Monday, April 5, 2010
There's been a whole lot of shakin' goin on around the globe this year. First Haiti, Chile and now Mexicali. The problem is, you never know when it's going to hit near your home. I've always kind of enjoyed earthquakes. When they strike, it's totally out of the blue and usually at the most inappropriate time. I happened to be in my skivies taking nap after going for a nice Easter Sunday run. When the shaking started, it was cool for about 10 seconds until it kept going and getting stronger. It got scary! As I lay frozen, buried in the couch, I was thinking numerous thoughts "should I put some clothes on, save my family, run, jump under the table, when is Easter dinner going to be served" which would have meant I'd be dead if it was the big one.
So fast forward to Calexico/Mexicali. I jumped up threw on clothes got the gear and by then Getty, AP NY Times, my Mom, a good buddy had all called within minutes. Great for the blood pressure by the way. Get to Calexico, shoot shopkeepers surveying the damage, go transmit to meet some deadlines. I get some shots out and then decided to head over the border to Mexicali. The power was completely out and it was so dark I could barely see my feet. I even saw the Milky Way from the middle of town. As cars whizzed by their headlights would illuminate people out on the street. It was creepy and a little uneasy. It's one of times when if something were to happen, like getting mugged or falling into a hole, you know you're on your own. I then desperately look for some kind of picture. I hate using flash and in fact didn't even bring it. As I was walking across a street, I caught a glimpse of a guy standing in front of a damaged building. I went up and made my introductions and aim the camera and waited for a car to pass by. It ended up being a 3 second exposure hand-held. All-in-all it was a pretty fun challenge. I get up from my comfy hotel the next morning and Head back to Mexicali. I did a quick peruse online and noticed my hero, Don Bartletti, from the LA Times, got a shot at the hospital that blew me away. I had to go there. I get there at 5:30 am and walked about 2 miles through some colonias, got 6 direction, all different from each other, and somehow found it. Get there, the guard said no. I looked behind me and there was a Mexican TV guy, I asked if he could help and whatta ya know, he got me access. I love Mexico because you never have to deal with PR flack or model releases. You just walk on in and the place is yours. Get the hospital shots and various other damage photos and head on back. In retrospect, I have to say my love for Mexican culture just got upped a notch. There was no looting and everyone had just a wonderful bit of humor about the whole thing. Very inspiring indeed.