here is the scoop for all of you shooters that will be lugging your tripods to the Nation’s Capitol.
In general, the rule about tripods is this, if you are shooting on National Park grounds and want to use a tripod, you must obtain a permit. As most all of the monuments are part of the National Park System, the rules typically apply. As I have read the rule on the NPS site, the permit is for commercial purposes but experience tells me that you are better off just getting the permit instead of arguing your point with a Park Policeman. A permit is free for 1-2 photographers. Check out this site for information on how to obtain one.
This permit does not apply to the U.S. Capitol. Here is what their rules state:
Filming and Photography: The use of camera equipment to film or photograph on Capitol Grounds is
permitted, provided the photographs or film are for private or other non-commercial use. Non-commercial
documentary or historical filming is permitted on a case-by-case basis. The use of tripods or other film or
photography enhancement equipment requires special permission, and is limited to grassy areas where pedestrian or vehicular traffic will not be impeded.
To apply for a permit, read this document:
U.S. Capitol Police Permit Guide and Application
I have been told by the Park Police that a permit is not required for shooting from public/city sidewalks but I don’t have any official word on this. Basically just remember to be polite, plead ignorance, and try and shhot from an area where you won’t be impeding the flow of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian. Chances are, you’ll get you shot.
And if you are thinking of hooting in DC’s Union Station, check out this news story on Fox of a reporter getting hassled while interviewing an Amtrak official….the interview was about photographers getting hassled. It’s classic! Click here for the video.