BWCA Table Rock Crooked Lake etiquette with campsite Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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      Table Rock Crooked Lake etiquette with campsite     

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Gaidin53
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08/09/2022 10:01AM  
So just wanted to get an opinion. When we went by Table Rock last week a group was camped at the site. Basically they had set up tents out even just behind table rock. The campsite is technically not at table rock and is over and back. We just paddled by with a kid sitting on table rock smiling at us. To say the least my 15 year old daughter was extremely agitated that we couldn’t stop to see this historic landmark when paddling by. She definitely made some pointed snarky comments meaning to be heard!

Just wondering what the etiquette is on this? My family wanted to stop anyway since in our opinion they had set up outside the campsite. We didn’t because I thought that would have been bad etiquette. Besides they had fishing rods and paddles and other gear strewn around and on top of table rock and a tent within feet of it so it’s not like we could have gotten any decent photos.

Ryan
 
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08/09/2022 10:14AM  
I camped there once. Not a great site btw. I would have considered the rock and granite slab beach as part of the campsite based on it's location. With that being said, I would have been cool with people stopping briefly to take a picture.
 
Savage Voyageur
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08/09/2022 12:08PM  
Is this the table rock campsite you are talking about? I posted Quietwild’s picture. I have not been there but it looks nice. If it is the same in question, I would consider it part of my campsite and welcome anyone stopping by for a visit.
 
dustytrail
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08/09/2022 01:12PM  
I have always considered the rock as part of the site. I think it would have been bad form to stop even if their tent had been away from it. As far as the tent being set up there I have seen many tent pads father from the fire grate area than that. At least on the rock it would be LKT.
 
08/09/2022 02:21PM  
Savage Voyageur: "Is this the table rock campsite you are talking about? I posted Quietwild’s picture. I have not been there but it looks nice. If it is the same in question, I would consider it part of my campsite and welcome anyone stopping by for a visit.
"

Lots of scrubby trees, not much shade, very wide open. you could have a whiffle ball game there if that's your jam.
 
Gaidin53
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08/09/2022 02:47PM  
Yeah that is the campsite. I asked my daughter if she had taken a picture of table rock and she didn’t. Basically she’d have been taking a picture of the kid sitting on the rock and she didn’t. To be clear they weren’t really camping in the campsite they were camping at Table Rock.

Yes I agree they are close together. With it being a historical site and something we wanted to stop and see it was a disappointment to not be able to do so.

Ryan
 
08/09/2022 05:18PM  
I have never camped there, I've stopped and looked but I'd consider it part of the campsite. In the picture of the fire grate I can see table Rock in the background, it isn't far away. I think the FS also calls the campsite Table Rock campsite...

For that reason I'd never camp at that site. I'd be worried about constantly being asked to look at it or people just stopping in my camp...can't blame them...but would also be annoying. If you camp at a site like this you sort of have to expect visitors. We camped at Rebecca Falls one year…people came though our camp a lot to see the falls…they were always shocked that a camp was there and but were respectful. Can’t get mad at them…the evening we had it to ourselves.

So I disagree with ya that table rock isn't part of the site, but I agree it is a terrible location for a campsite. I have no idea what they were thinking.

T
 
cyclones30
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08/09/2022 10:17PM  
Looks like it's part of the site to me.

I also didn't know sites had set boundaries? It is a crappy site and shouldn't be there....but it is and marked on the maps as such. You could ask if you could stop but understood if you don't as well.

It's like most waterfalls, bacon rock, Thunder Point, etc do NOT have campsites right at their landings. But in this case it is. Is the Mondale site something people should be allowed to look at if taken? Where do we draw the line?

 
CatchMe
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08/09/2022 10:49PM  
What is the Mondale site?
 
Gaidin53
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08/09/2022 10:54PM  
Ditto on what the heck is the Mondale site?
 
08/10/2022 12:19AM  
CatchMe: "What is the Mondale site?"

Gaskin Lake Site 628 was evidently prepared for Vice President Walter Mondale way back when. It's got a log stairway up from the landing and the campground is very nice.
 
08/10/2022 06:13AM  
Yeah, part of the site... I’d never camp there. But enjoy lunch there going through. I don’t think I ever saw someone camping there.


 
Minnesotian
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08/10/2022 07:38AM  

I have stayed at that campsite. Like other's have said, it isn't a great site. I would consider the Table Rock to be apart of the site as well.

However, I would have stopped and asked to take a picture. I went through a similar situation as Gaidin53 on Gebeonequet Lake a couple years back. The site with all the rock chairs set up is within ear shot of a campsite. I was solo canoeing through the area and stopped in at the campsite to ask, or give warning, that I wanted to check out the chairs. The family camped there said no problem and we actually got to talking for about half an hour because they were absolutely fascinated that someone would be out here on their own.

I think the etiquette is to politely ask if you think the situation is safe.

 
jwmiller39
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08/10/2022 07:46AM  
Gaidin53: "Yeah that is the campsite. I asked my daughter if she had taken a picture of table rock and she didn’t. Basically she’d have been taking a picture of the kid sitting on the rock and she didn’t. To be clear they weren’t really camping in the campsite they were camping at Table Rock. Yes I agree they are close together. With it being a historical site and something we wanted to stop and See it was a disappointment to not be able to do so.


Ryan"


How did you know the group wasn't camping in the back of the site too? You can't really see the full site from the water. Very possible they had tents/hammocks set up in the back part of the site and only one part of their group was staying down on the site. Part of the group could have been out fishing, getting firewood or something else away from camp.

I consider the rock part of the site and don't see any issue with them placing a tent near there. The rock is a stones throw from the fire grate, so that is part of the site to me.

You definitely could have asked to stop and take a picture but I'd always ask before coming into someone else's campsite.
 
Savage Voyageur
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08/10/2022 08:53AM  
The original poster Gaidin53 said this spot was a historical landmark. Ojibway, Voyageurs? Please explain I’d like to learn about this spot.
 
tumblehome
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08/10/2022 09:18AM  
If a group is camped at a famous or historically important spot, expect gawkers.

However, those same campers are occupying that site and their privacy is as expected as you would expect at your campsite.

I ask for and expect privacy while camping and give plenty of room when I pass by occupied sites. I’m not up there to socialize with strangers. Sorry.

Tom
 
08/10/2022 09:43AM  
We camped at the site in 2006. It was not a good camping site. We didn't realize it was the Table rock site at first. It was marked on the map as a site and we were looking for an open site. There was very large and open, but difficult to find shade as most of the trees surrounding it are small and there was lots of brush to make it difficult to access the shady areas. There seemed to be more mosquitoes at the latrine than any of the other sites we were at. There is little to no soil over the flat rock surface behind the firepit area so it was difficult to stake out tents and no good trees to hang the bear bags anywhere close.

I think we had a tent down near the Table rock also because it caught more of a breeze to get away from the mosquitoes and since the whole thing is one big flat rock it was as good a place as any. I really think it has been overused as a campsite for a very long time and could probably use some rest, but that's just my opinion.
 
08/10/2022 11:11AM  
Savage Voyageur: "The original poster Gaidin53 said this spot was a historical landmark. Ojibway, Voyageurs? Please explain I’d like to learn about this spot. " It's on the "Voyagers Highway" and was a promanate landmark for them. Probably stopped and had a swig of rum there.
 
sedges
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08/10/2022 11:56AM  
I think the campsite should be officially and permanently closed. Maybe groups paddling a North Canoe, wearing red toques and finger-woven sashes and able to sing at least half a dozen rhythmic French songs could be allowed to camp there.
 
08/10/2022 01:00PM  

Nice "beach", but hard to build a sand castle.
 
tonecoughlin
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08/10/2022 01:26PM  
It's public land you can go anywhere you want. You can walk through someone's camp and sit by their fire if you really want to. Might be a little weird or somewhat rude but there's no law.

I would have just done your thing there as if there were no campers at all.
 
Gaidin53
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08/10/2022 01:39PM  
We came from the south so you pretty much round the corner and you are at Table Rock. I had about 30 seconds to take it all in and debate on what we were going to do. Had they not been set up basically on top of it I’d have politely asked if we could stop. Wasn’t worth asking though so we just paddled by. Pretty close but that is just how that worked out with us coming in from the south.

I’m up in a few weeks with some buddies possibly same area if we go into the LBF area. We’d paddle up to see the pictographs for sure. This experience would make me debate though on paddling up to the table rock since I doubt we’ll camp that far north on a 5 day trip out of Mudro. It would be just My luck to arrive and not be able to do anything other than just paddle away again!

No idea when I’ll be back through that area with the family since I’m going to focus more on Quetico and Wabakimi trips with the border open. I can’t see a reason to do a Quetico trip in that area for a while with the burn from last year.

Would be cool to see some Voyageurs paddling a big canoe singing though!

Ryan
 
tumblehome
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08/10/2022 01:47PM  
tonecoughlin: "It's public land you can go anywhere you want. You can walk through someone's camp and sit by their fire if you really want to. Might be a little weird or somewhat rude but there's no law.


I would have just done your thing there as if there were no campers at all."


If that is how you feel about walking into someone's camp then I feel really sorry for you.
 
08/10/2022 03:03PM  
tonecoughlin: "It's public land you can go anywhere you want. You can walk through someone's camp and sit by their fire if you really want to. Might be a little weird or somewhat rude but there's no law.


I would have just done your thing there as if there were no campers at all."


Seriously??? So many scenario’s come to mind of how inappropriate this would be…
#1 walking into someone’s camp although not illegal is plain weird…weird outside the norms social behavior…just like a raccoon walking around during the day (I’d assume it’s rabid)….makes people nervous and on edge… when that happens bad things can happen.

How about I am dad camping with my teenage daughters and you walk into my camp and sit by the fire? What about if it was a group of women? What about a Husband and wife? I bet if it was a group of 9 big guys you wouldn’t walk into their camp…All off those situations could put you at a big risk or make the other groups understandably uncomfortable. Why???

You are probably trying to make a point but it’s an absurd way to make it…

T

 
MikeinMpls
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08/10/2022 03:19PM  
tonecoughlin: "It's public land you can go anywhere you want. You can walk through someone's camp and sit by their fire if you really want to. Might be a little weird or somewhat rude but there's no law.


I would have just done your thing there as if there were no campers at all."


Wow. Simply wow. Please do that and let us know how it turns out, if you live through the experience.

Mike
 
Maiingan
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08/10/2022 03:55PM  
After reading the last few post this "Backwoods Hick" has a better understanding of why our Country is in such "Bad Shape".
Bizaanendamowin
 
MidwestMan
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08/10/2022 04:27PM  
tonecoughlin: "It's public land you can go anywhere you want. You can walk through someone's camp and sit by their fire if you really want to. Might be a little weird or somewhat rude but there's no law.


I would have just done your thing there as if there were no campers at all."


Arrogance and ignorance at its finest!
 
CabinAfter
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08/10/2022 06:46PM  
Last summer I brought my group on that route and none of them had ever seen it. When we paddled past there was a group camped there and they had put a canoe in front of the rock, blocking the view underneath. I don’t know if it was intentional, or if they didn’t know about the significance?? It was a bummer, and I always hate wondering about other people’s vibes.
 
08/10/2022 08:17PM  
tonecoughlin: "It's public land you can go anywhere you want. You can walk through someone's camp and sit by their fire if you really want to. Might be a little weird or somewhat rude but there's no law.

I would have just done your thing there as if there were no campers at all."

That's a good way to get your ass kicked or shot. You don't know who's camp you're walking into. I can guarantee you will be considered a threat and treated as one. Plus it's a dick move.
 
08/10/2022 08:26PM  
nctry: "Yeah, part of the site... I’d never camp there. But enjoy lunch there going through. I don’t think I ever saw someone camping there.



"






We camped there back in 1985. I had to look up my trip report to read about it, as that was one of the few trips that doesn't have a book. It was a nine-day trip and we were cold a lot of the time. This is what I said in the trip report:


We camped at Table Rock, which is a very old campsite dating back to the Indians and the Voyageurs. It is large, open, and is a nice place. Table Rock is just as its name implies, an enormous table right on the flat rock at the shore. I can just picture the Voyageurs sitting on the warm rock in the evening after a hard day of paddling. Tonight the rock isn’t warm; in fact, there haven’t been any warm rocks for quite awhile!






There is a nice family of ducks who paddle by, also several parties of canoeists wanting to see the rock.

Someone has painted the old birch trees with white paint. Would the Forest Service do that?


Those are just some old memories. We spent one night there, and we didn't mind that people stopped to see the rock and photograph it. Ever since this post originally appeared I have been thinking about it, and I guess I would agree that Table Rock isn't a great place to have a campsite, but if there is one, I also think it isn't unreasonable for other travelers to want to stop and see the rock. I know it was meaningful for me to be there. I could almost hear the echoes of those voyageurs singing their French paddling songs! I still remember the feeling, and it is 37 years later.

 
Ohiopikeman
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08/10/2022 09:18PM  
I've camped at Table Rock multiple times and enjoy the site. Hanging a bear pack does take some creativity, but it can be done. The entire area around Table Rock is loaded with excellent fishing!

I definitely consider the actual Table Rock to be a part of the campsite and agree that it would be inappropriate to land your canoes on shore while the campsite is occupied unless you ask permission from the campers. That being said, I would have zero issue with any group asking to stop at the site to see Table Rock if it was my group camped at the site.

Entering a campsite without permission should not be done and is not done by campers with any experience in the field. Park Rangers and Conservation Officers will ask for your permission before entering your camp and they clearly have the authority to enter.... but they always ask. Besides being of bad form, I agree completely that if a stranger suddenly appeared in camp it could certainly be dangerous depending upon the campers.

 
CatchMe
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08/10/2022 10:02PM  
YetiJedi: "CatchMe: "What is the Mondale site?"


Gaskin Lake Site 628 was evidently prepared for Vice President Walter Mondale way back when. It's got a log stairway up from the landing and the campground is very nice. "


Thank you YetiJedi
 
08/11/2022 08:51AM  
I was a newbie when we camped there, so didn't know some people would be offended if we approached their campsite, so I didn't think much of it when people stopped to look at it. We weren't there long so not much happened, but there were people who paused to check it out.

At most sites, I would agree it is bad form to bother people, but if I camp at a site that is unique and as famous as this one, I'd take it in stride. It might be some people's only chance to see it in their lifetime.

It is a known as a meeting place after all, so in that spirit, I don't think I would mind some looky loos or people stopping to take a picture as long as they move along and don't go beyond the table rock without asking permission. There is a pretty well defined cut through to the actual campsite that creates a separation.

Also, I would expect a cutoff of about 4 or 5pm. Most people have settled in by then anyway. I would not feel comfortable leaving my stuff there to go out fishing though due to potential traffic in the site. If all that bothered me I would probably just count it out as a campsite.
 
tonecoughlin
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08/11/2022 09:48AM  
I wasn't saying I would personally do it just stating that it's possible. I've had ppl walk through my camp it's weird but not in uncommon. Especially if they can't see if it's taken or not or the site is on a portage. What if someone was lost or needed help? Lost their canoe?
 
08/11/2022 10:05AM  
tonecoughlin: "I wasn't saying I would personally do it just stating that it's possible. I've had ppl walk through my camp it's weird but not in uncommon. Especially if they can't see if it's taken or not or the site is on a portage. What if someone was lost or needed help? Lost their canoe?"
I appreciate your efforts to walk back your original statement if indeed that is what you are trying to do. Your first comment, however, actually did say you would personally do it and indicated it didn't matter the reason people were there...that's what bothers folks, in my opinion, me included. I do strive to be quick to forgive - I don't like waiting when I need a break when I have misstepped. :)

Anyway, I'm hopeful you are stepping back from the original comment. It is easier to work through forum misunderstandings than if a scenario played out in person as the hypotheticals presented.

By the way tonecoughlin, I reviewed your photography website and was very impressed with your talent.
 
08/11/2022 10:14AM  
photo of table rock, late 1970s. It was a great campsite then. I’ve been there many times since. It needs to be closed. Also please don’t go into an occupied campsite, that fact we have to say this is remarkable
 
MikeinMpls
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08/11/2022 10:58AM  
Tonecoughlin said: "I wasn't saying I would personally do it just stating that it's possible. I've had ppl walk through my camp it's weird but not in uncommon. Especially if they can't see if it's taken or not or the site is on a portage. What if someone was lost or needed help? Lost their canoe?"



Thanks for the clarification. I agree regarding those scenarios, though those contexts are different than the tone of your original post. Neverthess, I understand.

That said, in over 50 BWCA trips, I have never had someone walk into my camp unannounced or uninvited. I've heard of it happening, mostly from reports on this site, but I'm curious how often it occurs. There are stories on this site that describe people walking into campsites. Some encounters are startling, some weird, and some encounters clearly meant to stoke confrontation.

My wife and I once invited two novice paddlers into our site on Lower Pauness during a cold, hard, and windy rain. They were soaked and shivering. We made them coffee and hung up their clothes on our protected clothesline. That's the only time I've had anyone else in my camp.

Mike
 
tonecoughlin
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08/11/2022 11:43AM  
YetiJedi: "By the way tonecoughlin, I reviewed your photography website and was very impressed with your talent."
Thanks.

Gatekeeping public lands is a slippery slope and never works out for the gatekeepers. If you camp at a landmark or a portage expect ppl to be around.

Recently I had a guy send me a long winded email about taking pictures while in the BWCA and posting them. He felt just from my photos alone it would become overcrowded. I thanked him for his opinion and said I can take as many photos as I want and post them anywhere I like it's public land. He didn't like that response and proceeded with an inflammatory comeback filled with prejoratives.

I wonder what's going to happen when he finds this site or visits Facebook and YouTube lmao
 
08/11/2022 11:43AM  
When I stayed at the Table Rock site it was only out of necessity . It was my October trip and it was getting dark. I was hanging at the time and I had to get very creative putting up my hammock. The rock is very cool and the landing is a joy.
 
tumblehome
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08/11/2022 12:05PM  
@tomcoughlin “Recently I had a guy send me a long winded email about taking pictures while in the BWCA and posting them. He felt just from my photos alone it would become overcrowded. I thanked him for his opinion and said I can take as many photos as I want and post them anywhere I like it's public land. “

Not quite. A permit is required to sell photography taken in the BWCA and National Parks. The USFS has been known to shut people down for a lack of a permit. Not sure if you have one or not.

Also, walking into someone’s camp is extremely rare and equally uncool.
I once had a person walk into my camp but only then did I find that my site was very near a walking path. Both the intruder and myself were surprised by each other and we both understood it was nobody’s fault.

Tom


 
ockycamper
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08/11/2022 01:56PM  
"Gatekeeping public lands is a slippery slope and never works out for the gatekeepers. "

Not sure what you mean by this. If you mean that campers at designated camp sites have no rights or expectations of privacy in BWCA because it is public, you are wrong.

Also, if I had my kids at the camp site and someone was floating by in a canoe taking pics of the site with my kids included in the photos I would have a real issue.

Lastly, public land does not mean free for all. I am a certified real property appraiser. Even on public lands, occupants of camp sites have "implied rights" when camping at that site. The same applies to state and national parks everywhere. If the park service designates specific sites, and attaches rules to those sites, then the occupant has implied rights when on the site and following the rules. This means that others do not have the right to just walk through the site univited.
 
dustytrail
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08/11/2022 02:11PM  



Also, walking into someone’s camp is extremely rare and equally uncool.
I once had a person walk into my camp but only then did I find that my site was very near a walking path. Both the intruder and myself were surprised by each other and we both understood it was nobody’s fault.


Tom



I was once just following trails out of "my" camp and suddenly found myself near the toilet of another site. It seems trails connected the 2 sites even though they quite a distance apart. Lucky for me it was vacant at the time but I learned a lesson there.
 
tonecoughlin
member (46)member
 
08/11/2022 02:50PM  
Fly on the wall: "tonecoughlin: "
I would have just done your thing there as if there were no campers at all."

tonecoughlin: "I wasn't saying I would personally do it just stating that it's possible.
Little bit of contradiction there. you literally said you'd "do your thing
as if there were no campers at all" (i.e. walking into someones occupied campsite), then you walked it back and said you didn't say what you literally just said.
"

No not really. The rock is on the outside edge of camp not in the middle by the fire grate. I had kids fishing the Basswood River right on the edge of my camp last summer they were just fishing and wanted to pet my dog. It was a friendly encounter.

This spring at our camp on the Loon River, a nice couple stopped by because they wanted to take pictures of the river gorge. On Basswood Lake a young couple pulled into my camp late afternoon they didn't know it was occupied as my canoe was up and out of the wind on the other side of the point and my tent was further back in the woods. We chatted for a few minutes by the fire grate and I gave them some information on possible open camps. It was their first trip in the BWCA. Maybe I should have been a meany and yelled at these folks instead. There are hundreds of campsites that are on trails, portages, or waterways, landmarks, etc. Dozens of campsites on the Superior Hiking Trail are on the trail itself. Be friendly, say hello, share stories.
 
tonecoughlin
member (46)member
 
08/11/2022 03:21PM  
You only need a permit if you are selling photos with "props".
 
Minnesotian
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08/11/2022 03:36PM  
tonecoughlin: "tumblehome: "Not quite. A permit is required to sell photography taken in the BWCCA and National Parks. The USFS has been know to shout people down for a lack of a permit. Not sure if you have one or not.

Tom "

You only need a permit if you are selling photos with "props""

Well, that "props" suggestion might be open to interpretation. Looking at the Special Uses Program for the National Forest System, they state "the creation of a product for sale" as a requisite for obtaining a commercial filming permit. The way I interpret that is if a photographer is taking pictures of a lake in the BWCA and then selling prints of that image, they would need to obtain a permit to do so.

Special Uses Program

However, I have no experience with this special use, it's just my interpretation and something I would make sure of if I were ever to become a commercial nature photographer.
 
tonecoughlin
member (46)member
 
08/11/2022 03:58PM  
Call the Ranger Station and chat with the area supervisor that's exactly what they told me 4 years ago when I inquired. Also check your definition of commercial photography.

There are several different types of photographers some stick to one or two genres and some do it all. When I go to the BWCA I capture landscapes, group members, and wildlife three different types of photography just like anyone with a cell phone. Commercial photography is being paid by another business or individual to capture their products or services to be used for advertising. I've done commercial photography here at home and in the area it's a whole different ball game.
 
bottomtothetap
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08/22/2022 12:30PM  
tonecoughlin-- got your meaning right away--I did not perceive you to be saying you would do it. In fact I'm noting from your original post that to do so would be--using your words--"weird" and "rude". Just technically that there was no "law" against doing such. I think many of this group jumped on you rather quickly and that they should maybe be the ones "walking back" comments.

BTW, I would regard the rock as part of the site and would not be put off by seeing a tent there. At the same time if I was camped there I would understand how people would want to take in this historic spot and similarly would not be put off by someone asking me if they could check it out. I had a situation like that one time at Devil's Cascade near Pauness lakes. The path from the portage north out of Pauness has a spur trail that leads down to the cascade and this trail cuts right through a campsite. We asked politely if we could just pass by to the water to check out the cascade and the campers had no problem with it. Very friendly and we had a nice conversation. If they'd have responded "no" I'd have equally understood with no hard feelings. I'd say just be nice and all will be good. Snark and snide comments will breed ill feelings and discord.
 
LaVirginienne
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09/01/2022 10:08PM  
sedges: "I think the campsite should be officially and permanently closed. Maybe groups paddling a North Canoe, wearing red toques and finger-woven sashes and able to sing at least half a dozen rhythmic French songs could be allowed to camp there."

Bien évidemment!
 
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