After a freelance job shooting photos at a gigantic, legal, medical marijuana growing operation in Gorham first thing in the morning, I got back to LA just in time to start my 1-9 shift at the newspaper. With no assignments for a while, I cruised for a mystery photo as I was running low. I checked out the daily news budget on my phone and it looked like we were in good shape for tomorrow’s section front photos. Found a mystery pix quickly and headed into the office to do some research on mounting my GoPro on a RC boat to photograph a cool body of water nearby for an upcoming story. Stay tuned for more on that one, it should be fun.
As the light was fading into late afternoon, rain coming down hard, my boss appears at my desk and said: “The story we had budgeted for the local section front isn’t coming, so we’ll need a feature photo to anchor the page. How about a wet weather feature, we are supposed to get heavy rain and high winds later, but the worst wind isn’t supposed to pick up until dark.” Oh joy I thought to myself.
Off I went and quickly found a girl on her way home from track practice, skirting a big puddle.
As I get back in the car I heard a call for Poland Fire to respond to a tree and power line down on Hackett Mills Road. I got there just before the Sheriff blocked off the road, but that was the end of my good luck. It was just a power line across the road. Nothing good to photograph. Took something just to CYA.
On the way back to town, the night side editor calls to tell me that there are lots of power lines and trees down around town. Where I ask. “I was out of my car and didn’t hear anything. Where are they?” “Not sure, I didn’t catch any of the locations, just lots of activity.” As if on cue, I hear LFD and AFD clearing from two scenes as I near the top of Goff Hill. I never get tired of coming around the corner and seeing the cityscapes at the top of that hill. But I was distracted, out of focus, stewing and steaming about the editor not getting locations.
Once again, my change of mindset paid immediate dividends. I thought that it didn’t matter as I would most likely have been too late to any of those scenes. I know how confusing and difficult it is to keep tuned in on the numerous calls coming over the scanner simultaneously. And I am sure she was doing 4 other things at the same time. Totally understand and all is forgiven. As I crest the top of Goff Hill it dawned on me that I just passed a freshly snapped tree a ways back and it might have just been from the storm. It wasn’t until I got to the bottom of the hill until I realized I should turn around and check it out.
Back to the office and process the photos before heading to a feature on a synchronized swimming instructor that we will be doing a feature on in the coming weeks. Most of the time I am thinking about how I might approach shooting an assignment before I arrive. While driving there, I have a vision of the instructor in the foreground and the swimmers legs sticking up out of the water in the background. As I approach the pool, I see Nancy working with one student, they were kids, I expected adults. The girl goes under the water, in the shallow end. and pushes off the bottom and pops up, spreading her arms and splashing water. My idea of legs sticking out gets tweaked. I shoot at a slow shutter speed to augment the splashing and blur the kids so the focus is on the subject we are writing about.
As I am heading to St. Dom’s for a girls lacrosse feature that will also run in the future, I hear LPD chasing somebody a couple blocks away. I head to where they have him detained and shoot a photo of them frisking the guy. OMG I say to myself. What a fantastic background if I move over to the side. A guy getting busted with the spires of the basilica in the background and sneakers hanging from the power lines. Oh, the irony. The best part was when one of the cops pulled a baggie out of his pocket and a Ben Franklin. As soon as he put them on the trunk of the cruiser the perp was bent over, a gust of wind blew them off and down the street. I squealed with laughter as cops went running after the evidence. Wish I was rolling video at the time. I was incredibly impressed with my new-ish camera. It was nearly dark and I just cranked the ISO up to 12800 and it was dialed in like I couldn’t believe.
I love technology. I could never have recorded that scene, and done all that I did today shooting film. Crazy changes have come about since the days of souping film.
Headed to St. Dom’s for lax practice and discovered the coach is the wife of my old tennis pal, Paul Gastonguay. Small world. Still have to edit those, but am running out of steam as I am going on 15 hours straight, so you will have to buy the SJ next week to see what I shot there. A long day for sure, but it was interesting and at times, exciting and enlightening. My only regret is that I didn’t get up earlier and take my girlfriend for a walk. If the rain and wind have died down, I might just head out for a midnight walk around Bates with my girl.