Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Four Good Days (Part Two)

I drove down to San Diego on Friday to provide a satellite link to a crew working on stories down near the border.

Piece of cake.  I wouldn't have thought twice about it, but early in the week I had already agreed to drive down to San Diego on Saturday to do the SNG work for a sports shoot.

Hmm, shouldn't be much of a problem.  I could simply stay overnight and kill both birds with one per-diem expensed hotel stay.

What?  In these tough economic times?  beFrank, are you crazy?

Yeah, the overnight stay didn't happen.  I'd have to give up one of the shoots if I felt like driving back and forth over two days was too much to handle.

Too much to handle?

Naw.  I drove down on Friday to Otay and worked to put Stacey Butler on TV.  She and her photographer had the tougher job.  They'd begun the day at 4:30am and were crashing two packages.  One was on the Swine Flu and the other was on the Mexico Drug War.

I decided to keep both assignments (because I'm greedy) and I'd just make the drive both days.

I could see the parking structure for the Tijuana Airport from the Naval Training Facility where we'd set up for the live shots.

Inside the Facility it looked a lot like the Fantasy Factory on steroids, but without the Olly eye candy.

On the other hand, the Navy had bigger guns.

Two down.

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Kindle Vote

Less than a week left to vote on my mentally unhealthy Amazon Kindle obsession. Should I buy one? Would a Kindle purchase upset the natural order and disrupt the time space continuum?

On the other hand, would it lead to a new golden age of peace and prosperity in our lifetime?

Come on, you know Oprah loves her Kindle. This is a form of progress we should be supporting. Look at it this way, by embracing the electronic book, we pave the way for the flying car.

Even so, the "NO' votes are winning right now (sniff).

Cast your vote in the polling widget on the right side of my blog. Don't be afraid of progress.

If you love Oprah, vote "yes" on the Kindle.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Four Good Days (Part One)


I didn't say they were easy days, I just said they were good. Wow, it's only been a few weeks since I last sat down just to lose myself in a post on the blog. Seems like longer. It's not that I've been a slacker. No, I've just been busy with work and with all the crap I'm trying to get done for no obvious good reason.

Anyway, I've been busy since last Thursday. It was a good run of interesting news days that started with this:

That's the Zero S electric motorcycle. Peppy little sucker. Definitely not a scooter. I was impressed and actually considered buying one to zip around town.

With Kaj Goldberg reporting, he and I fought Thursday rush hour traffic to make our way down to Bolsa Chica Beach where the guy who designed it, Neal Saiki, interviewed with us and showed it off.

With all the rebates and government incentives, it's actually pretty affordable.

I want one. Can't have one.

I'm going to try not to think about it. I still have my eye on the Amazon Kindle (I know, I know) and there's no telling how long my Canon 20D is going to hold up.

A man's got to know his limits. Mine is somewhere just below impulse motorcycle purchase.

Stop rolling your eyes, I won't be geting it. It's just not in the cards.

I still want one. I'll say it again, Vrooom.
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Friday, April 24, 2009

Otay Mesa

I can see Mexico from my house. That's what I was thinking while I sit here in Otay Mesa. Two more satellite shots to go.
Sent from my BlackBerry


Sent from my BlackBerry

Hello Dalai!

Sent from Marvin Stone.

Yeah. I know. Marvin and the Dalai Lama. Go figure.


My Blackberry wants to suddenly stop sending pictures to my blog. This is frustrating. Anybody know what's going on?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Keep Them Journalists Moving.

Let's try it again. I was already bored with this post. Then I think the computer decided it was bored with me. Suddenly I'm staring at a blank screen. It's been a long time since that last happened. I used to be able to blame the Blogspot software, but now I'm looking at Flock as being the culprit.

Either way, I lost what may have been a brilliant and worthwhile post on my adventure at the Paley Fest evening with the CBS hit show "The Mentalist" at the Cinerama Dome.

I know they call it the ArcLight now. Sue me, I have fond memories of it being just the Dome.

Yeah, I guess we all know if I was bored with the post, it probably wasn't some of my best writing. I still want to mention that the event organizers did something different (at least new to me) for the carpet interview set up.

The herded the media into the center of a tent and led the stars around us. If I took these things personal, that might have been kind of humiliating.

Mooooo. Promote your show. Moooo.

Welcome to the amazing world of broadcast news photography.

Gee, I keep telling people, the glamor and excitement of working in news can be pretty tough to handle at times. People don't listen. I keep saying it.

Well, even if the reality of my job doesn't live up to the hype every day, at least there's a good chance that every day is going to be different. If I have a bad day, the next day I could work on a story that's a lot more interesting.

Maybe on the next story, I'll be free to shoot and cover it however I want.

If I'm lucky, I won't have to follow the herd.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Shape of Things To Come

That's a Canon 5D digital still camera rigged to handle like a video camera. Yeah, it's clunky as heck and expensive, but that's only what people have come up with this year.

It's amazing to think of what this will look like with a couple more years of development.

I'm saving up for one.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Recent Reporters.

Somebody asked me a question recently. Which reporter do I work with? Well, really all of them (one at a time of course). It's mostly luck of the draw on any day that I go into work. I never really know who I'll be paired up with for that day. Just like I also never really know for sure until I talk to the assignment desk where I'll be going and what story I'll be covering.

This weekend, instead of writing (which is what I should have been doing), I spent some time sorting through photographs I've taken since the beginning of this year. I decided to share a few shots on Facebook and decided to cross post them here as well. Some have been seen before, but others have never popped up here on the blog.

I hope you enjoy them.

I'm still listing this shot of Kristine Lazar as one of my favorites. I think it captures well the feeling of glamour that goes along with reporting the news.

Yup, nothing quite as glamorous as a live shot while standing in mud during a bad weather story.

Suzie Suh on her pink netbook on the night before Barack Obama's Town Hall Meeting in Orange County.

Lisa Sigell and Leyna Nguyen being harrassed by me in the newsroom. When will I learn to stop bothering people for their photograph?

Hopefully never.

Here's Dave Malkoff logging tape before we edit a story on a mother who gave birth at a convenience store. Because of strict union rules, Dave is only allowed to push two buttons and adjust one volume control knob on the equipment in the rack inside the microwave truck.

He can use the shuttle knob on the deck, but then I have a form to fill out for that.

Sandra Mitchell heading back into the station and probably not expecting to be ambushed by stalking photographers outside of the station.

Reporter Glen Walker (whom I've heard has accused me of only photographing female reporters) taking over a story from Reporter Randy Paige and the dayside crew.

The fabulous Leyna Nguyen in a shot that I think works pretty well in black and white.

Jocelyn Pierce getting ready for one of her first live shots in Los Angeles on her first day reporting for CBS2/KCAL9. I think it's pretty cool that I have pictures of historc personal moments like this.

Juan Fernandez and I on a breaker. You probably can't tell from this shot, but there's a patrol car putting on a light show right next to us.

Okay, I've got to get back to work, but I'll wrap things up with this shot of Melissa McCarty who has been one of the best sports about indulging my habit of snapping pictures between live shots.

This shot is from a couple of weeks ago. I intend to make the "jumping reporter" a series, but the opportunity hasn't presented itself yet with anyone else.

Have a great Sunday and I'll try to post a couple of shots from NAB tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Come On, Can You Tell Us Anything?

It's what I do. I cover the news and sometimes that might mean something cool, like seeing celebrities in person.

Most of the time though, it's something less cool, like driving for an hour and a half for an interview, only to be told it wasn't going to happen.

I used to get upset over things like that. No, wait. I kind of still do.

The Santa Ana Police Department wouldn't give us the interview that had been set up and the drive all the way to Santa Ana was a bust.

Okay, to be honest, we didn't ask everyone in the police department to talk. Somebody on the force might have given us the interview, only we didn't ask everybody. It's be wrong to blame the entire police department.

We just asked the one person who was assigned to talk to the media that evening. He could have answered some basic information, but chose not to.

He wouldn't even come out of the building or let us come inside to speak in person.

The story involved the OIS (officer involved shooting) death of a woman who had been involved in a high speed chase.

We found no witnesses and had a difficult time even getting one soundbite from a woman who saw the aftermath of the shooting.

After she was shot. The police recovered a child who had been in the car the whole time.

We don't know why the police shot the woman. Well, I know she was running from them. That's never a good idea.

We also know she had a young child in the car. Don't know if it was hers. It might have been. There might have been a custody dispute and she was running off with the kid.

It's sad now that the child is never going to have the opportunity to grow up knowing his mother.

Well, if that WAS his mother. (sigh) I'm glad every day isn't as frustrating.

A woman lost her life and a child's future is likely going to be affected by the traumatic memories of seeing his mother shot and killed by police officers. I know that should bother me, but it's not easy to have any sort of emotional connection to a story that I don't know much about.

We had lunch at a little mom and pop Mexican food place. I had a carne asada burrito and the reporter I was working with (Mellisa McCarty) had a couple of fish tacos.

Some days are like that.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dueling Memorials

Cue the banjo.

Since I'm not the biggest baseball fan on the planet, the impact of the tragic death of Angel's pitcher Nick Adenhart is in the same emotional range that I feel for, say. . .

. . .Brian Powers who also had a memorial of the makeshift variety at the stadium last night.

For me, there's no question that the death of both young men is sad, tragic and made (if possible) even sadder by the senseless circumstances surrounding both incidents.

Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver and Powers died in a fight at Angel stadium after a game.

I'm not saying that we should have done anything differently, it just felt strange and maybe a little awkward to cover the death of Adenahrt. . .

. . .but not even acknowledge the second memorial probably less than a hundred feet away.

We hit three times. We talked to half a dozen people and cut a package that ran at 10:00pm and 11:00pm. Most people had come out because of Adenhart, but there were many people also there for Powers.

Quite a few visited both memorials. I was just kidding in the title to this post. There really wasn't any kind of competition between the two.

I'd be surprised if the question never came up to any of the media types, but no one asked me directly why we weren't giving Powers any coverage.

I don't know.

Maybe the question had already been asked and answered. Maybe people just assumed they already knew the answer. I couldn't tell you. I'd just be guessing.

What I can tell you? I work in news for a living. I take the assignment given and just try to do my job the best I can. We didn't acknowledge both deaths last night, I hope am doing that here right now.

For the friends, fans and families of Nick Adenahart and Brian Powers, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Behind The Yellow Tape

It's a busy month for me and I really REALLY don't need any of my technology to fail me in any way right now, but it's out of my hands. Posts from my Blackberry haven't been going through and I don't have any time to work on that. My Verizon card has also gone out on me.

I'm running out of wired options.

Well, at least the weekend is only a shift away and I can still Twitter.

I don't want to jinx it, but it seems like my work life has gotten back into a nice groove. I'm out with a reporter nearly every day and I've actually been able to shoot a few stories that have been either visually interesting or thought provoking.

Some even both. Woo-hoo!

Last week I was out in Monterey Park where a home invasion robbery was mostly foiled. Nobody was physically injured, but not for lack of trying.

The suspects, when confronted and pursued by Monterey Park law enforcement, took a few shots at them.

Their aim sucked (thank goodness). The shots missed and the suspects were nabbed by the cops. Go cops, go. Also, yay cops!

The area was closed off while the police did a thorough search for another suspected suspect. We arrived on scene before sundown, interviewed neighbors who couldn't get home and got an official sound bite from one of the lead officers.

We set up for our live shot inside the perimeter. It shouldn't really be any kind of a thing, but I really like it when they let us set up past the crime scene tape.

It's kind of like getting into a club that has a line of people outside. I only wish the cops had clipboards to carry.

Working in the same area where a search is going on for an armed suspect might not appeal to everyone. Some might be reluctant to work in an area where people who had no hesitation in tossing a few bullets at armed agents of law enforcement.

You know what we call that?

Just another day at the office.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

The Justice League of Photographers Shoot Again.

When you're hanging around in the downtown area, you're likely to hear a lot of interesting things being said. Maybe it's the mix of cultures. Maybe it's the energy that comes from being in the historical center of one of the most diverse cities on the planet.

The quote of the day?

"I'll cut you. I swear to god, I'll cut you wide open!"

It's funny now. Not quite so funny when it was happening.

Just not exactly the kind of thing you want to hear from a homeless transvestite early on a Saturday morning, but I think we all learned a lesson from that particular encounter.

My fellow Photographers and I had set out (some of us very early) to snap pictures of the architecture and street life on Broadway around the classic theaters of the Downtown Historical Core.

First though, I treated myself to breakfast at the Pantry. I met fellow Photographer League member Jaimie Guerrero The day turned out to be almost as much of a culinary tour of downtown as it was about snapping pics.

Well, we actually only had the breakfast and then a French dipped lunch at Cole's later in the afternoon, but the meals were great bookends to a really good day.

My lovely wife Dellis joined us out on the streets of Los Angeles. She got a chance to experience for herself a little bit of what I get to do for a living.

Just like a breaking news story, totally unexpected, but a pleasant surprise was the protest that was starting as we were wrapping up the Southern leg of our photo safari.

This was the second meet-up of the Justice League of Photographers. Nobody got hurt. Nobody died. There were probably a couple thousand photos taken and everyone who showed up seemed to have a great time.

That's all we're trying to do. Just trying to snap a few pictures. Trying to create a little bit of art to share.

Most of the people we met were happy to pose and allow us to snap a few (dozen) shots. I'm glad we didn't wear out our welcome in the downtown area.

The world can always use more art. Even if we just intend to share the pictures we take with each other, our families or friends on Facebook and Flickr, it's all worthwhile.

We're going to try to meet up once a month, take some pictures, talk about photography and do a little more than sit and wait for someone else to take the pictures.

Maybe we'll see you next month.

Just remember, no matter what you might have heard, we are NOT a club.

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