Rolling Thunder Comes To Town

Rolling Thunder

It is a yearly ritual, and a loud one at that. The Rolling Thunder has rolled into town to once again honor our veterans during Memorial Day, and like in every previous year, there will be crowds cheering and crowds that can’t wait to get out of town when “them” people come rolling in with their unkept beards and noisy motorcycles. But whatever your attitudes towards this event are, there’s no denying that it is one of the most colorful and meaningful displays of patriotism you’ll see anywhere in America today. And if you are in the market for a motorcycle, there’s no better place in this town to check out your next, shinny purchase than at the Pentagon’s North Parking Lot. It is quite an incredible display, even if two-wheeled riding is not your thing (it certainly is not mine). Looking at all those wonderful machines, it was impossible not to see yourself riding freely into the sunset with your bandana firmly wrapped around your forehead and a pair of leather chaps flapping in the air along a desolate country road. Of course, there were also those less romantic thoughts of laying on a hospital bed in traction for six months that kept interfering with the riding into the sunset thing, but I guess it’s only natural to dream a little while your feet are firmly planted on the ground. Whatever the case, on this Memorial Day we join the thousands of riders descending on our nation’s capital in honoring the great men and women who gave their precious lives in the service of their country. Their ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten.

“The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we — in a less final, less heroic way — be willing to give of ourselves.”  … Ronald Reagan

I Swear I’m Innocent

Photographing in public spaces is a well-recognize right, but don't expect everyone to be happy about it.
Photographing in public spaces is a well-recognized right, but don’t expect everyone to be happy about it.

Photographers are constantly reminding each other that taking pictures in public places is generally a legally-protected right.  Like anything else, there are limits, and many cases where photographers have been arrested for exercising this right have been documented in the press.  Bottom line: it’s a risky business no matter how you look at it.  Of course, most people taking photographs out in the open are innocently recording everyday life, with their photos destined for their personal blog (like the case here).  But to fully ignore, or disreguard for that matter, privacy and propriety considerations out there could be a risky business.  The law is somewhat murky and perhaps designed so that a visit to the local courthouse is all but inevitable if you are not careful.  This also gets a lot more complicated when you travel abroad, as different countries have different interpretations of what is permissible and what is not.  Bottom line: best to do a little research and never leave common sense behind when stepping out with a camera.  And when in doubt, don’t.  Then again, that may take all the fun out of photography.