Pandemic images

Here are a few images I created during Fresno’s shelter-in-place order. I figure I’ve gone out on assignments maybe once per day and only when I felt it was a worthy story and necessary to get images and video. I’ve been wearing a mask and staying as distant from people as I can. I don’t even mic people up – just using the shotgun mic on camera.

The Chinatown story was pretty cool and allowed me to be especially socially distant, since I shot it with the drone! Also the overhead shot of the boat on Pine Flat Lake. Although I was confronted by security on that one. They say they don’t allow drones because of national security concerns but I couldn’t find any documentation to show that.

Seems we are getting close to back to normal but I for one will continue to work from home, and wear a mask and stay away from crowds when I’m on assignment. I hope we do get back to normal but until these infection numbers drop, it’s not worth taking extra risks.

Chinatown lies in the foreground of this drone image, where high-speed rail contruction creates a barrier between it and downtown Fresno on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Coronavirus orders have affected business in Chinatown already hit hard by high-speed rail construction road closures as well as the ongoing homeless problem.
Participants gather for a rally at 12th Avenue and Lacy Boulevard in Hanford to psh for reopening business and allowing people to go back to work, on Saturday, May 16, 2020. Although Kings County voted to open businesses on Friday, establishments like hair salons and churches remain closed due state orders to combat the coronavirus.
A boat passes by the houseboats at Pine Flat Lake Marina on the first day the marina re-opened to the public, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Facilities at privately-operated marinas like Pine Flat Lake, Lake Kaweah and Success Lake, have been closed since March 26 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and state shelter-in-place orders.
Shoppers wait in line socially distant-style to purchase Fresno State-grown corn on the first day of corn sales at the Gibson Farm Market on Monday, May 25, 2020. This year the market had two lines for people who wanted to just buy pre-bagged corn and for those wanting to purchase other items.
Customers file into the entrance at Fashion Fair mall when the doors opened on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, for the first time since late March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

White Cattle Ranch

Spring is sure an awesome time to be in the Fresno County foothills. It was also the perfect time to fly my drone over the White Cattle Ranch near Dunlap for Pearson Realty a couple of weeks ago.

This place was made for post card images. We were even lucky enough to spot a cowboy and his girlfriend taking a ride on their horses along the ridge. The afternoon light and clear skies added to the beauty.

Check out the video below and you’ll see what I mean. This would be an awesome place to build a dream home and retire. Some lucky buyer may just get that chance.

Cowboy and cowgirl taking a leisurely ride along the ridge on the White Cattle Ranch near Dunlap.

Nursing homes in the COVID era

I was assigned to shoot photos and video for a Sacramento Bee story that also ran in other McClatchy papers including The Fresno Bee.

The story focused on the future of nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic since many have seen high infection rates and death.

My assignment was to meet a woman who has been caring for her father who is suffering from various ailments. She feels that he is at his best when she and his friends can visit him but due to coronavirus concerns, she can only visit via his apartment window and her cell phone.

It was super sad to watch her with what she was dealing with and how she really just wanted to give her dad a hug.

Denise Plank talks on her cell phone with her father, Ed, 84, while visiting him through his nursing home window at the California Armenian Home in Fresno on Friday, April 17, 2020. Ed is suffering from a blood disease but Denise continues to visit him nearly everyday, if only through his nursing home window.

Minority businesses struggle getting COVID relief

Minority-owned small businesses are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to COVID relief. From the video: “So you have multiple barriers that puts them in the back of the line, if they manage to get into the line at all,” Xiong said. “You continue to put these small businesses who are the least apt to handle this pandemic in an even worse situation.”

Here’s a link to the story: https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article242203451.html

Hmong Farmer Zia Thea Xiong looks over the crops on his farm in southeast Fresno during the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Xiong has had to fallow land because he lost his the wholesale buyers for his crops. He’s unsure whether he will have buyers for the upcoming season and is contemplating whether he should plant or fallow more land.

A break from weddings and portraits

I suppose that after updating my website, I should probably post something about not doing weddings or portraits at this time. Since I first started my business in 2009 I put weddings on the top of my list of services. I wanted to make sure I had good income should the possibility of getting laid off from my Fresno Bee job came true. At the time newsrooms were slimming down due to industry challenges and it was a real concern.

I feel that after 10 years I got pretty good at weddings and portraits. They were a lot of fun too, but also a little exhausting. Long work days and hours of editing made them quite an effort. But mostly it was taking vacation days from The Bee or using a free weekend to shoot a wedding or portrait session that wore me down. There was just something not right about using a vacation day to do more work.

So after 10 years I still have my staff job at The Bee and it doesn’t look like I’m going anywhere just yet. It appears I’ve weathered the worst of it, at least for now. This is why I decided that I don’t need to run myself ragged on weekends (and nights editing) after a long week of work. And now that Carmen and I are together I want to enjoy life and have some fun with her.

I’ve put all my prior wedding and portrait posts on private at this time and likely won’t accept any inquiries for those, at least in the near future.

If the time comes where I do need to make extra income from weddings, I know I’ll be ready. But for now, I’m hiking, traveling, relaxing and enjoying my freedom.

Here’s a video featuring some drone action during the Three Rivers weekend getaway Carmen and I went on. I’m hoping to get away and enjoy my weekends more often now that my wedding and portrait photography is on hiatus for now.
Time to chill in a hammock

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