Never leave your gear at home
This week-end my wife and I went to Caen for the last events of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014. Before going, I checked the official website for any useful information in the spectator guide. Among the practical information was a section related to cameras reading:
"Cameras are permitted on all competition sites of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy. However, detachable zoom lenses (over 20cm) and camera tripods will not be allowed onto the competition sites." Ok, the "no photos on the premises with accreditation" that you can read more and more at music festivals is also at the WEG. I guess it's also the case at the Olympics. Fair enough, pros with an accreditation will be there working and trying to earn their living by taking and shipping stunning photos during the event.
So I decided to be a good citizen and leave all my photo gear at home, regardless of it being under the 20cm threshold or not. I could have tried to argue about what the 20cm limit was applied to, focal length or physical size of the lens but I didn't want to spoil it all for my wife with arguing with people at the permises entrance. Plus I didn't have a clue as to where I could find a hypothetical 100-400mm pancake lens... After all to take proper photos of show jumping in a stadium you have either to be on the field with a 200mm lens or just at the border with a 400mm lens, so...But for the driving marathon regular tele-lenses are totally enough since you can get really close to the track and the obstacles. Still, the spectator guide said no "detachable zoom lenses (over 20cm)" so I obeyed and showed up at 7:30am, two hours before the beginning of the driving marathon event, let the security guys look inside our bag for prohibited things and scouted for good location right in front of a good obstacle, standing just behind the zone reserved for the photographers with accreditation. It couldn't have been better if it was not for...people arriving later on with, yes, cameras with the evil prohibited detachable zoom lenses and shoving their way to the front to have a good point of view. Hum...ok...Since we'd decided we were not going to let them pass we enjoyed the marathon all morning with people pushing in our backs.
We then headed for the stadium where the show jumping was going to take place. There again, we arrived over an hour before the event was due to start, passing the security check with bag inspection and finding a good location. There again, once the event had begun, people started showing up with cameras with big tele-zooms (didn't see any above 300mm) and taking photos. Taken from above, from a distance with a undersized lens, I doubt they manage to get good looking sport photos. Souvenirs, yes.
Still, this really pissed me off, pardon my French.
From now on, I'll:
- bring my gear even when prohibited,
- arrive during the crowd-peak to rapidly pass the security checks,
- behave like a dork and push my way to the front row (after all, I'm partly French, a nation widely know for its bad manners).