Sunday, August 11, 2019

Professional Camera

State Fair steak sandwich. Amateur camera in background.
It's a sign of the times, I guess, the level of security you pass through to get into the Indiana State Fair. There's an almost courthouse-like magnetometer arch and an accompanying table with a tray for your pocket detritus.

Bobbi and I pedaled down the Monon Rail Trail to get there, since the state fairgrounds are barely a dozen blocks away and bicycle parking is free. I left my blaster at home and, before I left the house, I swapped out the usual Spyderco Delica pocket knife I carry for opening boxes and such for a little Kershaw Chive, figuring it was as tiny and inoffensive a knife as you could imagine. At the last minute, I binned it, too, since I was planning on buying a flint or obsidian blade from the knapper in Pioneer Village. (Good thing, too. They wouldn't let Bobbi bring her normal-looking work pocket knife through the checkpoint).

When I got to the entrance to the fair, I noticed that the sign at the entrance said "aerosol sprays" were forbidden, too, so I put my pepper spray canister in the document pocket of my Royal Robbins overshirt along with my flashlight, and then pulled the shirt off and handed it through along with my camera before I stepped through the arch.

Despite the shirt being weighed down with cell phone, pen, notepad, flashlight, pepper spray, camera batteries, CF cards, and house keys, it cause not a single batted eye.

What did cause consternation was the camera.

The rent-a-cop looked at my Nikon D700 with its 24-120mm travel zoom on it, looked up at me, back down at the camera, and finally intoned "Professional cameras aren't allowed."

"Huh?" I replied, wittily.

"They don't want professional cameras. They have the rights to pictures," said the guard.

"Uh, that's not a professional camera, that's my camera."

"What are you taking pictures of?"

"I dunno. The fair? Tractors? Baby goats? Kids eating funnel cake?"

"But for what?"

"I dunno. For me? For my Facebook page? For the hell of it?"


"No, just a person with a camera."

"They don't want professional cameras."

"But it's not a professional camera! I'm not selling photographs!"

"It looks like a professional camera."

We have reached an age where any actual physical "camera" looks, to the great unwashed masses, as though you are there to shoot for Reuters or NatGeo. Never mind that the "professional camera" in question was a creaky antique, at least in digital camera terms, and was equaled in pixel count by the iPhone in my shirt pocket. In the smartphone era, "no camera" rules are at King Canute levels of ineffectuality.

He wound up letting me bring the camera in, albeit sullenly and reluctantly. I wonder what will happen when I return tomorrow?