Celebrate With Santa, Just Don't Take His Picture

Local blogger told to stop taking pictures

Is the National Christmas Tree's Santa's Workshop being a Scrooge to local photographers?

Local blogger brownpau over at WeLoveDC.com tells his story of being shooed away from taking pictures of Santa visiting with kids.

I don’t have kids but when I visited Saturday night, the view through the window was a cozy, picturesque scene of a jolly old man smiling as he held wide-eyed children on his lap, and I had to get a photo — which, of course, came out blurry in the dark.

As I was fiddling with my ISO settings an elf-suited girl told me, “You can’t take photos through the window, the flash will just reflect off the glass and distract Mr. Claus.”

“Thanks,” I replied amiably, “I have flash off.”

“Well, you still can’t take photos!” said a man by the exit, bodily moving to block the window. I believe he may have been trying to sound intimidating, but it came out as more obnoxious than anything else. Not wanting to make a scene, I said nothing more, put away my camera, and walked off in a huff.

Blogger brownpau went on to liken the incident to Union Station's photography police, which is rather strict and borders on breaking First Amendment rights.

He wrapped up his experience like this:

In retrospect, I should not have allowed myself to be scared away by the hired goons of Underwriters Laboratories. I liked the scene of Santa Claus in the window, and getting a photo of that scene threatened no one’s rights or safety. It’s a sad, sad thing when, at Christmastime, on the very doorstep of the home of those sworn to protect our freedoms, there are some who think they can bully those freedoms away just because they think some people shouldn’t be allowed to preserve a holiday image.

Have you experienced anything like this when trying to take photos on and around the National Mall?  Share your stories below...

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