Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Evening in Balck and White

Strangely, there is no subtext to the title of this post. I was just having fun turning some digital pictures in black and white.

It feels good to not be guilted into posting new writing or pictures on my blog. At least, I imagine it would feel good. In reality, I wouldn't really know what "not guilty" feels like.



That's because I constantly feel the pressure to post something. Even more so, when I haven't been contributing anything on a regular basis.

Pretty much the bulk of this year.



Thank goodness, I have a few new pictures to post (sorry, I'm still feeling like I don't have a lot to ramble about).

The end of my work day found me in the downtown area. I'd been covering the court proceedings for the "Survivor" producer who killed his wife in Mexico.

Whoa, there. Okay, he's accused of killing his wife. There's always the possibility that he's innocent.

(snicker)



Anyway, I was downtown and lately I was starting to climb the walls and go into withdrawal. I just haven't been snapping many pictures lately and that's been depressing.

Downtown traffic was just heavy enough to provide a pretty darn good motivation for me to not jump into it.

That worked pretty well as motivation. I managed to get out my camera and tripod and snapped a few freeway shots. I even made it over to the Music Center and caught the tail end of the tree lighting ceremony.



I didn't hang around too long. The ceremony was wrapping up and the news crews covering it were wrapping up their last live shots. Some (HI, KEN KOLLER!) were pulling up their neatly taped down cables.

It felt good to snap a few shots. After a long day at work, I think this was a nice bit of "peaceful" and "calm" to soothe my judgmental attitude.

No, wait! That "Survivor" producer? I still think he did it.


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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Viva, La Presidente!

Very little time for words.  I suppose I could just hold off for the weekend, but not sharing the pictures from my recent adventures in news just seems selfish.

So, here's a post where I ramble for a couple of paragraphs about a recent assignment.

Hey, check it out.  That's a chunk of the Berlin Wall.



Sure, it's taken me a couple of days, but I wouldn't want to give the impression that I'm making a political statement by not posting sooner the photos I took at the President Bush appearance at the Reagan Library.



That would never be my intent.  Heck, I don't have the time to be that petty.



Besides, for me it was a cool event (even if you don't agree with the decisions Bush made during his time in office).



It's not every day that I get to cover Presidential appearances and I appreciated the opportunity.

I know there are many who might not have been able to enjoy it for what it was (and where it was, for that matter), but I didn't look at the event like I was in enemy territory.

That's just too simplistic a way to view things.



Yeah, I don't know if there's a label you can put on it (labels? I don't worry about that either).  I just know that I don't always show respect for my elected officials and I'm often pretty quick to criticize (okay, mock) them.

Lately, I've just been feeling as if I don't want to part of that game.



I'm frustrated by the state of the world.  I concerned that I'm not doing enough to make a difference.  I'm not interested in pointing fingers and laying blame.

I just want thing to get better.

Maybe I'll feel different later, but right now I just don't want to be part of the juvenile posturing and snarkiness that many people have substituted for genuine intelligent discourse.

That's what I was thinking as I posted these pictures.  Mostly, it was just a cool assignment.



Some of what I've written here was what I said to the Secret Service agent who came out of the building to check out who was standing in the window taking pictures of the former President and the activity inside.

It was a short conversation.  I think he'd seen me earlier and knew I was with the media and meant no harm.

The thing is, as he approached me I wondered if it was serious enough to have snipers target me (they probably didn't).  Hmm, I wonder if I'm now being watched (I'm probably not).  I wonder if they have somebody in Secret Service headquarters (some young low level desk jockey) checking out my blog to see if I'm any sort of a threat.

I doubt it.

But, you never know.

Well, I have more to say and more to pictures to post, but right now I have to get ready for work.  I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy the day and enjoy your friends and family.

That's what I'm going to do.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bad Accident.

I'm catching a lot of tragic news and haven't felt like posting.

Today the trend continues.  I'm up on highway 138 in the freezing rain running the SAT truck.   Bad accident.  I'll be here for a while.

You know, I'm really looking forward to the holidays.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quick Hits.

That "Survivor" producer finally got arrested the other day.  Last summer I spent more than a couple of hours standing around on the street outside of his parent's home in Palos Verdes.



So, as I stood around outside of J-A-I-L the other night, it brought back a few memories (none very fond) of that time during the summer.

Just for the record, I believe in the whole innocent until proven guilty thing, but I don't like it when husbands kill their wives and likewise, wives killing husbands.

Come on.  Did we learn nothing from Scott Peterson?

Just walk away people.  Just walk away.
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Quick Hits.

This was random (which is typical).  I hadn't been given an assignment yet.  Jim Hill happened to be showing Meadowlark Lemon around the newsroom.

Heck yeah, Meadowlark Lemon!  Globetrotters!  Meadowlark Lemon!



Jim asked the assignment desk for a shooter to get a quick interview with Meadowlark.

The desk yelled out for me.

I ran down and grabbed my gear from my van, then met Jim and Meadowlark out in front of the station.  We shot the quick interview.  I shook Meadowlark's hand.  He got in his limo and was driven away.

Later, I went to the City of Lancaster with reporter Amy Murphy, cut a story on a 9' boa constricter shot by one of our VJ's and did a live shot for the 8pm newscast.

That's a pretty cool day for me.

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Quick Hits.

Just because I don't want to go another day without posting on the blog, here's a shot of Los Angeles City Hall at night.



I was feeding video back to the station of something totally unrelated (exterior of a building that was part of another story).

It's not like I had a particularly good angle on the building.  Hmm, I also think I've taken this shot before.

Buuuuut, the building was there and I had a camera.

That's a good enough reason for me.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm in a Pot and Kettle Situation.

Maybe I'm a little more distracted lately, but I keep coming across stories I covered and intended to write about, but then never got around to it.

After a couple of days, my ridiculously short attention span and I (ooh, shiny!) are usually on to something else.

On the other hand (heh-heh) that's really one of the things I like most about my job.  I've always said, my job as a news photographer gives me a front row seat to some of the more interesting news stories.  If I should happen to have a bad day, the next day might be something completely different.



Plus, most people are only going to see what I see from the comfort of their homes--  wait, you know, maybe that is the better way to see the news.

Anyway, here's a few photos from a story that I covered recently that I didn't post about.



You've maybe heard of the City of Bell?  Little City where the highest public officials were accused of ripping off the local population by paying themselves and city staffers insanely high salaries?  Remember them?  They got arrested and now face some serious charges.

I got assigned to cover one of their recent council meetings.  It was actually one where the council had to vote to move forward on a special recall election.



That was an interesting assignment.  The last time I'd seen some of these folks, they were handcuffed and wearing jailhouse jumpers.

Well, the wheels of justice turn slow.  So these three council members, out on bail, but at least willing to show up were heckled and cursed until the Bell Police Department was asked to clear the council chambers.

After the council members returned, they were able to complete the vote on the agenda items moving forward on the recall election.

Being tossed out of office is probably the least of their worries right now.  They're facing the very real possibility of doing some jail time.



Good for them.  I also hope the citizens of Bell have learned a valuable lesson about diligence when it comes to elected officials.

Not that I'm one to talk.  I vote and I read, but I often know more about what goes on in a city like Bell, than I know about what's going on in my own back yard.

I think it's time for me to "Google" The City of Hawthorne.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Back in.

"Just when I think I'm out..."

So far I'm not the guy heading down to San Diego for the cruise line story.

Bummer. This really seemed like a good assignment.

Oh, well. Maybe next time (there's always a next time).


After re-reading this post, I guess I should have mentioned that "back in" was a reference to my being back in the studio running a handheld camera for a noon segment. It probably would have made more sense, but I was posting from my cell phone at the time and didn't have a lot of opportunity to proof what I was posting.

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Monday, November 08, 2010

JLOP -vs- Hollywood Boulevard: Round 5 (or 6?)

We have cameras. We mostly have nothing important to do on a Friday night. We really like hanging out with each other, talking about photography and snapping pictures.



That's all it takes. The call goes out and someone figures out where to meet up.

Sometimes more, sometimes less, but we generally do get together each month.



On a Friday night, I think most of us are up late anyway. It seems like a reasonable thing to meet for a couple of hours after midnight and jam.



Okay, well, the photography equivalent of jamming.



So, that's what we did again this past Friday night. After my shift of shooting news I met up with friends and we snapped pictures instead of sitting at home.

You know, I love being able to get out of my comfort zone.



It's not for money and I don't think we'll ever be famous for it. It's just for the love of the art of photography.



Shucks, even if it might seem ambitious to call it art. . .



. . .every picture each of us takes has the potential to make us better at something we love to do.



That makes it worth every minute of lost sleep. Again, not a bad way to spend a Friday night.

Happy Monday, people.
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Breaking News: FIRE!

It's funny (ironic, not ha-ha), but I was sitting int he stations lunchroom watching our newscast when I first heard about the fire burning through a Chatsworth industrial building.



I'd just celebrated passing my annual DOT physical by having a cheeseburger with onion rings and a cookie. Our news was on the TV and a group of us having lunch saw the chopper shot of the building engulfed in flames.



It didn't really strike me that I'd be getting the call to head out to it. The building looked like it was going to be a total loss and working the shift that I do, sometimes I get the overtime and sometimes I don't.



So, it shouldn't really have surprised me when my phone rang, but it did a little. I'd already finished my meal, so I rushed out and met up with my assigned reporter (Stacey Butler) at my van. We headed out, punching in the address in my cell phone GPS and backing that up with some good old fashioned Thomas Guide.



We got there pretty quickly. Most of the evening traffic on the 101 Freeway had already started to die down. I remember smelling the smoke from the fire a few minutes before actually getting on the scene.

It was a pretty big fire.



This was the biggest structure fire I'd been to in a while. The fire units lit up the street and I'd forgotten how spectacular a scene like this is when you see it up close.



The streets were narrow and congested. It took a couple of minutes to find somewhere to park the microwave truck where we'd be out of the way of the firemen working, but still able to see the activity in our liveshot.



We found a spot and I started setting up the truck. For the next couple of hours we were working fast to get interviews from witnesses and editing the story together for the 10:00pm news on KCAL.



We met the owner of the business that housed in the structure (a printing company). He was worried about his employees, but glad they were all safe. It was touching to hear him talk about how quickly the other businesses in the area had come out and offered him support.



Things happen so fast on breaking news that sometimes that type of moment, one where the better parts of human nature shines through, might get lost.

(Ooh, flames!)



For whatever reason, this one kind of stayed with me. It felt good that they owner thought to mention it. I'm thankful. It's those kind of moments that will keep me going the next time I slip a little in my faith in people.

It'll stay with me. Hopefully longer than the smell of smoke in my clothes and news van.

That tends to fade after about a week.
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Friday, November 05, 2010

Whoa. The Election Was Tuesday? Duuuuuude.

It's kind of late, but what the heck, you know? The Friday before the election I was with Dave Bryan at a press conference at the Glendale Police Department.

There was a lot of people sharing the stage that day. I don't remember who was the main group behind the presser (you know me, not always big on little details). . .



. . .but that's Barbara Boxer (Feinstein! Okay, I know it's Dianne Feinstein. My thanks to all who discreetly pointed out I wrote the wrong name when I first posted this at 4:00am. at the microphone. For those who made a very public show of pointing out my goof, I'm so veeeerrry thankful.) She was speaking out against Prop 19. You remember Prop 19? That was the little pot smokey proposition.

All the people behind the podium wanted prop 19 to fail.

It did.



Prop 19 did not pass and I'm pretty sure the people who were all oh-so-very-serious about it not passing were pretty happy that they got their way.

I bet some of them celebrated the victory.

As I stood there with my camera rolling, listening to the speeches cautioning people against the lies and deceptions of the people who support Proposition 19.



All those people and I would be very surprised if none of them drank something or smoked something now or at some point in their lives.

I've been known to have a beer every now and then and I bet the people with the serious looks on their faces might do the same.

This is one of those stories that I cover it and wonder just what it is that I don't know. I'm not a smoker, so I don't feel particularly passionate about the issue one way or the other. It just does seem unlikely that none of the people campaigning against the legalization of marijuana ever light up.

I just wonder.

Did Barbara (FEINSTEIN!) have a glass of wine at the end of the day? Did any of the people standing up there maybe take a hypocritical puff?

I expect that the law will change someday.

Maybe then, I'll get to know some of the things that I don't know right now.

It won't change my life, but it's something to look forward to.
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Monday, November 01, 2010

Ringing the Bell.

Standing room only at the City of Bell council meeting.

It's okay.  I'm kind of used to it.

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Getting My Money's Worth

I knew I wouldn't be using the fog machine a lot when I bought it for still photography, so I made it a point to set it up for the one day of the year when I absolutely knew it would be appreciated.



My favorite quote of the night was from a six year old.

"Do you guys have a monster in there?"

Isn't that cute?  I looked him right in the eyes.

"Yes.  Yes we do."

Happy Monday and I hope everyone had a happy Halloween
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