It was raining, so I set my tripod up under a covered part [outside] at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, by the main vista only to told that tripods are not allowed on Observatory grounds; you have to move over to the park area.

The only reference I found about the use of tripods was regarding using them in the Caird Library at the Maritime Museum Greenwich.

Is there any such a bylaw at the Observatory?

  • 2
    Not sure about the observatory, but it's a common practice for tripods to be banned in tourist-y places. They interrupt the flow of traffic, provide a tripping hazard, and just generally take up what may be limited space. – OnBreak. Nov 2 '18 at 18:40

It can't be a by-law, as it's private property; it can only be a 'management decision' & frankly they can be as capricious as they like.

I've been there with a full film crew & 100 movie extras... paying of course for the privilege of being able to set up wherever we needed & keep the public out while we did so.

In the end, it's down to whatever mood whichever security jobsworth you meet is in at the time, & how busy it is where you want to set up [unless you're paying].
I'd have tried the "Ooh, sorry, I didn't know. Can I just get this one shot then I'll be out of your way." approach.


Tetsujin is correct in that they can make any rules they like.

But much depends on whether you are a problem or not. Look around and observe the people flow. Work to stay out of the flow, out of the way. If it's busy, come back another day.

Failing that try the following:

  1. Use a monopod.
  2. Use a bean bag on top of something.
  3. Rig a rubber faced clamp with a screw that you can attach to a ball head. This allows you to use any upright post or tree as a camera support.
  4. Take someone with you who is an extroverted clown who can distract people from what you are doing.
  5. Practice using your body as a support. I found that with some practice I could consistently hand hold 1/8 of a second at 50 mm focal length. There are tricks that help.

a. Keep your elbows down. b. Listen to your heartbeat. Shoot between beats. c. Let out half your breath, stop breathing for the shot. d. Put your feet as wide apart as your shoulders. Balance weight between heels and toes. e. Lean your back against a wall, or your shoulder against a post or corner. f. Sit down cross legged. Support your elbows on the fleshy part of your thighs. f. Practice. Take 30-40 shots. Examine. What motion is left. Lather rinse repeat. If you start getting good shots, double the time.

  • Another trick, a.k.a. counter-monopod: add a D-ring screw under the camera (or a BlackRapid fastener). Attach to it a string as long as you are tall. When taking a picture, step on the end of the string and pull the camera up to make the string taut. Cheap, lightweight, and hardly noticeable by the authorities :) – xenoid Nov 6 '18 at 0:07

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