Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Nikon D2H Shoot: "Early to Bed"? I Didn't Think So...

I'm exhausted.

I couldn't sleep until 4am, but had to get up at 6am to capture more candidate video as Martin O'Malley pressed the flesh while greeting rushing commuters inside the New Carrollton metro station. Driving there in traffic (how can ANYONE be up before daybreak??), I made it there just in time. But the place brought back some bitter memories of the first time that someone had broken into my car after I had taken some gear out of the trunk years ago. I had taken the metro to cover a march on the district and figured that parking there would be safe.

Little did I know that someone watched me pulling some gear out of the back and hit my car when I left. I didn't even know until a day later, when I tried opening the trunk to pull out my 400mm f/ 3.5 Nikkor, that my lock had been forced open by a large screwdriver. The trunk was barren. My 400mm, my 300mm f/ 2.8... gone. Fortunately, my father's homeowner's insurance covered a good chunk of the loss. But it didn't cover my sense of vulnerability and feeling of being emotionally molested.

I recalled that thought, but the open lot had been replaced by a tall parking structure. I grabbed my camcorder and went to the entrance where Mayor O'Malley stood. Gone like a bad smell in the wind were my visions of capturing O'Malley with the warm morning sunlight in his face as he smiled, shaking hands of supporters heading for the subway.

No, that's too easy.

Instead, I couldn't find him. Only his supporters stood with the green, black and white signs outside, in the cold breeze. The candidate was in the tunnel, but I couldn't even pick him out. Another volunteer pointed to him as O'Malley stood in the darkness, just in front of an overhead light, shaking hands in the darkness.

This HVX200 is great. The widest open aperture to pick up light is f/ 1.4. You can drop the shutter down to 1/24th second and get some footage that resembles film. But even this gear couldn't set a white balance in the light that was in the tunnel, because it was too dark!

Dudley had asked me to shoot some audio of all the candidates, so I figured I'd do that, and perhaps we could find a place somewhere else. About 3 minutes into my shoot, and !B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-! SSSSSSSSSSS! Yup, guess.

A work crew had just started using a jackhammer, breaking up part of the walkway beneath the tunnel! I gave up and headed home, hoping to catch an hour of sleep before rushing back up to northern Baltimore to shoot some video of Ben Cardin, who, along with O'Malley, were gathering endorsements at an AFSCME retirees' luncheon. On the way up the BW Parkway, I saw a bicyclist riding across a pedestrian bridge. Ooh! I though, but I didn't have enough time to stop. So I debated going back and finally took an exit a couple miles up the road, swung back south, and returned. Pulling well off the shoulder, I grabbed my D2H and waited. Another car pulled in front (I feel really uneasy when someone does that, these days) and started backing up. "Do you need any help?" the man asked. Come to think of it, I didn't check his license plate (but I was getting ready to photograph it), so I thanked him for the offer and saw a guy walking to school over the bridge.

Walk to School

Anyway, I'm only going to share this little entry as I bail out of here and make myself invisible. It's almost 6pm, and I'm bushwhacked. Twelve hours of work after 2 hours of sleep equals exhaustion.

But at least I fed the beast with a weather picture.

Feel free to thumb through my Flickr pictures and share any thoughts about what I've been shooting. I know it isn't all that exciting, and I haven't really been able to breathe some of my personal vision into my daily work. Ususally, I have a little time between shoots where I might find a creative moment. I hope I can do this more often.

Meanwhile, I'd better skedaddle... I heard that the editors are looking for a warm body to drive up York Road to re-shoot a picture of a building front, after someone on staff failed to drop the picture into the system, and didn't burn a disk with the pictures they shot.

Shhh! I'm gettin' outta here!

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