Saturday, November 26, 2011

Darth Camera

Some people are looking at my purchase of a Nikon point and shoot camera like I've fallen to the dark side.
Yes, I bought a Nikon. No, I'm not planning to jump ship.It's fun for some photographers to compare their brands. Since I own a Canon camera many people think I'm a die hard Canon fanatic.

That's not the case.
There are good reasons to prefer one brand over the other in the Canon -vs- Nikon rivalry. The truth is, both companies create and sell great cameras.

For most people, the type of photography you shoot and your subjective taste in the "look" of the output should determine the brand to buy.
For me, there wasn't much to consider. Amazon had a great deal on the Nikon. They were likely closing them out to make room for the newer model.

It all came down to the cost.

I could have paid two or three times as much for a camera that had slightly better specs.  I could also have done that out of loyalty to my "brand".
My favorite saying about photography is that it's not the arrow, it's the indian.

Go ahead and debate the merit of brands.  Don't mind me, I'm just going to be over here shooting some pictures.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turner Hearing

Morning Wave: Hanging out at 94.7 with Kim Amidon and Paul Magers.

As Real As It Gets

My day ended with an assignment to check out a bomb scare. Kind of sounds like a movie, but this and everything I do at work is pretty real.

Sometimes that's a bit difficult to remember. I've been really lucky in that the bad news I cover has usually happened to someone else.

Last Thursday I found myself in the dangerous later hours of the "Occupy Los Angeles" protest in the Bank of America plaza in downtown Los Angeles.

You can feel the tension when you're standing in the middle of a scene like that. It was a tense scene that lasted for hours. There I was with a tight grip on my camera.

Tight enough to feel pain in my hands that I didn't notice until later.

The day was overcast and grey. I was sweating and feeling a good deal of adrenaline pumping me up.

With so many cops around (and some of them were ones that know me), I probably should have felt safe.

Nope, not these days.

See, I'm friends with Carl Stein and a few other news people who were beaten by LAPD officers during the May Day demonstration a few years ago.

Heads rolled and things are supposed to be different now in the ranks of the LAPD.

It was still hard to shake the feeling that the cops likely wouldn't discriminate if things got out of hand.

Plus, the 99% were kind of split on how they felt about us also. Some were sympathetic and it seemed like they appreciated our being there.

Others were trying to pick verbal fights with us as well as with the cops.

A few of the more vocal protestors just seemed to be looking to cause trouble and didn't care about the cause as long as there was a good opportunity to be involved in some mayhem.

That's just the feeling I got while standing out there.

At one point just prior to the deadline that was given for the protestors to clear out of the area, I got to walk into the middle of their "camp" where a group of them had linked arms to stage their final act of defiance.

A couple of them spoke to us. It was heartfelt and sincere. They were people who have had enough and were willing to risk being pepper sprayed and/or go to jail for their beliefs.

I haven't been in the field shooting much lately. It felt like I was a little out of my element at first. I actually felt like I was rusty and that scared me more than anything.

It's not combat. I'm not in that kind of immediate danger, but I do need to keep my eyes open and I need to be on my toes. These things don't always end well and being a member of the media isn't the safety shield that it might have once been.

The cops did their job and slowly made their arrests and cleared the property. They weren't overly gentle with the protestors, but they didn't abuse their authority.

There have been times when I've been all kinds of brave when out covering the news. Knocking on doors and not knowing who or what is on the other side is just a figurative and literal truth of what I sometimes have to do.

This wasn't one of those times.

Like a trooper, I faced my fear and did my job, that's about all I had to do. In fact, the police, the protestors and everyone who had a part, played it well.

I walked away glad that nothing more exciting happened. That was a great ending to the day.

Cue the music. Roll the credits. Now all I have to worry about is if there's going to be a sequel.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Almost Last Murray Monday.

I'm playing catch up for the last couple of weeks, so here's what I hope will be my last Conrad Murray Monday.

The trial is over and I'm pretty worn out from the six weeks I worked on it. That's pretty short time compared to the guys who shared stories with me about the OJ trial.

I think every celebrity trial of our time is going to be compared to the OJ trial. I'm wondering if anyone is still around from the days of the Fatty Arbuckle or Errol Flynn trials?

I'm pretty sure those trials were also considered the trials of the century.

This didn't feel like the trial of the century, but it certainly felt like the hardest work I've done in recent memory.

I think maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much.

I'm no glutton for punishment, but it's rare that I feel like I'm working as hard as I can or that i'm on an assignment that I can really bite into.

The people I worked with were all top notch. Every day, we had to think about how we were going to get through that day.

We also had to be ready for surprises.

Equipment failures, rainy weather and vandalism were just some of the curve balls hurled at us.

Plus, we got a huge breaking news story to deal with during the trial. The day of the Seal Beach shooting I worked from 5:30am until 6pm the next day.

That's probably why I still feel like I'm recovering. I worked the SAT truck every day that court was in session.

A lot of those days were 14 hours long and none were less than 10 hours. In this economy, the overtime was appreciated, but it didn't make me a rich man.

No, just made it easier to pay the bills this month.

I'll be on my regular schedule today for the first time in almost two months. Just a nightside shift. I may have a reporter. I'll likely shoot and cut a package.

It feels kind of strange to be looking forward to a typical day.

Working in news, I think there really isn't any such thing as "a typical day".

All I can do is just go to work and try to be ready for anything.