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Home Land -- Safe!

July 10, 2008 10:45 PM

In case you haven't seen it, this web site was featured in the current Downtown Journal. There's a picture of me taking pictures and perhaps, according to some, representing some sort of threat to homeland security. (You'll find some reactions to the story here, here, and here.)

When the reporter told me that was her story, I laughed out loud.

panoSkyway_080627_small.jpg

This is what I was working on while my photo was taken (click to see a VERY BIG version).

First, let's not fault folks for doing their jobs. Some people have jobs that require them to worry, fret, and imagine worst-case scenarios. I don't envy them those jobs, and I'm glad that isn't me, but that's what they get paid to do. (I'm reminded of a certain article over at The Onion.)

P6270115a.jpg

But raising my little photography project in even the same paragraph as "homeland security" is just beyond insane. These people obviously don't know that the Twins have set up a high-resolution web cam which -- theoretically, now -- allows a would-be terrorist to zoom in very close and examine exactly...oh, I don't know...how cement is being poured. The idea that someone could gain useful terrorist knowledge by photographing the construction is not just paranoid, it's stupid.

I'm not surprised, however, that I would have been noticed. Look closely at the Journal's photo of me in the skyway and along the left edge you'll see the row of security cameras on the ceiling. I had never looked at them before, but I always assumed they were there somewhere. When I met with the photographer, I looked for the first time and was shocked at how many there are -- one about every eight to ten feet.

P6270194a.jpg

When I'm there around the lunch hour, there are usually lots of folks out for a brisk walk. But when I go in the middle of the afternoon or on the weekend the place is usually deserted. Sometimes I bring Noah, and I'm sure we would be pretty easy to spot on the cameras. I usually spend a fair amount of time just looking and then photographing. I try to notice details which have changed, then I zoom in to get good pictures. Sometimes I'm just looking for an interesting "action" shot of someone welding or laying bricks.

The way I look at it, this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I've been a fan of the game (and the parks) since I was Noah's age (three next week). It's possible that I'll be alive when the Twins build their next ballpark (on the current HERC site in 2040), but I probably won't be able to do this type of documentation. It's now or never. Luckily, now works out pretty well.

So, it's a hobby, not a threat. To some, I suppose it's a weird hobby. I have no answer to that. Oh, wait. I do have an answer: My book will be available in time for Christmas of 2010.

Oops. Perhaps now I've said too much!

P6220003a.jpg

Not me, but it might as well be.


Comments


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now that picture ^ is a keeper.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 01:06 AM by haasertime Highlight this comment 1

Can I please get a signed copy? (The book, not that awful Downtown Journal article)

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 01:48 AM by Lafferty Highlight this comment 2

anyone else think aarongleeman.com is a whiner? and a hater?

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 03:37 AM by Mitch Highlight this comment 3

I don't think they like us ballpark geeks much. I take my sons there once in a while. Every time I'm in the elevator lobby in the A ramp a securuty guard comes on the speaker asking what we're doing. I tell him I'm looking at the ballpark with my kids and that I paid to park in their ramp, I should be able to look out the window without being bothered...

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 07:37 AM by J2K Highlight this comment 4

Rick, I live in Washington, DC these days (still waiting for your review of Nationals Park ;) ), and the photography 'restrictions' can be really annoying here. They're often not based on law at all, but simply some security guard overstepping his or her bounds. I've linked one site that has a little one-page legal rights of photographers that you can print off and carry with you, presenting it if you're ever stopped.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 08:13 AM by Alex B. Highlight this comment 5

Another site about the rights of photographers.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 08:13 AM by Alex B. Highlight this comment 6

Ah yes...The security guard. The human being which is too stupid to be a police officer. The human being who was picked on constantly as a child and now weighs 300 lbs. This is their way of getting back at the world. Homeland security is the biggest farce.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 08:39 AM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 7

As a security guard (who is studying to be a police officer) i think stupid comments like the one from the idiot above shows you exactly who is the stupid. Lets go on-line and hide behind a keyboard and make fun of other peoples professions, you are exactly the typical spineless, hide behind a keyboard because your to afraid (or to wimpy) to say anything to somebody in person ... Such an idiot thing to say

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 09:18 AM by LaRose Highlight this comment 8

I love the weird looks I get when I'm downtown shooting pictures of building. Isn't architecture art and therefore meant to be admired? That's what I do while taking pictures.

I also can't wait until I get to sit outside in the heat and humidity to watch a game. I mean this sincerely. I also like when it drizzles, it makes the game more exciting.

PS: LaRose - your comment is ironic to kevin in az

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 10:20 AM by annoying customer Highlight this comment 9

LaRose-
Hide behind a keyboard? Have fun hiding behind your badge. A badge does not make you tough.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 10:58 AM by J2K Highlight this comment 10

When did this become a place to slam people's occupations? I am sure most security guards and police officers are level-headed professionals and probably baseball fans. Lighten up.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 11:14 AM by luckylager Highlight this comment 11

LaRose,

If I throw a donut, will you leave???

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 11:22 AM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 12

Okay, now it's getting old, they better have a good reason why the webcam isn't working almost 24 hours after it first started having problems.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 12:28 PM by CTM Highlight this comment 13

It's easy CTM, homeland security has shut downt he camera. We're all planning out terrorist attacks...REMEMBER?

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 12:29 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 14

hahahahaha...nice

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 1:20 PM by Lafferty Highlight this comment 15

Word on the web cam is that the control panel is down and they're working on getting it fixed (no timetable yet -- sounds like a software thing).

Please don't take anything I wrote above as a slam against security guards! It's honorable work that I, for one, certainly could never do.

And even those people who think photographers might be a security risk (usually the security guards' bosses) are just doing their jobs. There is, however, a point beyond which such considerations border on the absurd (see the linked Onion article). It would be a difficult (and silly) thing to try to ban.

I plan to just go about my business down there, and happily explain what I'm doing to anyone who asks.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 1:21 PM by Rick 16

Rick, you're far more diplomatic than I. I just go insane when slice is busting you and your boy for taking hobby pictures of a ballpark while 4 blocks away outside Mary Jo's they're doing drugs and harrassing pedestrians. Why don't they fight some REAL crime!

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 1:26 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 17

THAT, kevin, is a Very Good Point. There are a great many bigger fish than I (or some skyway musician) to fry.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 1:38 PM by Rick 18

It's a heck of alot easier stepping outside your den filled with security monitors to harass a photographer than actually confronting someone who is doing something illegal. This is some entertaining dialogue...kinda fun. I always appreciate a LaRose/ or Jason (he didn't want the corporate sponsor) piping up on this thread and just getting trashed for saying something goofy. GO TWINS this weekend in Detroit...big games before the all-star break.

GREAT PICs Rick! Love to see more around the whole site.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 1:40 PM by Locker Highlight this comment 19

From the article I read, Rick said he had never been questioned about his photography from the ramp. Why are you busting balls on the security guards?
Ramp security guards dont have any authority to tackle the street crime outside of Mary Jo's place. For that we need Batman.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 2:14 PM by luckylager Highlight this comment 20

btw,
The webcams back up!!!

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 2:19 PM by luckylager Highlight this comment 21

or the Dark Knight...
One week!

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 2:38 PM by John K Highlight this comment 22

Batman cannot stop me -- the Evil Photoman! None of my crimes take longer than 1/60th of a second to commit!

Bwah-ha-ha...click!

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 2:45 PM by Rick 23

thats alright Kev hide in your cubicle because your too much of a *p*&^y." to do anything else

Rick i didn't think you were slamming security guards, no big deal

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 3:26 PM by LaRose Highlight this comment 24

Everyone - We have a tough guy^
Ahh - feels like New York

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 3:58 PM by J2K Highlight this comment 25

Bring it on short-man LaRose!!

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 4:35 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 26

Not a tough guy, just speaking my mind, like cubicle boy kev & J2K

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 5:13 PM by LaRose Highlight this comment 27

I am going to be playing in purple this season, so I hope you all welcome me to the Twin Cities in good hands.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 7:02 PM by Brett Favre Highlight this comment 28

Not a chance Brett. Seeing you in purple is enough to make me a Packer fan.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 7:05 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 29

I would love to see Favre play for the Vikes just to see the packer fans faces. HAHA it would be priceless.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 9:27 PM by bmd Highlight this comment 30

I have been on a forced medical leave since early April. So when I got well enough to go downtown last month I decided to take in the construction as our lead blogger has shone the way. No sooner then I sit down in the Skyway the a ramp guard comes up and asks me to "move along". He told me that they had been watching me since I came into the complex and said that I was not allowed to loiter here any longer. Let's say that I will not be back anytime soon!

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 10:12 PM by Sammy Highlight this comment 31

Yes Sammy, you're a major threat to those in the skyway. Thank god security officer Fife was there to take care of the situation..Nevermind the fact that someone was being mugged while the officer's attention was being paid to you.

They should just enact a law that you must now walk past construction projects with your eyes closed...No looking, it's a homeland security threat, just like nail clippers and too much hairspray.

Posted on July 11, 2008 at 10:18 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 32

If the powers that be are raising a fuss now I wonder whats going to happen when the stadium opens.

Posted on July 12, 2008 at 12:51 AM by Leroy Highlight this comment 33

Go get ‘em, Kevin. After all, those security guards do tend to overreact to situations. No one on this site EVER overreacts to anything. Besides, it’s so easy to make judgments about security guards and pigeonhole them as geeks, or frustrated cop-wannabes, or Barney Fife goofballs if they infringe upon our totally cool and hip avocation, which is wringing our hands over the smallest detail of ballpark construction minutiae.
Get on their case and all up in their face the way you do to other folks on this site who simply offer opinions. We all know yours are infinitely more valuable and learned those of anyone else.
After all, what could be geekier than becoming a security guard? Unless it’s someone who logs on to this site every couple hours to bully and berate people. Good God, man, are you wasting time at work doing this, or are you unemployed in your mother’s basement?

Posted on July 13, 2008 at 7:28 PM by Farmer Jim Highlight this comment 34

Construction Photos from the Ballpark Authority are available for the month of July 08.

Posted on July 14, 2008 at 12:50 PM by Mo Highlight this comment 35

Long time reader, first time poster. The topic of player statues versus numbers in front of the new stadium gates has been discussed before. In my opinion, after watching the Twins series at Comerica Park I don't think the statues of players idea would fit with the overall design scheme of the new Twins stadium. I believe the player's numbers give the new stadium a more distinct and progressive feel that fits better with the cosmopolitan design of the new stadium.

Also, I was thinking that the plaza and possibly some other areas of the ballpark need some sort of water feature. A fountain mixed in with the trees and flower beds of some sort would be a great addition to the main plaza. It would make for a more welcoming entrance and create more of a "urban park" experience. It would also build around the water theme that is now currently represented by the glass being used thoughout the park. Any ideas.

Posted on July 14, 2008 at 1:21 PM by Jeff Highlight this comment 36

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