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Race Day Memories – Indianapolis 500

May 27th, 2012 No comments
Marty Indy 500 1992

Working the Pits on Race Day 1992

Twenty years? How did that happen? I was 27 and working for Fox 59 in Indianapolis as a news photographer and thoroughly enjoying the month of May. Each news organization had their own newsroom near the pagoda where we set up monitors and editing equipment, prepared packages to air later in the day, shared stories, stopped for some food and drink, charged batteries (literal) and even relaxed a little.

Excitement – Everyone on the news team was excited for the Indy 500. We spent hours and hours at the track developing stories covering drivers, fans, weather, speed, practice, qualifications, pit crews, food vendors, luxury suites, Yellow Shirts, parties, camping, sunburn, team owners, controversy, traffic and more. Our two sports guys were Kerry Addington and Brian Hammons although most members of the on-air news staff made it out to the track to put a story together. Bob Donaldson and Chris Wright frequented the track during the month.

Race Day – Our new-to-Indianapolis news director Jim Sanders prepared us by deferring to Brian Hammons who had the most experience with Race Day. (Brian had worked for other news organizations and was actually  working as a pit reporter for the IMS Radio Network on this day.) Our team was focused with their assignments as we loaded our gear. We were escorted by police into the track (what a thrill!) and to our newsroom along the main straightaway. Our fire suits customized for Fox 59 were issued several days prior so those working the pits were protected.

You may remember the weather was cold! This presented a challenge to everyone as we were sure we’d be hot and uncomfortable. Not so! Here are some random memories:

  • Feeling special. Yes I felt fortunate and special to be so close, much closer than a fan could be. Working every day out at the track exposed to drivers and owners and celebrities felt great.
  • Loud. I remember how loud it was, even with ear plugs for protection. Then I had to put an earpiece in to hear directions over the radio and had to turn that up so loud it hurt. There was likely a better way.
  • Access. With the television camera and credentials, access to most everything was a given.
  • Watch out! With cars coming in and out of the pits, you are responsible for getting out of the way. I had to be smart and not put myself in danger. There were a few close calls.
  • Cars on the grid. Prior to the “start your engines” call, I was out on the grid with all the cars, colors, people and that crowd! The grandstands were packed. Crazy.
  • Confusion. It was so loud and communication was tough. I did not have a good sense of what was going on but I knew I had to be taking good video. Our rookie news team likely was not as prepared as we could have been – maybe we should have been listening to the radio broadcast to determine where to go.
  • Crazy race. Remember? Roberto Guerrero crashed on the pace lap, Michael Andretti led most of the way, and  Al Unser, Jr. just barely won by 0.043 seconds over a hard charging Scott Goodyear.
  • I was in Scott Goodyear’s pits at the end of the race and from the reaction of the pit crew thought he may have won the race. That quickly changed as we learned that Little Al had won.

To all those news photographers working today – be safe! You’ll have memories for a lifetime to cherish.

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A Snow Day To Celebrate

January 28th, 2009 3 comments

What’s the name of that phenomena that happens after you get up in the morning, start to get ready for work, then look outside and realize there is almost 10 inches of snow on the ground? Why do you suddenly get a burst of energy nothing like what occurs on a regular work day? Even though I worked most of the day today from home, I had a sense of excitement and energy due to the snow canceling a day-long routine.

Another oddity. Once I realized I would not be leaving the house for a good 8 hours (once the neighborhood was cleared) I had all kinds of cravings and worries for things I might need and did not have in the house. Coffee. Did I have enough coffee?

Late in the afternoon I did venture out and to my surprise the roads that had been cleared were actually dry in some places (the sun started shining about noon, which helped). I took the opportunity to take some photos with my phone (pardon the low quality).

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Family Photo Project Decisions

December 27th, 2008 1 comment

After scanning scanning and more scanning along with editing, cropping, tweaking, saving, optimizing, naming, organizing, naming again and again my mom and I have made some decisions about the final method of organization of our large library of photographs. Yay! (Honestly, we’re both obsessive about organization, so it was pretty pathetic watching the two of us trying to make some final decisions – but we did it!)

picasa_logoOur decisions were based on how our family would likely want to view the photos. We decided to use Google’s Picasa software on my computer, synced to a number of web albums in a new Google account named birdfamilypics. We’ll share the login to this account so we can administer the online photo albums.

Albums will be created based on where we lived followed by the year. For example, “Santa Ana 1970-72” is the name of an album. As a family, we’ve lived in 5 or 6 places so that limits the number of albums to a reasonable handful. All photos will be tagged with events like “birthday” or “graduation” allowing the viewer to pull in photos across the albums when they select a tag. Additional tags where it makes sense will be added.

Even further, Picasa has an exceptional facial recognition feature which in effect, allows you to create “people tags” and view all photos where “Marty” appears. So, if you want to view Marty’s birthdays, Picasa makes it simple by allowing the viewer to choose Marty, then the birthday tag.

We had labored on and on about the file naming structure and in the end that did not really matter since the combination of album, tag, and facial recognition makes the organization and retrieval of images very easy.

Now, will somebody please appreciate us for all the hard work we’ve done so far? 🙂

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November Ends With First Snowfall

November 30th, 2008 1 comment
A beautiful snowfall this morning ensured November would be known for something more than Thanksgiving this year. More pics at the link under the photo.

From November Snowfall
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Pre Thanksgiving Dinner Photos from IU

November 29th, 2008 3 comments
Took the opportunity to arrive in Bloomington a little early and wandered around IU. There is much too much to see in a brief walk, so I’ll likely return soon. There were very few people around since the students are out due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Here are a couple photos, more at the link.
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Hobby Revival: Photography

November 25th, 2008 No comments

After learning how to shoot film on a Pentax K1000 back in the day, my passion for photography waned after a few years, supplanted by my profession as a video photog in the television news business. A couple of years ago I found myself in possession of a new-fangled digital SLR, the Canon Digital Rebel XT. I’m happy to say I have finally started to shoot some photographs in earnest.

My friend Dan and I took a special trip downtown on Saturday, visiting Robert’s Photo for some supplies, then walking around the new Lucas Oil Stadium shooting photos along the route. Dan with his Nikon and myself with a Canon, we compared images later that day.

Then again Sunday, I walked up and down Zionsville’s Main Street experimenting with my camera. Dare I say I’m enjoying it? Maybe stirring up a passion?

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