Batman: Dark Knight Rises Movie Set

Christian Bale stands in between scenes during the filming of the new Batman: Dark Knight Rises movie at the Mellon Institute building in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Oakland on July 31, 2011.

I’m no movie or comic book expert but I knew that the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, Dark Knight Rises, would be one of the most highly anticipated films of the year. So when I heard that the movie would be filming in my neighborhood here in Pittsburgh I thought I’d spend my weekend outside covering the cast and characters while the Pittsburgh Pirates were out of town.

With gorgeous sunny weather and blue skies, I was quite happy spending my time outside for most of the day with a fairly good crowd of folks, including Jason, a fellow wire service photographer, who all came out to witness such a large crew of people descend on the city. But my time covering it did not come without a few small problems that some photographers reading this are all too familiar with.

‘You’re not allowed to take pictures here.’

Christian Bale, playing Batman, acts in a scene with Tom Hardy, playing Bane, during the filming of the new Batman: Dark Knight Rises movie at the Mellon Institute building in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh on July 31, 2011.

Director Christopher Nolan (right) sits in a bucket crane in between scenes as fake snow falls during the filming of the new Batman: Dark Knight Rises movie at the Mellon Institute building in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Oakland on July 31, 2011.

If you think that this is another of those horror stories where a confrontation with authority goes wrong, you’d be wrong. I’ve read and heard of many problems involving photographers being threatened, gear confiscated, and some even arrested. But fortunately for me, I had nothing but a very pleasant experience in dealing with the folks on the set of the new Batman movie, aka ‘Magnus Rex’, here in Pittsburgh.

A newly married couple walk by the batmobile, or Tumbler, after their wedding at a church across the street during the filming of the new Batman: Dark Knight Rises movie near the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute building in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Oakland on July 30, 2011.

After spending two days in Oakland, I knew most of the security, staff, and police officers by name. Sure, they asked me to quit taking pictures, but they admitted that it was just a courtesy and knew that from public property that they did not lease out, that they could do nothing but ask. I kindly declined and said that I knew that I had a right to stand where I was and to take photographs. They all agreed and said that they were only asked by their bosses to confront me. I kindly introduced myself and they went back to patrolling elsewhere.

Actor Tom Hardy, who plays the villian Bane, acts in a scene on the set of 'The Dark Knight Rises' filming near the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute Building in the neighborhood of Oakland on July 30, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Christian Bale, playing Batman, acts in a scene with Tom Hardy, playing Bane, during the filming of the new Batman: Dark Knight Rises movie at the Mellon Institute building in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh on July 31, 2011.

Marion Cotillard, playing Miranda Tate, acts in a scene during filming of 'Batman: Dark Knight Rises' at the Mellon Institute building in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2011.

I honestly think that my experience growing up as a kid who loved to skateboard, helped me in working with everyone on set. I used to get into a lot of trouble from the local police while skateboarding with my crew of friends around downtown as a teenager and I learned that if you’re honest with them, that it’s reciprocated. Introduce yourself, be professional, don’t raise your voice, and things will get resolved peacefully.

My respect and good relationship with Officer Bill, security guard Harvey, and location manager Joe helped keep the peace on both sides and made for a good experience in covering something completely new for me.

45,000 hits on my Photoshelter archive and many published images later, I’d say my weekend was a pretty big success.