"I love the smell of napalm in the morning."
That's what Robert Duvall said as Lt. Colonel Kilgore in the movie "Apocalypse Now". I understand the sentiment, because that's how we news photographers feel about breaking news.
Well, maybe not all photographers. Maybe just the ones who have been cooped up at the station training people on the new edit systems and the SNG units.
Okay, maybe just me!
Anyway, that's how I was feeling as I rushed down to Palos Verdes on Wednesday. I was out in one of our SNG trucks to help cover a breaking story.
I've been sidelined a lot in the last month, so they didn't need to ask twice when news of a mountain lion being spotted hit the newsroom.
The coastal side of the Palos Verdes peninsula is a dead spot for getting a microwave signal out. If the story was going to make it on TV from the ground, we'd have to do a satellite uplink.
I was out the door and off the lot before anybody could change their mind.
It took me a while to get to the area where the search for the mountain lion was taking place. It was behind the gates of a private community and nobody was just giving out the gate code. The ground crew I was meeting had already made their way inside. I don't know their specific circumstance, so I don't know if you'd call that sneaking in.
Being in a larger truck, I didn't think it was wise to risk just following another vehicle through the gate. Negotiating my way inside took skill, daring, and a small amount of charm. . .oh, and guts.
Okay, I got a nice little old lady to let me zip in behind her car before the gate closed. Technically not sneaking in, because she smiled and waved for me to go ahead follow her in.
I'm sure glad that worked, because I didn't have a plan B.
Yup, I got my dose of adrenaline, but I never saw the mountain lion and as you can see, I never got a picture of it. Also, we never actually went live on TV. It seems the story sort of fizzled when the search was called off for the day. Well, I made a little overtime, got to fire up the SNG unit and nobody got eaten.
I was going to write that's a good day, but the thought sort of depressed me. I think I've lowered the bar for what constitutes a good day for me at work.
Nobody got eaten? Well, maybe next time.