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Just when you think the intense fear of tripod’s has gone as far as it can go, this happens: Matt, RC, and I went for an early morning shoot at Grand Central Station yesterday, and each of us carried that most-hated of photographic accessory; the dreaded tripod. We had a special shooting permit to use tripods in the station (more on this later this week), but it was what happened after the shoot that took things to a new level.

After the shoot, we came back to our hotel, the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, to put up our gear so I could head over to B&H Photo for my class at 10:00 am. As we headed into the elevator to go up to our rooms, a uniformed security guard came rushing over and stopped us. He wanted to know where we were going, because after all, we were carrying (wait for it….wait for it) TRIPODS! I shook my head in disbelief and said, “We’re going to our rooms.”

I reached into my pocket to take out my room key to prove we were hotel guests, but I guess we had that really annoyed look that only real hotel guests get when they’re denied access to their rooms, because he said, “Oh, OK” and let us go.

The elevator doors closed, and we’re just standing there looking at each other dumbfounded.

Now, believe me, because this is New York, I understand and respect the need for vigilant security, but was there a tri-pod related terrorist attack that I’m not aware of, that has created this “they’ve got a tripod—they must be up to no good” air that surrounds the city?

Seriously, how have tripods gone from simple stands that hold your camera steady, to terrorist-related devices that raise suspicion and get you stopped by hotel security while simply returning to your room? And we weren’t carrying huge industrial tripods; I had my tiny Gitzo traveler. It’s not as big as an umbrella, yet it draws security like I’m hoisting a grenade launcher.

Is there anything we can do, or is this just the way it’s going to be? Arrrrggghhhh!