Can you run on some news?
It's a question I get asked fairly often by the photo desk at the local paper. I get a strange mix of excitement and trepidation. Excitement because I know if I want the most dramatic photos, I'll need to get there quickly and hit the ground running. Trepidation because I don't get phone calls because something really good has happened - it's usually a fire where someone might be trapped, a SWAT stand-off with a hostage involved, or like yesterday, when I got a call to head to east Harris county because a four-year old girl had been shot. I knew that it would be at least 45 minutes before I could be on the scene. It was late in the day and I wasn't sure what traffic would be like. When I relayed this to the editor, he said the incident had happened hours ago. I settled down a bit, knowing that all I'd probably get was a shot of some yellow police tape flapping in the wind with maybe a cop standing around in the background. I wouldn't call this breaking news. It was more like news that was already broken.
Nonetheless, I'm a firm believer that there is always something worth documenting. I got to the scene and sure enough, there was the yellow tape in front of the tired, weather-beated apartment complex. Harris county sheriff's deputies milled about and I could tell by the feel of the scene that things were going to be wrapped up soon. I was about to pack up and leave after I photographed a deputy taking down the police tape. When behind me, I heard a woman crying. I followed her to ask her what was wrong. The police were taking her husband down to the station (others were later charged) for questioning. He had been sitting in the back of the police car since I had been there, but she had thought they were going to let him go.