Hassled once again for photographing an inanimate object.
As I walked along I knew I was running behind schedule. The library was going to close in less than an hour. At least it wasn’t raining so that wouldn’t slow me down. In fact, the sky was clearing for the moment.
Shortcut through the schoolyard. I don’t take it that often. Some new playground equipment had been installed, colorful plastic. Kids were playing on the on the slides and other stuff. I walked around the activity, noticing a piece of equipment off to the side backlit by the setting sun, its translucent parts lit up.
According to my Google search, it’s called a fun hoop, a construct atop a metal pole with a hole on top and three holes around its sides. If you toss a basketball or similar sized ball through the top hoop, it can bounce out from any side.
I had a bit of time to spare. The light was just right. I didn’t know if I would ever get chance to catch this image again: a hovering carnival UFO.
I took out my camera, shot three images of the fun hoop, and then left.
As I walked to the public library, I quickly shot other objects that caught my eye. Before I arrived to my destination, some kids – middle school age – came up behind me.
“Excuse me,” said one girl. “Excuse me.”
I turned around. A girl on a bike asked me why I was photographing the children at the schoolyard.
I did a double take. No, I wasn’t photographing any kids.
“Well,” she replied, “it’s been in the news that someone who looks like you has been doing that.”
And where did you hear that? I asked. The TV news?
She didn’t say. Another kid chimed in, saying that she also heard about it.
Since I had nothing to hide, I put on digital camera on review mode and showed them what I had been photographing, including the backlit playground equipment. No kids.
A few feet away one girl was aiming her cellphone camera at me while holding a stick in her hand. I asked her if she was taking my picture.
“No, I’m just photographing this stick.”
Well, I replied, I don’t mind if you take my picture.
So two girls took out their cellphones and took close-ups of my mug. But they wouldn’t let me take their pictures when I asked – not that I was surprised by their response.
That wrapped up the encounter. The kids just drifted away.
So what brought that on? Is there a story in the news about a stalking pedophile photographer on the loose? Or did this originate from the kids or their parents? I remember when I walked through the schoolyard two mothers were watching over the kids.
I can appreciate concern but not bullshit paranoia.
Especially when I’m just shooting a hunk of plastic backlit against the sky.