Clandestine photography

Whether by design or the overly stuffy security guard, I managed to be somewhere I was not supposed to be for the sake of getting a great shot, twice in one day. In a previous post about dodging for the first time, I presented a view of the Foucault Pendulum at the Franklin Institute from the second floor stairwell.  Anyone can get that shot and even though some people gave me queer looks for hanging over the railing so far, I was doing nothing at all unusual. Problem is, the image in my head could not be taken from one story up. Patrons not being allowed any lower, I was hesitant to break the rule in such a busy stairwell. Lucky for me, a generous staffer not only permitted me to take pictures at the base of the pendulum, but also gave me a little history lesson.

After the staffer left, I realized that the view I wanted could not be obtained from behind the railing, so I ducked under, sat my camera directly on the podium, and took two quick shots just before getting caught by another staffer, who was not so understanding as the first. I quickly apologized, admitted I knew better, tucked my tail, and hustled back upstairs to the safe zone. Hoping all the while that some security guard would not be sent to escort me out of the building. Quickly, I focused my efforts to blending in with the other patrons (though the tripod was a dead give-away) and continued about by business touring the rest of the regular exhibits.

Foucault Pendulum: Podium View, The Franklin Institute

Later that evening, my boyfriend and I were passing time at the Market East Train Station in Philadelphia until train arrived, when we wandered to the upper level entrance to the convention center. It is located in the part of the original building and we were admiring the older architecture and the new, surprisingly complementary, addition that served as the entrance to the convention center. Gated-off and with a security guard, we were told that without a pass we were not allowed in. No problem, to dark for good photos anyway, we turned to the displays in the waiting area and I set up to take shots (not facing the convention hall) of my boyfriend. We were there for 15 minutes talking, goofing-off, and taking photographs.

Then, without any known provocation, the security guard suddenly informs us that we are not allowed to take pictures because of security reasons. It would be good to note that not only were we in full view of the guard the entire time, but the camera was on a tripod facing the wall of the old train station, not the new convention area. Oh well, it was time to go anyway and we didn’t want to cause the guard any trouble. I again, apologized and wished him a good night as we left to catch our ride home.

McGeeeney, Portrait at Market East Train Station

As reluctant as he was to pose for the photo, he has grown to like it. As do I. It’s the phantom nature of the shot that appeals the most to me.


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