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Thread: 5/3/2013 - JFK - T5 garage x2

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    Administrator Landing Lights's Avatar
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    5/3/2013 - JFK - T5 garage x2

    After getting a bit frustrated by the 13/22 split that was being used yesterday, I decided to try photographing from the top of the T5 garage for the first time yesterday. When I arrived there was an individual in a PANYNJ SUV parked up there in the corner by T4 and that was where I parked to start. He didn't seem to pay any attention to me for the short while that I was there. After a few minutes I moved over to the T7 side of the garage and photographed 31L arrivals there for probably about an hour. As I heard a line of European arrivals headed to 22L, I moved back over to the T4 side to at least get some taxi shots.

    After a few minutes shooting from there, I noticed that there was an FJC Security SUV that had stopped a short distance away. After several minutes he starts honking at me (and I will agree with others from previous incidents that this is a terribly unprofessional way of getting somebody's attention. An older Asian security guard gets out of the vehicle and approaches me. "Excuse me, we don't want you photographing up here. I don't want you photographing up here." I calmly but firmly responded with "I'm sorry, but who doesn't want me photographing up here" since he apparently couldn't get his story straight. "the Port Authority doesn't want you photographing up here. It's against the rules." I said, "I'm sorry, but the Port Authority has no rules against photography." The guard picked up his radio. "He says there is no rules against photography...." as he trailed off. Moments later he got back into his vehicle where he waited, and I went back to shooting, with the full knowledge that I was doing nothing wrong. The SUV stays parked in the same spot and while I am by no means blocked in, I did feel a bit uncomfortable at this point since I din't feel like I could move back and forth around the upper deck.

    About 15 minutes later another FJC SUV arrived and the 2 chatted for about 5 minutes. Then the second one pulled up along the rear of my car and the male African-American gentleman called out very professionally with a "how ya doin?" He briefly chatted with me regarding how its not their rules its the Port Authority's rules, to which I once again asserted that the Port Authority actually has no rules for or against photography. Then came the biggest whopper: "well you're really supposed to contact the Port Authority before you come up here and get authorization." He mentioned that somebody from the Port Authority would be up to speak with me before pulling away to chat with the Asian guard briefly after which they both took off. The entire encounter took roughly 25 minutes and other than the times that I was speaking with them I kept doing my thing. I remained calm though perhaps slightly flustered the entire time, though I was definitely assertive of my rights.

    40 minutes later I am back on the T7 side shooting the CX oneworld 777 when another FJC SUV pulls up very close behind me in the no parking area in the corner. This time it is a younger, female African American guard. "Escuse me, you can't be takin picshas up here" (misspelling intentional) I was flabbergasted! I wheeled around to speak to her. "It says right here that you aren't supposed to take pictures without authorization," as she pointed about three-quarters of the way down a handwritten page on a writing pad. Again, I asserted myself: "There are no rules against photography. I just finished dealing with this a little while ago." She picks up her radio and rolls up the window as I wheel back around to catch the CX 777 taxiing back towards the terminal. As I am shooting, I hear her back away a bit, before pausing for a short time and then pulling away. The whole confrontation from the time she showed up until the time she left took maybe 2 minutes, with the actual communication being maybe 30 seconds.

    This was my first time encountering any form of security or law enforcement while I was out spotting, and I felt that I handled it well. I also felt that two out of the three guards that I dealt with lacked the basic level of professionalism that I would expect from a guard, while the third one (likely a supervisor) was very professional. To be honest, I half expected to have one encounter with security there when I went, though the second one surprised me. The overall feeling that I came away from this experience with was this: how many times do we need to go through these encounters before it is considered harassment, both as individuals and as a group.

    (EDIT: Just for the record, this occurred on 5/5/13. I'm not exactly sure why I got it wrong in the title.)
    Last edited by Landing Lights; 05-08-2013 at 06:23 AM.
    Ben Granucci, Wappingers Falls, NY
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    Senior Member megatop412's Avatar
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    wow, it's a handwritten law? If only we had known that from the beginning of all this...

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    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    Touche Ben!!! Like I said one time "show me the policy". In my view you handled it extremely well, and stood your ground. I honestly believe they (security) don't have a dime to stand on. Yes, they have probably been instructed to deter photography, but that isn't the rule. The handwritten pad thingy.........gee, I have no comment. Maybe next time I'll bring my handwritten pad that states "photography is allowed at all locations at JFK that don't impede with PANYNJ operations, no permit is needed".
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    Senior Member RWB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mldoc View Post
    I said, "I'm sorry, but the Port Authority has no rules against photography." The guard picked up his radio. "He says there is no rules against photography...."
    Ahhh, the ol' Jedi mind trick
    PANTS UP, DON'T LOOT!

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    Senior Member megatop412's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWB View Post
    Ahhh, the ol' Jedi mind trick
    LOL, how did I not think that when I read it the first time haha

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    Senior Member Aviation.High.Guy's Avatar
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    Ben sorry to hear you got hassled T5. The only thing you did wrong was to expect professionalism from FJC. These are the same guys that "protect" college campuses, malls a and Modell's Sporting goods. When no other law enforcement agency will have you, you go to work for FJC. I would call them rent a cops, but I don't want to insult cops.
    -Don B.

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    Senior Member Cary's Avatar
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    I would have written on a piece of paper that photography IS allowed there, and shown it to her. And the Asian man sounds like the only person who wouldn't bother me.
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    Senior Member NIKV69's Avatar
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    Not sure why race is being injected here. What does it matter what the security guards race is?
    'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.' Andy Warhol

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    I'm guessing he included race more for future reference if any of these characters hassles someone again? For what it's worth I got a bit of a chuckle out of it because I've encountered you're stereotypical southern accent cop once while spotting and I'd have typed up the report in a similar fashion with all sorts of misspellings and accents thrown in for laughs.

    Sounds like a professional way of handling less than professional hassle by clueless security guards.

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    Administrator Landing Lights's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the support everybody, it means a lot. If anybody is interested, I wrote an article on my blog about the experience and what my reactions were to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by NIKV69 View Post
    Not sure why race is being injected here. What does it matter what the security guards race is?
    The only reason that I included the race here is to be descriptive. I believe that we are all better off having some general idea of who we are dealing with as these incidents are becoming fairly common. It was not included with any intent to insinuate that how they were acting was somehow related to their race or sex. Had they been white or native american, I would have included that too. If any of them had had identifying features, those too would have been included. As for the phonetic spellings that I used, it was to illustrate what I felt was an unprofessional style of communicating in that particular instance. It was included just as I had included my comments on the first guard who couldn't seem to decide who exactly didn't want me up there.
    Ben Granucci, Wappingers Falls, NY
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    Senior Member Jared Blech's Avatar
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    Anybody want to have a little meet up on the garage this weekend weather permitting? Maybe saturday afternoon?
    Sorry about your encounter ben, you handled it nicely
    Probably the youngest spotter ever to walk up the face of the mounds.
    Jared B. -Boces Aviation Ops Student, Jericho NY

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jared Blech View Post
    Anybody want to have a little meet up on the garage this weekend weather permitting? Maybe saturday afternoon?
    Sorry about your encounter ben, you handled it nicely
    Bring your rain gear.....
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    Senior Member Aviation.High.Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve1840 View Post
    Bring your rain gear.....
    Maybe a night shoot is in order then. Wet ground would be awesome.
    -Don B.

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    Senior Member Delta777LR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aviation.High.Guy View Post
    Maybe a night shoot is in order then. Wet ground would be awesome.
    Agree!
    Sergio has been a huge Delta Air Lines fan since 1992!!

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    Senior Member Jared Blech's Avatar
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    http://www.fjcsecurity.com/aviation.html
    If you guys are having a bad day, here, have a laugh!
    My favorite part is the last paragraph
    To ensure the utmost professionalism and effectiveness, even during heightened threat levels, all FJC Aviation Services security personnel undergo rigorous training and refresher courses in our Aviation Services Training Centers
    Probably the youngest spotter ever to walk up the face of the mounds.
    Jared B. -Boces Aviation Ops Student, Jericho NY

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