I quickly but quietly packed up my gear, told my second shooter Jeret to do the same, and had my other guy Chris grab my bag. There was an escalator 10 feet from us that would lead us back from where we came...to the main part of the train station. I decided to go the other direction. I didn't know what the Sheriffs Department was going to want, but I also knew I didn't want to find out....especially if they made me delete my cards....or even worse confiscated equipment.
We walked about 250 feet to an elevator and rode it up to the second level of the subway area. Everyone was doing that nervous giggle thing. We exited the elevator and about 150 feet in front of us were three sheriffs deputies walking our direction. The problem was, myself, Jeret, and Chris were all dressed in straight black.....that's the last time I require something like that. I told everyone just to be cool and keep walking. The deputies gave us a quick glance and then continued past us to where we were shooting. We continued walking until we saw a stairway that lead to the outside. We continued up the stairway and out...we made it!
Not so fast. We found ourselves in the back of the station where the Metrolink administration building is located. There's no way to walk around to the front of the station. We went into the Metrolink building to see if we could find a way to the front of the building....I go to ask a nice lady how to get out to the street and before I know it I'm in trouble again....she was filling up an ATM machine and told me I needed to speak to the police officer standing over there....so I go and speak to the police officer who asks me what we're doing in this building and why am I talking to a lady filling up an ATM machine. Trying to put on my best James Bond face I tell him we're lost and need to find the train station. He looks at me like I'm mentally slow and tells me the building is right over there.....pointing with his finger. I thank him and we leave the administration building....once again at the back of the train station.
I tell Julie and John to go ahead of us and walk through the train station. They leave us three there and we wait for about 3 minutes. We then see a street light down at the other side of the building way down there and hope that we can walk around the building instead of through it. We walk down and realize that in order for us to walk around the building we would have to walk on the side of a freeway offramp (the 101 offramp to Alameda). Well, we talk for about 1 minute about our options and then see 2 security guards walking in our direction. I then declare that it appears the decision has been made for us. So we walk down the offramp, over to Alameda...joking that this is the same offramp we took when we drove down here and then continue around to the front of the station.
Julie and John see us and come over to us and are laughing at this point. They told us they were really concerned we got stopped because when they went down into the station ahead of us, there were 3 sheriffs deputies waiting at the escalators looking for photographers! We then went over to Olvera street and continued the shoot which was fantastic. The only problem is that everyone parked in front of the station, but I was parked in back....so I sent the four of them with my camera bag over to Olvera street (which is across the street) and I went back through the station to where my car was parked...luckily making it to the car and leaving. Olvera street was great! We had them shop and mingle with the crowd. There was a kind man playing the harp for money so I paid him several dollars to play while Julie and John danced in the middle of the busy crowd. It was priceless.
Now, I have all the respect in the world for permits, laws, and police officers.....the problem is that I didn't know a permit was required and I am traveling to the East Coast tomorrow...I couldn't risk any of my gear being taken even for a day or two. I know it sounds crazy, but I have four others who know this story is true...Jason Lanier Photography...it's not a shoot, it's an adventure.