Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bringing the HEAT!

I've been mostly out of the field for the past couple of months.  That wasn't such a bad thing.  I got an opportunity to help develop the procedures and workflow for the new fiber optic wired News Van my station was building.  My role in the project ran a pretty wide spectrum.  I had to apply what we do on a daily basis and determine how the same tasks would be accomplished using a mix of the new and old tools available.

Mostly it was a successful project and it put me on the cutting edge of the operation of our next generation of news gathering.

Now, that being said, debugging and teaching myself the software we're using for editing (Hellooo, FCP!) wasn't always particularly interesting and sometimes it was a headache inducing puzzle that made me long for the simplicity of just going out and covering the news.

The project is pretty well completed.  The new truck is just waiting for a brave soul to take it out and put it to work.  That'll probably be me, but for now I'm just back on my old shift and avaialble for general assignment ENG (electronic news gathering) duties.



Yesterday was my first day back out in the field.  Yes, I got a pretty awesome bit of breking news to cover.  Seren Branson was my reporter.

I'm not sure how she managed to pull the short straw of having to work with me on my first day back in the field, but I hope she gets a comp day or something for that.



Anyway.

Just off the 101 Freeway near Thousand Oaks, a brush fire started about 2:00pm.  My shift started at 2:30pm and I was somewhat expecting it to be a slow first day back in the field.



Oh, boy.  No, it was not a slow day.

Temperature was around (and over) 100 degrees in most areas of Los Angeles County.  It's hot.  I'm maybe fifty yards from the flames and dressed in my fire gear.  The fire fighters set a back fire and the wind helped push this section of inferno into a huge blaze.

The wave of heat pushed me back and I hovered between the fire engine you see in the shot and my news van which was parked behind me.  My van was pointed away from the flame, just in case I needed to make a quick exit from the area.  The trees next to the building on the right could have easily caught fire.  If they had, we would have had flaming leaves and branches right above us.



I'd like to tell you that I was hitting home runs and making magic. (sigh) I did well for not having done much of anything under pressure for the last couple of months, but the reality was that I couldn't make things happen that simply weren't going to happen.

That particular area is notorious for being a dead zone for our microwave signal.  I tried to get a live shot out, but couldn't.  That was a bit disappointing to me.  I'm used to sometimes doing the (seemingly) impossible.

We were finally able to get a signal out from an area nearby, but by the time the sun went down there were no active flames, no embers, not even a plume of smoke visible for our live shot.

Added to that, we did a succesful 5pm and 6pm hit, but lost our HD signal at the start of our 8pm show.  We finished off the night with a 10pm live shot.

Still, I feel like I did a good job and had a  nice honest day at work.  The real beauty of it all for me?

I get to go back today and maybe do it again.

Cool.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

That's Gonna Leave a Mark.

Sitting inside the D.M. Gremlin Studio last night, we were talking photography and getting around to maybe taking a few shots.  Heard a loud crash just outside that sounded like it was just on the other side of the studio wall.



Quickly I did the mental geometry (the only kind I can do) and based on the sound and vibrations dropped an f-bomb to myself.  I'd parked my car right out front.  It wasn't really surprising that this is what I saw when I got outside.

Two cars heading South on Atlantic Boulevard had collided.  One of the vehicles struck my car and also impacted the car parked in front of me (Geoff's).

I was fine.  No injury to me or Geoff (the owner of the car parked in front of me. he was also inside the studio at the time of the accident).  The driver of the car that struck us, was injured.  Emergency services arrived quickly, treated the woman and transported her to the hospital.

(sigh)

I won't know what's going to happen with my car situation until my insurance can come out to take a look at the vehicle.

The timing is pretty bad, but it's covered.

I'm just really glad the injuries to the woman transported to the hospital didn't seem life threatening.




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Friday, September 24, 2010

Up Early for Lindsey. Again!

Standing out in front of the Beverly Hills Municipal Courthouse.  I'm running SNG for CBS Newspath.

"You know who" is appearing today.  I wonder if she's learned her lesson or is a full stretch in lockup the kind of intervention she needs.

Well, at least it is Friday.

Sweet.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Here's a Treat.

Bloggy productivity is down.  I've been trying to relax a bit and cut down on photographic activities.

I'm counting down the days to an important event (no secret, my older daughter is getting married).



I'm still doing some cool stuff.  Even if I can't find the time to post about it in a timely manner.

These shots are from a live segment on our noon newscast.  We had Rachel Ray on one of these segments recently (Yay! I managed to post about that).



This segment was all about working out with your dog.  Super Chief Joel Fallon actually shot the segment and I. . .well, I don't really remember having anything to do with this assignment.  I think I was just passing by the studio and saw the Super Chief working.

Luckily I had my still camera nearby.

Things have been much better lately.  I think I might actually have it in me to blog about some of the actual assignments I've covered recently.

Oh, not tonight though.  Soon.

See you tomorrow.




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Almost Ready.

There's a rumor floating around that we're no longer going to be cutting out in the field on the Grass Valley Aurora edit system.

That's not true.



Well, okay, it's "mostly" not true.



We are changing things up a bit in the new news vehicles.  I just don't know that we're making changes beyond that.

Yes, I do like shooting colorful keyboards.


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Streaks of Morning.

I don't think I ever shared this particular shot with anyone.  Just a long exposure on an early morning shift from last month.



It was sometime between live shots and I wanted to catch some of the traffic and that awesome morning light.  It wasn't too cold that morning and I was feeling kind of mellow.  I think I 'd gotten enough sleep, because I don't remember being tired.

I like the shot.  Just thought I'd share.
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Wreckage.

A week ago today, I was up at 2:00am to head into work for a 3:00am general assignment shift.  I was pretty happy about the shift, even though it was a huge effort to drag my carcass out of a warm bed at that hour.

After weeks of practice and testing of the new news van, this shift was a welcome relief from being in mad scientist mode and getting back to my real job of covering the news.

The shift, early as it was, did not disappoint.



I wound up covering a train accident in Fontana off the 10 freeway just past the 15 freeway.  My first thoughts when I was told about the wreck were about the Metro Rail crash in Northridge and the one by the Costco in Glendale.



This one didn't involve a commuter line, so there was less potential for loss of life.  Still, it was a huge crash and three people were hurt.

One person lost an arm in the crash.  That was plenty horrific enough for me.  I was just thankful more people weren't hurt.



We set up shop at the Cherry off-ramp.  Did the two hours of morning news for our station and managed to hit every liveshot they intended for us to hit (in HD) without any major hiccups.

That was a big deal for me.  I was more than a bit rusty on my editing and shooting skills.



I'm glad for every opportunity to do my job and sometimes I see amazing things in the course of my day.  I'm truly sorry for the injuries suffered by the people involved in this accident.  It's nothing I can't handle, but I admit I have a pretty bad time carrying the baggage that comes with covering such tragic events.

I'm thankful it wasn't worse.

I'm amazed at the people who have to come out and put things back right.



I don't want something bad to happen, but I'm ready right now to go out and cover it if it does.

That being said, as I sit here and type this, I can't help but wonder where the day will take me.

Happy Friday.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Inside Job.

Got tagged to shoot a segment in studio for our noon show.

I'm pretty sure I got tagged for the gig because I picked up my phone.

That'll teach me.

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Aquarium of the Pacific Photographers Night

The Long Beach Aquarium was hosting a photography night. I've gone to the aquarium in the past and had only fair luck with my photos. Here was a great opportunity. I really wanted to go and check out how other photographers were getting their shots.

See, sometimes you have to muscle through to get things done. Other times, you just have to know when to take a break and figure out a better plan. This was the better plan that I figured out for Sunday evening.



I'll admit, I've been tied up for the last couple of weeks and feeling out of sorts. Even though I tend to over-extend, I've been canceling shoots and commitments left and right. I find I just don't have any extra time these days. Heck, really thought I'd have to miss this, but at the last minute I decided to go. If for no other reason, than to see if it might help my state of mind.

I'm glad I went. Learned a thing or two and still managed to get home in time to watch MadMen.

You know what? I'm a little less stressed. I think the fishes helped.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Here's a Hint: Yum-O!

Set the "wayback machine" for three weeks ago and maybe I can catch up on some of the behind the scenes blogable activity that I didn't get around to mentioning.

Remember when it was hot for a couple of days this summer? On one of those days we got a special visitor to the station. It was a celeb who I've managed to capture and blog about before, but still very popular and absolutely worth mentioning again.

That's Rachael Ray barely noticeable in the center of the photo, but I swear she's somewhere in the mix.



She was shooting a segment on the social media/food truck craze that's been a big part of the LA food scene this past year or so.

Not surprising, a couple dozen people were on hand to produce and observe the segment. Coming from a bare bones ENG (that's electronic news gathering, ya' know?) perspective, I can only imagine what it must be like to travel with that type of entourage.

Must be hell.



When it came to the live segment hosted by our own beloved Sandra Mitchell for our noon news, we somehow managed to get by with a few less crew members. Myself, I think it might actually feel pretty good for our shooter's ego (Hey, look it's, Marvin!) to think he might be doing the work of twenty people.



No argument that it was quite a dazzling smile Rachael Ray lit up for our viewers. I believe that's part of the reason she makes the big syndicated dollars.


Photo by Su-E Tan

By the way, my actual part in all of this? Well, I've been doing my thing as a part time mad scientist/test pilot on one of our spanking new news vans, but the segment was being shot right outside of our station. Come on, you know me, I'm always looking for a photo op.

I poked around to see if there was anything I could do to help out. Can I "mic" her? Yup, you bet I can.



Last shot. That's our producer, Jessika Makana Ming Yonekawa. Probably on the phone with the control room.

Either that or she's calling security. I didn't stick around to find out, but I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything improper when I mic'd up Rachael Ray.

Yeah, pretty sure.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Morning.

I'm happy to be alive of course, but it's not exactly a "good morning" when this is what greets you.

I think I've been missed out in the field, but tragic stories are a part of what we do.

Hoping that nothing bad happens doesn't really help.  I know.  I try that all the time.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Early Holiday Morning

First the good.  Unless something major happens, I'll probably work my shift and then get to go home to spend my afternoon and evening with my family.

The bad is that it's 5:30am and I've been up since 2:30am.

I don't mind working on the holiday.  Traffic should be light and I've missed being out in the field these past several weeks.

Here's hoping everyone has a great day.  Sleep in or take a nap for me, okay?

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