For the last couple of weeks, I've been having fun just going out and covering the news. Really. Not just watching over other folks covering the news, but actually picking up gear and running trucks.
Me am back in field.
It really felt like I was getting back in action just before my week of mental health days (some call it vacation), but that long break seemed to put me back to square one in being comfortable outside around proper news folk.
It was good that the assignment desk sent me out to run the SNG truck on the missing monkey story.
Out in the middle of nowhere, I was able to get in touch with my inner photographer. That little disgruntled voice that tells me how lucky I am to be doing a job I love.
That little voice also told me to snag a few desert rocks for the landscaping around my house.
Since I'm sketchy on how much anyone would care, let me assure anyone reading this, I'd never fill my newsvan up with rocks from private property (that would never be missed anyway) and just drive off.
Nope, that didn't happen and let's steer your attention somewhere--
Hey, what the heck was up with the Goleta Fire?
I told you about taking the hand-off of Big Blue up North of Santa Barbara. When I left, it looked like they had a pretty good handle on things.
Seriously, I would have been happy to go back if I had known it was going to take them a few more days to get it under control.
The roll was starting to get a little momentum going. I had been getting stories and good honest field work, but then it screeched to a halt and I watched as everyone else was heading out on stories last Thursday afternoon. The big man, Tim Kimball and I were benched and sat around the Chief's desk watching other photogs bringing in the news.
We didn't feel too bad to see crews in outlying areas. Nobody (not even me) is eager to deal with fighting holiday traffic to get to a story (weeell, maybe me).
Yeah, we were gonna get shut out.
That's what we though was happening. It was a little unsettling when Tim got a call from the desk to go out and take a hand-off for the late newscast. Even worse, I got the call a minute later to do the same thing.
I've already forgotten where Tim was going that night (hmm, and I haven't seen him since), but I found myself working with Melissa Macarty and Robert Pastoriza out in the Norwalk area. Again, I'm just there to do liveshots. Robert had already set up the truck and was cutting the package.
With the truck already linked in, that's a good time to snap a few stills.
Let me set the scene for you. We're were at a crowded gas station off the 5 Freeway. A (charming) crack addict and his lovely Mrs. Crack Addict were pumping gas for spare change.
There's not a lot of foot traffic, but my photog sense is still tingling. Maybe it's that I haven't been let outside much in recent history, but I'm kind of feeling like this might be a good night for someone to take a few shots at the news crew.
BANG-BANG! "Your news sucks. . .oh, and we love Jackie Johnson!"
We get that a lot. Well, without the gunfire, but still.
Of course, that didn't happen. I've never actually been shot at by anyone while working (don't ask me about ex-girlfriends).
There's always the concern that we could be targeted. The stories we cover often show random violence and we're not immune to those events. We're just most often there after the situation has settled down.
I think we tend to ignore the possibility of danger to ourselves in order to get the job done. Anything less isn't even a real consideration.
If you have a great fear of the things that might happen, you wouldn't be in this job. There's always an edge of the unexpected that we face.
On the 4th, I was out at the Rose Bowl. I didn't really expect there to be lots of food. I was caught off guard and had lunched on a McBurger on the way over.
Damn. You never see it coming.
It was a pretty nice day. Carl Stein let me cut the package with Serene Branson and other than the unberable heat, it was a nice day.
That's my time for today, I'm going to have to keep rolling now. This was meant to be a little bit of catching up and now I'm almost up to date. Maybe I'll get an easy hand-off assignment and can spend some time writing another post later.
As always, I'll be expecting the unexpected.
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