Saturday, October 13, 2007

Triple over-time

Well, had to video tape the Friday Night game of the week - La Puente's Bishop Amat (1-4) vs. visiting Santa Fe Spring's St. Paul (4-1)

Game went well, back and forth with these two rivals. St. Paul put the screws to Bishop Amat with 3 seconds left and knocking at the 1-foot line. The best D I've seen in a play this year, to deny BA a score and a win. Well, after three OTs and rain pouring down on me, without any rain gear and some $8K worth of gear hanging on me (Canon XL2 and Canon Mark II w/16-35mm 2.8 and accessories), it came down to a two-point attempt after a TD by St. Paul for the win. Well, with the rain-slicked field, the kid who scored 3 TDs to keep St. Paul in the game slipped near the goal line, and the game ended with a score of 31-30 for the home team BA. Game began at 7:30 pm. Half time festivities included Home Coming. Game ended in pouring rain just before 11 PM. Had game (61 mins) downloaded just after midnight. Edited and by 1:20 am began to do voice over. Got out of there by 2:35 AM. And you can believe that at no time, there was any time to relax. It was all pure concentration to get the job done "quickly." With the voice-over done, the video was up some time after that for all to see and enjoy. Check out the video here:

Until next time... keep shooting

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Not sugar-coated

Hi everyone,

Well, sometimes we get letters & cards congratulating us for the fine work we do. Sometimes, we get letters letting us have it for being insensitive. Today, I found out my editor received a letter of the second kind. In essence, someone complained about the graphic photos published of the decapitated animals I photographed Tuesday (see item below).

(link here: )

First a definition, from (source is The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

pho·to·jour·nal·ism (fō'tō-jûr'nə-lĭz'əm) Pronunciation Key
n. Journalism in which a news story is presented primarily through photographs with supplementary written copy.

As photojournalists, we have the charge of bringing the general public photographs of news events that we encounter in our daily treks. Personally, I photograph scenes as I see them. Sometimes, we have to photograph things that are not for the faint of heart, for those with queazy stomachs but scenes nonetheless that are newsworthy.

Photographing decapitated animals is not at the top of my list, but as a photojournalist I have to give you, the public, a view of the scene as it is. I become the eyes for everyone who cannot be at the scene of the crime. Yes, sometimes it will be grewsome stuff, but you are the one with the hard decision to make: to look or not to look. Hopefully, from the headline people are able to discern what the story is about and either look or skip it.

Everyone has a right to their opinion and I am no one to criticize what this person has said about my photos because it is his opinion. There will always be people who agree and disagree with what one does. Hopefully, I am bringing you the reader a view that can provoke some thought. I will not sugar coat the world because reality is not always as we hope it to be. Sometimes, the world has to shake us to remind us of the realities that exist around us. I feel that this was such a exceptional, uncommon, extraordinary and abnormal situation that it had to be brought to light. Maybe something in the photos will trigger someone's memory and details of this mistery may come to light.

A final thought: Just from looking at the top photo galleries, I can tell you that people generally like to see photos of hard news like crime scenes, court appearances, fires, accidents and high school sports along with a special feature (Rose Court) once in a while. What does this show about us all, as a society, when in one day photos of a scene where people burnt alive get hits in the thousands and a gallery of an appearance by a world-renowned child advocate gets less than 80 hits in one week?

Your thoughts are welcome.

(PS: Here is the link to the letter)

Until next time, keep shooting.

Stripped and dumped

Zoom zoom...

Listening to the scanner, I heard a Car over the side on Glendora Mtn. Rd. north of Glendora in the Angeles National Forest. The photo editor heard it as well and he monitored the scanner. I looked at my trusty CHP website for accidents and there it was, directions and all. Remember in my first post I told you to keep that website handy?
Anyway, after almost an hour's drive, I got to the point at Glendora Mountain Road past Glendora Ridge Road. The San Dimas Search & Rescue people were rappelling down a very steep area with lots of brush. After a few minutes, the two pros got to the car, a Mazda Miata that was right-side up but very demolished.

One of the guys down there called up and said the car had no keys in the ignition, most of the wiring inside the car was gone and parts of the engine were missing: Deduction - classic signs of a dumped stolen car. So, yesterday I had dumped decapitated animals and today a dumped stripped car.

Until next time,

Keep shooting

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Goats and chickens... decapitated & dumped

Well, weird call this morning. Someone reported dead animals dumped at the east end of Hadley St. in Whittier. They said the animals had been there since at least Monday morning. There were animals, goats and chickens to be exact, along with bags of rotting fruit, mostly apples, pineapples and oranges.
The three goats and multiple chickens had been decapitated. Nothing else wrong with the carcasses, except no heads. Hmmm... You speculate. I am a journalist and I just report what I see. I had seen three bags of carcasses last month up on Turnbull Canyon and those slowly disappeared throughout the week, possibly eaten by Coyotes, but again, I can't speculate.
What I did see at that time were Common ravens going at the bags.

Anyway, this is what I have to shoot and see during my daily outings into our community. Oh, by the way, the smell was terrible. When one of the goats was picked up, there were maggots crawling all over the ground. I could not get the smell out of my nose, it seems it had been penetrated by the awfully pestilent, noxious, pernicious odiferous scene (or whatever happens to the olfactory sensors) for about two hours. Yuk!

Until next time, keep shooting.

Rival friends

Rivals in football - Friends for life

Life-long friends and now football rivals will go head-to-head Friday night in local high school football. Dorian Wells (West Covina's South Hills High School), left in photo, and Bryce Mahmud-McBride (Hacienda Heights' Los Altos High School) played for Bishop Amat High School in La Puente (very history-filled football tradition) last year but both transfered out, reportedly, because of the coaching changes and tunnel vision the staff has in regards to being fair at playing all the kids.
Anyway, these two kids are now having very successful senior years and will battle it out, as friends, Friday night. This photo was done early in the morning, 7 am, at a neutral field in West Covina.

Tech facts: Manual setting: f 2.8 @ 1/800 sec. , ISO 400 rating. 16-35mm lens at about 20 mm (21mm actually).
Lighting = Trusty on-board strobe (flash) with kicker card, low angle to emphasize size & strength, with goal posts in background to set the scene. any questions, write me at

Monday, October 8, 2007

Royal Court

....for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

Here is the 2008 Royal Court.
From left: Courtney Rubin, 17, Chloe Ghoogassian, 17, Gaelen Stanford-Moore, 17, Katie Merrill, 17, Zena Brown, 18, Dusty Gibbs, 17, and Kelsey MacDougall, 17.

Yes, this was my assignment today. I was given the duty to capture the action as the 7 members of the Royal Court were announced today at the Tournament House in Pasadena. There were 33 finalists, so 26 were going to be left out this time. This is one of those assignments that if you don't get there really early, you will have to fight to get a decent photo as the action goes down.

With a 9:30 start time, I arrived at about 8 am only to find that a lot of the media, mostly television, was already set up and ready to go. No worries, I said to myself, as I planted my camera and bag right in front of the first camera riser. Soon after, many others arrived and filled the media area. A little tip for you young ones. When you arrive at an event like this one, you just don't want to get the shots everyone else will get. Instead, work the area to see what else you can capture. The 33 girls were rehearsing their entrance and introduction, so I grabbed a few shots of that.
Then I introduced myself to the main PR person there and asked if I could do something a little different. I wanted to capture the girls as they waited for the announcement. All you can do is ask and you'll be surprised how many times the media people will want you to do what you ask for.

So, I was given an escort to walk through the House and we found the girls upstairs, in a room that is usually used by the Royal Court just before they come out for the actual Rose Parade. The girls were looking at photo albums or past queens and just hanging out with each other. Some were putting the final touches as well. After working the room for a few minutes, I returned to the presentation area and soon after, the 33 girls were introduced, and..... the 7 members of the Royal Court were announced.
Once again, I was able to work the area and got some posed shots of the 7 girls with the roses each received for being selected. Not to dampen the spirits, there were some anti-Chinese government protestors at the front of the house, on the sideway. They had signs with photos of tortured people, reportedly, from China and signs with "Free Tibet."

There was also a mock operating room with one "doctor" performing surgery, removing an "organ" and putting it in a cooler. The cooler was then given to someone who handed the doctor's assistant a wad of cash! Can you imagine this happening is this day and age? The people there said this really happens in China. They said people are kidnapped, operated on to harvest organs and then killed. Organs harvested, they said, include retinas, hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers and whatever else someone needs, as long as the cash is there.

The Royal Court Queen will be chosen soon out of the seven girls. The remaining six will be princesses and they will ride near the front during the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2008, and will also be present at the Rose Bowl. For a complete set of photos from the event, check out the paper's website:

Until next time, keep shooting.