Surplus Serpas.

Surplus Serpas.

“Oh yeah, well if the Serpa is so bad,  why does the military use it?” – Serpa fanboys

”They don’t.” – Reality

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Lessons From A Walmart Parking Lot.

Lessons From A Walmart Parking Lot.

There was a guy who went to a Walmart with his family late last night around 10 o’clock. We’ll call him “Kevin.”

Kevin noticed as he was getting out of his car that there was a young gentleman in his mid-20s going from row to row, looking around at the cars.

Kevin then watched as said gentleman met up with two more friends and all three started a conversation in an end of the parking lot away from all the cars.

Kevin had been shopping at his Walmart for almost three years now, and knew what the clientele looks like and how they act. This gentlemen looked different and acted different than what was the norm for this establishment, and seeing how it was late in the evening on Black Friday, (a busy shopping day for us, a busy work day for thieves), Kevin decided to walk his family to the door of the Walmart, then told his wife to go shop for Christmas ribbon with his sons, and said that he would meet up with them at the front door of the store when they were done.

Kevin then stood around by the front door, flashlight tucked out of the way in his hand, keeping an eye on the young gentlemen as they continued their conversation in the parking lot and eventually walked off the premises of Walmart.

Kevin then waited for his family, walked with them to their car and drove off.

Was Kevin unusually paranoid? Maybe. Did Kevin inconvenience his family by acting this way? Not really. Did Kevin put himself in a position to keep his property safe when a hinky situation presented itself?

Most definitely.

Update: Someone asked on Facebook what “Kevin” (me) would have done if the gentlemen in question started opening car doors. I’d call 911, and start about writing down details of dress, height, hair color, etc. so I would get them correct for the cops. If they opened up MY car door, I’d hit him with the beam of my flashlight and ask them what they were doing and then we’d go from there (which would also probably end up in me calling the cops).

Prep Work.

Prep Work.

I picked up an assignment, many years ago, to take pictures of Magic Johnson right after he gave a speech at a luxury Phoenix resort. I knew his time would be limited, so I arrived early, scouted a good location, and my assistant and I set up four high-powered strobe lights to properly expose him and wonderful Arizona sunset that would happen just as the shot was scheduled to happen.

But what DID happen was that the resort’s circuits weren’t up to the task of handling my strobes and their outdoor lighting at the same time, so my first test shoot blew a breaker and everything went dark.

I had to take a picture of Magic Johnson, and I had to take it NOW, no matter if my primary light source just went into the crapper.

Fortunately for me, I knew that resort pretty well and I knew the outside breezeways looked pretty good and went east-west so there was still light in them even as the sun was going down. I grabbed my assistant, my tripod and a flex fill, and away we all went for an impromptu available light shoot as the light slowly faded in the west.

And the chromes turned out pretty good. Good enough that I picked up two more assignments from the agency who assigned me.

Now think about it… if I hadn’t been familiar with the environment around me and I didn’t have that reflector and/or assistant with me and was inexperienced at slow shutter speed photography, I’d be completely out of luck and would have p!ssed off a basketball legend and not gotten paid by my client for the job.

Familiarity with your surroundings… having a backup plan and backup gear… recognizing what the issue is and working around it on the spot… why does that all seem so familiar? 😉

Oh, and if you get a chance to take photos of Mr. Johnson, do so. He was, BY FAR, the most approachable and laid-back celebrity I’ve ever photographed. It’s not an act with him.

Gallows Humor

Gallows Humor

All full!

Something about facing imminent danger brings out the comedian in us.

You may have heard about the Facebook event to “Shoot Guns at Hurricane Irma,” but did you hear of
Gathering All Hispanic Moms To Help Get Irma In Her Place, “Destroy Hurricane Irma By Cooling The Atlantic With Ice Cubes,” “Talking reasonably to Hurricane Irma to convince her to stop this cycle” and my favorite, “Buy Hurricane Irma flowers and chocolate and tell her she is important“?

As Monty Python once said, always look on the bright side of life.