Monday, December 8, 2008


Holy Crap, you never think an international news event is going to happen right in your own neighborhood. I was on the computer Monday afternoon when I heard a sputtering jet coming ever closer. I ran outside and saw a pilot ejecting from an FA-18 Hornet as the plane was on its way down. His parachute deployed as the smoke started billowing from a neighborhood about a mile away. I ran and grabbed my camera, dropped it on the way out, totally destroying my 16-35mm, and headed for the scene with just a 70-200mm. I get there before firefighters only to witness homes, cars on fire and horrific noxious fumes in the air. I shot for about 10 minutes and all the firefighters showed-up. After about another 1/2 hour shooting, I decided to head back and transmit only to find my car sandwiched in between 2 fire trucks. I was then forced to walk home a mile, fun fun!!. What sucks is I have 4 friends all within 3-4 houses from the crash site. Waaaaaay to close for comfort. It changes your perspective as a journalist when you and your neighbors are part of the news. I found myself getting annoyed when some TV guys overheard me telling this story to a buddy and all the sudden I was swarmed with cameras in my face. "How did you feel being a parent of 3 kids knowing there might be a dead child" "How the hell do you think I feel. Oh well, I guess it's payback for all the times I've stuck my lens in a subject's face.
Anyway, in retrospect, keep your batteries charged and a card in camera because you never know when this kind of thing might happen.


ATarvin said...

I saw a pic of the fire on some newspaper site and wondered if you was behind it. (I remembered previous fire pics you did). Checked with Gettyimages and there you were. I'm a graphic designer in San Diego and you are the only local photo blog I'm subscribed to. Good Work!- as usual.

ppagla said...


Great job on the jet crash in University City today. The LA Times and Yahoo! news sites both played your stuff prominently.

Great "johnny on the spot" stuff!

Daniel said...

whoa, I'm glad you're fine.