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Depending upon your style of photography, the permitting process might be something you're familiar with. Essentially, this is formalizing, getting permission, written permission to make your photos. Now, you might think, I've never needed that in the past, I just go in, set up my shot, get what I need and then if they come out and chase me off, I leave. Well, with time lapse, you have a lot of gear. And with motion time lapse, multiply that by ten times. If you start carrying in some of these big rigs, it could take you easily an hour to get in and get set up.
And then of course, there's one to three hours to make each shot. The last thing you want to do is get chased off, and you're anything but nimble. Sure, you might be able to pick up a tripod and walk into a location and be discreet, but when you start adding sliders and complex heads, and all of this equipment, you will attract attention. We made sure that before we went shooting here on the Las Vegas Strip, that we had a formal permit from the county. And for the hotel we're shooting in, we contacted the hotel and got explicit permission. Same thing with the park service, when we're out shooting in the desert, we have permission.
People might look at a photographer and not really take notice because you look like a tourist, but when you're out there shooting motion time lapse, you stand out and people will notice you, and in fact, they'll be drawn to you like moths to the flame because you've got all of this cool gear. Take the extra step, get your permissions, get them lined up, and always keep copies with you. I put an electronic copy on my phone and my tablet, as well as a hard copy so I don't need an Internet connection to quickly bring it up. Put one in each pocket, make sure you've dotted your i's and crossed your t's, and you'll have a much better time shooting without getting hassled.
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