(reprinted with permission from albuquerqueARTS Magazine, July 2007 issue.)
On one of the first sunny days this year, I find myself with no appointments, no studio session, no deadlines and nothing to do for hours. It is early afternoon on a weekday. Aha! Perhaps a photographic downtown walkabout is in order. I can test (play with) a new wide-angle lens, get a cup of coffee and later drift in somewhere for an early happy hour. Exquisite!
While walking around Downtown soaking in the sun and taking architectural shots, I capture several wide shots (10mm) of the intersection of 5th and Gold St. Suddenly, a black suburban screeches to a halt next to me. The armed, black-t-shirted man who jumps out flashes me an FBI badge, questions me and “takes me in.” The complete ordeal is amusing but far too long to convey here. If you are interested, check out ripwilliams.net. Essentially, I was detained for a couple of hours, taken into a federal building, placed under armed guard, questioned, lectured and then released. The officer who ran my ID to make sure I wasn’t on any terrorist lists plainly said that I had not done anything illegal. He also mentioned that I must get written permission from the adjacent federal office in order to do the non-illegal thing again. I still made happy hour.