But in practice, those rules don't always filter down to police officers and security guards who continue to restrict photographers, often citing authority they don't have. Almost nine years after the terrorist attacks, which ratcheted up security at government properties and transportation hubs, anyone photographing federal buildings, bridges, trains or airports runs the risk of being seen as a potential terrorist..."
For more info, Carlos Miller's website, has posted commentary on the subject as well.
A few years ago, I happened to be at a cafe on Prince Street when a fire broke out across the street. I of course had my camera so I decided to take photos of the fire (keeping a safe distance, of course)... but as I was photographing everything, a police officer came by and the following transpired:
Police Officer: What are you doing?
Susan: Just taking photos.
PO: Do you work for a newspaper?
Susan: No, just taking photos for fun. Just taking it for school (um, wasn't in school)
PO: Are you going to sell these photos?
Susan: No, just doing it for myself. (silence...) Do you want to see a few?
I started talking to them in a non-threatening way ... And that was the end of that... I think the point is -- the police officer wanted to tell me I couldn't take photographs; I, however, knew that I could since it was a public place. However, some police officers just want to tell you something that you can't do (even if they are wrong) -- its a power trip, in some sense... but if you keep your cool and just show them a little something (PHOTOS) then you may be okay.
Blog posting of the fire: Fire in the City - Prince Street.
Photos of the event: Photos of Firefighters doing their job.