Sunday, October 31, 2010

JLOP -vs- Dia de los Muertos

Roll Call:


My thanks to all the Justice League of Photography members who managed to make it out.

Wait a minute. Members? Heh-heh, I keep forgetting.

We're not a club.

Friday, October 29, 2010

This was today.

Dave Bryan and I crashed a package and knocked out a live shot in very little time at the beginning of my shift today.


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In Studio Guest

Don't get me started on how my day went yesterday. I'm trying to block out the first half (which was completely FUBAR) and I'm just going focus on the second half.

I wasn't out in field (which is my preference), but I at least got to do something that was moderately interesting.

I've shot inside the studio a couple of times recently, but this was my first time on this particular type of assignment.

We had a couple of political guest talking to Dave Bryan during the 9pm newscast. It's a three camera shoot, but looks better and is easier logistically to add a fourth camera.

Since the 8pm newscast was still running, I had to very quietly set up, but still managed to snap a few shots of the 8pm news team (better known as Rick Garcia, Sharon Tay and Evelyn Taft).

I would have shot more picture during the 9pm show, but I was busy and really didn't want to screw up.

The behind the scenes folks are accustomed to navigating through the maze of cables and know how to avoid the robo-cams.

You know, I bet I'm not the only one to have a slight phobia when it comes to the robo-cams. I've watched enough sci-fi and horror movies to know that it's only a matter of time before a freak accident and/or demonic curse brings them to life and they go on a murdering rampage.

(Hmm, that actually sounded more funny and less creepy when I wrote it.)

Still, working inside the studio and trying my best to stay out of the way is different from what I experience out in the field.

In the field, I call the shots (figuratively and literally).

The autonomy (or semblance of autonomy) is a big part of what I enjoy about my job. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I do realize that an army of people are working on their parts of the process to get stories on the air.

I just don't see them while I'm crashing a package or setting up a live shot.

Even though it feels like the reporter and I are mostly working alone, I think I'm just happier in the comfort zone of my microwave truck. It's easier for me and it's what I'm used to at this stage of my career. I know where everything is, I know when I can actually talk out loud and I know that my camera and tripod isn't going to suddenly come to life and go all "kill all humans" on me.

My light kit might. Everybody knows light kits are evil anyways.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Charlie Follow Up

Busy, busy, busy.  Funny, it seems like the only time I have where I'm not busy is when I'm actually at work.

Gee, I wish that was the other way around.  I actually like what I do for a living.  For instance, I don't know what most other people did at work yesterday, but I sat around the Van Nuys Airport in the hope that I'd somehow be in a spot to get a shot of Charlie Sheen.

It was swell time.  I actually don't mind hanging out with the paparrazzi.  They're out to do a similar job to mine and we mostly talk about still photo gear.

You know me, I freaking love talking about still photo gear.

That was the only bit of positive spin I could put on the day.  Mostly I was just bored and very skeptical that I'd be lucky enough to actually get a shot of Mr. Sheen.

KTLA was the only other broadcast news station hanging around.  They mostly looked as bored as I was, but I did manage to figure out something that was a good point to make about the day.

BTW - That mosquito speck in the middle of the picture below is our chopper.

Anyway, I think people just assume that we cover celebs for the same reason that TMZ and all the other celebrity and gossip entertainment news outlets cover them.

Well, mainly because people want to know the sordid details-- no, wait, that isn't it.

Keep in mind, this is just my opinion (and you're welcome to chime in here if you disagree).

In this particular case, you have to look beyond the surface and see that Charlie Sheen is the highest paid television actor on what has been the number one half hour comedy show on TV.  He's an irreplaceable character on a show that generates big dollars for the network and everyone involved.

It doesn't take much to connect the dots to see that he doesn't just make the rich folks richer, but that his show pays the bills for a lot of people involved in the production.  If he can't work, if he he's not doing the show, he takes a lot of people down with him.

It might not affect the producers or the network the same way it might affect the makeup person or the lighting guy, but the loss of the show is a loss of revenue and some people might not be able to weather a long Charlie Sheen jail/rehab stint.

So, it might seem like I was just being a paparrazzi yesterday, but in my mind I was doing what I'm paid to do.  In this case, I was following a story that affects people.

Whatever anyone else got out of it, I'll leave that to them.

I can't help that sordid details are sometimes part of the story.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Charlie in a Haystack

Standing by out at Van Nuts Airport.  Waiting for our highest paid (?) TV celeb to fly in.  That's Charlie Sheen of "Two and a Half Men" I'm talking about.

I hear he's in a bit of a pickle.

The paparrazzi are out in force.

I'm looking forward to a nice lunch.

Yeah, I know, but we got to have our priorities.

Posted via email from beFrank's posterous

Saturday, October 23, 2010

D.M. Gremlin Therapy

It's been a roller coaster of a month for me and what I needed the most was some time to put my brain on cruise control for a while.

The opportunity presented itself to me on Friday night at the D. M. Gremlin studio in Long Beach.  I got to shoot some stills in a group of more than twenty photographers.

For a few hours I didn't think about money. . .

. . .or work. . .

. . .or any of the several hundred things that have needed (or needs) my attention.

All I had to do was find my shot, wait for the right moment and press the shutter button.

Okay, it takes a little more than that.  It was just still very nice and relaxing and fun.

I promise to get back to posting about working in broadcast news on Monday.  What can I say?  Things have been a little slow lately at work.  I'm hoping for a bit of adventure.

Have a good weekend boys and girls.
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Metro in the Morning.

It was early on Saturday morning and I had to drop off the rental car (a nice fun Chevy HHR). I wanted to get an early jump on the day, but decided to let Dellis (my lovely wife) take it easy.

Instead of having her get up early to pick me up from the rental car office near LAX, I decided to hop their shuttle to the airport and then take the airport shuttle to the Metro Green Line. I only a block from the Crenshaw Metro Line station and I actually enjoy taking it every now and then.

I noticed this quote from Jack Kerouac inscribed as part of the Metro Station decor.

"Hopping a freight out of Los Angeles at high noon one day in late September 1955 I got on a gondola and lay down with my duffel bag under my head and my knees crossed and contemplated the clouds as we rolled north to Santa Barbara."

The difference was I'd be riding inside, I'd paid my fare and also it was a gray overcast day, but otherwise the feelings and sentiment implied in this paragraph captured my mood.

It was surprisingly difficult to force myself off the train at my exit at Crenshaw.

It felt like a good day to just ride the rails.


Well, maybe some other time.

I actually wouldn't mind having my wife come along.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Rally is Done!

Bill Clinton surprised a lot of people by being on time.


He and Jerry Brown were late, but only regular late.  Not Bill Clinton-- "Hey, can we hit a drive through?" late.

Posted via email from beFrank's posterous

Dem Rally Featuring Bill

It shouldn't be a challenging assignment, but the logistics of covering the big political rally at UCLA are driving us a little bonkers.

Lots of restrictions on moving around during the rally and it was difficult to get a few questions answered on the setup and event times.

It's cool that I can see the podium area from my truck.  It's only half a mile away.  Maybe I can add to my Bill Clinton photo archives.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

One More Wedding Picture

One last picture before I turn things back over to my life in broadcast news.  Here's Mr. and Mrs. Kato Francis in one of my best shots of the night.

The wedding and reception was held at the Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula, California.  It was pretty dark by the time we got a chance to snap a few portrait shots.

This picture was taken with my 5DMkII camera, 580EXII flsh and 24-105 lens.  I don't think the official photographer or I ever considered that they wouldn't have the grounds lit more than they were.  It was a challenge to set up shots in the grape field (um, orchard?).

Still, I'm feeling pretty upbeat and wanted to share this on my blog.

Yes, I tried one of the grapes.  It was very sweet.  Kind of like the night.

Happy Thursday (and YAY, for the two day work week)!
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mr. and Mrs. Francis.

My daughter Dania Veronica Francis and her husband (my son-in-law) Kato Ivan Francis.

This was one of a set of engagement photos that I took of the couple.  This particular picture was enlarged and framed for display at the reception.

As much as I enjoyed snapping a few shots before and after the ceremony (even sneaking one or two with a pocket camera and cell phone camera during), I still tried to just relax and enjoy the ceremony as advised by all my friends.

So now, like everyone else, I can hardly wait to see the shots from the "official" wedding photographer.
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Done Deal.

A Few Random Thoughts on the Day of my Daughter's Wedding.

Not breaking news, but definitely deserving of an update.  My daughter Dania's wedding this weekend is going well.

The groom, Kato (yes, his name is Kato) and my daughter survived the rehearsal (and the rehearsal dinner, mmmm).  I probably should be sleeping, but I'm up making sure the batteries are charged for all the photo and video gear I'm using.

Don't worry.  I have a trusted photographer shooting the ceremony and family pictures.  My gear is just for me to have fun taking candid shots behind the scenes.

So, the rehearsal dinner was at the Temecula Yardhouse.  Yes, they do have beer.  I had an Arrogant Bastard (heh-heh) with my meal, but started out with a Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse suggested by my son.

Mmmm.  The beer was good and a nice cold beer was just what I needed at that point.

Picking up my tuxedo on Friday, the shirt sleeves and the pants were too short.  I had to wait one more day for them to get the on-site tailor on the case.

Not really enough to worry me, but I  would have rathered Friday things to have been settled on Friday.

The weather looks to be nice and the late evening start time should give the day a chance to cool off just enough to make it a beautiful Summer day (in the Fall).

I'm happy.  My family is happy.  I don't think it gets any better than this.

It's late.  I have a daughter to give away.  Time for me to get a little sleep.

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Friday, October 08, 2010

New Tires.

I remember last week when I noticed that my treads were looking worn.  No big deal.  I'll take care of that after the wedding.

Not sure if it would have made a difference.  A nail is a nail.

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Sunday, October 03, 2010


Well, it's been a week and I think I may be over my trauma enough to relate what happened to my Toyota Camry.

It got HIT!

There.  That's the long and short of it.  I was attending the D.M. Gremlin Studio monthly open house.  We were just warming up.  A few folks were had begun taking pictures and the rest were kind of hanging out and chatting.

Yeah, kind of like in this picture.

We all heard a crash and lots of commotion from outside.  I'd parked on Atlantic Avenue, right in front of the building.

I could tell from the sound of the impact that the cras had happened very close and I knew right away that it was likely I would fine that my car was involved.

We all rushed outside and what I was thinking was quickly confirmed.

The silver car (a Dodge Caliber I believe) had somehow been involved in a collision with another car.  Both were traveling South on Atlantic.  One car impacted a tree in the center divider.  The Dodge struck the front driver's side of my car and the rear driver's side of the car parked in front of me.

Yeah, did you pick up on that?  We were both parked and nowhere near our cars.


I'm glad it was mostly property damage.  The driver of the Dodge suffered some injury, but it seemed to not be life threatening.  I've seen worse, so I know.  It could have been a LOT worse.

I'm insured.  I have a fairly high deductible, but I should eventually get that back.

It was just one of those oddly familiar moments to me, because I started my news career in Bakersfield.  Car accidents were a big deal back when I started and a four vehicle wreck with an injured party would have had us dashing across town to get the shot.

No news crews showed up for this.

I didn't think of it at the time, but maybe I could have shot some video of the scene and-- Naw, I think I better just accept that this was news worthy only to me and the other people involved.

I kind of hate to say it, but, well, maybe next time.
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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Stephen J. Cannell, prolific TV producer, dies

I can just imaging all the people reading this and making the similar comment.

"I grew up watching his shows."

If you intended to entertain us. Well, you did accomplish that. Rest in peace.

From the LA Times this morning.

Stephen J. Cannell, prolific TV producer, dies

(Personally, "Wiseguy" was my favorite show, but I have fond memories of Adam-12.)