I was in Norway this past winter and took some pictures as I toodled around Oslo. Most of the foreign embassies are pretty cozy looking, and when I stumbled upon the big black mass of the American embassy I just needed to take a picture (the US embassy, by the way, is far secluded from the rest of the embassies and has its own special location in Oslo...). I caugt the attention of the gaurds in front of the embassy, and decided it was probably best to forget the picture and keep walking. Trouble in foreign countries doesn't excite me too much...
Here in Ottawa, the US Embassy is right in the middle of the largest tourist area in the city. One evening (around 6pm), last fall, I was walking from the By-ward market (bar/restaurant area), to the Art Gallery. This path takes me right past the US Embassy, and I made the mistake of carrying my camera with me (10D, big white lens, tripod, hard to miss).
I didn't stop to take a picture of the embassy, and never pointed my camera in that direction. Didn't matter. 20 minutes later, I'm confronted by an armed embassy guard who'd been searching for me, questioning me about what I was doing near the embassy with a camera.
Next, two RCMP officers (federal police) show up, responding to a call from the embassy. All in all, it took about 30 minutes of questioning by the embassy guard and one of the RCMP, while the other officer took my ID, and ran a background check.
The worst part was trying to answer their stupid questions. "Why do you have such a big camera?" Um, I'm a photographer, not a snap-shooter. "Why do you have a tripod?" Ah, it's dark, and I can't handhold for 30 second exposures.
What a pain. If they don't want people near their embassy with cameras, why did they put it in a tourist area?!?!