Friday, May 30, 2008

In other news...

Where there's smoke... there's probably a photographer.

On the way to a meeting in the beaches Kiri and I saw a large black bellowing puff of smoke rising from behind some buildings in front of us. It was pretty black. (Note: As a general rule the more black smoke is the more toxic it is. You don't want to be inhaling that stuff.) We drive down to the Beaches theatre parking lot and parked the car. It was a house on fire. More to the point it was a house roof on fire.

I got out of the car, grabbed my camera bag, gave the keys to Kiri, hopped a fence and ran toward the house all while framing and clicking off shots with the camera. By the time I had gotten close to the front of the house I realized I left my wider lens at home. I only had my 105mm and my 10.5 mm fish eye. Drat. I ran away from the house trying to get as much of the smoke in frame. I managed to get a few shots of flame just before the black smoke turned to grey steam. The firefighters were pretty efficient. The fire was out in minutes.

Later on Kiri told me to get the photos to one of the newspapers. I didn't think much of it but a few months maybe even a year ago I met a guy that worked at the SUN who said if I shot anything "interesting" to email him. Once back at home I looked him up and emailed a few photos not really having any expectations. After all Now and View had used my photos and didn't even give me a photo credit.

About five minutes later I got a call from the photo editor. They were interested in some of the photos and were willing to offer money for them should they use them. "Would I get a photo credit?" I blurted. "Yes, that's standard practice." I got back. "Hmmmm... maybe at the SUN", I thought.

I could see now how being a news photographer on a regular basis and having your main source of income coming from it could be pretty nutty. Sitting in front of police scanners all day waiting for something to happen. Speeding down to the place of interest before it's cleaned up, Wondering if there was another photographer on the scene, did they get better photos, will there be a bigger story that will make the one you're covering less important, so much so that it doesn't get published? Yet there are people that do this on a daily basis. Makes you wonder.

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