Sun 22-Apr-12 09:10 PM | edited Sun 22-Apr-12 09:16 PM by nrothschild
I shoot at Conowingo but usually only the fall migration. I would have been happy to lower my tripod a few inches to let you look.
I even let non-photographers look through my lens when there is something interesting to see and it makes for a convenient spotting scope.
I would hope your experience was atypical. You probably had the luck of a bad draw. Most serious photographers I've met are very friendly and open.
Some people with long heavy lenses (usually a 600/4) fear their glass. They are afraid that if they look at it wrong it may spontaneously fall over or otherwise get damaged or destroyed. There is a certain skill required to shorten a tripod, in particular with a 600/4 on top, because it is possible to get out of control and end badly. That may have had something to do with it, especially if he is a new owner.
Edit: to get to the core of your post, regardless of how I might handle it, no, I don't think your request was a breach of etiquette. Especially at Conowingo where, after the turbines shut down there is nothing to do except either leave or talk about gear and the bird I shot and the bird that got away...