Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Photo permits in National Parks  (Read 3194 times)
Gellman
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 102


WWW
« on: May 01, 2006, 01:07:53 PM »
ReplyReply

Thanks to Michael for alerting us to the proposed new rules regulating permits and collection of fees for commercial filming and still photography in the US National Parks. The link that Michael provided connects to information supplied by the National Press Photographers Association. To see the official announcement in the April 13th Federal Register, CLICK HERE.

This regulation is currently in a period for public comment, and we need to do so, before it's too late. The Federal Register lists Lee Dickinson, Special Park Uses Program Manager as the contact person for this regulation. The Federal Register gives the following email address and telephone numbers for Ms. Dickinson:

Lee_Dickinson@nps.gov
202-513-7092

I urge concerned photographers to contact Lee Dickinson and appeal for correction of two major deficiencies in the proposed regulation, namely, the need for more specific wording regarding commercial still photography, and the need for inclusion of a safe harbor declaration or certification that would assure a park ranger that a photographer is not engaged in a commercial shoot.

A copy of the email that I sent is below. It's probably best to use your own words, but feel free to use mine as a start and edit. I don't think that a bunch of identical emails are as effective as a bunch of individually written emails. But please write or call her. It can make a difference.

John

++++++++++++++++++++++

Dear Ms. Dickinson,

Regarding the notice in the April 13, 2006 Federal Register about the revision of 43 CFR part 5 regulating photo permits in the National Parks:

I think that you should consider rewording "commercial filming and still photography" to "commercial filming and commercial still photgraphy". The current wording could be interpreted to mean all still photography.

I'm sure you are aware that most photographers shooting still photos in the national parks do so strictly for their own personal use. I am concerned that there is no mechanism in your notice that would allow those photographers to declare that they are shooting for their own personal use and not as part of a commercial project. How does one prove a negative? (No pun intended.) Many serious fine art landscape photographers use heavy tripods and very expensive professional level camera equipment and lenses. They can be easily mistaken for commercial shooters, and I expect that many park rangers will simply assume that due to the level of equipment alone, they must be shooting commercially.

There needs to be some sort of safe harbor declaration or certification that will protect these private, albeit well equipped photographers, so that rangers will not mistakenly prevent them from exercising their rights to shoot still photographs for their private use in the National Parks. Perhaps a document could be offered on the Internet or at park entrances that would certify private use under the penalty of perjury. Or something else... anything but leaving it up to the judgement of individual rangers in the field, based solely on the equipment used by the photographer.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2006, 03:03:51 PM by ncjohnboy » Logged

jimhuber
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 147


WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2006, 01:31:07 PM »
ReplyReply

Well done. I modified your letter slightly and sent it myself.
Logged
Gellman
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 102


WWW
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2006, 03:08:19 PM »
ReplyReply

I noticed that I made a mistake in the link I included to the Federal Register in my earlier post. I fixed it. The link to the Federal Register should work now.

Sorry about that.

John
Logged

jecxz
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 377


WWW
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2006, 10:04:13 PM »
ReplyReply

Thank you for the link.

I am quite concerned about this. I frequently shoot in National Parks and NWRs and I am often asked by rangers whether I am shooting commercially for "for myself."

I read through the link and I got quite confused. I think I need an Anacin.

If I sell my prints, am I shooting commercially? What is the exact definition of commercial? How much could these fees be?

dG
Logged

Gellman
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 102


WWW
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2006, 10:14:18 PM »
ReplyReply

I received a reply from Ms. Dickinson:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

We should have included additional information in the press release we sent out, instead of putting the specifics on our web site. The law authorizing location fees lists very specific instances where any photographer needs a permit. Those criteria are the use of models, sets, props, or access to an area not open to the public. So the NPS position on requiring a permit for still photography has not changed with the Federal Register notice. We specifically did not use the word commercial still photography because that was not one of the criteria that Congress listed.
 
There are some times where no one is permitted to use a tripod, an example could be a narrow boardwalk or inside a historic buidling where the tripod could be a trip hazard. In that instance anyone would need to get a permit and probably have a ranger assigned to them to make sure our visitors remain safe.
 
I hope this clears up some of the confusion. If you have additional comments or questions please feel free to contact me.

Lee Dickinson
Special Park Uses Program Manager
Visitor and Resource Protection
National Park Service
202/513-7092
202/371-1710 (fax)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I sent her the following additional comments:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ms. Dickinson,
 
Thank you for your reply to my message. Let's see if I understand the law correctly. Based on your response, would it be accurate to say the following?
 
Still photographers do not need permits to make photographs in the National Parks, regardless of the photographic equipment used, provided that
1. They do not use models, sets, or props.
2. They do not have access to areas not open to the public.
3. They do not obstruct or present a hazard to other park visitors and staff.
 
If this is correct, it would be nice if you could say it somewhere so that still photographers could carry a copy to show to park rangers who misunderstand the policy.
 
Thanks.
Logged

Gellman
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 102


WWW
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2006, 11:24:31 PM »
ReplyReply

This entire topic might be much ado about nothing. I am guilty of writing first and researching later.

Ms. Dickinson's reply refers to "specifics on our web site". I visited www.nps.gov and there it is on the home page, a link to Draft 2006 NPS Management Policies.

The new policies that deal with filming and photography begin on page 31 of Chapter 8 in section 8.6.6. Anyone looking for a cure for insomnia who also looks through the Annotated Comparison Between 2001 and Current Draft will see that there is no substantive change between the old policies and the new policies.

The National Press Photographers Association article referenced by Michael simply points out that the NPS will soon begin collecting location fees when issuing permits for regulated photographic activities in the National Parks.

Since still landscape photography does not require a permit, it will not be affected by the new fees... in theory. In practice, now that there is money involved, park rangers who misunderstand NPS policies may be even more aggressive in challenging still photographers. So it would be nice if Ms. Dickinson issues a statement that can be printed and carried in a camera bag, just in case. In the meantime, it may be helpful for photographers shooting in the National Parks to print pages 31 and 32 of Chapter 8 and politely show them to any ranger with an attitude.
Logged

Chris Sanderson
Administrator
Sr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1899



« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2006, 09:09:47 AM »
ReplyReply

My email to Ms Dickinson and below that her reply.

N.B. the first line of her reply!

CS
============
Dear Ms Dickinson

I am quite concerned that the NPS, in considering levying a fee for
photography done within US National Parks, could easily disrupt or deny
personal photography.

Likely and hopefully a fee system would only be for photography done
"for profit and commercial gain" and not for personal use. If, so I can
quite understand a fee or levy and it would be in keeping with various
'location fees' that are in existence around the world. However, a fee
based on a Ranger's estimation of a photographer's intention could be
most unwieldly and unfair and thus lead to conflict.

Within the professional arena, I also believe that there must be a
tiered fee schedule based on potential use. It seems to me that Fine Art
photographers who sell prints or publish books should pay only a nominal
fee whereas commercial for-profit photographers who are commissioned by
large companies to take photographs to be used in advertising or stock
might face a higher fee.

There could be a simple declaration of intent on Park entry that allows
the photographer to shoot for personal and non-profit use free of charge
but which also details a tier of commercial uses with appropriate fees.
This would be preferable to an individual Ranger's guess as to the
photographer's intention based on the apparent level of sophistication
of equipment.

Kind regards

Christopher Sanderson

=========

Mr. Sanderson:

The policy of the NPS in regards to still photographers has not changed.
The decision to require a permit is based on the activity of the
individual, not the eventual use of the image.

Generally a permit is required only if the photographer is using models,
sets, props, or requesting access to an area not open to the general
public.  And generally a tripod does not require a permit, though there are
exceptions such as the boardwalk around the geyser basin at Yellowstone or
in many of our historic sites where a tripod would create a trip hazard.

Information about commercial filming and still photography can be found
at::
http://data2.itc.nps.gov/digest/permits.cfm?urlarea=permits

I hope this information helps. Please feel free to contact me if you have
any additional questions.

Lee Dickinson
Special Park Uses Program Manager
Visitor and Resource Protection
National Park Service
202/513-7092
202/371-1710 (fax)
Logged

Christopher Sanderson
The Luminous-Landscape
Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad