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Arecibo, Puerto Rico

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Police officer tells man he’s not allowed to photograph children

Police officer tells man he’s not allowed to photograph children

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Faced with complaints from photographers and tourists alike, the NYPD has issued a department order reminding cops that the right to take pictures in the Big Apple is as American as apple pie.

“Photography and the videotaping of public places, buildings and structures are common activities within New York City . . . and is rarely unlawful,” the NYPD operations order begins.

It acknowledges that the city is a terrorist target, but since it’s a prominent “tourist destination, practically all such photography will have no connection to terrorism or unlawful conduct.”

The department directive — titled “Investigation of Individuals Engaged in Suspicious Photography and Video Surveillance” — makes it clear that cops cannot “demand to view photographs taken by a person . . . or direct them to delete or destroy images” in a camera.

Public-advocacy groups have complained, especially since 9/11, about cops stopping shutterbugs and, in some cases, wrongly arresting them.

In the latest snafu, an off-duty MTA worker and admitted fan of the subways was issued a summons for taking pictures of subway cars.

He was handed a summons that incorrectly sited the rule that expressly permits snapping pictures in the subways.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said the NYPD posted the missive because “we periodically get complaints that an officer asked to see [someone’s] camera or erase a picture and this is a reminder not to do that.”

“It is a balancing act,” Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said of NYPD efforts to spot possible terrorism or criminal activity while not stepping on the First Amendment.

Donna Lieberman, president of the New York Civil Liberties Union, lauded the directive as “representing progress.”

She pointed out that her organization has twice sued the NYPD for stopping innocent filmmaking — once on behalf of a well-known Indian filmmaker who was videotaping cabbies outside Grand Central Terminal, the other time for a Columbia University student who was filming in a subway station for a school project.

But cops are not without successes in confronting what might appear to be innocent videotaping.

In Manhattan, cops spotted a man — who turned out to have ties to a terror group in Pakistan — videotaping the underbellies of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.

Additional reporting by John Doyle

Don’t take my picture?

In what could be the supreme irony, a Google Street View employee objected to his photo being taken while working to capture public streets and landmarks. The Telegraph reports that an English photographer spotted the Google car in Dorset, and when he started taking photos, the employee, who was visibly agitated, told him, “Don’t you take pictures of me, mate.” Then he actually asked the photographer to blur out his face in the photos like Google Street View does. Seems like someone’s maybe in the wrong line of work.

A Google Street View car in York, England. Photo by itspaulkelly

Mamiya Digital Imaging

Mamiya Digital Imaging showcased the Mamiya 645DF prototype camera body during the Photo Imaging Expo 2009 in Tokyo last week. Also displayed were the new multi-battery vertical grip G8401 and new Mamiya Sekor AF 80mm F2.8 LS D lens for this 645 format camera.

The company said the Mamiya 645DF is a camera body designed for use with digital backs and can be used with digital backs of all reputable makers.

The Multi-battery Vertical Grip G8401 is for exclusive use with the 645DF camera. The grip features a shutter release button, an AE lock button and AF lock button for the convenience of the photographer when shooting vertically. Mamiya said this product has been designed with the portrait photographer in mind.

The Mamiya Sekor AF 80mm F2.8 LS D lens is billed as the first leaf shutter lens in Mamiya’s AF lineup. The leaf shutter, which has been developed and manufactured in-house, is capable of shutter speeds from 1/500 second to 16 seconds according to Mamiya, and has flash synchronization at all speeds. It allows more control for on-location daytime shooting where flash synchronization is required, as well as for flash photography in studios, the company said.

[Site: Mamiya]