First of all it is a challenge to find the right angle, then to find a space at the rail and then to hold that space. This is clearly a time to have an assistant.
I have developed a security protocol over the years but it is still nice to have someone to watch your back when you have an open pack with $10 grand worth of equipment opened up.
First, I keep my camera strap clipped to my pack shoulder-strap with a carabiner. If anyone wants to grab and run they have to drag me along. Plus, this means I can let the camera go if need be and have two free hands.
If and when I take my pack off I clip it to a railing with a 'biner or with the assistance of two foot length of light cable I carry. The thin cable with a loop at each end goes around a post or a bench rail and clips to my pack or tripod, again with one of 3 large carabiners. If I lay the pack down for even a moment I put my foot through the strap.
I try not to turn my back on gear but it could happen - such as when a tourist family asked me to move, "oh and please sir, be moving your camera as well," while they take endless shots of each other.
For what it is worth I also try to take a little more aggressive stance and look (which is hard for an old guy to do) with a wool cap, gear jacket, monopod (read baton) in hand and a determined look. And, I keep aware of what is going on around me.
Those selfies? I often get asked to take others photos but before I do I size them up to make sure I am not being scammed by snatch and run thieves. So far in 50 years of photos is has worked - knock on wood.
Using the London turnstile toilets, by the way, can be a challenge to get through with a pack and gear - and you have to keep 20p and 50p coins in your pocket as the attendants can be a little aggressive. I saw one arguing with a 12-year old boy about whether he had paid - getting really nasty with him. She finally let him through when I looked over and started to pay his pee fee.
But when all is done the London Thames embankment is great place for photography - particularly at night.
|The parliament buildings and Big Ben on the north bank of the Thames in London. Copyright 2014 Richard Wright.|
Nikon D800, 70-200mm f2.8 AF V1 Nikkor, 86mm, f3.2, 6 sec (using self-timer for release), manual focus, Manfotto carbon fibre tripod. Shot in TIFF so only minor post processing with Aperture 3.