Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Jackson Setup

You might not know it from my blog activity, but I've been pretty busy this year.

These pictures are from over 3 months ago.  It was a Sunday and I was keeping an eye on the news van we had parked in front of the courthouse.


The Jackson Family -vs- AEG case was new and exciting back then.


All stations were throwing resources at covering the case like Michael Jackson himself was going to take the stand and give some testimony.


I've lost count as to how many Jackson court cases I've covered.  At least this one is in town and I don't have to schlep all the way to Santa Barbara.


Even so, there might be something to the whole sleeping in a bed thing that we do when we're on the road.


So, it's three months later and the case is still going on.  I'm not sure if the truth is going to come out, but while I was down there during the wee hours of the morning, I found out that a few things were true.

It's all show business, specially when the circus is in town.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Helen Thomas -30-

"We were all over the White House press room. I even bumped into Helen Thomas. That was a rock star moment for anyone with even a passing interest in journalism. I was on my way to buy a couple of bottles of water from the White House Press Room vending machine ($2.00 each) and she was just sitting at a small desk next to the window there. I introduced myself and asked if she'd mind if I took her picture. She didn't mind and I quickly snapped a couple of shots.

Having a camera sometimes saves me from the embarrassment of asking for an autograph.

If I wasn't so pressed for time, I'm sure I would have tried to get her to do a "jump shot" photo for me. That would've been cool."


Corrected to show off my now improved ability to catch typos, this was what I wrote in a blog post after having met Helen Thomas in the White House Press Room back in 2009.

I don't always get a chance to meet people I admire.  This was a great opportunity.

(sigh) I should have asked her to do the jump shot.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Movie Review

So, ask me how I liked "Pacific Rim".

Gee, I don't know.  I'll tell you when I finally get to see it.

(Photo by John Vincent)

After a full day of work in Leimert Park, covering the protest in reaction to the Zimmerman not guilty verdict, I was asked to come back to work to help on the night shift.

That's never happened before.  I get called in from home often enough, but never when I'm away from home.


The story was pretty huge.  Violence had broken out along Crenshaw near Leimert Park.


The nightside crews needed my help.

Well, somebody at my station seemed to believe the nightside crews needed my help.  I think the nightside crews had it covered and were completely fine without me.


With just over an hour off the clock, I found myself headed back work.

I have to admit, things were slightly more tense than when I left the area earlier.


What I saw was chaotic, but not the worst I've ever seen it get between police and protestors.


It felt dangerous.  I tried not to stray too far from the van, but I still had a job to do and safety in my job is really kind of a relative term.

There was plenty to document with my video camera and I was lucky I had a some small opportunities to snap a still picture.


There was one protestor, he looked like a teen (didn't get a shot of him), who approached my van as if he was going to tag it or maybe do some damage to it.

I actually saw another teen wave him off.


I wonder if the second teen had a sense of right and wrong or if there was too many cops and witnesses around.

I'm thankful either way.


Among the many protestors on hand, their were also community leaders in the park. . .


. . .as was our newly elected Mayor (also Mark Ridley Thomas from the Board of Supervisors, the Chief of Police and I don't know who that other guy is).


In the worst incident of the night, Dave Bryan and Photographer Scott Torrens were assaulted and Scott left the scene in an ambulance.  To be honest, I'm suffering from some bits of survivor's guilt over not being there when it happened.

Not sure if it would have made any difference, I'm just thankful that nobody in the crowd decided to start shooting.

I'm likely going back to Leimert park today and I hope my luck holds out for another shift.  After work, my lovely wife and I will head over to the Arclight theaters and try to see "Pacific Rim" again.

It feels like I'm going through a lot to see that movie, but it's really not that serious.  There's a much better show going on in Leimert Park and I've heard mixed reviews for "Pacific Rim".

Monday, July 08, 2013

Second San Francisco Day

The first day covering the Asiana crash was difficult. It didn't get any easier the second day.

We spent the first half of the day at San Francisco General, waiting for updates and hoping to interview passengers that were on the flight.

That particular needle in a haystack is never fun. The possibility is pretty strong that we might not come across anyone from the flight, maybe not even a friend or relative.

Still, we do what we can.

We were there for a briefing from the hospital on the condition of the passengers.

It's still amazing to me that more people weren't injured worse. It's sad that two young girls died (and others face paralysis), but sometimes airplanes crash and all on board are lost.

I think everyone is glad it wasn't worse, but that's probably not much comfort to the passengers affected the most severely.

We gathered information and even came across a passenger. The swarm around her wasn't too bad, but there was a swarm.

Having gotten a passenger, we were able to leave the hospital and return to the parking lot where many media outlets were doing their live shots.

I had to zoom pretty far to see the wreckage, but it's there on the runway across the bay.

We edited in the back of our rental SUV.

It's pretty cramped working in anything smaller than a full sized SUV.

We didn't have a full size SUV.

The day ended with no problems on our end. We got our jobs done.

There's still a part of me that wishes we could go back and redo the day because of technical problems we couldn't do anything about.

Maybe we could warn the station or something.

Of course, as long as we're going back in time, maybe we could make the whole trip unnecessary.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Asiana Flight Assignment

Here's the deal, I'm pretty tired and I have to get some sleep. I have no idea when I have to be up and ready to roll tomorrow morning.


So, here are some shots from the airports that got us here to San Francisco.


I'm typing cross-eyed from a pattern of very little sleep, so I need you to be forgiving and just look at these pictures.


Everything should be self-- Okay, I can't keep my head up.


Well, I can't see what I'm typing. My eyes are glazing over.




I'll be in the Bay Area another day at least.

Maybe by then I'll be able to string a couple of words together.



Nighty nite, everybody.



Thursday, July 04, 2013

Bird's Eye View

The day before the 4th of July is the day we have to set up for the 4th of July.

Let me explain.


Naw, you don't care about the part of my job where I'm running fiber optic cable up five flights of a parking structure for coverage of the CBS Studio fireworks show, but that's not the cool part of my job.

The picture I'm posting is absolutely cool.  Taping down hundreds of feet of cable isn't.

If anybody is wondering, I climbed up the mast to get this shot.  Have a happy 4th of July.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Ha-Ha! Take That, Nature!

I'm okay at building things.  Not great, but I can usually do a pretty good job.  I dug the pond myself and built the deck and bridge with some help from family and friends.

Sometimes it's a great place to hang out and read or to just have a beer.


The never ending struggle to keep the pond looking like the fish habitat it's supposed to be and less like a Florida swamp took a turn in my favor.

A few months back, the water had gone all murky.  What you're seeing now is a huge difference from what it was.


About a week ago, I was ready to drain the pond and start over from square one, but then I noticed about a dozen smaller goldfish swimming around.

Looks like while the water made things a bit more private, the goldfish were having a swinging good time.


So, rather than drain, clean, rinse and repeat, I shopped around and bought a new bigger better filter.


It's the size of a trunk, but it's been cleaning the water like nobody's business.  I still need to add the UV filter back into the system, but for right now, the water is clear.

The fish at least seem ok with the lack of privacy.


Having the waterfall instead of a center fountain simplifies the system quite a bit.  Some fresh barley straw will help with the carpet of algae that covers the pond liner.

I'll also be adding water plants back into the system.  Man, I tell you, it's just all kinds of nice to see this particular battle in my war against nature actually going my way.


Who knows, I might even be able to enjoy a beer or two out on the deck before the summer is over.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Hot Slow News Day

I'm sure it wasn't for lack of trying by the assignment desk, but I had a slow day at work yesterday. Only left the lot for lunch (spicy tuna roll and udon noodle soup) and I guess I shouldn't complain, but slow days make for long days at work.


It used to drive me crazy to sit around while my fellow news people were out on assignments.

Honestly, it still does.

Since these slow days are a lot more rare than they used to be, it has been easier to just roll with it and try to find something productive to do.


Yeah, just not too productive.


With a wealth of on-air talent and even a few behind the scenes mostly willing co-workers to annoy, I decided to log some time shooting with my Canon EOS-M camera.

The EOS-M has largely taken over for my 5D-MKII as a day to day walk around camera.  The picture quality is good enough that I don't miss lugging the big camera around.


You have to realize that there was a certain amount of respect I got with the full size gear that I have to earn with the "M", but I kind of expect that the only way to make up for that by taking good photos.


Well, I'm doing the best I can.

I have to say, that's a lot easier when I'm out in the field and just documenting what's happening in front of me.


Still, you don't get better at taking still pictures if you don't know your gear.  I spent quite a few years snapping shots with the big camera.


I'm no expert, but I know how to make pictures with the 5D MkII and it's going to take me a minute to learn the quirks (and strengths) of my little camera.

So, while I'm doing that, I'll just keep doing what I've always done.


Annoy people while they're trying to do their job.

(just kidding, but, heh-heh, maybe a little)


Really, what I'll do is wait for something interesting to happen so I can go out and do my job as a news photographer.

In the weather we've been having lately, I shouldn't have to wait too long.