Use of Tripods in Turkey : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

A few years back I traveled to Greece with my 4x5 camera and nearly everywhere I went (outside/on the street in small towns) people would come up to me and tell me that I was not allowed to photograph using a tripod unless I payed a fee ($200.00 US/per location). I have traveled with my camera to many locations & have experienced this sort of thing only sensitive areas (inside some ancient sites/buildings), but in Greece it was nearly everywhere. I'm now planning a trip to Turkey early next year, so my question is: has anyone ever expienced this sort of thing in Turkey or anywhere else for that matter? By the way, I have traveled to Spain, France, New Zealand & Mexico with my 4x5 with no problems.

-- Richard L. Wall (, August 11, 1998


I lived in Tunisia for a year and had mixed results. On most occassions the locals would show up and observe, ask questions, etc. not unlike the U.S. Sometimes they would enjoy looking through the ground glass, other times they wouldn't even come near it. What with stricter Muslims prohibitions against photography combined with the heavy military presence, I would tread lightly in Turkey. Try to hire a guide or interpreter.

I managed to befriend a Tunisian who had lived the in U.S. for the first 8 years of his life while his Dad studied range management in Kansas. I can't tell you how many times that worked to my benefit. My wife and I were told, before we moved, that French was all we needed. Arabic was a lot handier and absolutley essential once you got out of the larger cities. In the suburb where we lived, the French for "eggs" was useless.

On one occassion I pulled off to the side of the road to photograph an olive grove with distant mountain. This was maybe 45 to 90 minutes outside Tunis. My father, who was 68 at the time, was with me. Maybe that helped a bit. The equivalent of the U.S. Army came by, maybe they were reservists, I don't know. I explained what I was doing, in my broken Frarabic, (French-Arabic) and they enjoyed looking through the GG and left, wishing me luck.

I set up to shoot a same small coastal town on two seperate occassions. It is a quasi-pleasure resort with hot baths. The first time was on a Sunday afternoon with my Tunisian associate. All the locals were out enjoying the sun and social interaction - no problems. Months later, on a weekday, maybe Wednesday, not near any holiday I can remember, the local Barney Fife stopped by. He insisted that I was a professional and therefore either not allowed to set up or that I had to pay a fee. Eventually my father-in-law got through with the French word for hobby - "distraction" or something like that, and he went away. For a while though, I wasn't sure if he was going to arrest us or just ask us to "move along now".

Tunisia is not Turkey. Tunisa is very liberal, or at least it was in the mid-90's, and tourism is a large part of their tight economy. The only places I was warned not to set up a tripod were within about a half mile of the President's palace, and the Roman ruins, where tripod use of any kind was not allowed. Some of the ruins required a fee for photography. Tunisians are quite used to tourists, mainly French and German, who sunbathe nude in March at the age of 65. I was often mistaken for German with my thick black beard and fare commplexion. Turkey is suppossed to be absolutley gorgeous and one of the best values for your tourist dollar ever, especially for food. Good Luck & let me know what happens.

-- Sean yates (, December 06, 1998.

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