Homeland is secure in downtown Houston

I was downtown the other day when I spotted a little hidden-away park I had never seen. Being the opportunist, I circled the block – found an open parking meter – grabbed my camera – and headed to take some shots.

While waiting for the light to change so I could cross the street to the park, I decided to check the settings on my camera. I did this by taking a shot of a nearby building and then adjusting the settings. Well, I had just snapped my second picture and was changing the settings when a non-descript black SUV cut across three lanes of traffic and pulled in front of me. The tinted window slid down smoothly to reveal a man holding a badge in my direction asking, “Can I talk to you for a minute?” Well, with a pretty high pucker factor, I said, “Sure.”

The man asked, “What are you taking pictures of?”

“Nothing yet… I am going across the street to that park to take some shots.”

“We get a little nervous when we see someone taking pictures of buildings,” he stated and asked for my ID.

I handed him my license and he quizzed me as to its contents… “Are you from Texas?”

“Uh, yeah…. Houston,” I responded wondering if this really ever catches bad guys in a lie.

I told him that I am a photographer and that when I see something I want to shoot, I normally stop and do so. He mentioned that he caught a Pakistani woman taking photos under a bridge at 2AM the other night. She claimed she was taking pictures of frogs and clearly he did not believe her. I also told him that I have been downtown at 2 in the morning shooting on several occasions. When I started to explain slow-exposure night shots when there is no traffic around, he either decided that I was telling the truth or just tuned it out because he again just mentioned that he gets nervous when he sees people shooting buildings.

I asked, “So are you like, homeland security?” He responded that he was with the State Department or Department of the Interior… something like that. I guess I tuned him out a bit too.

Anyway, it was kinda cool and kinda exciting. I have mixed feelings about the incident… on the one hand, I felt kinda intruded upon and put out – but on the other hand, I feel better knowing that there are people looking out for suspicious activity.

As you can see from the pictures however, the Sisters of Charity Park is indeed a very cool little gem hidden in the middle of downtown.

7 Comments so far

  1. Brian (unregistered) on February 5th, 2005 @ 4:59 pm

    Hmmm, sounds like it’s time to organize a photographer meetup in downtown to antagonize the gestapo.

  2. HOUDOG (unregistered) on February 5th, 2005 @ 5:04 pm

    Hehe – okay, but if choppers swoop in with special forces rappelling down, I’m going to hand you my camera, point to you and say, “there he is!”

  3. laanba (unregistered) on February 5th, 2005 @ 8:30 pm

    Where exactly is this place?

  4. HOUDOG (unregistered) on February 5th, 2005 @ 11:42 pm

    It is at St. Joseph Pkwy and LaBranch downtown nearly under the Pierce elevated (I-45.) To the west of the hospital is a hospice care center with the little park…

  5. banjo jones (unregistered) on February 8th, 2005 @ 8:25 pm

    pardon the question, but were you wearing dark glasses and a long white robe when this occurred? do you have a long beard? what about footwear? sandals?

  6. Sherri (unregistered) on February 9th, 2005 @ 2:58 am

    Awww, you didn’t try to get a photo of the man?

  7. Ricky (unregistered) on February 12th, 2005 @ 3:53 pm

    Taking photos of a downtown park shouldn’t be consider a terrorist act. I think people are overreacting to the events of 9/11.

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