Just a brief little anecdote for you all.
I went to four of the seven Dallas Stars preseason games this month, including all three home games, and the road game in San Antonio. And because photography’s a hobby of mine, I brought my camera to each game.
When I went to the Dallas Stars-Florida Panthers preseason game in San Antonio, AT&T Center didn’t allow me to bring my camera in at all, which–after an extremely stressful, rainy six-hour drive–really angered me.
Here is the arena’s policy:
For Spurs, Rampage, and Silver Stars games, please leave cameras with detachable lenses or lenses longer than three inches at home, along with all video cameras. They are prohibited at AT&T Center events.
With that in mind, I brought my camera in with only my 18mm-55mm lens, thinking that would be permissible. I erroneously thought that since Honda Center let me in with my camera, just not with the zoom lens, and the SAP Center (formerly HP Pavilion) let me in under the same circumstances, AT&T Center might do the same. The thought of being rejected never crossed my mind based on my past experiences.
When I arrived at the entrance, the gate attendant looked in my bag, and asked me if I knew somebody performing, such as during intermissions. I replied no, and then the attendant said my camera was a “professional camera,” and therefore not allowed, and asked me if I wanted to check it with the arena or take it back to my car.
Disgusted, I took it back to my car. If an arena has a no camera policy, I will obey it, but that doesn’t mean I will agree with it. And since the arena wasn’t going to allow me to bring my camera in, I wasn’t going to allow its staff to hold onto it for the entire game.
I mistakenly believed that if I brought in my camera with only my regular 18mm-55mm lens I would be okay. I was fine everywhere else I had gone, but not at AT&T Center, which strictly enforces its policy.
There were quite a few people who had DSLRs at AT&T Center when I was there, but I didn’t take the time to find out why they were allowed to bring their cameras in and I was not. Perhaps they knew people performing, or perhaps they didn’t. I guess I theoretically could have argued that I was photographing Dan Ellis’ performance, but I was so travel-weary that I didn’t think of that when I was trying to enter the arena.
Moral of the story, don’t try to be a photographer at AT&T Center. Please take my public service announcement seriously, or you will be telling your friends a similar story.
Oh and for grins, here’s the only photo I took at AT&T Center:
In contrast, this is American Airlines Center’s camera policy verbatim for Dallas Stars games:
I hope nobody ruins that for all of us. It’s a photographer’s dream come true.
I got to bring in my 55-200mm lens to American Airlines Center, which allowed me to get some fantastic shots of players during pregame warmups and during play.
For a little teaser, here are a few samples.
PS: One more day until the NHL regular season premieres!