Brian Matiash and I were doing the hobo thing last night; walking along the train tracks looking to score some crack, to fight with other drifters, and to take a few pictures. Unfortunately the first two goal bore no fruit but the third was met with reasonable success. Seeing as the holidays are bearing down on us images evocative of travel seem particularly apt.
I think that all seasoned photographers whether they be hobbyists or professionals know that under the current state of affairs governments officials and their law enforcement personel are highly suspicious of anyone taking photos of infrastructure, especially when it is on private property. There are countless stories of people being harassed and accosted by law enforcement offices around trains especially. Did these cautionary tales deter us? Not even slightly. They did make us a little cautious but if you are too cautious it looks like you're up to no good. The simple solution is to adopt the practice taught to me by my grandfather, pretend you know what you're doing and that you have every right to do so and people will be a lot less hostile when they call you out on your actions.
We were able to shoot for about forty-five minutes unmolested. I was still shooting when security approached us and was in the middle of a thirteen second exposure so I let Brian talk to him to buy myself a little more time. He saw the guard coming well before I did and seemed anxious but this being Portland I felt relatively confident that he would rather give us a friendly warning than go to the effort of getting confrontational. It was a bit of a risk but most people out here don't see the point, especially if you are polite, apologetic, and do as you are asked. As it turned out the guy was a complete gentleman, he reminded us that the railroad is on private property and that we would have to seek permission next time. He even went as far as to tell us how we might go about obtaining the required permit. We thanked him for his time and for how courteously he handled the situation and adjourned for some amazing rustic cornmeal crust pizza.
Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
33mm, f5.6, merged layers of 1.6 and 3.2 sec @ 200 ISO