Two years ago, I went to the Stahl House with my friends to take some pictures. I enjoyed the place (it is very photogenic) and we had a beautiful sunset, but I didn't like the way I was treated, which is probably the reason why I've waited two years to post these images.
It's a paid tour and there are strict rules that you have to follow... they check your ID and have you sign a form stating that you can only use your images for personal use. No problem! There are some additional rules as well, like you cannot use a tripod (which we didn't have) along with all the other things you can't do. They had my name, address and signature on a form, I wasn't going to do anything stupid.
However, if you're gonna get me in a place where I'm paying for a photo tour then I'll be photographing. Now you should know that I never 'spray' when I'm shooting. I still carefully compose my images as if I was shooting film, even though I'm using a DSLR.
Out of nowhere, the docent asked me if I was a professional photographer and what I intended to do with my photos. I'm a polite person, so I told him that I shoot for fun and that the shots were for my portfolio and maybe for my Instagram account. He told me that sharing images on social media was actually encouraged and to make sure to use the location tag for the house.
As I was shooting, I think I might have leaned against the wall (also against the rules) when I was reminded that I couldn't touch the home's exterior. A few minutes later I was next to the pool and I was trying to take reflection shots when I was told I was leaning on the bench, using it as a tripod. I was asked, once again, about my background and if I had any hidden agendas. I started to feel uncomfortable...
As the sun slowly begin to set when I decided to take a few candids of my friends, because I thought a sleek, retro crib with a couple of people in it would make for an interesting image. Suddenly, I got pulled aside and they told me that the property owner was wondering what I was doing and that I made her really nervous. She felt that I was running a professional photo shoot. I was a little bit taken aback because I haven't met the owner and I didn't know where all this was coming from and why? I was fuming at this point.
Luckily, my friends saw it and they told me to take a break, so we walked around and laughed it off. As we were losing daylight, I started to shoot again and ONCE AGAIN I was told that I needed to stop immediately. Apparently, the owner (Stahl's daughter) was monitoring us from another state, via hidden cameras, and I was being watched all the time. I stopped enjoying myself by then...
So here we are two years later and I love some of the photos I took that evening, but I will think twice about going back to this place, even if I'm hired to shoot there with a decent budget and location fee. I'll look at all the other case study homes from 1-21 before I'd even consider No.22