Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I just read an article over at Gamepolitics about this game. It sounds like fun to me. I think it'd be much better than letting my eyes cross and looking at the 3-D bump pattern on the wall.

For those not wanting to follow the link, it's a game installed as part of a urinal, but plays like the water-gun horse race at the carnival.

N.O. Thanks

Last week I bemoaned the traditional holiday stories. One might think I was tempting fate.

When I wrote that, I was well aware that I wouldn't be anywhere near that kind of story. C. Nak and I were already scheduled for a trip to the Crescent (roll) City for our story. Last year Tony Jones and another photog found a wonderful woman who was in the midst of gutting and remodeling her home of the last 30-plus years. She promised T.J. that she would be back in her home by Thanksgiving of this year, and that she would call us to come have dinner with her.

Tony left the Deuce a few weeks ago, so when Rosie called, the story fell in the lap of our resident New Orleans native, C. Nakamoto. It's one of those stories that edits itself in your head as you drive to it. I could tell you about it, but it's easier to show you.

Rosie is a great person, and if there were more people like her living in this city, it would be in better shape than it is now. Since I couldn't be with my family this Thanksgiving holiday, I'm glad I got to spend it with hers.

Oh, all the food in the piece tastes even better than it looks.

Watch N.O. Thanks.

Atlanta Bound

The LSU Tigers are head to Atlanta for the SEC Championship and so am I.

It hardly seems like four months have passed since my fateful trip to Birmingham to begin the football season. For those who wonder, check out this post. Now it's almost over, and I'm hoping this trip is less eventful than the last.

I am looking forward to visiting the ATL for the first time. Maybe I'll get a chance to stop by Cartoon Network HQ, or at least get a picture of it. We'll see how that all (Master) shakes out. I'll probably be confined to either the hotel or the sat truck/Georgia Dome. If any of you big city bloggers are still lurking here, I'd love to get together with y'all and taste some local flavor.

We're driving on Thursday and Sunday, with coverage in-between. 'Polisher is going to, so look for some team coverage on this one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Holiday Help

I don't know if it's the Grinch in me, or the fact that I'm now a seasoned shooter, but I'm getting to the point that I really can't stand shooting a holiday story. Other factors could also be at work.

As a rookie photog, every story is new and exciting, because it's your first time shooting it, but spend a couple of years in one place, and you start to see the pattern emerging. The annual food drive or coat collection gives way to the outpouring of the community's compassion. The people who benefit from these are quite deserving of it, and I have great respect for those who give their time and money to make someone else's life a little brighter. My problem with it is that one of the benefits of this job is the variety in what the daily grind brings. I've been assigned this story at least three times in the last 5 years. Considering I'm not the only shooter, and that I found one of the 'old hands' who had never heard of the story before, that's just not right.

Okay, so I've done this story before. Management decided that I could use an extra degree of difficulty in turning this one, so we didn't get out the door until 20 minutes after the event had begun. This meant that we missed all the prep video of loading the boxed dinners into the cars of the people volunteering to deliver them to the needy. We also missed out on where these meals were going, since each person gets a list, and no one else knows where the other is going. It's kind of like Government Intelligence that way. Must be something to do with plausible deniability. Anyway, we catch up to the organizer, and then head to the local homeless hotspot for a hot meal, St. Vincent dePaul.

While we were at St. Vinnie's, I finally got jazzed about this story. Here I found everything our story was missing. Turning the corner into the kitchen, I was caressed by a cacophony of clattering cans and a cornucopia of images to capture. We were back in the station by noon, and had plenty of time to craft a good story.

Thanks to Chris Sasser for handling the live shot duties on this one, giving my all the time I needed to turn this one. Upon review, he pointed out to me what was wrong with the one sequence that didn't sit perfectly well with me. Can you figure it out? I'll post the answer in a few days in the comments section.

Watch Holiday Helpers.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Friendly Competition

The Ol' Polisher began his first Big Raggedy dayshift Monday, finally giving me a chance to go head-to-head with him on a story. Unfortunately four young people died to provide our subject matter.

Saturday night six 18-year-old guys were out for a late-night ride. A few miles from my house they left the roadway, and four of them left this earth. Today DH and I rolled out to Denham Springs to find what we could on this story, since we didn't have any scene video with which to work.

We began at Denham Springs High School, where three of the victims were Seniors, and the fourth had graduated in the spring. A short chat with Principal Butch Wax gave us a starting point in our search to find out who these young men were. While we were there, Polisher and his 'porter arrived, alerting me that I needed to be even more on my toes than usual. After leaving the high school, we made a quick stop to grab some sound.

At this point DH was thinking that we would center the story around this tragedy's effect on the community.

"Should we get some town video?" she asked me.
"It can wait 'til later," I said. We were going to search around for some classmates who knew the young men, but my sixth sense was urging me in another direction first. "Let's go to the crash site," I suggested.

There we found a group of students gathering to form a prayer circle. I have to say that two thoughts formed in my mind: grab the camera and get close enough to pick up what they're saying, or set up on the tripod across the street and use my lens to let them mourn in relative privacy. It is a snap decision, and anyone who knows me can guess my choice.

In the end I feel that I did the story justice, and in doing so, gave the friends and family left behind something to honor the memory of their loved ones.

I'll try to get this story up on the website as soon as possible.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Good Week

Looking back, it's been a good week. Due to some personal obligations, I wasn't able to make the trip to Tuscaloosa to run the Sat. Truck this weekend, but I got a chance to commit some news.

On Monday night Denham Springs experienced what the fire department is calling the largest fire in the city's history. The First United Methodist Church suffered it's second fire in nearly four decades. The last one burned the sanctuary in 1973, but this time it was saved. They did lose the church office and some Sunday School classrooms. Derek McCoy got a marginal live shot up for the 10 PM show and shot some great video.

Monday morning, after driving into work from Denham, I found myself driving Mobile 32 back out to the Free State for a day of live shots, laughter, and tears, all underscored by the aroma of freshly charred church permeating the air. Surprisingly everyone seemed to be in a relatively good mood. Many of them were sad, but the emotion I pick up on most was a general sense of disappointment, tempered with a strong dose of hope and optimism. It was a good vibe, and lead to a good story.

Watch Holy Fire.

The second good story this week was a follow-up to the fire on Thursday. It turns out a young couple was planning on getting hitched in the church on Saturday. Oops. What are their plans now? Have they gotten a new church? Will they have to re-order the cake? (Yes, that last one was actually asked.) We caught up to them, as they were on their way to the sanctuary to show the fiancee and his family what the place might have looked like when they got married. This wedding had some hurdles to jump before this happened, so they just took it in stride. I've really wanted to do a story like this for a while, and I think this one came together nicely.

Watch Wedding Worries.