Monday, July 30, 2007


Here are some photos from the fire I talked about below, just firemen doing their job. Not to bad for being a volunteer fire department.

"This is a dark day in Lemoore."-John Murray, City of Lemoore Mayor

This past Saturday morning, about 1:30 a.m., I awoke to the smell of a campfire scenting my room. I particularly love the smell of campfires, but not in my room.

A fire had broken out in an apartment complex less than a mile from my bedroom, and it's smell canvassed most of town.

But this was not your everyday fire, in fact it was the worst fire in the history of Lemoore, killing five people. All of them were under the age of 20.

Being the journalist that I am, I hoped out of bed after my cousin alerted me where this fire was. In less than five minutes I was out the door with my camera gear on my way still feeling a little groggy.

I didn't find out that find out five people didn't make it out until about 2:30 a.m. I talked with the mother of three of the victims, while she patiently waited for news. Though obviously distraught, she had no problem talking with me. Niether did one of the victims bestfriends, who had just visited his friend hours before.

It's intersting, that the people that are directly affected with the incident had no problem talking with me, but one person, who was a bystandard, was upset that I was there reporting. They felt that I was in the wrong covering the tragic fire.

This has really grabed a hold of me the past couple of days since. Was I wrong to be there covering the fire? If so, what makes it wrong?

Personally, I don't feel that I was wrong. It was a news event that people wanted to know about. But beyond that, I feel that those five that parished deserved to be known. Their story deserves to be spread from each and every person possible, so that they too can mourn with the family.

People might think journalist are just looking for a next story, not caring about the event they are reporting on, and are only doing it because it's their job. I can tell you being a journalist is more than a job. I don't do it for the pay, because there isn't much, and I don't do it for the recognition, because my name will be in the paper no matter what I write.

Not to sound cliche, but I do it for the people. I do it to inform, to educate and to assist. I do it because I like too.

This was not just another story for me. Five people parished, and I was there watching the reaction of the family and friends as they waited for any kind of informaiton from authorities. I felt just as bad as any other person out there, and didn't sleep much after I went home at 4:30 a.m. because I couldn't stop thinking about how five people younger than me just died.

I guess that's part of being a journalist though, taking the good stories with the bad, but it still stings a little. That was the first tragic incident that I have had to cover in person, less than a week before I leave the paper. It was the first time someone didn't agree with my presence. A lot of first.

My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends of those who died. It's a tragic event that will be remembered for years to come.

God bless.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

America today...

My view of Old Glory during the National Anthem.

It just doesn't seem right.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Take me out to the ballgame....

So this week I am in Selma, shooting for the Selma Enterprise and Kingsburg Recorder, while their photog, Corey Ralston, is on vacation. Lucky him.

The big news in town is the 12 year old Cal Ripken Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament, which is compiled of teams from Hawaii, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Guam and California. The tourney is being held in Kingsburg

Two hometown teams and only two California teams, Easton-Caruthers and Kingsburg, are in the semifinals after beating some very good teams from out of state.

I shot two games on Monday battling bugs and heat, and will shot another tomorrow. The Enterprise and Recorder will be doing a scene page on the tournament.

I have had to use my cat-like reflexes and smooth moves, after a few foul balls and wild throws came my way. While shooting I have to be on the field in front of one of the dugouts, with no sort of protection. But that's part of the job, and it doesn't hurt to pray you don't get hit with a ball.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A new look

As you can see, I am sporting a new look here in the blogging world. It is my first step towards stepping away from the templates provide by blogger. It's not a big step, but one non-the-less.

I hope you dig the new look, and keep an eye out for future changes to enhance your viewing pleasure.

I included this picture of some grapes, that I took about 10 minutes ago, just for fun.

One more day till the weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A little recognition

I received some great news this past Monday.

I was up for a CNPA Better Newspaper Contest award, and took home a second place prize. I was gunning for first, but I was out-dueled by a paper in Northern California.

It's funny that most of postings on here revolve around photos, but my award was for writing. It was a story about a school out in the rural parts of Fresno County that had a connection with a school in Uganda. It was a two part story that took me a total of two months to put together.

It was nice to get some recognition for the story that I worked the hardest on.

Next year I'll take home first though.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Come get some

If you haven't happened to check out an arena football game, you should. If you like football, it's a fine cure for those off-season withdrawals. It's a lot of scoring and a lot of hitting, some will say almost too much hitting, but that's just being silly.

The reason I have been at the past couple of games for the Central Valley Coyotes, based out of Fresno, is because their quarterback, Clay Groefesma, is from Lemoore. I consistently contribute to the Lemoore Advance, mainly sports, so it's kind of cool that I can go watch these games and get paid for it.

While shooting this game, it is not uncommon to see me swearing at my camera. I am forced to shoot with a D30, please don't mistake that for a 30D. The first generation DSLR from Canon is a piece of junk, that will not fire even though you are pressing down the shutter and the linebacker just knocked the QB into the stands. Don't even get me started on the focusing.

I had to shoot this game at 1600, and was around 320-250-f/2.8. 1600 is not the ideal setting on this camera, and 320 is a little slow to catch the ball moving. I don't believe I am allowed to use a flash, even so I don't have one that would work.

The question I keep asking myself is, if I had a better camera, say a 1D Mark II like everyone else on that sideline, would I be getting better shots. They would definitely be higher quality, but would I be getting the shots?

I assume that I would, but for now I should be happy with the camera I have.