Page 1 of 1

MAX lens size (Goofy military rules)

Posted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:37 am
by TooTallDean
Is there any rhyme or reason with some, not all, US military bases having a cap on the size of a lens?

And are some branches, or individual bases more sticky than others?

I had no trouble with my Sigma 150-600mm lens at MCAS Yuma or Luke AFB last year, going as a regular Joe.
Also no problem at MCAS Miramar. (I had a Media pass for that one, so that helps.)

I DID have issues at NAS Whidbey Island, in WA though.
At first they said maximum 200mm, then when I returned with a 55-200mm, they said NO ZOOM lenses.
It seems somebody didnt understand the difference between TELEPHOTO and ZOOM.
I suppose if I had a 10-28mm mini-zoom that makes everything smaller, the gate guards would stop that too...

So, is it a Navy issue, or a NAS WI issue?

Re: MAX lens size (Goofy military rules)

Posted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:25 pm
by RyanS
TooTallDean wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:37 am
Is there any rhyme or reason with some, not all, US military bases having a cap on the size of a lens?

And are some branches, or individual bases more sticky than others?

I had no trouble with my Sigma 150-600mm lens at MCAS Yuma or Luke AFB last year, going as a regular Joe.
Also no problem at MCAS Miramar. (I had a Media pass for that one, so that helps.)

I DID have issues at NAS Whidbey Island, in WA though.
At first they said maximum 200mm, then when I returned with a 55-200mm, they said NO ZOOM lenses.
It seems somebody didnt understand the difference between TELEPHOTO and ZOOM.
I suppose if I had a 10-28mm mini-zoom that makes everything smaller, the gate guards would stop that too...

So, is it a Navy issue, or a NAS WI issue?
I have never heard a rhyme or reason to it at all. I have heard numerous examples where the rule was invented by someone working a specific gate while other gates were letting them in. Nellis is pretty famous for this one year as it completely ruined the show for a lot of people, but the head of security was a good dude who actually participated on forums like these and he did his best to straighten it out and explain afterwards.

Certainly I have not noticed any sort of pattern except that it is becoming far more prevalent. Personally, I find base shows far too much of a hassle to deal with (unless perhaps I can get a media pass) but I also don't have very many around me to go to anyway.

Last year at NAS Oceana they only allowed large lenses in if you submitted your name a month in advance so they could background check you. Anyone who did that essentially got a media pass with Friday access, but to get it you had to show up Friday morning so they could print an ID for you. They only had one person working, so it took hours to wind through the line and many people missed most of the show just trying to get a pass! It was a mess.

I did read an article in the last couple of years about the military, or maybe just the Air Force, implementing a new public affairs mindset of being less open to the public. Someone high up felt that too much info was being given away freely and with a return to a Cold War vibe with China and Russia that they need to clamp down on access and transparency. I wonder if that has actually played into it or not.

Re: MAX lens size (Goofy military rules)

Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:39 am
by TooTallDean
Thanks for the observations Ryan.

Anyone else?

Re: MAX lens size (Goofy military rules)

Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:17 pm
by AvgeekJoe
I've had my issues with NASWI and photography too. If there is an open house and if I do go, I will go with a friend and buy up the swag when the gates open - leaving the 100-400mm sigma behind - then race down to Mukilteo for the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum (FHCAM) fly day at 1 PM.

This seems to be a NASWI thing. Recently the new base commander had the gall to put out a slide for the community listing "photographers" as a challenge.

[vent]Uh it was the local photography community's Joe - me - who gave a lot of public comment and muckraking to stop the noise whiners around OLF Coupeville, NOT the Kiwanis club that was subjected to this slide putting us as a challenge alongside anti-military protesters, water issues, and land use reform. It was another photographer who hauled me so I could get pictures of a regular harasser of the base screaming about "The Environment" and I could have the county demand he pick up his junkyard cars.[/vent]

That said, that said, I've gone to several Oregon ANG open houses, Travis AFB, Arctic Thunder, JBLM Open House, Gowen Thunder, and various other airshows. No such issues elsewhere - except around bag size.

Re: MAX lens size (Goofy military rules)

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:09 am
by TooTallDean
I just heard back from the PAO folks that run the Whiteman AFB Wings Over Whiteman Facebook page for WOW 2019.
They confirm that there is NO size restriction for WOW. :)

The WOW folks really are doing a fine job of communicating. I'm looking forward to this one!

Re: MAX lens size (Goofy military rules)

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 8:04 pm
by redjay
TooTallDean wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:09 am
I just heard back from the PAO folks that run the Whiteman AFB Wings Over Whiteman Facebook page for WOW 2019.
They confirm that there is NO size restriction for WOW. :)

The WOW folks really are doing a fine job of communicating. I'm looking forward to this one!
Thanks for checking this - I was going to message them about it.

I've only been attending airshows Stateside with a "large" lens for a couple of years now, and the only two shows I've had very minor issues with the lens is Offutt last year and Andrews this year. At Offutt it was after I'd gotten in and was walking around that I was stopped by a couple of civilian officers who advised me I'd have to return the lens to my car. After they verified the website said no restrictions I was allowed on my way.
At Andrews this year I contacted them beforehand and was told it wouldn't be an issue, but when going through the security at FedEx field I was told initially the lens had to be less than 1 cubic ft, which it is, then that the limit was 12 inches long. After explaining what I'd been told I was allowed on my way, and once on base I saw at least a dozen other people with large lenses, so I don't know how enforced the rule actually was.

I'm not sure whether it's the physical size of the lens or how far you might be able to see with it that's the concern for some installations. It does make me a little wary when traveling further distances for shows though if the website doesn't explicitly say "no restrictions".

Re: MAX lens size (Goofy military rules)

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:26 pm
by redjay
TooTallDean wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:09 am
I just heard back from the PAO folks that run the Whiteman AFB Wings Over Whiteman Facebook page for WOW 2019.
They confirm that there is NO size restriction for WOW. :)

The WOW folks really are doing a fine job of communicating. I'm looking forward to this one!
Just following up on this, I personally didn't have any issues getting into the show on Saturday with my 500mm lens, but I saw on the WoW FB page that several folks did have issues with all sorts of lenses, especially on Sunday, and this was despite the show itself posting an update that the limit was 600mm. Not sure what changed between the days but seems like there were quite a few unhappy people who drove some distance only to get turned away.

Re: MAX lens size (Goofy military rules)

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:56 pm
by TooTallDean
Hi redjay,

I just noticed this now. (I continued on my long road trip after WOW, so was a bit distracted...)

I personally did not have any issues with my Sigma 150-600mm, but I did hear of some MPs making up rules.
Apparently, the PAO office did eventually get the word out, but likely it was too late for some.