November 03, 2006

Chasing photos

Our paper's Oct. 25 issue was a big one for me. It had the highest page count since I've been editor, and it was going free to three times as many people as usually pay to see the paper. So a lot was at stake.

I hadn't had much sleep leading up to my deadline day, since I was pouring so much effort into putting out a quality paper. But still, when I went to work Tuesday, I didn't feel like I had a good-looking front page.

Early afternoon as I was laying out pages, I heard talk of a high-speed interstate chase on the scanner. Rarely do I chase the scanner on deadline day, but I needed some strong photo for the front page.

I grabbed a camera and telephoto lens and ran to the car. I turned on the scanner in my car and monitored the progress of the chase, which started in a neighboring county, as I drove to a nearby overpass. About three blocks away from the interstate, I heard the cops on the scanner say they were five miles north of me, headed south. Periodically I heard them mention speeds of 90 miles per hour.

I parked near the overpass and walked onto the bridge. After about 30 seconds, I saw the fugitive car and cops coming towards me. I stood on the bridge and shot a few frames of the distant chase. Then as they drew closer, I realized that I didn't know who was in the fugitive car nor did I know what they were doing.

So I took cover behind the guardrail/bridge and continued shooting as the car weaved and dodged amongst the cop cars who were trying to box it in. The fugitive car was somewhat banged up and I could smell it as they went by.

They chase went under the bridge and continued south. I crossed the road and continued shooting, noting the state troopers who appeared to place a spike strip across the interstate. Shortly after the chase crossed that strip, the car veered left, creating a cloud of dust as it went into the guardrail. It then drifted across the traffic, coming to a stop on the right shoulder.

I ran back to the car and headed to the next overpass to the south, but there was little to see by the time I got there (other than a totaled car with an army of cop cars behind it). The occupants of the car had already been arrested by the time I got there.

Turned out authorities placed an alert for the car, which was stolen, three minutes before law officers saw it and the chase started in a nearby county.

In the end, the photos were a complete scoop, and I had some strong photos/news on the front page. And I had adrenaline, too! I've covered fires and things, which are extreme, but this was more intense than anything I've covered before.

Below is the main image I ran with information about the chase case.


The second photo ran smaller, inset in the extended caption information. At the top of the frame is the car wiping out about 1/2 mile from my overpass. In the middle of the frame, you can see two state troopers pulling out from a cut-through where they'd apparently deployed spike strips.


Posted by JRC at 06:58 PM | TrackBack

Little bear

This time of year some of our friends have had peeps or "tumblebees." For us, this past week brought a little bear.


Honest, he's a cuddly little bear. Don't think his swing legs in the backround are antlers on his costume hood. That's what one of my employees thought today.

And yes, he's sitting unassisted (for that one moment frozen in time). Gabe is able to sit for several seconds at a time -- more everyday. He hasn't been able to put himself in that position yet, but the day is coming.

Posted by JRC at 05:49 PM | TrackBack