Not always fun and games

The last two days have found me shooting two very different types of assignments.  Yesterday I was hiking all over some gorgeous trails overlooking Lake Superior and today I found myself shooting an armed standoff just a few blocks from my apartment.  Two very different assignments.  When I was a full-time journalist, these two events could be a microcosm of how many of my days went.  Some days would see me shooting ballet and then I’d be off to shoot skateboarders.  The next day I could be photographing a star football player and then have to leave to shoot people smoking in a bar for a story on an upcoming smoking ban.  That was what made the job awesome–you didn’t know what to expect every day you came to work.

In a way, nothing has changed.  I had no idea this morning that I’d get a call to cover a standoff, but I did and I’m glad I did.  It was fun to see many of my old colleagues who had braved freezing cold nights with me covering other standoffs or had passed me on the sidelines at a soccer game.  Today, I got to revisit those days for about five hours as a man suspected in an early morning murder in west Duluth was holed up in a house just a few blocks from where I live.

I got there around 10am and soon after they were sending in the armored personnel carrier and so I thought things were going to go down quickly.  I was wrong.  The police talked throughout the morning and afternoon with the suspect over the phone.  Around 1pm, law enforcement officers pushed all the spectators and the media back about a block from the scene.  Lucky for me, I brought my 300mm f/2.8 and 1.4x extender to the scene, which gave me a pretty decent focal length for where I was shooting from.  This was a residential neighborhood so there were a ton of obstructions between my location and the scene.  There was a very small opening where I could see the action, but it required me getting down on my stomach and shooting with the 300mm lens positioned on top of my camera.  At that point, it was wait and wait and wait…

Fortunately for everyone, around 3pm the suspect surrendered peacefully and everyone left in one piece.  Two days.  Two very different assignments.

Law enforcement officers approach the house where a suspect in a west Duluth murder was holed up.

Law enforcement officers approach the house where a suspect in a west Duluth murder was holed up.

Law enforcement officers jump off an armored personal carrier after arriving in front of a house where a suspect in a west Duluth murder was holed up.

Law enforcement officers jump off an armored personal carrier after arriving in front of a house where a suspect in a west Duluth murder was holed up.

The suspect is taken into custody.

The suspect is taken into custody.

The mother of the suspect looks toward the squad car where law enforcement took her son after a long standoff ended.

Cheryl White, the mother of the suspect, looks toward the squad car where law enforcement took her son after a long standoff ended.