Friday, August 15, 2008

Preparing mentally, working it

"Catherine Jeffrey returns a rally at the USTA Junior Open Tennis Tournament, which is taking place this weekend in Druid Hill Park, after a 30-year hiatus. The tourney is for ages 8-18 and is a closing event for the All-Star Tennis Camp, a six-week tennis program for inner-city youth."

Last Sunday was hectic in a mental, non-demanding way, but ended low key.

As discussed in my last two entries, I began my day at Pimlico Race Course for the third annual Virgin Mobile Festival. Excited to be back and amped to get a little time to sleep in, I arrived around noon when the festival actually began.

Combing the crowd for features, I was having a slow day. Patrons were not doing much, and I made only two images I liked in about an hour.

Then I got a call from my editor. "Start packing up and head back toward the office. I'll call you back in five-minutes with more," he said, and instructed me to do.

Confused, I rounded up my gear and headed out of the media lounge. I was being pulled off the assignment and not sure why. I was anxious, yet eager to find out what was going on.

A couple minutes later, after I lugged all my gear back to my car and began to venture back downtown, I got the tragic news.

An 18-wheeler truck had crashed off the Bay Bridge, killing the driver. I've never heard anything like this before, and I cannot even recall a distinct accident on the Bay Bridge, let alone a vehicle actually plummeting off the side and into the water.

Although our freelancer had also been pulled from his assignment to jet down to the Bay Bridge, my editor was still trying to scrounge up a helicopter to get some aerials.

I was excited. I had never been in a helicopter, and have always had a freakish desire to shoot aerials. My mind was racing, along with my adrenaline. Where did I need to go, what gear did I need?

But then I got another call as I almost made it back to the office. A chopper wouldn't be available for another three-hours, thus meaning we had to count on our freelancer to get through the traffic mess and capture a telling image.

This also meant I had to cover the freelancer's centerpiece assignment he had been covering earlier in the morning.

Told to "work it," a phrase I often hear and becoming accustom to, I needed to do the best I could in a short amount of time in case we could score a helicopter sooner.

The story was about a junior open tennis tournament, which was taking place at Druid Hill Park over the weekend, after a 30-year hiatus. The tourney featured children, ages 8-18, and was the closing event for the All-Star Tennis Camp, a six-week tennis program for inner-city youth.

Since I wanted to have some go to images in the bag incase I was called to leave there, too, I shot some pedestrian images for the first 10 minutes or so with a 400mm. Photos I knew were clean, tight and story telling.

Sometimes when I am put on the spot to work quickly I void my personal vision and shoot quickly and clean. But as time goes by and I start making the same image over and over again, I get out of that rhythm and capture the more artistic side of me.

The above kept catching my eye as I made my way from one court to another. So I finally started shooting it, although I had to manual focus through the fence. A passerby thought I was crazy and said, "You know you can go on the court?"

As 4 p.m. approached, I trekked back to the office and dumped my tennis, and what I and what I had from V-Fest, into the system. Still no chopper, but Colby ended up getting some great images of the truck after fighting an overheating car and mind-numbing traffic. Kudos, Colby.

After he was back, I spent the evening archiving what seemed like more than 10 DVDs worth of work. Although my day wasn't "crazy" with me running around shooting multiple assignments on tight deadlines, plans kept changing, so I needed to stay prepared mentally for anything that could happen.

But that's a normal life of a journalist. Things change and they can turn in a moment’s notice, so one must always stay prepared for anything.


Post a Comment

<< Home