Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Heartbreak In S.E. Mesa

I had just finished my dinner at one of the Valley's finest dining establishments tonight (those who know me will recognize this as Chipotle...... Mmmmmmmm) when I saw a thick column of black smoke rising from the neighborhood to the east. I headed that way and got to the location on South Longspur about the same time as the first fire trucks.

It seems a family's van had caught fire either in the driveway or in the garage and had then been pushed into the drive.

When I pulled up the van was fully engulfed in the driveway and the Fire Dept. was just rolling out the hoses.

In quick order they were both hosing the van and house and shortly thereafter laid a protective foam layer on the neighboring house. By that time the flames from the van had ignited the eaves right above it and the flames were drawn up under the roof tiles.

Before long the roof was ablaze with flames shooting into the night sky.

There was a unit positioned on the cross street just to the north with a ladder or lift from which the firefighters had an overhead view of the fire. I think they had to wait until the roof fire was under a bit more control as I didn't see any spray from the overhead position until the flames had been subdued.

Here are some more shots:

The old saying is true that says, "If you set a house afire people will gather to watch it burn."

A view from down the block to the South.

At one point the smoke really thickened at ground level and you couldn't even see the men working the blaze.

Those of you who are inclined to pray might intercede on behalf of this family. I'm sure they'd appreciate it.

Thankfully, to my knowlege, and that of the officer I spoke to at the scene, no one was injured in the blaze.

Friday, January 25, 2008

MLK Basketball Classic

This past weekend I had the privilege to shoot the MLK Basketball Classic at Mesa Community College and ASU with my associate, Jim. Now, I'm not a sports shooter and don't make any claims as such, but I am an event shooter and I'm always looking for ways to expand my horizons photographically.

Jim and I were shooting for the event organizers and wanted to capture a sense of the event itself and not just the players. Between quarters they had shootoff's at each end of the court with two young spectators chosen from the crowd to shoot free throws and layups. There were cheerleaders at the High School games as well as dance troupes and spirit squads at both venues.

We arrived at noon both days to set up. Jim and I were the only ones using remote flash units to help light the floor. There were media folks from newspaper, magazine and television outlets represented. The High School event not only attracted the media but there were a number of college coaches on hand to scout the talent.

It was a great opportunity to stretch and develop my skills. Basketball players move a bit faster and in different directions than your average wedding party. Nobody in a wedding photo jumps unless I direct them to. At the games I'd get a player all framed perfectly and suddenly he or she would jump and I'd get a shot of their body and feet but no head..... kinda like some of the snapshots some of my relatives take....... c'mon..... you've got an aunt or uncle like that too..... In fact, they often distract the folks I'm taking photos of and I get a shot of half the group looking at aunt Mabel and her instamatic instead of at my camera. I hope aunt Mabel got a good shot but I'm guessing some of you are missing heads........ But that's a subject for another post.

The spirit squads were just as difficult. You'd get a whole pack of them framed and all of a sudden they'd launch some little girl twenty feet in the air! I've got a couple of shots with a cluster of girls on the floor and a pair of white shoes barely in the top of the frame.

Once some of the basic differences were accounted for I was able to get into a groove and shoot from various vantage points. Like other events you just have to anticipate the action and be ready. You may have to be ready a bit quicker, but that's part of the game.

You can see more of the shots from this event (both mine and Jim's) at Jim's Desert Graphix site. You can view the Juco event as well as the High School event. Photos you're sure to flip over!

......Sorry. Couldn't resist........