I was out shooting photos late last night along Michigan Avenue. Around 1AM I was standing on the NE corner of Randolph and Michigan, and I had my camera on a tripod pointing towards the S-SW corner of the intersection to take some long exposures of the traffic and buildings. At about 1AM, I was approached by a police officer, who told me it was illegal to take photographs of a 'protected structure', and pointed out the two CTA train entrances on the SW corner of the intersection. He said no photos can be taken of any CTA facility or train
The officer was polite, as was I in return. He never threatened me or requested the camera/photos; simply asked who I was and what I was doing. He did take my ID and called my name into HQ to 'check me out'. He told me that a civilian saw me taking pictures and called it in to the police. (I joked that the caller must have missed the drunk girl peeing in the park minutes before.) After running my ID, he told me I checked out and to have a good night. I was pretty tired at this point, and decidedto just head home, but I wasn't sure if I was 'allowed' to stay or had to change positions, or what.
Coincidentally, I happened to snap a few photos of a CTA train and station while waiting at the Addison Red Line stop just last Friday after the Cubs game, and there were two Chicago Police officers standing 5 feet from me on the platform. They never said a word to me.
So I've been doing some research this morning in an attempt to see if there actually is a law, and what it might be. I discovered that Metra did have a ban last summer, but it was rescinded soon after due to public response: http://www.trainorders.com/discussio....php?4,1221026
I also found some interesting information regarding Millenium Park: http://chicago.metblogs.com/archives...ollows_1.phtml
But as far as the CTA specifically, here's what I dug up: http://chicagoist.com/2007/06/11/take_a_quick_lo.php
This section of the 'policy' linked to in the article above seems to pertain to my incident:
The general public is allowed to take snapshots in public areas. Equipment such as lighting, tripods, cables etc. is not allowed – except in instances where commercial and professional photographers enter into contractual agreements with CTA.
Okay, I was certainly in a public place, but was
using a tripod. Just to be safe, I think I'll print out that policy, as well as The Photographer's Rights
and keep them in my camera bag from now on.