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Friday, December 19, 2008

Let It Snow, Its Officially Xmas

It is hard to get into the holiday spirit when it is 80 degrees and blue skies here in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. But when we were blessed with almost two feet of the white powdery bliss I kept hearing the song, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." It was not an easy transition. Hundreds of people were stuck, stranded and cold. A few were injured as you might imagine, So Cal drivers do not mix well with ice and snow. I was not too happy about working in it either. I can not decide which is more stressful, driving in those conditions or shooting in them. DesertSnow-02-ER.jpg
(Below)An AMR supervisor takes pictures of a ambulance that rolled over in the snow on El Mirage Road near Sheep Creek in El Mirage, no one was injured, as the High Desert experienced a day of heavy snow on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008.
(Above)Motorists and truckers were stuck over night, many of whom stayed it a Red Cross Shelter at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville until roads could be cleared Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008. Eric Reed/photographer
One trick I have learned over the years is leave the cameras in the trunk. They need to stay cold and not change temperatures or they will fog, no bueno. Cameras (electronics) like the cold but not the wet and batteries do not like cold either, so I keep an extra in my pocket. The first venture that got my rear moving was an over-turned ambulance about 15 miles from my house, do the math at 20 mph on how long it took to get there. That was at least one major advantage of living in the High Desert... I was stuck where the rest of the LA basin media can not get to, so I shoot and send to the rest of the world from my side of 'the hill'. Well after a couple of days of driving in and shoveling snow off my driveway I realized Christmas is here and I am glad I don't live in the mid west.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Lot of Protesting

Sometimes I feel like Andy Rooney, who considers himself a newspaper man. I still consider him a TV man because he sure can talk a lot without saying anything. But his observations of the world come to mind when I or he points out things we see around us. With this climate of politics and economy everyone has an opinion. And we should. As the saying goes, "If your not outraged, you're not paying attention." Or as I heard on the paintball field receintly, "If you're not gettin hit, you're not playin." People often like to have their issue out there in the form of a protest, march, picket. And even better if it makes the paper. It is hard to keep track of all the people who do not want their budget cut or need more money, especially in California with this economy. So today I photographed some Union workers yelling at the San Bernardino County Govt Center. I guess the basic point is when everyone is underpaid and Calif. Governments are making cuts which protests are going to be heard? At least with Prop 8, 20 million voters are passionate about one issue.

Members of the SEIU Local 6434, United Long-Term Care Workers Union, held a march and rally with about 40 participants at San Bernardino County Government Center in San Bernardino to spur negotiations between workers and officials.PROTEST-31-ER.jpg

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What is Lost?

WildFireReturn-034-ER.jpgAn Annual Event: Residents of the Grass Valley Lake area of Lake Arrowhead Cindy Chavez-Gastel and Michael Bainbridge look over the ashes as they return to their homes to survey the damage and sift through the ashes of the homes lost, October 30, 2007. Eric Reed

It's hard for many people to comprehend the loss that others endure when dealing with the aftermath of fire. The fires in Southern California have become a yearly event. With hundreds of homes lost each year from fire due to Santa Ana driven winds, drought starved vegetation and Global Warming enhanced destruction, we can expect to see more. That does nothing for those who loose everything. People take on the grief of loss in many different ways, just like the grave yard vandalizing post, loss is relative. Some are thankful for the truly important things in life like their lives and those of their loved ones. Some are in grief over the loss of things. Those things that mean the most to us are usually connecting us to the past and people who have passed on.WildFireReturn-039-ER.jpg WildFireReturn-045.jpgI have learned a lot about attachment to the things around us from my many years of talking personally with those who have gone through these experiences. Probably more than most. They almost invariable impart this wisdom: they truly are grateful for what they do have and will continue on, living. That's good advice, even if we never have to experience this first hand.
WildFireReturn-040-ER.jpgResident of the Grass Valley Lake area in Lake Arrowhead, Sid Lewis stands in the ashes of his Medera Lane home as many return to their homes to survey the damage and sift through the ashes of the homes lost, October 30, 2007.

Thank a Vet

I had the opportunity to spend a day at Rebuilding Together's Heroes at Home with local volunteers as they worked on the home of disabled U.S. Marine Sgt. Jeremy Weissmiller's home in Crestline, California. I thought that THIS was a good way to thank a vet. After all the Veterans' Day activities this was a fitting end to the week. A real gesture of gratitude toward the men and women in uniform. Jeremy was injured while negotiating a load in a cargo net from a helicopter. He was among the first wave of military personnel to arrive in Afghanistan. The load dropped on top of him. Rebuilding Together has helped more than 300 veterans and their families in the last year with their project Heroes at Home. http://www.rebuildingtogether.org/

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Great Southern California Shakeout

SHAKEOUT-02-ER.jpgNovember 13, 2008 Redlands, California USA - Nine-year-old Victoria Elementary School student, Tina Ngo ducks under a table with classmates as her school participates in the Great Southern California Shakeout, which is the largest earthquake drill in history intended to prepared residents for the disaster. More than 469,000 county residents had registered to participate in "duck, cover and hold on" events, Thursday, Nov., 13, 2008.

We live with the threat from underneath. Anytime. Anyplace. The problem is that people in denial will not properly prepare. Remember Katrina? The projected magnatude for the drill was 7.8, on the Richter Scale. That could drop freeway overpasses and make getting about or help very slow. The difference between here and New Orleans is about 15 million people.SHAKEOUT-02-ER.jpgMartha Rendon of Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton takes off the fake wound or moulage from Redlands Adult School Student Earl Leong as Students from Chaffey College and Redlands Adult School participate with the staff of the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton during the Great Southern California Shakeout.

Lionel Lee, Resident Physician at Arrowhead Regional Mecical Center in Colton works with mock earthquake victim Amanda James, a student Redlands Adult School during the Great Southern California Shakeout.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pushover In The Afterlife

About 22 gravestones and markers were pushed over during the night at the Pioneer Memorial Cemetery in San Bernardino. Wednesday, Nov., 12, 2008. Eric Reed/photographer
It is interesting how different people react to such an image. Everyone has a different idea about the afterlife and what that means. Some people hold on to the sentiment of the grave. A marker or stone where ones final remains were interred. It is not for the dead it is for the living. Keeping a connection to a loved one here on earth as a symbol of our attachment to it. What would happen if one did not have that to hold onto? My Grandfather's ashes were spread from and airplane over a lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. My Grandmother at Forrest Lawn. I do not visit either location but choose to remember them and our connection. These graves will be fixed but it gave me pause today to remember people while they are here and let them go when they are not.

Vets Day

I had the opportunity to cover two different Veteran's Day events here in San Bernardino and Bloomington. A few people come out to see what ceremonies are going on, probably many others just see them in the next days newspaper. I understand that no living WWI vets were living on this Armistice's Day, the last two, one German and one French, both died earlier this year. And the WWII vets number are fading fast. The living history and their stories are important to the people who follow them because those who fail to understand where we came from are in danger of going back and repeating the mistakes of the past. One vet said in his speech that he did not want to see the Unites States of China. I of course agree. But I an not totally sure what he meant. Was it a fear-based message of an impending attack or a tie to the economy and its woes? At another event it came to me (when I was handed a pin of the American Flag that was "made in China") that we need to stop selling ourselves and our jobs to the global economy and start thinking about sustainability. Not isolation. We are making our own bed by finding the cheapest way of doing or making something as being the American way. Well that thinking is going to be the Chinese way soon if we don't look up.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Day After

It is hard to look for stand alone art or an image with no pre-concieved story. It takes patients and imagination. Looking for a political related photo the day after an election on a cold start is even more daunting. I demand luck in my photography and I always get it. So I drove straight on to campus at Cal State Berdoo and found this image like I was assigned to it.
—California State University San Bernardino’s campus radio station, Coyote Radio has student DJs Diana Lepe and Erik Hunter discussing political issues and their aftermath the day after the election, Wednesday, November 5, 2008. Hunter’s program on Wednesdays and Firdays, called Sports Madness, will focus on issues related to Tuesday’s elections by talking about sports personalities who ran for office in local elections across the country. Coyote Radio en Espanol is Lepe’s program airing Monday and Fridays from 12 to 2 P.M. “We will have some time before my next show on Friday to digest the issues.” Said Lepe, “That will be a good time for people to call and talk about what happened on election day.” Student DJs are grateful to be able to use their “Air time” to communicate with the student body through their music program available on iTunes. “I don’t think there were many reasons for the youth to vote in the past but this time there was a candidate who energized the student movement, he addressed the issues we were thinking about.” Said Hunter. Eric Reed/Staff photographer

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Changing the Vote


Changing America one vote at a time is how I saw this election day coverage in Sun country. I have been photographing and voting for over 20 years and have never seen people so happy to stand in line and actually pump their fists in the air in victory after voting at the polling place. Record turnouts despite early morning rain, although I think I saw more people voting in the days prior to Tuesday in order to avoid long lines. The catch was only a few locations were open before Tuesday and today there are many.

If anyone had doubts about the hope for the future of this country this is a day to remember for those who never thought they would live to see this day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Polo Anyone?

I am on the late shift. That means sports. For some reason I have been getting a lot of Water Polo. So much so I decided to lay down some lines here and some photos from the last few games. The portrait I shot today of Redlands High's Andrew Heine was the tech shot. Everything else was action. 600mm f4 at 1/2000

The portrait was a fun 4 minute shoot of about 40 shots. The specs are: Nikon D2HS with a 14mm 2.8 at 2.8 and 1/8000 with an SB800 on a double TTL cord with an assistant holding it out on a mono pod with a superclamp. Its like something you would see on the Strobist blog.

And in case you missed it the portrait was shot half-way under water from inside a fish tank.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Berdoo On Fire

Despite my best efforts I was not able to stop the Santa Ana winds from having their first event of the season. Not only did I have a cold, hampered even further by inhaling fumes from a house fire in Wrightwood only days before, but I was in no mood for the stress of wildfire photography.

It takes a lot out of me and I like it. This was more of an urban wildfire. Starting in San Bernardino downtown and blowing through empty lots and God's torches the palm tree southward. It managed to create chaos for about 15 blocks along the 215 and burned several structures. Strangely enough I felt much better the next morning.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Training The Force At NTC

I spent a few days embeded with a Army unit out of Ft. Carson, CO. at the Army's National Training Center NTC at Ft. Irwin, Ca.
It was only three days for me and a writer which seems insignificant compared to the 30 days for the soldiers of the U.S. Army's 167 Armor, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
Lucky for us and them the full force of the Mojave summer had not taken hold. The wind and dust however were to be reckoned with. I took advice and taped up my cameras like Olympic athletes. Blocking as many cracks dust may get into as possible.
Some highlights of the trip included about 20 minutes in the back of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, a once-in-a-lifetime trip... not to be attempted (on purpose) again. Sealed in, dark, dust still found its way in anyway, look out tiny periscopes, hope you don't get motion sickness, fillings rattling from teeth, can't hear yourself think loud. Dang.
About five miles cross-country in an M1A2 SEP Tank. Much smoother and I was half way out of the top turret with fresh air except when the tank's plow hit dirt, then it was a face full of sand and rocks. I'm glad I had goggles on.
We spent time on patrol in the town talking to Iraqi actors who were there to add realism NTC style.
The Combat Out Post was "attacked" at dusk with a lot of gunfire and... dust. Off to bed in my wheel less box car and a midnight mock mortar attack.
This was about my 12th trip to Ft.Irwin for various assignments and the best.

CLICK --HERE-- to see the NTC slide show (not photos)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hogs in Hell

Here is a good example of not getting what you expect. I guess perception is the problem. I was going into this thinking about all the cool biker shots I was going to make, like at bike shows and charity rides, etc. But I forgot one small detail... many of the members of the Hells Angels are "outlaws" in the REAL sense of the word. So access was restricted. Do the best you can with what you’re given, on deadline, and run with it. I was given permission from the owner to take some pictures before 7 when the bikers were due to arrive (They did not show until 8:15). I generally am a happy guy, smilin at the people as I walk around looking for photos. I was gettin some ‘stink eye’ or ‘hairy eyeballs’, or whatever, from some of the pre-party crowd. I even wore a Hawaiian style shirt so I was not to be confused with someone who pretended to belong there, aka undercover cops, you can guess what the standard attire was.

The Hells Angels 60th Photo Gallery (Click Here)

Hells Angels drink in 60 years
Stacia Glenn, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 03/21/2008 10:49:21 PM PDT

YUCAIPA - Darkness cloaked a batch of bikers clad in black leather vests as they rolled into the Hells Angels' 60th anniversary bash Friday night, but nothing could obscure the thunderous roar of Harley-Davidsons arriving en masse.
Residents lined Dunlap Boulevard to snap photographs of the notorious motorcycle club as the first members arrived at 7:41 p.m.
Several partygoers at Angels Roadhouse Bar and Grill paused with beer bottles halfway to their lips to watch the first 75 bikers pour into the spacious red tavern.
This is not the first time that the bar has opened its doors to Hells Angels, which got its start in San Bernardino.
But the motorcycle club hailed it as the "biggest, baddest" party yet.
"We always have a great time," bar owner Renee Vicary said. "They are who they are, and they're a great bunch of guys."
About 4,000 people were expected to turn out for the celebration, which kicked off about 5 p.m. with more than 100 people gathered inside sipping beer and socializing.
Angels Roadhouse can hold 2,200 people, and Vicary said she expected to reach capacity by 10 p.m.
Bartenders were prepared to turn people away.
Three bars were set up inside the 12,800- square-foot tavern, and Los Angeles-based rock band Judge Jackson ripped into its first song as the crowd swelled to nearly 1,000 people.
Bartenders fished bottled beers out of trash bins, trying to keep up with demands, and men continued to unload cases of beer from a Budweiser truck out back.
Forty extra San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies, including several undercover officers and two teams from San Bernardino Movement Against Street Hoodlums, patrolled roads around the bar.
Some bikers said deputies took pictures of their tattoos as they exited the 10 Freeway.
A law-enforcement helicopter circled overhead.
Some people came to gawk at the tattooed bikers, others came to show their support of the Hells Angels.
"They've been around for so long, and they're all over the place," said Johnny Martinez, 58, as he leaned against his 2003 Soft Tail Springer Harley-Davidson. "It's who they are and what they represent."
On March 17, 1948, in San Bernardino, the motorcycle gang - which back then was a group of World War II veterans who refused to settle for 9-to-5 jobs and picket fences - started its first chapter.
Since then, the Hells Angels have repeatedly proved themselves to be rowdy partyers and charitable givers.
They operate an annual toy drive, delivering stuffed animals and games to sick children in hospitals.
But their San Bernardino clubhouse at Medical Center Drive and 19th Street has also been raided for drug and gun activity.
As in previous years, the private festivities are expected to continue tonight at the clubhouse.