Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Photog Feng Shui

Gear StashAsk any TV news reporter and they’ll tell you, we photogs are a picky breed. Sure, many of us dress like roadies on break from OzzFest, but even the sloppiest of our lot is still pretty stickling when it comes to the gizmos. You have to be, when your expected to upload continuous team smotherage at the drop of a wrecking ball, edge of a manhunt, or lobby of a proctologist’s office. Zeitgeist aside, Job One is to be there when the shit goes down, or at least in time to establish an electronic beachhead before all the casualties are carted off.

That kind of situational readiness requires forethought and constant vigilance - especially when it comes to ancillary gear. You know…dying batteries, fraying cable, torn softbox - all tools of the trade that need our attention, if not our love! Hmm-Mmm. Sorry - just trying to explain to any reporters out there why their partner for the day gets his britches in a twist every time you wrap the lavaliere cord too tight. See, that jumbled mass of broadcast implements jostling in the back is more than just high-dollar hardware. It is an craftsman’s palette, a sniper’s arsenal and a work of art in its very arrangement. Disrespect at your own peril. Just ask that shifty sports intern who used to lunch-line everyone’s rig on the weekend. The one they now call ‘Lefty‘.

But don’t let one case of inter-office vengeance scare you off. More times than not we’re happy to give you a guided tour of our toolkits, from the everyday utensils like spare light bulbs and duct tape - to the less obvious tchotchke: clothes pins, tinfoil, even a beat-up hairdryer from back in the day. Truth is, keeping up with all this crap is a full-time job. Schlepping it around the Greater Metro Tri-State and perching on the edge of politics and plunder is quite another. Is it any wonder you off-air partner is constantly glancing in the rearview mirror - moving his lips in silent inventory as he wonders if he’s got enough drop-cord on board. As long as he’s not separating his condiment packets by food group, he’s okay. (Unless he’s a she - then she’s really good at multi-tasking.) Either way, try to embrace your photog’s proclivity for anal-retentive hardware-care. How else can you expect the shooter in your life to be ready to roll when the Governor decides to break dance.

Miss that and you'll never hear the end of it...


Williams in KC said...

Well put, Lenslinger!

Anonymous said...


Many a-times I've had to explain to a reporter or five why where they put a particular piece of equipment is not even close to being the correct spot.

I'm very anal retentive about my equipment. When I'm diving into my gear at 4am, I don't want to search for it. I just want to reach in and grab it.