Wednesday morning started out with very little on my schedule, and nothing visual on the budget for either of our section fronts. Let me start with the last part, the most interesting part, of my day first; after leaving work at the end of my shift, I was heading to Taylor Pond to go fishing with my youngest son Chris when I heard a call on the scanner for a bad accident just a few miles away from where I was. The other photographer still working was out-of-town at a baseball game, so I decided to check it out. I had already worked an hour and a half over my scheduled shift, but I am a news junkie and can’t help myself. My oldest son Ryan and his girlfriend Amanda had taken Chris out to the pond already, so I knew they would be swimming and not be too upset that I would be even later. They are used to it. I shot this photo below, and some other photos from the scene, and then headed to catch some fish. I would send the photos from home when I got back from fishing. Not much luck fishing at the pond, only a couple of medium bass, but my internet fishing proved much luckier. I had this great photo, but no names. I often approach people at a scene and talk to them. Some, like this, I know better not to. They were too shaken up and I did not want to upset them even more at the time. I could have waited until cops, firefighters and the lot left the scene and they were calmed down a bit, but I needed to get to the pond.
When I got back home, I used my ever so useful tool, Facebook. More journalists use this as a reference than you think, or admit. Like many other sources, it is a starting point, but any information garnered there needs validation. By the time I got back, reporter Chris Williams had the name of the female driver involved. But which one was she. I found her on Facebook, but still was not certain, even with her photos posted. Lucky me, she was friends with two of my friends. I contacted one of them and he knew immediately which one she was, and as an added bonus, knew two of the other three in the photo. My other source corroborated the information, so I felt confident enough to publish the information.
My first assignment of the day was to shoot some pretty boring photos for the biz page. One was the empty lot where the landmark Auburn Lanes bowling alley once stood, and the other was demolition and construction of a new, and much-needed parking lot at Roopers, formerly Florians Market just down the street in Auburn.
I came back to the office, went to the budget meeting where I found out we had no stories that had any visual potential, so it was going to be another day of looking for feature photos for the front page, local section and weather. I hoped for some spot news. I headed out and no sooner than I pulled out of the parking lot, a call for a porch fire on Wood Street came over the scanner. Only a block away, I decided to check it out and arrived before any police or fire units. It was put out “by a Tupperware bowl” said one of the residents. She quickly retreated into her apartment when she noticed my camera. When the firefighters rolled up, I hoped to make some sort of photo. No sooner than they get out of their trucks, one of them says, “hey Russ, flames reported at another apartment building on Walnut Street.” We both jump into our vehicles and head over to Walnut. It’s actually on Howe Street, and again, extinguished already by a resident. Ironic, both small porch fires, both started by smoking material improperly discarded, and both put out by bowls of water.
After shooting this, I headed home for a quick sandwich and then back to the office to check emails and hopefully a reporter had come up with a story we could shoot. Nada. I heard a call of something going on in Turner, so headed out that way. I couldn’t find anything there, so I cruised around, looking for something. I checked out the bridge in Turner for kids jumping into the Nezinscott, nobody there. Checked out a swimming hole with a tree swing editor Mark Mogensen had just told me about, nobody. I drove the shore of Wilson Pond. Couple old people sunning themselves, nope. I kept driving and found myself crossing into Minot. I thought, why not swing past Hemonds Motorcross. I thought I saw an ad someplace that they were racing this weekend, so somebody might be practicing. Lucky me, there were people there. But the guy I ended up getting the best photo of was not racing this coming weekend. He told me it was the first time back on his bike since he broke both legs in a car accident. I later went back to the office and checked our files. Sure enough, I had covered the accident on Elm Street in Mechanic Falls where two young adults died. He barely survived. A good story and a great photo I thought was good enough to anchor page 1.
By the time I am done editing all these photos, it is way past the end of my shift and I head to Taylor Pond to swim and fish with my boys.