I live in a nice residential neighborhood in a busy city. In my city, there are lots of actors. For an actor, having a nice head shot is a necessity to their work, and as a result, a number of small business photographers are also in the area.
To get to my home, you exit the freeway and go a few blocks down a busy arterial rode, where the typical speed limit is 35-45 MPH, but people will go as fast as they can get away with. If you slow before making a turn, especially during rush hour, people will run up on your rear (tailgate), honk, otherwise be rude. It’s not a city known for having the friendliest or the best drivers. But that’s not why I’m writing.
Imagine you are coming home from a long day. You’re driving down Busy Street, blinking because you’re slightly angled into the sunshine because it’s 6 PM, the sun’s setting and you’re facing south/southwest. You turn from Busy Street on to your sweet residential, tree-lined street. As you’re turning west, you’re now facing directly into the setting sun, so you have to squint. Almost immediately after making the turn, you pass under several heavy trees that create extremely heavy shade, and then, just as your eyes have a chance to adjust from the bright glare to the dark shade–you are slamming on your brakes because there is a woman standing on a chair smack dab in the middle of the road taking a photo, with another person sitting below the chair, looking up. And, by the way, the road is narrow enough that you really couldn’t swerve around them at all unless you wanted to hit a parked car.
Then you have to wait a couple of minutes while she moves the chair/ladder/step stool (she switches it up) out of your way.
Having lived here for a couple of years, I’m now somewhat acclimated to this, and I know to try and slow down before making the turn (actually pretty hard in this area, since, as I mentioned, other drivers get PO’d and honk at you if you slow down) and be really careful in that area, but the first time it happened I had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting her and I almost had a heart attack. And she does it all of the time, usually with a chair or step ladder. I catch her in the street at least once a month – and she always does it during the “magic hour”, right as the sun is setting, and she always does it in the shady area where the street transitions from light to dark. I know that the light is probably really good for photography right there, but seriously, is it worth the risk? I’ve also “encountered” this woman one block up (again, on a chair in the middle of the street), lying on the ground on another road, taking a photo angled up, it’s like she’s our own resident obstacle course – you can’t turn into the neighborhood at a certain time of day without double-checking to make sure she’s not there.
I don’t get it. I don’t. Especially since, while I try and go slowly in our area, I know that a lot of other drivers try and cheat the lights of a nearby arterial by zipping down our street at the highest possible speed they can imagine.
So here is my question: I know that as a driver, I have to share a road with a pedestrian, but is it rude of me to honk at her? Once, I wouldn’t mind, but it happens on such a regular basis and it just hits me as so dangerous (to her and her customer) it kind of makes me angry. I have rolled down the window and said, “You know, it’s really dangerous because of the light right here makes it hard to see you. You should take your photos somewhere else.” But she hasn’t changed her methods.
Advice on how to handle this? 0921-12
It seems to me that you’ve been doing just fine with handling the problem. The only addition I would make is to contact the police and inform them of what this particular photographer is doing that creates a road hazard. Perhaps have your camera phone ready to take a picture of the obstacle in the road you repeatedly encounter.