Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

The Fourth of July - the anniversary of American Independence from the UK!

The other day I reminded my good colleague in Scotland that I was taking the day off from work to celebrate my country's independence from England - hoping that would get a chuckle from him. Without missing a beat, and being the good Scotsman that he is, he happily replied: "I wish we could too"!!

Something seems nicer about today than prior Fourth of Julys. Maybe it's the fact we have a three-day holiday (with Friday off from work and then July Fourth itself falling on a Saturday), but today seems a wee bit more special than the usual Fourth of July. At any rate, it was a nice - but terribly HOT - day here in Houston. I am enjoying staying at home a while and not having to travel anywhere. [But fear not, followers, my next trip to the Middle East is not far off! I was supposed to depart in a little over a week from now but had to delay my departure thanks in part to an onslaught of work.]

I wanted to take in something special today, but what to do? Tonight there is what is billed as one of the largest fireworks displays in the USA being held near downtown Houston. Several hundred thousand people are expected to crowd into Eleanor Tinsley park. I'd like to go but I can't stand negotiating my way through heavy traffic and then trying to find a parking space. Instead, I went to downtown Houston near Discovery Park and took in the sights of people enjoying their Fourth of July ....

A yoga class ... probably should join them. With all the stress I have at work, I should fit in real nicely!

The past few weeks have seen unusually dry and HOT weather in Houston with our daily high temperatures exceeding 100 deg F for many days in a row! About the only good thing I can say about this heat is that at least I am getting acclimated to Middle East weather before actually leaving home!

Discovery Green Park - I was here in April of last year on opening day. [click here for last year's posting.]

A quiet pond affords a place for quiet contemplation and relaxation ....

I managed to snap this photo of some children frolicking in the water. Only wish I could have done the same to help me cool off.
The only sour note of the day came after I captured this photo. A private security guard approached me and told me not to take any more pictures since I "was not with a family". I guess this is for privacy concerns (parents not wanting their kids photographed, perhaps?). I am used to being a bit self conscious when taking pictures in the Middle East but here at home ... well, I sort of resent being asked NOT to photograph something. Still, I understand where kids are concerned. Being an amateur photographer myself, I'd be interested if any professional photographers out there might comment on any of their recent experiences in taking pictures and then being told not to.
Replies to Comments:
Searching Soul: Glad to hear you weren't arrested :-) It's getting so that we have to look over our shoulders when we take pictures in certain places ..... and sometimes those places are right here at home!
Dan: Thanks, as well, for your comments (both here and in your excellent blog) and for your opinions on the topic of photographing certain locations and situations.
John: Thanks for your comment!! Being hasseled by "security guards" - real or otherwise - is one reason I often feel inhibited when taking photographs .... especially when I am in the Middle East. You just never know how much authority the guard actually has and what he can do to a photographer.


SearchingSoul said...

Happy 4th of July! Your pictures are beautiful, especially the rows of flags.

I also wanted to post a parade of flags during my country's Independence Day Celebration but I wasn't able to do so because I forgot to bring my camera.

I understand how you feel being asked NOT to take photos of some interesting subject. I was also asked to stop taking pictures by a communist guard in Vietnam when I tried to take the reflection of a church from the glass window of a building, which I didn't know was a bank. I felt like I was a bank robber trying to plot a heist in broad daylight. LOL!

Great posts.

Dan Denardo said...

TC, nice shots!

I responded to your question in the comments on my blog. Now that I've seen your image, I firmly believe it's a non-issue because it's a public place and the children are not identifiable. I think you are well-within what is allowable.

I'm not an attorney...and it IS becoming more of an issue, but I think the security guard does not understand the law or your rights.

John said...

Hi Traveling Chemist! Great to hear from you again after the Long Island encounter.

Seems like the weather in Houston is becoming more and more Middle-Easternly.

By the way, I don't see any problem taking photos of those kids. The guard's action was uncalled for, unless he had already been asked by the parents of those kids to stop anyone from taking photos of them, which is not likely. If I was in your shoe, I would ask for his identifications, and if valid, then demand to speak to his superior, and ask for clarification on why I am not allowed to take those shots. The reason given is not logical. Absolutely a non-issue, just like D2 put it.