Take a moment to look around you. I'll bet there is something within eyeshot that would make a great subject for a photograph. Inside of your home you can take pictures of anything you want. Generally speaking the same applies for public areas, but not everywhere.

Take these 3 locations, for example, United States Post Office, railroad tracks and New York Police Department. You've probably seen photographs of each but one of them would be illegal for you to take pictures of in New York.

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When you are in a public space where you are lawfully present, you have a First Amendment right to photograph and/or video record anything in plain view. This includes people, buildings, anything. So, what would make a U.S. Post office, railroad tracks or a New York Police Department off limits?

United States Post Office - It is legal to take photographs of a United States Post Office building, parking lot and even the lobby, as long as you are in a public area. According to Reader's Digest, a postmaster might have guidelines, but it is legal.

Getty Images
Getty Images

New York State Police - It is legal to take pictures of New York State police officers, Troopers, their patrol cars and even the exterior of a police department. Some officers might not like it and they will likely ask you what you are up to but it is legal from a public area.

Railroad Tracks - It is legal to take pictures of railroad tracks in New York as long as you do so from a public area. It is ILLEGAL to take pictures of railroad tracks while standing on them. Railroad tracks are privately owned, not to mention it's dangerous. Amtrak, for example, requires prior arrangements with Amtrak's Real Estate Department at (215) 349-1956 for approval.

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