Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Film - The Verb
A Motion To Make Standard

Have you ever gotten bent out of shape when someone ask you what you're "filming"?

I ask as I raise my hand in affirmation. Yes, and I almost hate to admit it. For the longest it has been correct to consider our actions to be "taping" our subjects since we were using videotape. (Saying we're are "videoing" something never has really been catchy. )

XD Disc (3)

So I have to ask, what should we call it now? From professional gear down to the consumer level tape cameras are being quickly replaced by XD, P2 and a variety of hard drive or flash capture formats.

XDCam Doug

I can hear it now....What are you discing? What are you digitizing? What are you flashing? Uhm..no.

So here's what I think....let's go with what the dictionary says.

"Film the verb - to photograph with a motion-picture camera."

It doesn't specify what format...so that would cover the gamet of cameras on the streets today.

And hell, most people already say it like that anyway.

Do I have a Second?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Choose Your News

Tonight the Arkansas Society of Professional Journalists held a debate between KATV's Choose Your News reporter Kristin Fisher and Newspaper Columnist John Brummet.

The debate's origins are in Brummett's recent columns dismissing choose your news as a gimmick. Internet fury grew, the two exchanged online barbs, bloggers jabbed and finally Brummett relented and aggreed to meet with Fisher and debate the pros and cons of this gimmick as a news gathering tool.

The debate lasted just over an hour and was lively, entertaining and funny at times.

Both aggreed that something has to be done to keep the industry relavent and alive.

They disagreed on nomenclature issues and the use of new tools overriding the newsgathering process and integrity.


John finds the word twitter funny.

John gets blog alerts when people blog about him. Audience laughs.

John says you can't choose your news.

He says people are choosing their features, follow ups etc. Implies that those aren't news. News can't be predicted it happens and you cover it.

John says it's a gimmick, gimmicks never work.

John says cover the news, use the tools to cover the news, but kill the gimmicks.

Kristin says the quality of her stories are the same with the Choose your news format. She's giving the viewer a choice.

Kristin says John chooses his news by having google alerts. Says they are taking the user interactivy one step further.

Kristin says get over semantics....Choose Your News is just a title and it rhymes so it works.

John is taking furiouse notes for his rebuttle.

Kristin is looking forward to putting this experiment to the breaking news test.

John rebuts that he chooses what he consumes doesn't choose what people produce for him.

John again says, using remote control analogy, that it only allows him to choose what he recieves not what they produce at the various outlets.

John says don't trivialize the news just cover it.

Kristin answering why theh viewers can't just have all of the stories instead of choosing.

Says the obviouse...we only have so many reporters.

Kristin says Choose your news is providing them a surplus of story ideas.

John says Kristin shouldn't lobby for people to choose certain stories in her tweets.

Kristin hates fluff and hard news and is going to lobby for the hard news.

She says she should let her personality come out and give her take on what story she should cover.

She likes the transparancy of having a live webcam watching her all day.

She says nobody can beat TV at Breaking News. That each medium needs to cater to it's niches even on the web.

Sometimes wants to turn off the webcam.

They will mute the mic from time to time to make source calls or other sensitve times.

John says the webcam on her is a bit creepy.

John says when this is the sum essance of what you're doing then it outserves the purpose of the news gathering.

John says we're cannibalizing oursevles. (attributes to someone else) Instead of focusing on our job of delivering news.

John says the multitasking of writing his collumns and blogging was too much to do justice to his column.

John says things have to change in the news biz for us to survive.

John says he is willing to work twice as hard to make it work.

John says the future is in niche pubs and cross pollenation.

Kristin says the real debat here is the one between TV and Print that's been going on for years. Says there are certainly differences in how print and TV cover a given story and the impact is has.

Wishes she had more time for her stories.

She says New Media supplements the big final (classic) product.

Kristin answers that choose your news shouldn't pick the lead story but rather only if it just happened to be a hard story after being picked it could be a lead.

John says it's not the wisest use of talent or space but it's not the end of journalistic integrity.

Oh...lost my stream...it's back...whew.

Kristin says she has human interactivity....laughs from audience.

Kristin says 44% of college grads go online for their news and our medium of TV and Print are dying. We've got to find a way to monetize the internet and make it a place where TV and Print can make money.

John wonders if Choose your News is that or is it a fleeting pointless gimmick(he thinks the latter)....is Kristin going to sit in front of the webcam and grow old on us.

Moderator - What is a journalist?

Kristin - someone who informs you about the news and events in your community or around the world.

John - A person protected by the 1st ammendment, anyone really, who gives information about a news event. No training or licensing neccesary.

questions from the audience...

Question about monetizing the internet wondering if this is driving the numbers...

Kristin doesn't know about that. She talks about having 10000 votes in the last round.

Kristin says that if there's ever breaking news they will postpone the choose your news story in favor of using the tools to cover the bn.

John says if adverisers are drawn there by numbers that he's all good with it....but that nobody's found a way to do that.

He objects to the principal of this way of gathering news and not to the effort of trying to get viewers to in turn get ads.

John says it would be more palletable to him if it was a stand alone self supporting (money) thing.

Kristin says with so many people on the internet then why shouldn't they reach out to them.

John says this trivialzes their newscasts.

Kristin says she may be reaching different people on the web than watch their news. That the younger demographic is on the web...the older on the TV and with some crossover.

John agrees....and that older people in a rural state like AR are tied to their TV and the younger people are online because the TV is nonsense and irrelevant to their lives.

John aggrees that you can pull the demographics from one medium to the other with cross promotion.

John still maintains that the best news is real news and that's what appeals to everyone.

We're over the hour mark

Here it is...the Anne Pressley safety question.

Kristin - I'm never alone. I always have a Photographer with me. I'm in no more danger than any other reporter who puts themselves in the public eye.

She says there are steps she takes to protect her privacy.

She thinks about how much better her web cam would be if Anne were there dancing in the background.

John asks what is the purpose of having her on the webcam typing all day.

She says so people can check in and see what she's doing. That TV News is built upon personalities and that with that she can have a live conversation with the viewers and it makes it personal.

One day that web cam will do something great for breaking news. (the portable one in the cell phone)

John quips that he's going to get a web cam on his desk.

Kristin explaining how choose your news was born....just a passing conversation about the streaming web phone.

John making points about sweeps stunts.

A guy in the audience asking a questions sounds just like one of my station's engineers. Funny!

Kristin says John's columns and all the talk about Choose Your News has definately helped the votes.

Kristin loves to shoot and edit.

She gave up the shooting and editing to take on the demands of all the tweeting, webcaming, and other interactivity.

Moderator to John...what have you gotten out of this....

John - Newspaper columns need buzz and this has given him buzz.

Kristin - Your google alerts are off the charts huh?

John - He has become more aware of the threats to our industry.

John - Still thinks the web cam is creepy and hopes it's full time use is cut.

That's all.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Wake Up Call
Death by Speed

It's my job. Take the call at all times of the night...this time 0430 with 3 hours of sleep...and respond. Much like the firefighters and rescue personel you can often fine me at the scene of accidents with deadly consequences.

This morning it was near High Rock lake where 2 young men perished when their speeding vehicle went out of control and ended up under water.

Friends of the pair found the skid marks leading to the water several hours after they went for a drive. I got the call after rescue personel were already suiting up to dive and confirm the worst.

I pulled up and spent 10 minutes shooting before a carefully worded deputy sheriff politely whisked me back to the newscar so they could bring the underwater tomb to the surface.

I spent the rest of my time standing in the 20 degree darkness straddling a skidmark, watching and listening while waiting for the State Trooper to tell me what the sounds around me had already confirmed.

I spent the rest of my day carefully traversing the middle of North Carolina on 3 hours of sleep. As always I'm sad for yet another family, especially this time of the year.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Emmy Time
The Circle of Life

When I won free tickets to the Transiberian Orchestra Concert I didn't even consider that it was on the same night as the 2008 Mid-South Emmy Nominations would be announced.

And even as I walked into the Greensboro Coliseum this past Friday it didn't cross my mind to think about the impending announcment for which I had 4 entries.

But as I sat looking around the coliseum at the seats, the ads and the cupholders(with their ads), I flashed back to my first Emmy Win....shot right about where I was sitting as workers prepped the building for the NCAA tournament.

That story won me and Eric White our first Emmy...and as I flashed back to reality...I thought out loud (to my wife) how cool would it be to get a phone call from a co-worker that I'm nominated for an Emmy while sitting in the coliseum. It's like a big circle in life.

Not even halfway through the concert I missed a call from a number I was unsure of but I checked the Voicemail to hear a giddy Julie Luck congratulating me for our Emmy Nomination for our series "13 and Pregnant" about a 13 year old couple in Thomasville who concieved, birthed, and are now taking care of a baby. (with adult supervision of course!)

I was happy and I enjoyed the rest of the concert having the knowledge that I've now been Emmy Nominated four years in a row.

When I got home later that night I saw that I was also nominated with Melissa "Deal or Dud Lady" Painter for our Deal or Dud segments.

Awesome! 2 noms!

My Station, WGHP, also recieved a nomination for Continuing Coverage in 24 hours of the May 5 Tornados in Greensboro and Clemmons.

Fellow Photojournalist Brad Ingram is nominated in Photography and Editing.

Congrats to Brad for his work and all my co-workers for their efforts on that long day in May.

Also, Congrats to everyone who's nominated(especially if you're reading this), because I know how hard we all work to produce the work this good.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to plan a trip to Nashville in late January!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

IMPLOSION - Dan River Mills
No News Crews Hurt

All the News Crews at the Dan River Mills Implosion in Danville, VA Thursday must have been in contact and out of the way because even though one of the two smokestacks fell the wrong way...no one was injured.

I almost drew this assignment but didn't. Too bad.

In light of my last post(see below or click here)...maybe it's a good thing I didn't.

Here's a couple of looks at the video...one with the smokestack falling straight toward the handheld camera.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Out of Touch News Crew
NEW ATT Commercial

Danger - Danger - According to AT&T if we don't use their service we (news crews) could get blown to smithereens!


Of course it's just one of AT&Ts new commercials with messages from the user's (other service)phone detailing how out of touch the phone's user is.

It's funny!

(We have Verizon!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Eastern Guilford High School Fire
2 years later - Touring the New EG

I wasn't at the scene the day Eastern Guilford High School burned down in November, 2006, but for days and weeks after the event I spent countless hours producing local TV stories about the building, the students, the communities that were affected by the one of the largest fires ever to burn in this state.

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After Eastern Guilford High School burned to the ground the school system had to get on the construction fast track. First they had to build a temporary school of "Pods", mobile classrooms grouped together on the campus to form a makeshift school.

Then they had to build a new school and the clock was ticking.Today was the first tour of the nearly completed school.

Media and school officials accompanied the contractors through the building for a preview of where the students will call home come April 20, 2009.

Click Here for the VIDEO

Eastern Guilford High School Fire

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mulitmedia Masterpiece
NY Times Presidential Election Video

This is a must watch...

It is a well put together, comprehensive look at the presidential election from the time the candidates started campaigning through Tuesday.

Simple graphics, great photos, great video, compelling sound, poignent storytelling.

The visuals (stills and moving) were compiled from a variety of sources over a long period of time. Interviews were conducted with voters in many states and there was even sound with photographers who shot some of the pictures for the NY Times.

This is a key piece of work for defining how to mix, mesh and use multimedia to what has to be close to it's fullest potential. (for now)

Very informative, very interesting and it streams out in excellent quality.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hanging Rock 2008
A Nice Day with the Kids

Ah Autumn. The colors....Beautiful.

Hanging Rock 2008

So I set out Sunday afternoon to Pilot Mountain.

Hanging Rock 2008

Yeah, I know, it says Hanging Rock in the title. We got to Pilot Mountain and it was a 45 minute wait to drive to the parking lot at the top of the knobby rock. The hell with that. We spent the next 45 minutes driving to Hanging Rock.

Hanging Rock 2008

The 40 minutes after that we spent meandering the Hanging Rock trail for about a mile to get up there...

Hanging Rock 2008

...on top of that rock.

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It's a trip I make with the kids at least once a year and I wish I had time to do it a few times a year.

Hanging Rock 2008

The view is spectacular and sitting out on those rocks with no fence to catch you if you fall is a thrill, if not downright scary when you have 3 boys and a little princess to worry about.

Hanging Rock 2008

Nevermind the dog pulling us all around by that hotpink leash.

Hanging Rock 2008

I could sit up there all day.

Hanging Rock 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shocking Video
Political Sign Theft Season

I know kids will be kids but this is what happens when a kid's curiosity and a neighbor's angst over previously stolen political signs cross paths.

WRAL Reported the story at this link. which is not embeddable but on YouTube already....(the video is cleaner on WRAL's site)

Friday, October 24, 2008

"Biden" My Time
Joe Biden at Wake Forest University

When a VP Candidate comes to town, prepare to hurry up and wait.

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Not just us media either. Everyone involved tries to get in place as early as possible, deal with mandatory security sweeps and then sit around until the guest of honor is escorted in with the upmost in executive security.

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For those of us there covering the event for televised, web or even print (I guess)coverage there's really lot to do before Biden takes stage, depending on the demands of our respective outlets.

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Print journalists run around interviewing spectators, sometimes even using mini-cams to gather video for the web. Radio journalists find sweet spots to gather actualities of the day. And the laptops, they do fire up, generating ones and ohs to send out over the pipes of the internet in conjunction with impending event.

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We in TV, with all our equipment having been set up and declared off limits for the next two hours meet up with other crews and help out with other live shots and maybe grab a bite to eat if there's time.

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At go time, when the national press comes casually strolling in, that's when the Sh!t hits the fan and there's real work to do.

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The cameras are hot, the live truck is, well, LIVE, and the candidate is just about to make his grand entrance. About that time a Biden staffer tells everyone on the cut riser (that would be me and a few other TV and still photogs) to come with him for the grand entrance shot along the collumns and row of neatly draped American Flags.

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I had to unplug from my camera from feeding a live picture and go, with little warning to our truck-op who was switching the event.

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It was worth it though, a great shot that the two other local stations begged us to give them as pool footage....NOT. They simply didn't have a Photog on the cut riser.

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The speech was about 40 minutes of the usual political retoric and the crowd at the private university was generous with fervor for candidate Biden.

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After the speech was over and the live feed was through I went with Brent to get the obligitory react sound from the attendees and then he took the disc to write the 5PM (LINK TO 5) and 6PM stories.

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I grabbed Kenny's camera and took a bunch more pictures while Biden gripped and grinned every last person left crammed up against the steel barrier fence.

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It was kind of amusing to me because with a still camera in hand I had different access than my TV brothers looking for a closeup.

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TV was shooed back to the cut riser while still photogs were politely escorted to the catwalk to get the over the shoulder point of view of Biden and the crowd.

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Of course then I was stuck there until he was finished and all I could do was keep snapping photos - a hundred or so - while Kenny rolled up cable and gave me the stink eye for not helping. (Sorry Kenny - but thanks for use of the camera)

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Finally freed, I helped gather the rest of the cables and I even jumped in to edit since my cut riser shots and Biden walk in were the b-roll to which the story was weaved.

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Just another day. Imagine doing all that as a one-man-band, or VJ or whatever you want to call it. Even the local cable news outlet had 3 or 4 people out there and they're all about a VJ.

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I bet there's no one man band security details.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sarah Palin at Elon University
She's no Tina Fey

I got Sarah Palin duty today at Elon University in Elon. I can't and won't be partisan since I work for an FCC licenced house of unbiased
repute. Really, we try to give everyone a fair shake. Let's just say we leave the leaning (left or right) to our cable cousins. (And do any of you ever agree 100 percent with a cousin, or even your Mom and Sister for that matter.)

Anywho...I arrived at Elon University's baseball stadium at 9:15 and hauled my gear past the Secret Service Bomb dog and set it in its spot on the riser over 2nd base.

My Camera, Tripod, 2 bags of equipment, and a portable microwave transmitter stayed in that spot - the security sweep zone - for the next 5 hours while I milled around outsite of the forbidden area.

But we were forward thinking and we had a second, and even third, set of gear to shoot with out in the common area where 1000 or so of Sarah Palin's closest freinds and at least one not fond fan stood in line waiting to stand in the sun for the next 5 hours.

And since my digital camera is dead I don't have pictures to prove it, but our local paper does and thanks to their nifty embed feature here are some excellent pictures of the day.

Enough with the great pictures. Hank "Bocephus" Williams Jr was the opening act for Palin, and I don't think it's partisan for me to say I love me some Hank Jr.

Hank picked and sang his way through a melody of his classics, including the reworded ones for the McCain/Palin campaign.

During Palin's speech it got rowdy once when an Elon Poly-Sci student who favors Obama got boisterous and needed the assistance of the local law enforcers to be compelled to leave. What am I saying, he was cuffed and stuffed.

Overall, Palin said the same 20 things everybody's already heard before. At least that's the response I got from the 10 soccer moms, 15 high school students and 5 overly exposed (by the sun) men I interviewed after the event. But those who attended were still more than thrilled to have been in the presence of that Governor from up there near Russia.

For our part, from a journalistic standpoint, we put together a Live Story at 5 and at 6 about what Palin said and how people reacted.

Technology-wise this as a good day too. We used our Portable Digital Transmitter to link us to our Sat Truck. We sent a Live Video Feed of Palin's Speech into our Sat Truck which was turned around and fed into space and down to earth and transmitted live to the internet. We also used the portable unit for our 5 and 6 o'clock lives. Without that unit we would have had to stay much closer to the truck AND the riser for the Palin Speech was a good 500 foot cable pull.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Losing a Partner
Caron Myers

A reporter who I helped bring on board at WGHP in 2002 and worked with exclusively in the Davidson County Bureau until about 3 years ago, is leaving Fox 8.

Chris Liveshot

Caron Myers is leaving to go into the public sector as the Director of Community Services for the Alamance-Burlington(NC) School System.

Live Shot

Lenslinger and I have both written funny stories about our outings with Caron over the 7 years she has been with us but this time the story is that she's indeed decided to follow the Public Relations money trail. And I'm not sure I blame her...More money, 8 hour workdays, holidays off, what's not to love? (Beside's being able to traverse the Greater Piedmont Triad with a camera and mic and talk to all kinds of interesting people everyday?)

Pre-Live-Caron (2)

Caron's threatened to call it a career in news several times before but this time I think she's found a fit with a group of professionals who will really appreciate her outspoken charm and endless energy more than even this hungry photog ever could.


She's a hard nosed, deep digging reporter who's TV work has to be shallower than she could ever dig to meet the time contraints of Broadcast News. Caron's never met a stranger and is never afraid to knock on any door and talk to whoever answers in whatever neighborhood. She prides herself on her electronic rolodex and could probably open a 411 call center from it. She had a rapor with the law enforcement community that couldn't be rivaled by even the most bubbly blonde talking head.

Caron Cheesing

And even though I probably haven't properly thanked her enough for everything she's ever done for me as a friend and co-worker I have to say that the experience of working with Caron Myers had been life altering. Whether it was when we flew to Miami for the retirement of her famous NASCAR husband Chocolate Myers, or all the time spent accompanying her to death's door, every day with Caron was entertaining, if not, enlightening.

bobby allison and chris

I also have to say she's led me by the hand into the NASCAR machine. Lunch with NASCAR Legend Bobby Allison, an interview with the late NASCAR Chairman Bill France Junior, several interviews with NASCAR Team owner Richard Childress and many other lasting contacts within the NASCAR Community are just a perk of working closely with Caron.

tville train and caron

The biggest thanks I have to give is for all the work Caron and Chocolate did to host my wedding at their house in Lexington. They spent untold time preparing their yard for the 2004 event, leaving no stone unturned. For that I thank them both. I will one day figure out a way to repay that debt!

chris chocolate julie

Even though she only has three days left inside WGHP, I'm sure we'll be in contact for school stories, and I'm certain I'll visit her at the lake....at least every 4th of July

High Rock camera caron 2

I wish her the best of luck in her new position entertaining bored reporters on slow news days....and who knows...maybe she'll pull and Ingram. (that's an inside joke that I can't talk about :-))

For now, I leave you with this...a glimpse at how Caron and I bent the time space continuuum.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Things We Do for Money

I was answering some questions from a college student the other night about what sparked my interest in photography and it reminded me of a picture of me with my Uncle James.

Chris Young with Vid Cam sharp

Uncle James had brought this new fangled video camera to town with it's umbilicaled recording deck. In the picture, there I am with hand on hip in my knew high striped tube socks, taking in all the 1984 technology hoping to get my hands on it.

Flash forward 19 years to 1994...I'm a 1 year rookie News Photographer...getting to do things people pay to do...and they're PAYING ME TO DO THIS!

flying with redbarrons

I was flying front seat in the open cockpit stearman with the Red Barron demo team on a media flight to preview a local airshow...and help them sell pizza. I was living the high life. A local still photog took the picture from the other plane and we traded video for photo.

Funny thing is...the only thing that stands out for me that day was that a package of stickers flew out of my pocket. The were neon orange photo mailing stickers that said "Photos, Do Not X-Ray".

That was the first of the many special experiences for me that make up the life of TV News Photographers everywhere.

I have gone on to do a lot of things you can't even pay to do in airplanes, racecars, motorcades and more.

I don't really know what sparked my interest in Photography, I just know I love it, stills and TV, and that it may not pay like a banker, but I'm the richest guy in the world for the things I get to see and do.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Dirty Jobs - Boat Wreck
Cameras SUNK

I've heard about it but never seen it...the long lost episode of Dirty Jobs in which the crew crashes a boat and sinks $100,000 worth of video equipment.

I was wasn't expecting to see it tonight while watching the episode about gathering Alligator eggs...but when it came to that point in the show I knew instantly what it was and I sat up and paid attention.

(watch to the end for a rundown of what they lost)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Water Rescue - (attempt)

I spent most of this rain soaked, warning laced, former Tropical Storm Fay filled day, shooting consumer features on the outskirts of the metro area but when that was (not quite) done (but enough to call it a day) I was promtly dispatched to a swollen creek in Greensboro.

Water Rescue

Buffalo Creek was up to the bottom of the bridge and rescue workers were in the water when I arrived. 15 minutes 'til the top of the 5, we were already on the air with a fresh tornado warning, one I was hoping I was headed to until I saw every rescue vehicle and dive team member for 20 miles hovering over the raging river.

I covered my camera and extened my sticks and joined them on the bridge peering into the water, looking for, well, I didn't know what.

As I moved off the bridge "for my safety" at the request of GPD I found that the grassy area just to the other side of the creek was a better view anyway.

You can see it up in that picture...dive team members were going under water SANS SCUBA and popping back up under the bridge in the dark air space between iron bridge beams.

With just 2 minutes until the station wanted a LIVE PHONER for the top of the 5 a Fire Department Spokesman gathered the media to give some information. 2 separate callers had seen someone near the bridge and they both thought that person had been swept away in the water. The divers at the bridge and personel downstream found nothing.

With that info fresh out of the mouth of the spokesman I stepped away from my camera as it continued to roll on the impromtu presser and gave the facts over the phone as the camera phone picture was up on the screen. My two cents and 4 questions later I was headed back with the video to air in the 6.

Just another day. (not that we have a former tropical storm stomping through here everyday)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Paris Hilton Politics
TV Related...Doubtful

It's been a while, but I've been on Vacation....and then busy back at work. I'll have a few new pix before long but first....

Paris Hilton responds to John McCain's ad...with her own.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tony Snow
Loses Battle with Cancer

When I was the local pool Photog riding in a press van in the Presidential Motorcade in October 2006 I saw Tony Snow and thought, 'Cool, Tony Snow, now there's a man with his hand in the pocket of the world.'

I didn't know too much about him, not that he graduated from Davidson College in 1977, that he worked at a newspaper in the very town I work, (the same town we were in when I popped this picture) and that when I was just graduating from high school he was already playing presidential polictics with George Senior.

Presidential Visit (14)

What I did know was that he would convey the information like no other press secretary, was a friend to the media like no other and loved his jobs, whatever he found himself doing.

At the time I took that picture, I didn't even know he had cancer...and today when I read he died, I didn't even know he hadn't beat it completely.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

4th of July
at High Rock Lake

It's become almost a tradition for me and my family now. We head down to High Rock Lake to see what I think is one of the best Fireworks shows in this part of North Carolina.

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In the past 3 years it's been and even better view for us because while everyone pushes and shoves for the best spot to park on the Highway 8 bridge or along other surrounding roads, my friend and coworker Caron Myers has the best seat in the house, and we're always invited.

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The view is great from the Deck or out in a boat...because of rain this year we stayed on shore.

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Caron and her famous NASCAR husband Chocolate Myers started building their lakeside cabin about 3 or so summers ago. It's grown from a lake retreat into a full time home that you'd have to see to believe. (I didn't get any pictures...darn.)

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But on this day, one of the best things is their proximity to where the fireworks are launched from....in the lot two doors over. To watch the fireworks you have to look almost straight up.

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One drawback is falling debris. It's so close that if the wind is blowing just right or not at all pieces of unburned morter shells and still glowing ash will fall on you. Ask my wife, she took a chunk to the leg that drew blood!

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I took all these pictures with Caron's digital Canon SLR on a tripod. See all of them on Flickr.

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