Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Susan Edwards 1976 - 2010

Susie, my prayers were with you then my prayers are with you & your family now. It saddens me that you are gone from this Earth but happy that you are taking your rightful place as one of God's Angels in Heaven. You have touched us all and we are grateful for the memories you gave us.

God Bless you Susie.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

4 Days Left

Another year, another round of Christmas shopping to do however this year is different. I managed to get a majority of it do well before the upcoming. Just have to pick up a few little things for the easy people to shop for. While most like the rush and thrill of waiting the last minute I try to avoid it by any means at my disposal. Being surrounded by masses of people who haven’t gotten started yet isn’t my idea of a good time but it does make for some decent television. Just have a feeling that I’ll be here on Friday getting the final moments of the Christmas Rush. I’m just thankful for the internet and free shipping.

Oh well enough standing around, time to get those final gifts on my list then head to the post office.

Being Part Of The Story

It is one thing to go and get the news. Feature, Investigative, Spot News it doesn't matter. In our line of work it is up to us to inform the viewer what is going on in and around their community. However it is not often that we become part of the story. Last time this happened to some of peers it was 2005, the year Katrina hit the region. Sadly it has happened again this time in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Turns out a lady, with some major issues in life, decided that she wanted to cause a disturbance at WSOC, the ABC affiliate in the city. She wanted to talk to someone from the station and was probably told no. Then it all escalated. She pulls out a gun, makes her way into the station, gets off a shot, then proceeds cause a stand off with law enforcement. We have all had to cover stand offs between police and somebody causing a stir but never do you think news of this nature would arrive on your door step. What happened at that instant only those there could fully tell this story.

Fortunately, everyone inside was able to get out and the situation came to a peaceful resolution.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Team Senator

Senator’s Log: Saturday, December 18th 4:15pm. It’s the week before Christmas and it has been a long day. Being the only photographer in the shop while dealing with an assignment sheet longer than a spoiled child’s wish list for Santa can drain you real fast. However my duties weren’t finished just yet. Turns out that I had to visit a near infinite number of screaming girls willing to put aside their last minute shopping as well as their significant others for a chance to fall in love all over again with the most famous vampires & werewolves in the modern era.

Really it was a chance to meet more of the stars from the famous Twilight movie series. Yes, the stars from that movie. Since they have become citizens of the area, happens when a multi billion dollar franchise is being filmed in your backyard, there are a number of appearances for the cast to meet and greet their die hard fans. And when I say fans, I mean these are some serious fans. Naturally some are from our viewing. Some really went the distance to make this one worth it. We are talking trips made from Mississippi, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Paris. Yes I said Paris. No not Texas, the place where they speak French and have the iconic tower. All of them who were ready to brave the elements for up to three maybe four hours just for a glimpse, and if they were really fortunate, or an autograph from the members of Team Edward and Team Jacob. Yeah, I had to ask about the names also since I’ve never watched any of the movies. You wouldn't believe how much heat I was taking because of this revelation of not participating in this version of pop culture.

However I was surprised that Jackson Rathbone, plays Jasper in the movies, recognized me and the fancy cam. Had to shoot his bands performance at the State Fair in October. Even though he got all the fame, fortune, waves & waves of screaming girls; he’s a real down to earth guy and doesn’t let all of the hype get to him. Sure it’s good to be noticed from time to time but it does helps that you have fuzzy mic on your camera also. May have to watch the movies to see what everything is all about.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A New Christmas Classic?

Growing up as a kid I always looked forward to this time of the year. Getting the wish list ready to send to the North Pole. Hoping Santa would get me everything that I wanted. I also had great anticipation for the animated Christmas shows that would fill the television screen. The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, Charlie Brown & Snoopy. But I always wondered besides leading Santa's Sleigh through the dense fog on Christmas Eve, what else could Rudolph's nose do?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shock and Awe

Under normal circumstances a well organized press event with the leader of the State wouldn’t garner any type of reaction. However when fellow photographer Charles “Big Moo” Holmes, lower left of the photo, has a look of instant shock on his face then I could only wonder in the world is he looking at?

Is the President doing a run in on the proceedings after that snag with healthcare reform? Will more members of Congress have a throw down on C-Span? Did Les Miles eat some grass on the front lawn? That’s a cool chandelier on the ceiling do they have them at Lowe’s? What will the desk make me cover next? I let who hold the microphone and what do you mean she works at the other station? Will the cookie tray make another round? Did XRAY TED say something nice or even better will he just be quiet for once? The last one is highly unlikely yes I know.

One thing is for certain, you never know what you are going to get at one of these events. At least the scrum madness is toned down. And the event is inside for once. After all it is cold outside.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow Dome

This is just some amazing video out of the Twin Cities. The recent snow storms have been pounding the mid west for the past 72 hours. Record snowfall has almost brought the region to a standstill. Early Sunday morning so much snow rested on the roof of the Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Vikings, and tore a hole in the inflatable roof.

The video looks likes it's green screen but definitely the real deal. Once again Mother Nature adds another notch to her belt with severe damage to indoor stadiums, remember the Louisiana Superdome, the Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA), and Reliant Stadium (Houston, TX). Just thankful no one was inside.

What The !!!!!

I know I’m a little late with this but I have to ask…

What is this thing??????

The info is real sketchy with. All I know that it was supposedly taken in Berwick, Louisiana off a deer stand and is making its way across the internet. I contacted Molder & Scully and the Men In Black with no success. They were just as lost as I was. The MIB’s are now working to contain the situation with Neuralizers in hand. Is it the missing link? Is this the biggest thing since the vast stories involving the Loch Ness Monster? Who knows?

I wonder if my peeps over at The 13th Gate know about this. Now if I can just get you to look at this flashy blue thing.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wreaths Across America

Anyone who knows me knows that I have must respect and love for the men and women in the Armed Forces. Without them the way of life we have in this country wouldn’t be possible. Usually the holidays are a reminder of what they have to give up protecting us. Some came to the warm hugs of family while others gave the ultimate sacrifice. It’s is ceremony’s like this one that show their efforts were not in vain.

That and simply saying thank you. Thank you for what you do for us.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Camera Combat

It’s one thing to go to school and learn the basics of television. How to shoot a sequence, where to put that microphone for good sound, how many lights does it take to execute proper three point lighting of a subject. But it takes a whole different kind of training for photographers to lug around their trusty weaponry. It takes someone with drive and determination. It takes someone who knows how to hold the camera properly. It takes someone who can work through lunch for a PKG. It take’s someone willing to throw caution in the wind for the money shot.

I am proud to call myself a photographer. Godspeed gentlemen, in your quest to become match fit, did you know?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


What is life?

A condition of existence?

A period of one’s time?
To some fire is life. Its warmth provides comfort. Its heat can help provide nourishment. Its light can help provide hope. It is passion. It is something worth having. It is something that can be loss without hesitation.

What is life?

Life is short. It can pass you by. Years can flow like seconds if you don’t pay attention to it.

What is life?

Life is living to the fullest. Life is caring for others, whether you know them or not. Life is a precious gift, given to those from the most unlikely places. Life can be a second chance. It’s enjoying the small things that make you happy.

What is life?

Life is what you make of it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Valley of The White Hat

Another Saturday in the Red Stick. It’s game day. Football and tailgating filled the southern sky with anticipation and hopes bigger goals in the future. It’s normally not a must win to those clad in Purple and Gold but after some lackluster efforts and questionable clock management one year ago the calls for blood were screaming across the airwaves. Naturally this becomes something of news interest. Which means yours truly is going to have to pay Death Valley a rare visit. There is just one problem. The last three times I have been in the vicinity of Tiger Stadium the outcomes were less than desirable. The UGA’s came in and blasted them, the Gators Tebow'd them, and the first time the previous coach, now wearing Crimson, came for a visit and walked away with a win. Leaving the Tiger faithful crying like a brides jilted on their wedding day. Heck I won’t even mention that obsessive Georgia fan’s liking to Mike the Tiger, God knows what twisted things were going through her mind that day. This was going to be different. This was going to be a good day for the Senator and all of the loyal followers. This would be the day that the White Hat will lead the troops on the gridiron then put together a dominate effort against the hated rivals from Oxford and exorcise the curse placed upon them by the Reverend Houston Nutt.
Then I realized that is not going to happen. This is the Mad Hatter. He has a modus operandi of keeping fans on the edge of their seat. He’s been doing this since 2005 should we expect anything else. I mean what’s the big deal it’s just another day at the office for the White Hat. While people claim that he is crazy one thing is usually on point…HE KEEPS ON WINNING! Quite frankly it baffles the mind of fact, logic, and what in the world is going on here. Granted they aren’t pretty wins but they aren't stacking the loss column either. Anyway I digress.

As I roam the sideline with XRAY TED, my objective is clear. Get a few plays, find some fans talking about the game, then get a live shot on the newscast afterwards. Simple right? Did I mention the Mad Hatter is coaching the team? Did I mention Ole Miss always give LSU problems? Did I mention that the every possible second is used in all these games? Did I mention that failure isn’t an option? Why am I always put under this pressure with these games? Next you'll tell me that I'm the chosen one. Maybe, but so was Anakin Skywalker and you saw how well that turned out. Whoa, calm down Senator your digressing again. (deep breath) Alright, what was I talking about, oh yeah.

So with some luck, 1:14 on the game clock, and a game winning TD, things fell into place. Manage to get some fans that are now riding a wave of euphoria with hopes of Championship Run, a decent bowl game in January, and a live shot on for the news. Two out of three isn’t bad.
As for me, I’m just glad that losing skid is finally put to rest. Last one of out of Death Valley, please turn off the lights. Won’t need the place again until 2011, did you know?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Cat's Meow

As usual, things are done a little differently in the Free State of Livingston. Store clerks snatching guns from would be robbers, a local gang swiping large amounts of meat from a bunch of supermarkets, and cats, lots and lots of cats.

That’s right I said cats. Even I had to do a double take on that one. Over 70 of them have found a home thanks to a local dentist. We better watch our steps with this one. Never know what presents are being left on the ground.

However time, just like my new furry friends, won’t stand still. Good thing I have a lot of space on my capture card and that my friend Kiran Chawla, newest member of the Ways & Means to Make TV Interesting Committee, had a lot of patience with me for making her hold that pose for the tease. Even though it didn't have the same ring as 101 Dalmatians it was still an interesting story to help put together.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stomp The Yard

Ask any well respected photographer and they will tell you that our best work is done behind the lens. Our sight through the viewfinder allows us to see better than the average person. We live behind the scenes and go unseen to the viewers at home. However sometimes, every now and then we have to step into the light. We must take off the cloak of anonymity and venture in front of the lens to better tell the story.

This is where fellow photographer Big Easy photographer Jim Pennison comes in. Always willing to try out new techniques to make every story that comes across the eye of his lens better. Even though the shots are nicely compose, the sound is incredible, the sequences are masterful he is always willing to add another dimension to his craft. In the world of fast pace newscasts, he and reporter Shelley Brown get the unique assignment of profiling a local dance group that is more than meets the eye to the peeps down in NOLA. Never afraid to try something new he once again raises his standards to provide quality television in the world. All while telling those who wonder of his methods...


That's right. That's Jim in the the piece. Adding another tool to an already impressive run bag of tricks. Raising the the bar for the rest his peers to follow. Better start practicing my own moves before I challenge him on the dance floor.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Photos From The President

How cool is it to go to the Nation's Capital stand outside the gates of the White House pull out your point and shoot camera to document the occasion. Let me ask this, how cool would it be to be able to go around the White House chillin with the most powerful person in the free world and take their picture? Got your attention? Good. That has been the case for the last 50 years when a select few were given the honor to photograph some of the most powerful, captivating, and intimate moments of the President & The First Family. And you thought a tv news photographer had to be on top of their game.

From the time when JFK was hard at work and a little visitor peeked out the front of the kneehole panel in the the desk.
To a trio of Commanders In Chief sharing a story in the Oval Office before the next historic event was to happen.

Images that are once in a lifetime. Rarely seen but can still captivate emotion while standing the test the test of time. I wouldn't mind meeting some of these guys capturing momentous chapters in the lives of leaders. I would simply ask, "How cool of a job do you have?"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Inside The 13th Gate

From the guy who blogged about The 13th Gate and Return to The 13th Gate comes the next chapter in fear, chills, and the quest to provide good television in the Red Stick.
Our brave hero, armed with only a camera & a fuzzy microphone, was ready to brave the controlled madness that the nation's top haunted attraction would bring. As he ventured through the hall of mirrors he thinks of those who were with him last time and wishes they joined him for this latest installment. He wonders will that figure's reflection jump out and ask about the dust wand on the camera. Who knows what unforseen horrors were ready to pop in front of the lens. One thing is for certain, it's stories like this that get your blood pumping. Until it is time for the other monsters to scare the daylights out of you.

-Special thanks to The 13th Gate for opening their doors and giving me a look behind the scenes. This is one great attraction and is worth visiting. One more weekend of horror then the buildup to their new feature in 2011.-

Thursday, October 28, 2010


If you work the camera at any sporting event you have to keep your head on a swivel. You never know when someone or something may be coming your way. Just hope that the insurance is paid up and the engineering staff has the parts ready to go for repairs.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Under The White Hat

Life as a college head football coach is a unique to say the least. Everyday there is something that will require your attention. Steps you must take in order to keep your program at its peak while avoiding the butane burner that is put under your seat for less than desirable results. But besides game plans, personnel moves, stradegy sessions, and public appearances what is going on under the white hat right before the biggest game of the year to date.

Did I remember to turn off the sprinklers before leaving for work this morning?

Will my starting QB finally live up to his true potential?

Will that photographer get any closer to me?

I wonder how the food is in this town. After all we aren’t in Louisiana anymore.

Will that weekend sports guy ask me a legitimate question at the next media luncheon?

I have Defense and Special Teams, will the Offense show up this week and shock the world?

I mean seriously, how much closer is that guy going to get to me? And does he know that his armband is on his ankle?

How did the last guy manage to deal with all of this madness?

Did anyone see that Rangers / Giants matchup in the World Series this year?

No matter what logic goes on under the White Hat, he knows how to keep the fans on the edge of the seats.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Whistle Blower

There are times when you have to go live to add an extra punch to the story you are cranking out for the evening news. One thing about live shots you never know what you are going to get. Especially when you seem to draw an impromptu audience to watch how you and your reporter manage to get everything you shot and written back to the station to put over the airwaves. Some will just stand in awe. Some will come dressed for the occasion. Others will just give a shot of laughter that you have to somehow keep under control for the two minutes that you have to fill. I don't know how my friend Sarah managed to keep a straight face during her shot. I lost it right when "Stone Cold" Steve Austin did a run in.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Breaking Social Media

Thanks to a certain billionaire's news network gone are the days of television stations signing off at midnight with a long blast of black and white static slowly taking people to dreamland. The 24 hour news cycle was born and the years after its inception it has evolved. Now with the added tools of the social media events now can instantly be sent to the masses within minutes. Stories can turned within a heartbeat with billions of eyes and millions of thumbs ready to text the big one to everybody. Every news outlet in the world has its staff connected to the social media realm but it's nice to poke fun at what we do, as long as it's within 140 characters.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Mall City Edition

Harry Drive. Monet. Renoir. Cezanne.

Every photographer in the Red Stick knows these streets. One that are filled with elements that are less than desirable. An area that is scarred be the name of Mall City. One of the hot spots in the city where it’s not a matter of if something bad comes across the scanner but when. Unfortunately it’s also a place where the innocent can get in the middle of the crossfire. But it’s also home to some of the innocent. It’s the only place some have known for years. It’s also a chance for some to lead the charge for change in the area.
A chance for the innocent to change the perception of the area known for flashing lights and yellow crime tape filling the evening sky. First order of business is to change the look. Picking up the trash, cleaning the empty lots, and getting rid of the abandoned & blighted property. That is only the foundation and hopefully those who care can build on it. And those who care can recruit more to join their venture. Just hope I’m around to see the finished work and put that on television as well.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Do You Remember?

Where were you on September 11, 2001? Me? I was at home getting ready for work. For some strange reason I got up early and turned on the tube. I see a breaking news banner that a fire was going on in the World Trade center. Knowing no better I figure that they would have that thing under control. Knowing no better I had no idea that a group fueled by raged and hatred to our country had launched an attack that would define this generation.

So where were you on September 11, 2001? Him? That’s George Steffensen, he has been a paramedic for over two decades. He was enjoying a day off in the Big Apple when hell was unleashed. The day when everything changed. The day when freedom and liberty was tested. The day when he and his comrades rushed into the unknown. Not knowing if they will come home to the one they care about. Sadly, some did not make it. Others were scared for life.

So I ask again, where were you on September 11, 2001? I hope you remember what happened that day. George does.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Through The Lens

Being a photographer in the news business you will see images that can cause any sane person to lose touch with reality. Most times we are called upon to shot people, places, and things during the worst possible moment in time. Think that’s bad, how about capturing events that directly affect you. That’s what my friends & peers had to deal with during Hurricane Katrina five years ago. As the winds and eventual flood waters ravaged the region, they had to go and keep the viewers informed while that sense of uneasiness crept in the back of their minds wondering if their loved one were safe from an unwanted weather witch knocking down the walls and flooding the streets of the Big Easy. So when Brian Lukas, longtime photographer at WWL-TV, put together a moving photo essay on this infamous anniversary using images from his collection I had to sit in awe of how powerful the images still are five years later. While every journalist wishes they get to cover a monumental event, I sure hope none of us have to go through this again.


There are moments in time that will forever be etched in one’s memory. Events that will that will stay fresh in a person’s psyche. Days that where everyone remembers where they when it happened. Days that are historical yet they share a tragic bond.

August 29th is the day. 2005 was the year.

The day the Gulf Coast was changed by one word…Katrina.

I was heading to New Orleans to but a last second change of plan put us in Laplace, Louisiana, 20 miles outside of the city. We figured that we would ride out the storm there. The Sat dish was beaming the signal through some fierce winds. I had to really watch myself out there. Trying to keep upright while making sure nothing was going to fly out of nowhere and knock upside my noggin. Once the shots were done it was time to carefully navigate area to see who else riding out the storm. A local hotel provided the backdrop. Some residents were scared but they were ready as they could be. Pretty much another day in Louisiana’s Fifth Season, or we thought. After the winds died down we headed into the city, I noticed the water from Lake Ponchatrain was higher than normal. I paid it no mind, just had a storm roll through the area. As we drove down the interstate that’s when it hit me. The interstate was turned into a boat launch. The water was everywhere as far as my eyes and lens could see. Word was coming in that some of the levee systems were failing. Hell’s floodgates had opened and the water emendated the city.

We saw the models. We saw the intensity this monster was bringing. We knew this was going to be the “perfect storm.” What we didn’t know was the lasting impact it would bring. We’ve seen the aftermath. The levees breeched by water, people trapped in their attics and on their rooftops, the Superdome becoming a shelter and prison for those who couldn’t escape, and the convention center turning into a morgue before everyone’s eyes.

Five years later, most of NOLA has returned but there is still ways to go before the Big Easy is back to its true luster. As the region continues on, you can’t help but remember what happened only five years ago.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


In our business our objective to capture the attention of the viewer at home. We look to draw out some reaction to the events that influence our day to day lives. Some stories tell themselves. Others require a little digging through pages and pages of files then asking those involved how did this happen. Then there are some of the off the wall stories that leave you scratching your head. The ones where you ask yourself, “Did that just happen”? That is when we look to the services of the one only Rick Portier. Part time writer, full time journalist, and leader of the Tactical Urban Response Division, or as we like to call T.U.R.D. Never one to shy away from getting his hands, and lens, dirty to venture in the depths of the unknown to bring back the who, where, why, and what in the world are you doing of a story. His humble beginnings are what legends in journalism are made of and his stories are ones that will certainly be the topic of conversation at water coolers across the area.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

5000 Miles & Riding

In this world that I love dearly, there are people who live among us that give the place certain characteristics. There are those who don’t know what is happening. There are those who wonder what is happening. And there are those who make things happen. I would like to add another category, people who really want to make things happen. History is littered with those who have made a difference in the lives of others and new chapters will be written about those who are still doing notable deeds today.
That brings me to a group of cyclists I stumbled upon on Sunday in The Feliciana’s. Braving some near extreme conditions I end up working on a story with some peeps known as Cycling for Change. A team of diverse individuals willing to go and a 5,000 mile cross country trek to for what you ask? Try poverty. That’s right poverty. An issue that is rarely mentioned that affects 13% of the country’s population, and this was before the turbulent economy. So now while braving the elements their goal is to bring awareness to the situation, galvanize American ingenuity, and slap poverty right in the face. It’s a daunting task but one that can be accomplished with time, faith, and due diligence.

After meeting and interviewing them, it is refreshing to know that there is still some good in the world. There are people who will come together for the greater cause and try to make a difference in the world. So if you see a large group rolling on to Key West, Florida. Stop and get to know them. Their story is good and their cause is a great one to follow.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Next Dare

Sometimes you have to make the unknown leap of faith in order to advance in life. Either you will land on your feet or you will have to pick yourself up from trying. However you won’t know the outcome until you make the jump. That is where we find young Erin Cofiell.

Four years ago she left the friendly confines of the northeast to pursue a career of Television Broadcasting at the local NBC affiliate. I first ran into her at the steps of the Capitol, that’s right it all comes back to the House That Huey Built. We were picking up a B-Block story about a local marching band getting ready to make the trip the Rose Bowl parade. I saw her with the fancy cam climbing up the stairs looking for the next shot of a sequence needed for the story. Eventually we exchanged pleasantries then wishing each other well in the business of gathering images for the glowing box.

Some time had passed then and we were at Police HQ waiting for the guest of honor to be taken away wearing some shinny bracelets. While we waited she had hinted that she always had an urge to sports reporting. Thinking in the back of my head that there was an opening at our shop, I simply said, “Come on over.” We had a position and she wanted change in her career. A couple of weeks pass, I had just come from getting some crime tape lining the streets when I walk into the edit and see that right you guessed it. Knowing that I had been looking into some flashing blue lights I had to make sure that my glasses weren’t playing tricks. She simply stood up, smiled, and gave me hug. That’s when it all began. Making her second leap of faith, she covered all that she could. From high school to National Championships she made her presence known to the peeps in South Louisiana. However her lasting mark didn’t happen until the morphed into the weekly TV phenom know as Darin Erin. Always willing to challenge local athletes, large or small, to any and all challenges known to the sports world. Never afraid to stack the odds in her favor but don’t ask her about the win – loss record.
Now faced with another leap, she jumped and landed into another opportunity closer to home. Willing to trade gumbo for chowder, she now leaves the halls of the asylum for a new sports job over at WJAR. Erin we had a lot fun and you were a blessing to work with. My dare for you is to continue what will be an excellent career in broadcasting, did you know?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Softball for Soldiers

How do you define a hero? One who is of distinguished courage or ability. It is someone who is admired for their brave deeds and qualities. A person who has performed an act that regards them as a model or ideal. How about someone who enlists in the Armed Forces and without questions goes out and defends the country knowing the risks involved. Knowing that there is a chance that they may not make it home to hug mom & dad again or kiss their better half.
How do you pay tribute to a hero? You can shower them with respect. You can tell them that, “We like what you are doing. You have us behind you.” You can simply tell them thank you. Or you can go hit the diamond and play a friendly game of softball. If you are one Jacques Doucet that is what you do.
For the better part of a decade, Jacques & his friends have been spending their summer with a friendly game of softball with the neighborhood crowd over some Cajun food and few cold ones to wash it down. However lately he decided to take the game and transform it into a must attend event that is pure entertainment for the family, minus the adult cold ones of course. Using his fame garnered from years of television exposure and recent contacts gained from a recent trip to the west coast, Doucet has managed to pull off a first for his tournament.

A great token of appreciation to the men and women fighting for our freedom. Thanks guys, look forward to seeing everyone coming home safe and sound.

Special thanks to Derron "XRAY TED" Daquano and Chris Blades for the video & stills from the Celebrity Game last night.

Monday, July 5, 2010

First Time on The 4th

For the past 234 years, we as a nation have come together to celebrate our independence from the rule of the United Kingdom through a war of immense importance and a document with the signatures of some of the founding fathers in United States history.

For the past 11 years that I have been in television I have never had to work this holiday. Normally the holiday would fall on a weekend or with me taking the events later in the year I was left out of the rotation for this one. As someone once said there is a first time for everything. I knew about the music and the fireworks that will happen once the sun goes down but to me there is more than just showing up and having one big party to put on television. So once I finished making the cable run for the live shot it was time to find another angle that is sometimes put on the back seat because most see this as just another day off.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Au Revoir Rosenblatt

Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, in Omaha, Nebraska, is a fixture to College Baseball much like Wrigley Field is to the Chicago Cubs & Fenway Park is to the Boston Red Sox. It is the epicenter of college baseball where teams like Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, Texas would have trips penciled in to play in the collegiate showcase. Opening its doors in 1948 it has hosted the College World Series since 1950 crowning 60 National Champions while displaying a cast of thousands while etching memories that will stand for generations. Images like Minnesota’s Dave Winfield and the one hit gem that wasn’t enough to beat mighty Southern California in 1973. Or the famous phantom pick off play by Miami to knock off Wichita State in 1982. How about 1996 where a two-run bottom of the ninth home run by LSU’s Warren Morris that gave the Tigers the National Championship, number three of six. Will Clark (Mississippi State) hit here, Mike Mussina (Stanford) pitched here, and Jacob Ellsbury (Oregon State) rose to stardom here. It was not only a place for the best college baseball teams to showcase their talents but a gathering point for fans across the country to meet up and trade stories over some shaved ice & a hot dogs with the works. Whether the team you followed made the trip or not it was one place that you had to see and experience for yourself. Now the hallowed grounds on top of the hill next to the zoo will close its doors forever. One more champion to be crowned, a closing ceremony will ensue, and a flood of tears bidding farewell to a place where baseball and ice cream from the Zesto Hut go hand in hand. The girders and aluminum bleachers may be moving but your time Rosenblatt will be in the hearts of baseball fans forever.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Where's The Red Card?

The following is a formal request from the Ways & Means to Make TV Interesting Committee to the Lenslinger Institute. Here's is part of the inquiry:


I know that you have been enjoying some well deserved time away from making television at the Ocho. However, by chance if you have been watching any of the World Cup you are witnessing some serious drama originating from South Africa. France falling apart in front of the world to see, the United States making an improbable run, & the Germany taking England behind the wood shed for a serious butt kicking. However nothing could prepare me would what was about to happen. It was Argentina verses Mexico. Two hated rivals waging another contest for supermacy
in the world of soccer. The Argentines had just gone up 2 – 0 when it happened. Gabriel Henizne, the guy on the right, was in the huddle celebrating a goal, turned, then bumped is head against the camera. Incidental contact I’m thinking, no harm no foul. Then without hesitation this was the result.

The lens is being sent the other way. Now I know emotions can run high with the weight of one’s country on your back but this ridiculous. This is just another example of people who just can't keep their hands to themselves.

Surprisingly, no official caught this heinous attack that is being shown on international television as well as on viral videos across the globe. We are already being subject gated to the possibility of Argentina’s Head Coach running around the country in the buff should they win it all now it seems that it is open season on photographers just trying to cover the beautiful game that has all of a sudden shown an ugly side.

Therefore, I am requesting that the Lenslinger Institute investigate this matter with great urgency and that the proper issuing of a Red Card, as well as any other punishment deemed neccessary, be delivered to the player in question, did you know?


Senator Hollins
Ways and Means to Make TV Interesting Committee

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cantina 2010

Stated in an earlier post, the start of the FIFA World Cup is drawing near. 32 countries will travel to South Africa to compete on the soccer field to claim the right to be called World Champion. Thus causing a blitz of commercials to entice fans of the beautiful game to spend money to coincide with the four year event. Nike has their "Write The Future" ad. Now a rival shoe maker has this....

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hooray For Hollywood

The mere mention of “Road Trip” can make one smile with excitement. Especially when it’s one that will send you to the west coast to cover one of the local sports teams. Guys would be lining up for the chance to explore the sights and culture of another metropolis. Looks like old Jacques Doucet drew the right card. Granted he is half a country away but I hear the weather is nice in Los Angeles. I see he is already drawing attention from the local TV crews. Wonder if he is explaining the difference between Tabasco and Hot Sauce. Who knows? Just how long he's on the left coast depends on how well the Purple & Gold can play on the diamond in the post season.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Country Grammar

Senator’s Log: May 30, 2010. In years past Memorial Day weekend would be quiet. Not much is happening in Baton Rouge. This place is a virtual ghost town with everyone heading to some beach resort, not the case now with that black plume in the Gulf. Producers in the newsroom are hard pressed to find something to fill time in the shows besides the usual holiday travel and boat safety story, the latter did happen and with great consequences. However this weekend was a little different. Actually it was a couple of years in the making. The promoters of Jazz Fest, down in the Big Easy, decided to roll the dice and put on a similar event in the Red Stick but this time they went with Country Music. So the brains got together pooling their intellectual resources to create the inaugural Bayou Country Superfest. Granted Louisiana is known for its wide range of musical genera that has livened up most dance floors. There’s Zydeco over in the Acadianas, New Orleans has a reputation for some of the best Jazz Music in the world, and even Baton Rouge has spawned a Blues music following. However, Country music in South Louisiana? Will it work?

There must have been a persistent voice whispering, “If you build it they will come?” Hey it worked in Field of Dreams. Thousands of people from 43 states and three countries descended on the Red Stick to catch some of Country Music’s biggest stars. Naturally with an event of this magnitude within striking distance of the asylum we had to go and cover it. Just one minor detail, Country Music just isn’t my style and I had no clue what I was getting into. It isn’t every day I am thrown into the unknown, wait that is what happens to me during the week. Don’t get me wrong I knew some performers like Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, and Keith Urban. Thankfully my girl Taylor was there to point me in the right direction and get a picture of me in all of the excitement. Yeah Taylor. No not the one who was interrupted by Kayne during the awards show although she will be a well known sports reporter one day. With an all star line up performing over 14 hours of their greatest hits I was to roll off about four minutes of video. Hey, can’t afford the rights to play all of these songs surprised I was able to get that much.

Overall the event was a success. The crowd got into every lyric that was sung inside the stadium. The newsroom was happy to have something different on television. And I got a brief education from other music genera. Now I am more than just Hip Hop and R&B now good thing there is room on my Ipod. Next year may have to find some decent seat since I am familiar with the layout. For now it’s time to find some Aleve, got one hell of a headache at the moment.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Paging Dr. Hollins...

And you thought it was intimidating to see me with the fancy cam & the fuzzy mic. Looking at some large guy in scrubs, getting prep to perform surgery in the operating room, will certainly send chills down someone’s spine. Don’t worry, the only operations I perform involve turning ideas into interesting stories on the news. Whether it’s some scouts showing off their racing skills, the impact of the interstate shutting down, or some parents not taking responsibility for their kids part of the job is to mix and match video into a nice sequence of events. Now that I think about it our work mirrors that of Dr. Frankenstein, “It’s alive…alive!!!!”

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Beautiful Game

With the 2010 World Cup right around the corner I found this nicely done spot from our friends at Nike.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Birthday 2010

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to have the day off for their birthday. Yes the sun is out, a few clouds are in the sky, and the heat is turning up but you still want to sit back, reflect, and then celebrate life. Unfortunately my birthday comes during one of the busiest times of the year. Granted I have been close a couple of times however news doesn’t stop even on the day you were given life.

So how do you enjoy the day? Well, you aren’t going to get the chance to hang out with a beautiful, intelligent, aspiring model every year. You enjoy it with an early morning phone call from your mom to start the day. You enjoy it with people who care about you sending their best wishes via your Facebook & Twitter pages, isn’t technology wonderful. You enjoy it with some homemade cupcakes from Darin Erin. You enjoy it with a surprise phone call from Nashville with C-Line on the other end. You enjoy it with the Nubian Princess, The Meeks, & XRAY TED surprising you in the newsroom with a card, a song, and a nice cookie cake. It didn’t matter what assignment was thrown my way, nothing was going to put a damper on May 20th thanks to some really good people in my life.

With that let me say thank you to everyone. You are the best people anyone could have in their life. Y’all really know how to make someone feel special and a keep smile on my face from the time the sun rises all the way through the moon gracing the night sky. I love you all.

I look forward to celebrating with you next year and the many more to come after that, did you know?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jedi Knights of the Red Stick

The year was 1977. I was a young child just starting life. My mom took me to one the of old movie theaters in the city to catch the vision of George Lucas know as Star Wars. I was a no more than year old and I must admit that I had no recollection of seeing Darth Vader on the big screen. After gaining a few more years and a grasp of Rebel Alliance doing battle with the Galactic Empire, I caught every movie and television show there was. From Empire Strikes Back to Revenge of the Sith I watched every saber duel, every dramatic twist, every Ewok dance, and every Yoda-ism as the battle between good and evil raged on in a galaxy far far away.

Fast forward to last weekend’s Live After Five concert. The band was rocking, the crowd danced like there was no tomorrow, and the heat was bearable. Just another weekly get together in the concert series. So as I was setting up my shot for the five pm show who would show up but these guys. Characters from some of my favorite movies are in the Red Stick. Leaping off the big screen into the newscast while promoting their upcoming concert. Anakin, Leia, and a couple of Republic Troops took some time to entertain the crowd and bring back memories of the time I first saw the Death Star get blown up. We all wanted an X Wing Fighter to fly in. As I stand shoulder to shoulder with these guys, I can’t help but think that the role of Jedi Knight and Photographer are one in the same. The constant training and use of ideas to better ourselves. The daily traveling from one side of the world to other. Not to mention the use of Mind Tricks to help tell stories to fill the newscasts. Don’t think we’ll ever get to use Lightsabers. Shotgun mics with fuzzy windscreens is the best I am going to do.

For now I will have to settle with the impromptu meet and greet, don’t know if can get tickets for the event. However as sweeps continues, be mindful I sense a disturbance in the Force.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dude @ The Desk

I am a photographer. From the first day I picked up my camera to when I added the Fuzzy Mic to enhance my bag tricks. Need me to head to a house fire in the middle of the day, no problem. Time to ambush some joker who got his hands caught in the cookie jar, piece of cake. Roll out of bed to a shooting during the black of night, I got it. But in the latest evolution of the television industry you have to be able to handle many hats in the newsroom.
Take today for example, I was needed to handle the duties of the assignment desk. I had been linked to the immovable object in the newsroom. No shoots, no interviews, and no roaming around the city. Just me, the scanner, and the phones. This was a headache waiting to happen since the phones would not be quiet. The voices on the other end were constantly bombarding me with some crazy things through the hotline. People were complaining about the weather. Calls came in to ask why a train stopped in the middle of their town. Another wanted to know if I was someone who just answered the phone. While all of the verbal clutter is clogging the phone lines only one thing comes to mind, how does the assignment editor deal with this on a daily basis.

Seriously, how do they do it? After the phones went silent , I developed a new found respect for my assignment editor and the ones in newsroom across the country. They are the ones who have to deal with what to cover, who is going where, and all of the tension that goes with it. This is a job that doesn’t get a lot of recognition. I don’t know how you pull this off but somehow you to do. I’ll keep this in mind when my lovely AE gives me my next assignment. May have to bribe her also, did you know?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Battle Cry

Can you feel it? That tingling feeling down your neck. The thoughts of mad scientists rampaging across whiteboards around the country. That rush of viewers running towards the glowing box. If you are in our line of work that means Sweeps have invaded the newsroom once again. The time where ideas are put to paper then executed to draw the attention of the loyal faithful. Things can get tense from time to time. The special reports to go along with the daily grind can cause even the seasoned professionals to get on each other’s nerves. However, there are the moments that draw us together for the common cause…
Famous words from Capt. Jean Luc Picard. Yeah I know he is fictional but you cannot help but smile when The Meeks gets his hands on the dry markers. Nothing like a laugh to break the ice on the first day of the sweeps book.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Attack of the Atomic Octopi

Just when you thought it was safe to get back into the water and take pictures. No sign of Jaws or the Loch Ness Monster however one the deep blue sea's creatures went all Sean Penn on a photographer. No word yet it there will be an legal ramifications from this.
And yeah, I know it was just one octopus but octopi just sounded cooler, did you know?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dress To Impress

Normally with all my accumulated dude privileges you wouldn’t catch me anywhere near a dress shop with a bunch of ladies looking for some after five wear. However when a local Fairy Godmother decides she wants to dish out some nice evening wear to go with the glass slippers then it’s time for the fuzzy mic to make an appearance. Despite the strained economic climate the Godmother of Mid City was going to bring some smiles and keep the clock from striking midnight for some ladies in her community.

I like it when a good story comes together hope the memories on Prom Night are special for the girls also, did you know?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thinking Out Of The Box

It’s bound to happen to us all. You’re at the office waiting for you assignment of the day. One of your favorite reporters walks up and tells the cards that we have been dealt for the day. In this instance a local police chief prevents a burglary from happening. In doing so he winds up being dragged by one of the suspects’ truck. Law enforcement scrambles to get the bad guys while the chief, being the hero, could have been seriously hurt. It is a great story to tell the grandkids just a little difficult to put on for television. So how in the world do we make this visually appealing? Two words…

Stand Up.

This was one of those times where a story lacking video was going to live with a creative stand up. So the Nubian Princess and I had to brainstorm first on what to say then how to make the pictures flow since we didn’t that much to work with any way. A few takes later and we come up with something that will keep some eyeballs watching the lead story.

Got to thank the NP for being cool with some of the crazy ideas I threw around therefore I picked up the tab for lunch. Small price to pay when thinking out of the box works, did you know?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Eyes Of A Child

When I tell people that I shoot the news for television the usual response I get is that you must see a lot. They have no idea. Lately the video of the day have been shootings, fatal traumas, and more shootings. The backdrop has consisted of flashing lights, hysterical citizens, and a whole lot of yellow crime tape. Today was no different. After filling more than the allotted time in the A block, I’m sent over to the Red Stick’s latest causality. It’s a neighborhood on the eastern part of the city, one that hasn’t seen any kind of criminal activity in a while until now. However, mass quantities of violent behavior have been the norm here. I roll up to the scene, break out the fancy cam and get some pictures. Police surveying the area, CSI is collecting evidence, and residents’ wondering what in the world is going on. My thoughts the world is going to hell in a hand basket. There is more concern for materialistic things than human life. There are people who want to inflict their lost will without regard for others. There is not enough compassion on the planet.

After grabbing the video for the news I drop to a knee and reflect on what is going on. Suddenly I feel a little tap on my shoulder. It’s one of the neighborhoods little residents. Standing there with ball in his hand and a look of concern in his eyes. Guess not being able to play in front of your house because of death will do that to you. He doesn’t ask me my name but he says something that catches me off guard…

“I hate crime scenes”.

All I could say was, “me too kid”. Some powerful words from someone so young. Someone who should be playing with his friends not dodging bullets. Someone who should be looking forward to life not fearing it will be cut short by another’s recklessness. I think that this kid is done with seeing the world through the flashing lights of a police cruiser. Maybe there’s hope for this world seems like the next generation has had enough of senseless death & destruction being the norm.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

And It Begins

Do you feel it? The ton of paper being pushed through the rotunda. The final details being looked over by staffers. That rush of adrenaline emanating from the capital building. Time has come again. The annual meeting of 144 lawmakers from across the State called in for 80 days of conducting the business of the people. Yes, the Louisiana Session of 2010 is here. Where over 1900 bills, so far, have been filed and are waiting to go through the process of making it to the Governor’s desk to become law. Some will see it through for an official signature. Some will have to compromise to make everyone happy. Most are going to be in a bitter fight to the end causing some feelings to be hurt. All are going to make it on the news some way. I’ll have to be there from time to time to make sure everyone plays nice since they do like to have long meetings into the night.

Sine Die is a long time away. I wonder if I can get the lawmakers to convene every other year. It works over in Texas, did you know?

Extension Of A Photographer

The everyday person, that happens to get a glance of a photographer in action, will usually says, “That some fancy camera you got there”. To an extent, that is a true statement but there is more to the complex electronics with a nice piece of glass on the front end.
Those of us who are in the business know that the camera, much like a Jedi’s Lightsaber, it is an extension of ourselves. For example, take a look the camera pictured below. It is a number of stories that were captured during the years on the job. It’s the places that one has been to over time. It is the number of interesting people that stood in front of the lens while trying to avoid troublesome lens flare. It’s emotion good and bad. It’s what stands us out during large gatherings. However, it does make is us a target for some pent up frustration by unexpected schmucks in the world.
That camera up top belongs to my friend Robert, who handles some sports duties down in the Big Easy. Did you figure out where he got some of his badges of honor? Next time you run into him just ask what’s he has been up to in the sports world. I’m sure he has some interesting stories to share with you.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Improv in 3...2...1...

Something I learned while getting the news is that if all else fails...improvise. There is never a perfect sitution to this. You will have to encounter some obstalce that will add an some gray hairs to you head. Whether it's a broken bulb in the light during the interview, the IFB dropping out before the shot, or carting the audio somewhere other than the booth. You have to try to be prepared for any and everything. Never hurts to have your improtu audio set up ready to go on Capital Hill. Never know when some lawmaker is going to go on a rant when it's time to edit for the news.

Time to stock up on some gaffer tape and chewing gum.

Special thanks to Kevin Johnson & for the picture.