Thursday, November 29, 2007

Court Antics Predicted

Well, I was supposed to cover a court appearance by a dog thief, but since a fellow shooter lived closer to the courthouse, we switched assignments. I went to shoot high school students in a class that teaches them how to take care of daycare children, so that in the future, they can become teachers. But, in an email, I noted that this particular location was dark and that a fast lens was needed BUT that we wouild probably be not allowed to photograph at all.

My fellow shooter went to the courthouse and was told he was approved to photograph said dogknapper as he was arrainged but that he needed to return at 2 pm, when the person would make the appearance. Well, come 2 pm, the judge changed his mind and told my friend he could not shoot the proceedings. Well, a day's worth of work wasted because at a judge's whim. Maybe he had a cholic and needed burping or something like that. How are people going to get the news and see the people making news if judges arbitrarily and often stop up from doing our job. WoW!

Are there any attorneys out there that can fight the good fight for the media???

(this is where, unfortunately, I begin to hear crickets cricketing...) Out!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Check out this sign

going through my stuff, I found this sign (rather, photo of a sign)... Until next time, keep shooting.. .where allowed...

Decapitated goats... revisited

Ok... So, here's my story. Sometime in September, I noticed three large black pastic bags dumped on the side of the road on Turnbull Canyon between Whittier and Hacienda Heights. What bothered me was that the bags looked like they had some type of remains in them. One had what looked like some type of leg bone sticking out of it. I called the Whittier PD and reported the bags. Nothing was ever heard after that. For the next week or so, as I traversed this part of town, the body parts were being consummed by predators (coyotes, ravens, crows, whatever I imagine) until the bags were empty and only one little vertebrae was left.

Fastforward to Tuesday October 9, 2007. Goats and chickens are found decapitated not too far from the other spot, but in a residential area of Whittier. Click on the October 7-14 link on th eright side or coppy and paste the link below (pics and all that).

Now, today, Wednesday November 14, 2007, goats and chickens are found decapitated in Laguna Beach, as reported by Fox11 news veteran newsman Bob De Castro! WOW!

Who knew... To me, it seems that once a month, right around the middle of the month, this stuff pops up somewhere. Anyone out there with some satanic knowledge that can shed some light on this? Anyone with moon knowledge? The moon was a sliver recently, so maybe that has something to do with it? Or maybe, just maybe... the CHUPACABRA has arrived in So Cal!

I found this image at

Until next time, watch out for the Chups!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gravestone finally made two years later

Check out this story. A nine-year old girl dies of a heart attack while training in a kickboxing gym with her trainer back in 2005. Reportedly, the girl had a pre-existing heart condition that had been unkown to anyone. As the only child, the mother, reportedly, is very distraught and visits the gym often after that.

Well, soon enough, the mother can't take it and moves far away to the midwest. Come in some good samaritans who put on fundraisers with sponsors and all that, reportedly, to raise funds for a gravestone. Well, two years later, no gravestone or money is given to the family, reportedly. Now, the owner of the gym where the girl died gets together with a grave marker maker and they make a nice one for the girl. These two guys came through when they saw that the other group's fundraising was nowhere to be found. Those people, if this story is true, should be ASHAMED of themselves... raising money for a cause that they did not fulfill. Here is the video:

Until next time, keep shooting.

Turkey giveaway

Here's the second of two "feel good" stories today.

Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park) got together with two water companies to give away turkeys to charitable entities for later distribution to the needy in the San Gabriel Valley thus ensuring people have a nice Thanksgiving dinner coming up here soon.

Here is the video:

Until next time, Keep shooting

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Courtroom antics

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the courtroom today.. Or should I say, in the courtroom. I was assigned the duty of going to the Pomona Superior Court this morning to take photos of one Martin Morones who was captured in Mexico Monday night and sent straight to the American judicial system. As the story goes, he was racing some other guy in El Monte when they crashed into a mother and her two children, whose car exploded in flames. Needless to say, the family died in the car. The one dude was caught right away but Morones fled to Mexico, btu since he is an American citizen, the Mexican government found him and immediately sent him packing back home.
So, I check in with the deputy in the courtroom at 8:30am like I'm supposed to and hand him a copy of the 980 form that was faxed to the courtrom the night before. He immediately tells me that no camera equipment is allowed in the courtroom and that he will let me know if I am approved or not. So I tell him I'll wait for him to inform me right outside. About 9:15 am, Fox11 videograher goes into the courtroom and comes out saying he was denyed and that the Morones dude was coming out. I walk into the courtroom and they are already asking him if he wants to give up his rights to a speedy trial, yadah, yadah, yadah. Some 20 seconds later, the dude is taken back behind closed doors and I am left shaking my head in disbelief.
This deputy working there did not have the courtesy to let me know if I was approved or not, but I assumed I was not because the TV guy was denied too. So, if I don't go in the courtroom I would probably still be sitting out there waiting for Baca's finest to give me the news about our request to photograph.
Final thought: When they want to show off their new high tech toys or they need help finding a killer who shot one of their own, yeah they run to us. But when it comes to being courteous they drop the ball. I feel this deputy was derelict in his duty to serve the public. Hope Sheriff Baca reads this blog and chastices that deputy or at least shakes his head in disbelief too.

Stolen puppies have Puppy Love store hating it!

So, they sent me to a pet shop one block away from Buena Park in La Mirada because all their high-priced mni-puppies were stolen sometime in the very early morning. This two-month old female Pomeranian was one of three doggies left by the thieves. Here's the LMPD CSI doing her job at finding finger prints that the perpetrators may have left behind.

In all, 22 Maltese, Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Pomeranians and others were taken to a tune of $30,000... WOW! The thief or thieves knew what they were doing because they only took dogs, no merchandize, the register or older dogs. Only the puppies disappeared in the middle of the night.

Here is the video.

The poor owner's only message to those thieves was to keep the dogs safe and to treat them nice... What a guy!

Monday, November 5, 2007

NHRA Day 4 - Finals Champs!

Hello all,

Here are the two Funny Car finalists, both from Team Force! Robert Hight, in the black car, took the win from teammate Phil Burkart, Jr. in the green car. What a night. If Ashley had not gone down in the quarterfinals, she would have been up against Burkart Jr. in the semis. Imagine that!
Here we have the two Top Fuel Finalists
Tony Schumacher is in the black car, The Sarge, right here and Bob Vandergriff, Jr., down below in the one with the highest flames! Schumacher took him down by less than two tenths of a second.

Here is Ashley burning it up earlier in the day. She had a great week and now, according to her dad John Force, all the Force team cars will be either cut into tiny pieces, sent to Ford for testing or sent to museums (in a manner that they will never work) so that what happened to John never happens again to anyone else. Force, the senior, said he was working on making NHRA much more safer for all. Let's keep tuned in to see what happens. (Hey John, if your listening, I'm ready for that lunch you offered).

And right here is Angelle Sampey, who made it to the semifinals only to have her bike malfunction at the lights. What a let down for her last run ever with the US Army team. The photo here was taken only a couple of minutes after her bike did not start. Her frustration showed in her body language as she got off the bike and shook her head in disbelief at being one run away from the finals!

Here is Antron Brown in one of his last runs ever on a motorcycle. Yesterday he announced he'd be moving up to Top Fuel next year.

Here is legendary Funny Car driver and team owner John Force, left, congratulating his one-time driver and now team owner Tony Pedregon, on Tony's Funny Car World Championship! So, we have Tony Pedregon walking away with the POWERade Funny Car World title, over to the left is Tony Schumacher who took the POWERade Top Fuel World title, and down below is Jeg Coughlin who was named the POWERade Pro Stock World champ and the POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle World title went to Matt Smith.

Here we have Jeff Smith, motorcycle champ, farther down is Robert Hight, the Funny Car final round winner, and older brother and co-team owner Cruz Pedregon with 2-time Funny Car World Champ Tony.

I have tons of video of some of the winners, so I'll post that up soon too!
Until Next Time, keep shooting

Saturday, November 3, 2007

NHRA Pomona Day Three

Here is a view of Ashley Force, from both sides.

Hello everyone, Had a great time out in Pomona today although it was pretty busy all day. From running to the track to take photos and putting them up right away to heading out to see and interview John Force (the legend, the one and only Funny Car 14-time world champ), I ended up somewhat tired.

Here is Tony Pedregon, who will most likely be champ tomorrow.

And down below is John, with his wife beside him, even thought still recovering from his awful crash back in September 07, he gets out there and watches his team race.

Force is always loving his fans and waving back to them.

Friday, November 2, 2007

NHRA Day Two

Shot out to Pomona today for a quick one. They've got the POWERade finals all the way through Sunday. Got to see Angelle Sampey head down the straight-away and a few of the top Fuel dragsters. Man are these car LOUD!
As they accelerate, you can feel their power as the sound waves travel through you. As they pass by, while I'm standing next to the barricade on the track, you can feel their heat. The vibration that courses through your entire body is like being shaken violently for a second while the car passes on by. It's quite scary but exhilirating at the same time!Here is one of the SKOAL girls greeting visitors to their trailer display. Until next time, keep shooting.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

NHRA Pomona

If it's November and you're in Pomona... it's NHRA time!
Yes folks, this is one of my faves. Here is Tony Pedregon heading down the 1/4 mile track at some 311 MPHs... (Miles per Hour!), and that was only good for 7th place today!
Ashley Force burning out during her first go at the straight-away.

Terry Haddock, in the 2006 Race Girl Monte Carlo Funny Car spits flames out of the exhaust pipes while heading down the black-top, Yikes! This is Angelle Sampey, on her 2003 Suzuki, just before setting a new track record on the quarter-mile track in 6.973 seconds.
Getting to go out there with the smell of burnt rubber, nitro fuel and drunk people just can't be topped. Best of all, everyone has access to "backstage," or as they call it, the pit. Yes, the 43rd annual NHRA Auto Club Finals is here and will continue until Sunday, so you have no excuse to go check it out.
Getting to meet the best of the best, the legends and legends-to-be can't be topped by any other sport. Here is dedicated dad John Force keeping an eye on his girl Ashley even though he should be kicking back in his trailer. Where else can you see the drivers and mechanics building their engines from the ground up, and all for the price of admission! I also got to do a video of Tony Pedregon showing off his trailer and of his crew getting the Q-Racing Impala ready for the first day of qualifying.

Until next time, keep shooting

Monday, October 29, 2007

Another tip to self & Haunted video

Hello everyone,

Coming home this evening from the store, a Black&White rushed past me. It happened to be going my way, so in a few minutes, I was at the location where it had stopped, with two other B&Ws. There was some type of large bag or body or something on the ground with an officer looking at it, so, here is the tip for the day, I called the WATCH COMMANDER at Whittier PD. I was told it was a petty theft suspect that had fought for a second or two with Ralph's manager or employee and ran away with the loot. Well, the PD caught up to him not far from the store and had him on the ground.

Moral of the story: Be on top of your local PDs phone numbers AND USE THEM. When calling, introduce yourself as a media member and ask for information on what you are interest on (the B&Ws with something on the ground). If it had been something more exciting, I would have been all ov er it, but it just turned out to be nothing worthy of capturing on camera.

By the way, appropriate for this time of year, I shot this video last year in Pasadena but I thought I run it through again.

Until next time,

keep shooting

Friday, October 26, 2007

Precious Cargo

Note to self: Always have camera ready.

This is what I saw just driving down the street. This was an old beat-up tricycle, the only cargo being hauled. I imagine the driver delivered his goods, found the trike, without pedals, and tossed up on his rig for his kid, or something.

Until next time, keep shooting

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mark Doty - Poet & Memoirist

Had the wonderful opportunity to listen to Mark Doty today, while taking photos and doing a video. Doty's bio, from his website is below. Doty talked to students and guests at Citrus College in Glendora today.
This poet and memoirist talked about poems and their structures, the way they are made and how they should be interpreted. He detailed how they can come to life and how, many times, they can be a work in progress for many years until something in the poem enlightens the author to realize what it is that the poem must convey. Check out my video for some of his thoughts.

Doty is very expressive visually and with words as he decribes his poems and the manner in which he creates them.

Mark Doty is the author of seven books of poems, among them School of the Arts, Source, Sweet Machine, Atlantis, and My Alexandria. He has also published three volumes of nonfiction prose: Still Life with Oysters and Lemon, Heaven's Coast and Firebird.
Doty’s poems have appeared in many magazines including The Atlantic Monthly, The London Review of Books, Ploughshares, Poetry, and The New Yorker. Widely anthologized, his poems appear in The Norton Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry and many other collections.
Doty has received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, two Lambda Literary Awards and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction. He is the only American poet to have received the T.S. Eliot Prize in the U.K., and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim, Ingram Merrill and Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Foundations, and from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Doty lives in New York City and in Houston, Texas, where he is John and Rebecca Moores Professor in the graduate program at the University of Houston.

Tech details: Taking photos indoors is quiet the challenge because of low light and backgrounds. Your first disadvantage is the low lighting used inside. Setting your ISO to about 800 will make your job easier. Then, shoot by spot metering your subject with your aperture (f-stop) wide open and the proper shutter speed. Set manual settings and stay the course. The dark background is going to attempt and will throw your exposures off if you go any other way. The darkness will over-expose your subject and render useless your photos. Remember that the subject is what is important to you and let everything else fall where it may. It will be the exact opposite with a white background. If you are not careful, the white background will underexpose everything. This is so because the meter will attempt to set everything at 18% gray. Another thing I will touch on next time, getting your color balance right. Until next time, keep shooting.

Here is the video:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Moon

Thirty minutes later, looking North East, this is what I saw. The post below was looking South West.

Ever wonder why the moon and sun look the same size? This is what I found for you. From

The Sun happens to be 400 times the Moon's diameter, and 400 times as far away. That coincidence means the Sun and Moon appear to be the same size when viewed from Earth. A total solar eclipse, in which the Moon is between the Earth and Sun, blocks the bright light from the Sun's photosphere, allowing us to see the faint glow from the corona, the Sun's outer atmosphere.

Until next time, keep shooting.

The Evening Sun

Well, looking out my window just before 6 pm (18:00 hrs), this is what I saw. Now, realize that it is not as dark as the photo shows, but in order to get a right sun exposure, the darkening sky gets even darker, but the color of the sun is almost 100% accurate barring any camera processing software errors.

The sun looks like this because of all the particulate matter in the air, smoke from the fires that surround L.A. County. Until next time, keep shooting.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Paparazzi Style - For one night!

Hello everyone,

This is why I would never want to be a Paparazzo (at least not full time!) Look at all these Paparazzi, crammed into a very tiny space, all growling out names of stars, trying to get their attention and a look into their eyes with the lens.
Here we have Mrs. Tony Parker, otherwise known as Eva Longoria, being fully flashed by the Paparazzo.

Host George Lopez.

Okay, back to reallity. Notice that in the top photo, I was INSIDE the red cordon, on the carpet. Last Thursday night, I had the duty to photograph some Hollywood stars for Padres Contra El Cancer (Parents Against Cancer). I have been their official photographer for about five years.

Ah, the ever-so-beautiful Jessica Alba also came to support Padres.

Anyway, their annual gala has grown so much in the last 20 years that is has really become a true Hollywood event. This year's gala was hosted by none other than George Lopez, pictured above. Eva Longoria, from Desperate Housewives is the national spokesperson for them and she was also one of the hosts.
Many other stars came to support this great organization. This is a wonderful organization that helps children with cancer and their families, not only to navigate through the maze they have to go through when someone has cancer, but they also help them with ANYTHING they need in order to get through their ordeal.

Find out more about them at their website .

Here is Andrea Bowen to the left looking fantastic. Down below are Eva & Jessica chatting it up in the green room area.

You know, I love doing these events, but only when I am the official shooter because I get the ALL ACCESS pass that lets me get those fantastic candids that we almost never see. I am not intrusive at all and, most of the time, I ask if I can take the photo. Many times the people in the VIP rooms already know that I am there to do my job and they just let me go about my way. And last but not least, over here on the right is Nicollette Sheridan.

This fundraising event was in West Hollywood at The Lot studios. Mario Lopez, here with Eva hanging out, was also there and he was roasted by George Lopez most of the night, but he took it in stride. Until next time, keep shooting!

Local firefighters head out to battle the flames - Rio Hondo Fire Academy Roadrunners


Today, one of my assignments was to go and take pictures and video of the Rio Hondo Fire Academy guys and gal as they took off to help battle the flames raging up near Castaic. These young people have the heart and courage that most of us would be hard-pressed to bring up. They loaded up all their gear and headed out for possibly as long as 14 days. Imagine taking off to battle flames and being out in the field for two weeks at a time. Man, that's something else. This first photo shows all the provisions they took. About two dozen people for this little amount of water for two weeks, maybe someone will help them ot when they are in the field. I know I drink about three or four of the water bottles, plus some soda and milk during the day, so this can't last too long. They also had personal gear, first aid stuff and whatever else they need to fight the flames.

Here is the video:

Helen Thomas, First Lady of the Press

Hello everyone,

Been quite busy for the last few days, but here is something new.

Helen Thomas, the long-time White House reporter visited Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut yesterday and talked about her time covering presidents from JFK to Bush II.

Here is a video and some pics of this very knowledgeable lady who roasted the present administration.