Thursday, May 17, 2012

Operation Lifesaver warns photographers on safety

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Operation Lifesaver Thursday cautioned professional photographers to be aware of the risks of taking photos of high school seniors and wedding parties on train tracks or trestles.

Operation Lifesaver President Helen M. Sramek participated Thursday in a webinar with Professional Photographers of America  to educate photographers and others about the importance of safety around tracks and trains. Sramek said there were six "must-know" tips for professional photographers operating near railroad right-of-way.

The six items identified were: (1) Trains can't stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks; (2) an optical illusion makes it hard to determine a train's distance from a person and its speed; (3) the average train overhangs the track by at least three feet; (4). railroad tracks, trestles, yards and rights-of-way are private property; (5). no tracks should be assumed to be abandoned or inactive; and (6). people in a given community mimic the behavior of others, including photographers.

"We understand the passion that photographers have for their work; however, they may not realize that using train tracks as a backdrop for portraits of high school seniors, wedding parties, and families is not only dangerous, it is illegal trespassing," said Sramek. "As part of Operation Lifesaver's mission to reduce deaths and injuries around trains, we urge professional and amateur photographers alike to set the right example for others."

PPA Director of Member Value & Experience Kristen Hartman said, "PPA is pleased to work with Operation Lifesaver to educate our members about these important safety issues."