Thursday, May 12, 2005

Photog Bloggers Unite!

We TV news photogs are an expressive bunch. Be it in the live truck or edit bay, we swap stories with a gusto and verve not found in Accounting. Since our working lives are centered around storytelling devices, it should be no surprise that we've flocked to the blogosphere in numbers. And have we. From New Zealand to L.A. to Charlotte, camera jockeys of every stripe are launching blogs and filling them with their own special blend of venom and wit. Like the lensers behind them, no two photogs-blogs are alike. However they're all entertaining. It's like hanging out at the crime tape, without all the pacing and scratching.

So its with particular delight that I bring you my small part of a larger movement, the first ever Photog/Blogger Crossover Post. At the behest of insatiable communicator Little Lost Robot, all of the news shooters listed below have posted their own thoughts and evidence on a particular subject within the past twelve hours. We start with the basics: The Gear...

It's been said that a cameraman without a camera is just a man. That's no small statement, as these magical gadgets are more than recording devices - they are portals to worlds off-limits to mere civilians. Thus, we take very good care of these valuable tools and seek to know everything about them. I know guys who can recite serial numbers of hidden circuit boards, but I'm less of a gearhead myself. Still, I can tell you that my weapon of choice is this Sony XDCam, the first generation of TV news camera to record on optical disk. In the world of broadcast cameras, it is a shiny new Corvette. Too bad I park it on such an ancient tripod.

Of course you can't be an action figure without a tricked-out ride. For me, its this 2000 Ford Explorer Sport, complete with garish logos and center console condiment pack. But this is more than a battered news unit pushing a hundred thousand miles; it is noble steed, proud peacock and mobile home. Since I first climbed behind the wheel, I've steered this two-door vessel through hurricane, blizzard, heatwave and a thousand ribbon-cuttings along the way. Legions of law enforcers have waived this lowly SUV through acres of barricades and more fast food workers than I care to mention have shoved bags of grease through its driver-side window. The assignment desk calls it Unit Four, but to me its a magic carpet - one that draws stares at stoplights and gets to park where mortal men fear to tread.

A quick glance inside my chariot reveals the many tools of my trade. From batteries of every denomination to a light kit pre-dating color television, I pack a pretty mean bag. You would too if you're job required the occasional train wreck camp-out, the icy overpass excursion and the constant threat of a sudden road trip. Luckily my bosses equip me with much of what I need to stock my mobile studio. The rest I've fashioned out of bearskins and assorted animal bones. Though it may look like a jumbled mess, rest asssured I could locate any item with my eyes shut. Like alot of photogs, I'm pretty anal about my stuff. Get caught poking through it and you'll incur the wrath of one badly aging lenslinger. Don't laugh. I'm a wanted man in seven news markets.

Since my daily diet of driving and shooting is usually topped off with a healthy heap of late-day writing, I feel compelled to show you where that takes place as well. It is at this desk that I squat every afternoon, trying to block out the boisterous voices of the open newsroom and concentrate on the unwritten story at hand. It ain't always easy, especially when there's a chorus of idling shooters trading knock-knock jokes over your shoulder. Luckily I have my collection of cast-off characters to help hone my focus; plastic talismans culled from eight years of news-crew Happy Meals. One morning I arrived at my desk to find some nefarious co-worker had rearranged my toys in a horrid display of cartoon carnal knowledge. I'd get specific, but this IS a family blog.

Well there you have it: a quick rundown of just a few of the devices in my modern newsgathering life. Check out the other photog-blog offerings linked below and you'll get more than extended inventories. You'll meet wizards and busybodies, pirates and nerds - all with more tall tales, gizmos and street cred than any other profession I know. Don't say I didn't warn you.

tv photog blog

newshutr's views


kazz's world

little lost robot


erin winking

colonel corn


Weaver said...

Stewart you have cool stuff. Great post. Modern technology...isn't it great.

HockeyPat said...

You guys are making me feel left out. Last night I went to Best Buys and bought a video cam and a police scanner. Then I painted bright colored numbers on my car. I’m channel 00! When news break… I fix it!

I spent the whole night last night trying to get the “real” story. Right now I'm shopping around my scathing expose “Everyone is asleep”

Colonel Corn's Camera said...

Dude, you could make a police report funny. Good job. Hope you are not too wet this morning.

The Colonel

Anonymous said...

Cool post, but I notice a bunch of you guys drive Fords. What's the deal with that? Do they give TV Stations a special deal or something?

Lenslinger said...

Pat, That's some funny sheet. Be sure not to scare anyone at your apartment complex.

As to the proliferation of Fords in the news world, ya got me. My forst station swore by the Chevy Blazer. but my second and third shops were definitely pro-Ford. That said, I know of stations that employ a wide variety of imports and domestic vehicles to provide their field crews proper conveyance. I really don't care what maker's badge adorns my news unit, as long as Uncle Rupert keeps footin' the bill for all that gas I burn in the line of duty.

Thanks for reading...

Smitty said...

Great job, as always 'Slinger..

Enjoy the weekend!

Weaver said...

I think the deal with the Ford's as newcars is really a cost and practicality issue. The Explorer without a bunch of fancy bells and whistles is a fairly inexpensive car compared to the other SUV's. But we also have Taurus Station wagons and a couple of Ford MiniVans.

I do think there is a little wheelin' and dealin' going on to get our rides. The two black Explorer's we have just happened to be in stock when the station was in the market for them in 99.
But aside from us TV Photograpbloggers, you will also find a TON of Dodge Caravans as news cars. I have seen Jeep Cherokee's, Grand Cherokee's, Isuzu Troppers, Crown Vics, Malibus, Luminas, Taurus(wagon and sedan), Expeditions, Subaru Outbacks, Saturns, Durangos, all as news vehicles. Anyone care to add to the list?

Anonymous said...

my shop uses KIAs and Honda Elements. Both would actually be great cars for TV news if they weren't such junk -- the KIAs escpecially.

I'm wondering why Lost Remote is the only blog I've seen by TV news producers.

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