My dream realized: four hours of government questioning regarding 35mm v. 120 v. 4×5

From the city that has been the heart of America’s camera repair industry, “LaGuardia Scare Sparked by Woman’s Mistake About Flier’s Phone Videos, Camera: Source” (NBC):

A woman traveling with children worried another passenger on a New York City-bound flight was watching “suspicious” videos on his phone and reported him, forcing the emergency landing at LaGuardia Airport over the weekend, a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the case told News 4 Tuesday.

According to the source, the woman first saw the man watch videos she thought were sketchy. Then the man took out an odd-looking object and began fiddling with it, the source said. The woman feared he was watching suspicious videos and then took out a “suspicious” device — and that’s what was alerted to authorities.

It turns out, though, the man was watching videos on how to set and repair an antique camera, the law enforcement said. And then he took out an antique camera to try to adjust it, the source added.

The man was questioned by authorities for a total of about four hours between FBI and Port Authority investigators after what police and airline officials referred to as a “security incident.” He was later released.

Video captured by a passenger and shared with NBC News showed firefighters attending to one person lying facedown on the taxiway.

Finally classic film cameras get the attention that they deserve. I’m hopeful that the camera that aroused panic was a Fuji G617 (negatives or slides 6x17cm in size from 120 or 220 roll film):

Or perhaps a Linhof Master Technika (4×5 inch sheets):

I had been thinking of using my own Fuji G617 as a bookshelf curio, but now I am worried that neighbors will see it through the window and call the police!

8 thoughts on “My dream realized: four hours of government questioning regarding 35mm v. 120 v. 4×5

    • PaulG: Anyone who chooses to use film in this day and age, rather than a smartphone camera, qualifies as “acting odd”!

  1. That’s a product of the new U.S. reporting culture. School children can report teachers and parents. Students can report professors. Mailing lists have “report” links, YouTube has “report” links. You can report co-workers.

    Not only is one able to report, one is encouraged to report frequently. The next step is for the NSA/CIA to hire inofficial agents like the Stasi, which had 2.5% of the population volunteering as snitches.


    “She thought he was looking up bomb-making instructions, and when the man pulled out his own camera and adjusted it she was convinced he was setting a timer on a detonator, sources said.”

    This is no doubt due to the Karen’s and flight crew’s extensive military or bomb squad experience with what a detonator looks like.
    Also NYT/CNN seem to have omitted mentions of ridiculous response to an innocent activity but just assure us that the authorities handled it and determined there was no actual threat.

  3. I saw the pictures of the poor guy all proned out on the tarmac. It’s just a good thing he wasn’t carrying anything like atropine or a Combat Survival Kit or (gulp!) an old Blackberry!

    “…often some of the stuff being shown in the movies is an exaggeration of what’s feasible, but usually there’s an element of truth in it…”

    “…We keep a lot of products in here that are designed for the public, but a lot of them also designed for news reporters that suddenly have to go off to an area of conflict. We keep chemical agent detection paper, we keep decontamination powder, we keep a full range of gas masks, we even keep atropine pens in case there’s a nerve agent attack.”

    The new James Bond movie just hit theaters, maybe that has something to do with it. Remember when we were worried about things like Minox cameras? If things keep going at this rate, are they going to start canceling flights if someone busts out an old Omega Speedmaster Moon Phase?

    I guess anyone hypervigilant who tries to read lips or the equivalent on planes can have this problem. Remember Felix’s Unger’s panic attack because: “I…much…fear…serious…trouble…in…the…Fuselage, Frederick!”

    Here’s a question: why not just ask the guy what the thing was? People can still talk and listen – even with masks on – right?

    • Here’s the kicker: After I wrote that post, I Googled the incident to see if I could find the picture of the guy pinned down to the tarmac at LaGuardia. I saw this article at The Independent (United Kingdom):

      If you scroll down to the bottom, there’s a “source” link to the NY Daily News. I clicked the link and here’s what I got:

      I am 100% sure that I’m in the United States. When I click the link from the Independent’s website, the servers at the Tribune Company (which publishes the NY Daily News) think I am someplace the Daily News is unavailable. I think this is because the link the Independent is using is invalid, perhaps because of confusion created by the acquisition of the Tribune parent company by Alden Global Capital in May, 2021. The memo has apparently not reached the Independent that they should use a different link to the NY Daily News.

  4. Funny how the education level is so bad compared to 40 years ago, no-one knows what a camera is or what it looks like when someone fixes something.

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