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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Prodded, Herded and Handled

Being a photojournalist for the news media gets you used to being “handled” by public relations, agendas and even The Secret Service. I had the pleasure of photographing the President of the United States this last week. Talk about being herded. Between security, the military and the schedule, it was show up at 8A.M. and wait here… wait there… check in here and there… dog sniffs bags and cameras, people sniff same. Then I got a total of 10 minutes as the Prez spoke, to get the picture. Not that photographing a speach is difficult. Sitting so long, then rushed into the room to photograph was funny. The speech started the minute we were cattled in onto the photo stands. I was literally white balancing my camera and setting the exposure during the actual speech. No prep time. Classic “hurry up and wait… now get lost.” They were running us out of the room before the Prez had even finished shaking anyone's hand.
On the other end of spectrum, I really enjoyed creating a front-page story from a stand-alone / found situation. I was driving in the rural Mentone/Highland area when I stumbled across a beekeeper. I have seen bee boxes along the roads for a decade or so but have not found a keeper working since ’93. They put me in a bee–proof suit and I got close. I love bees, so this was cool. I am kind of particular about how I leave my equipment set. i.e. which lens is on what camera, ISO, white balance set, formatted cards, etc. so when I mixed up my camera and lens combo a couple of days later, I thought to actually smell the camera body. The one that smelled like bees wax had the 14 mm on it.