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Stranger taking photos on Eliza Furnace Trail

This topic contains 34 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  gg 1 yr, 1 mo.

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mjyc

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Oct 11 2013 at 7:50am #

I’m unsure if anyone else has had experience with this, but during my daily morning commute on the Eliza Furnace Trail to Downtown this morning, a 40s-50s shorter balding man was walking on the trail toward me as I was coming down off the overpass over Bates Street. He had his head low and was clearly not commuting or exercising. As I pass, he turns and starts snapping pictures of me (with a flash – that’s how I could tell because I was riding as fast as I could past him). As I’m riding away, I look back and he’s STILL taking more pictures of me.

I’m super creeped out by this and wondering if anyone knows who/why someone would be taking pictures this morning?? I didn’t see others on the trail going the same direction as I was, so I couldn’t ask anyone in person. Anyone know what he’s up to?


helen s

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Oct 11 2013 at 8:08am #

Photo essay on cycling in Pittsburgh? Thinks you were riding a stolen bike? Needed a picture of the trail and wanted a bike in it for perspective but was considerate enough to not get your face in the photo? You could have gone back and asked.


Swalfoort

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Oct 11 2013 at 9:12am #

Might have been part of our bike counts…..one of our volunteer bike counters sometimes uses a camera to help document the number of cyclists. Sounds like the same general area.

No one saves the photos or uses them for any purpose other than to document that a cyclist was there. I suspect the overcast conditions would have turned the auto flash feature on….

But, this is just a guess on my part…..


mjyc

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Oct 11 2013 at 9:25am #

OOOOOOOOk, swalfoort, that makes sense! I’ve seen Friends of the Riverfront volunteers and other bike counting thingies on the trail this week, and I suspected this person might have something to do with that. I just thought it was odd considering i normally recognize 99% of the people on the trail at 7:30am haha


RustyRed

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Oct 11 2013 at 9:33am #

I was counting and video-ing at the Ft Duke ramp this morning for the count too. It is a good theory that he was another counter.


Drewbacca

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Oct 11 2013 at 10:53am #

I think it’s OK to snap a photo… One or two. If he was going crazy and using a flash, I think he should have asked permission. If he is associated with a bike count, I hope someone talks to him about his lack of respect.


Swalfoort

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Oct 11 2013 at 11:16am #

Part of the count database tracks where a rider comes from and goes to….so at that location, we want to know inbound and outbound rider numbers, and how many might have come from Hot Metal Bridge, Second Avenue, etc (or gone to those streets). That’s where the multiple photos come in. I see you coming from HERE…. I track you going THERE.

Again, the volunteer counter that I am thinking of checks in here fairly fequently, and is known to many of you. I can let them confirm or deny it was them. It’s just my best guess given location and behavior.

As for the flash, I would suspect an auto flash setting was responsible, with flash used or not used based on camera interpretation of light conditions.

It’s a busy interchange of trails, with a lot of activity. Tracking cyclists and their movements on paper can be really daunting. We experimented with the photos during the summer cordon survey and it worked well. But, in high summer, there was no flash evidence at 7:00 a.m.


edmonds59

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Oct 11 2013 at 11:48am #

Mikhail

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Oct 11 2013 at 2:22pm #

Swalfoort wrote:Might have been part of our bike counts…..one of our volunteer bike counters sometimes uses a camera to help document the number of cyclists. Sounds like the same general area.

Yep, this is correct. :) That was me. And I counted them too! :)
Sarah, report has been sent.


Mikhail

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Oct 11 2013 at 2:24pm #

Drewbacca wrote: I hope someone talks to him about his lack of respect.

You can talk to me right here.


RustyRed

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Oct 11 2013 at 2:45pm #

Hmm, perhaps a sign like this for the more conspicuous counters would be in order so as to not make cyclists wary and confused?


Mikhail

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Oct 11 2013 at 2:50pm #

RustyRed wrote:Hmm, perhaps a sign like this for the more conspicuous counters would be in order so as to not make cyclists wary and confused?

A couple of people stopped and asked. :) No problem to explain. But I have no objections against signs like this.


Mikhail

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Oct 11 2013 at 3:00pm #

As per flash — it’s pretty dark at 7:30 am and it was cloudy. Camera has been set to continuous mode (multiple shots while button is depressed) but flash was off.

You can take a look at exif’s — at 7:30
and see that with F-number 2.3 (the best available on my small camera) exposure (with flash) was 1/8 of a second, or 1/13. And it depends on a background. A little bit later it was 1/25-180. And 1/15 is minimum that you can try t take picture not using a tripod. And those were pictures of moving objects (which usually requires at least 1/125).

And as you can see flash was not used. Red Eye reduction lamp was on but it’s red and does not affect even night vision.


chinston

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Oct 11 2013 at 3:15pm #

Ah, this also weirded me out this morning as I was coming in on the jail trail. I am very happy to learn of this rigorous approach to counting but I would strongly urge that some signs be put up – make people feel at ease and also spread the word about the count.


Swalfoort

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Oct 11 2013 at 3:28pm #

Point noted! I’ll develop a sign and distribute it to the volunteers who do the counts.

It’s a good call.


chinston

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Oct 11 2013 at 3:35pm #

And thanks to the people who have volunteered their time for this! I really appreciate it.


Drewbacca

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Oct 11 2013 at 5:04pm #

Mikhail wrote:

Drewbacca wrote: I hope someone talks to him about his lack of respect.

You can talk to me right here.

No need, you already got my message. I wasn’t there, so I can’t say if you were being excessive or not? Something to consider.


Mikhail

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Oct 11 2013 at 5:36pm #

No need, you already got my message.

“Got” does not mean I agree. :)

I wasn’t there, so I can’t say if you were being excessive or not? Something to consider.

In my mind — not at all. Taking video could be 60 frames per second. Is it excessive?

PS Trail and HMB are public places.


StuInMcCandless

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Oct 11 2013 at 5:53pm #

A fluorescent green vest saying “SPC Bike Count” would have helped.


buffalo buffalo

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Oct 11 2013 at 6:09pm #

Mikhail wrote:

No need, you already got my message.

“Got” does not mean I agree. :)

I wasn’t there, so I can’t say if you were being excessive or not? Something to consider.

In my mind — not at all. Taking video could be 60 frames per second. Is it excessive?

PS Trail and HMB are public places.

Mikhail, consider the image from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know you or what you are doing. It sounds rather close to, for example, people who take creepy pictures of women on trains or beaches.


Drewbacca

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Oct 11 2013 at 7:18pm #

Yeah, it’s all about perspective. Like I said, I wasn’t there. *shrugs*


Mikhail

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Oct 11 2013 at 7:30pm #

buffalo buffalo wrote:
Mikhail, consider the image from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know you or what you are doing. It sounds rather close to, for example, people who take creepy pictures of women on trains or beaches.

It does not creeps me at all. I have little to no expectations to have a privacy in a public place. Train is slightly different since it’s a private — similar to bars, restaurants. In those I would expect that owner sets the policy.

And why pictures of women only?


stefb

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Oct 11 2013 at 7:32pm #

On another note, WHO PAINTED OVER ALL OF THE AWESOME GRAFITTI ON THE JAIL TRAIL?! I am super pissed. Some of that was good and cheered me up after a long day.


chinston

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Oct 11 2013 at 7:47pm #

Mikhail, respectfully, I would suggest letting this go. You may not have a problem with a strange man pointing a camera at you without warning — to be sure, in a legally public place — and taking picture after picture after picture for purposes that you don’t know anything about. But your take, I think, may be different from a great number of other people, women and men.

To be clear, I am a 6 foot 3 inch dude, and it felt creepy to me. I did not feel physically threatened or anything, but then again, my situation is different from others.

Legality is not the issue here — this is about social norms and manners. The reference to women was to suggest that women, in particular, may have reason to have experienced unwelcome attention via photograph that, while not strictly illegal, may nevertheless be a bad thing. I don’t think it’s fair to read that as suggesting that “pictures of women only” is the issue. That’s kind of a red herring.

Anyway, no biggie, and again I appreciate the work you did. I think signs, or a reflective vest, etc. would do a great job of spreading the word!


Pierce

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Oct 12 2013 at 12:42am #

People often jump to the worst of conclusions

A guy who gets up and photograph cyclists during commuting hours on a rainy day is certainly a dedicated pervert. I also wonder if Mikhail’s appearance fed into the creepy-guy stereotype


Drewbacca

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Oct 12 2013 at 1:09am #

Pierce wrote:People often jump to the worst of conclusions

True. My only point is that it is important to realize that some people will in fact jump to conclusions, get the wrong idea, etc..

If Mikhail doesn’t care about the possible misunderstanding, more power to him! I’m of the school of thought that it’s important to bring these things to a person’s attention, and then they can take it or leave it. Maybe it’s simply because I might do something that makes me look “creepy” and completely fail to realize it; I’d rather know.


mjyc

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Oct 12 2013 at 9:22am #

It was only the first shot, and he put his camera down immediately after taking the shot, so clearly it was a mistake. It was only creepy because it was a rainy and dark morning and I only saw maybe 4 or 5 people on the trail in general. The Friends of the Riverfront volunteers did wear yellow vests and post signs, so that would have been very helpful in just being aware. As we all know, there is far weirder activity on the trail and you can never be too careful.

Personally, I have been thinking a lot about who I need to write a letter to about getting emergency call boxes installed along the trail. Winter is coming up and it’s going to be dark and not many people riding the trails, so it is fairly concerning.

Anyways @Mikhail.. I obviously wasn’t ripped off my bike and beaten and drugged, so no harm, no foul haha, but it was pretty creepy lol


J Z

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Oct 12 2013 at 7:24pm #

stefb wrote:On another note, WHO PAINTED OVER ALL OF THE AWESOME GRAFITTI ON THE JAIL TRAIL?! I am super pissed. Some of that was good and cheered me up after a long day.

Concurrence. Tanks, but no tanks, and that guy that looked like a Robert Smith clone, especially.

Crappy tags suck.


J Z

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Oct 12 2013 at 7:31pm #

mjyc wrote: Winter is coming up and it’s going to be dark and not many people riding the trails, so it is fairly concerning.

I dunno, I think you might be surprised. Seems like there are a lot of people out there.


Pierce

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Oct 12 2013 at 7:32pm #

Probably the city; they previously painted over a bunch of graffiti where the lame people walking mural is now. Sorry, we can only have sanctioned airport esque art. Nothing political or emotional. Also, beer and liquor ads are acceptable

As far as trail danger goes, as far as I know, there’s only been one reported incidence of somebody being chased after on the trail, and if memory serves me right, it was some drunk guy

My ex ran throughout the trail system during early morning hours all year long and never had any issues, other runners do the same


gg

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Oct 12 2013 at 7:38pm #

This is an odd thread to me. I have ridden trails at all hours and all over the city at crazy hours. I have NEVER felt any threats at all. I am not saying I want to run threw Northview Heights or some crap in the wee hours, but to be honest, a trail, in and around Pittsburgh and someone is worried? About what? Some guy taking pictures? Come on! I think some people have watched too many Law and Orders or something. Just ride your bike and stop being so silly. “Creepy”? Goodness!


Ahlir

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Oct 12 2013 at 9:21pm #

Compared to a couple of years ago, the early/late & winter bike traffic is way up. There’s good people around you.

Still, be careful…


Mikhail

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Oct 13 2013 at 4:56pm #

Pierce wrote:Probably the city;

It was city. I rode trail during lunch hour and saw some guys (the same that maintain trail cutting grass, cleaning snow, etc) painting it with rollers. I talked to them and they told me that was a city order.


MichaelCycle

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Oct 13 2013 at 7:05pm #

@gg: The issue was that it was a dude taking a picture of a lady. A lady taking a picture of a dude, a dude taking a picture of a dude, or a lady taking a picture of a lady wouldn’t have caused any controversy.


gg

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Oct 13 2013 at 8:17pm #

MichaelCycle wrote:@gg: The issue was that it was a dude taking a picture of a lady. A lady taking a picture of a dude, a dude taking a picture of a dude, or a lady taking a picture of a lady wouldn’t have caused any controversy.

If I see someone taking pictures, I just feel as though they are taking pictures. Art is in the eye of the beholder. That being said, if anyone is taking pictures, it is just art. Sure there are odd people in the world and maybe they have a fetish with bicycle shorts? Whatever, but for the most part, I don’t have time to worry about all of that. It means nothing to me. I guess I just don’t care. A dude can take a picture of another dude and not be weird IMHO. Yes, not everyone is strange. Maybe they just like guys on bikes as art? Does it really matter?

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