Thursday, July 31, 2008

Camera Drama

So for the past few months, both Angie and I have been scouring the main Olympic website, sending questions to our tour company and generally trying to find any information about possible camera restrictions at the Olympics.

Until last night, we had found nothing. There is a list of what not to do and what not to bring for attending Olympic events — apparently a lot of people bring crossbows to events in China because that particular weapon is specifically banned — and photography equipment is not listed. Video equipment is listed, but not cameras.

Thinking I'm in the clear, I've been building my dream camera bag for months, including a recent lens purchase (a Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS).

Last night, I was cruising around Flickr, checking to make sure I had joined a particular group dedicated to the 2008 Olympics because someone who might want to post images or stories from people at the games will be checking that group for potential submissions.

Months ago, I had posted a question in that group asking if anyone had any info about photo restrictions. I didn't get a response for awhile and quit looking back. I just happened to see the topic list last night and saw that I had a couple responses. One of them was from a writer for a photo magazine who had direct contacts with the Beijing Olympic Committee.

Professional photo equipment will not be allowed at any Olympic events, and from the sound of things won't even be allowed on the grounds of any venues. 

He linked to a place on the Olympics web site that spelled out the rule. It was buried fairly deep and does not come up on any searches for "photography" or "camera" or any other reasonable search term you might think of.

I'm currently going through the 5 stages of grief. Angie has scrambled and gotten us a new point and shoot that should be allowed in according to what we've read.

There was also another article that stated the Chinese government is confiscating ANY photography equipment at customs. That might end up being false and only applies to people that have multiple cameras (you can bring one in, but not 5).

On the one hand, I was kind of surprised that they didn't seem to have any posted restrictions. On the other hand, I'm pretty pissed that it took an accidental read of a month's old question to find out that there are restrictions. I would have been even more pissed to get there and be turned back, so I guess this is better... or something.

Bottom line is no awesome shots of the actual sporting events. Bleh.

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