Andy tells an interesting but scary story of almost being arrested for taking pictures in Washington DC’s Union Station.

Although his camera was somewhat unusual (Gigapan is a new device to capture a 360 panorama), the rotating group of security people really couldn’t give him a solid reason for harassing him.

Throughout the conversation, which I should point out was conducted in a cordial, but firm tone, we received mixed messages from the security guards. One told us the problem was that we were using a tripod, while another insisted it was because we had “that thing” on top of our tripod. They then changed the story again, and said that journalists couldn’t take pictures without permission from management, and that Union Station is a private space run by a private company, not a public space. They never gave us an answer as to why we were first allowed to take photos in the first location, but could not do the same here.

I’ve taken pictures in that space (which was renovated in part with public money) using my “professional” SLR and watched many tourists with all sorts of cameras doing the same. Never seen a guard object.

But I’m also not surprised that anything that sticks out like this sets people off around this town. They become even more agitated when people try to stand up for their rights.

Our society seems to have become very paranoid when it comes to photography of any kind.

Go read Andy’s tale, scan some of the more than 100 comments on the post, and take a peek at the pictures he managed to get.