Monthly Archives: March 2013

Proposition 8 Supreme Court

What a week, Spring Break and the kids in Washington, D.C.!  The Smithsonian, Capitol Building, Lincoln Monument, Natural History Museum , Metro trains and taxis……..oh yeah, and a little Supreme Court action thrown in for fun!!

Vacationing in the Nation’s Capitol was quite an adventure I must admit. My 8 year old, Zane was captivated by the Washington monument, so tall and grand, and older bro Blaze was digging all the snow, the Spy Museum and the MTA subway trips……me, well, lets just say I have a small issue with wanting to film everywhere I go. The plan was to leave the big guns at home, as well as the Apple laptop…..I resolved myself to bringing just the Ipad and the Canon G12, point and shoot….

…………………..my bad!

Had I done a little more research, I would have known that the Supreme Court would be settling down this week for a challenge of California’s proposition 8 bill that basically, in short terms, discriminated against gay couples who want to get married and the benefits that come with……

On my second day of the trip, we ran across the demonstrators lining up to sleep overnight on the steps of the Supreme Court building. It was in the low 30’s, the rain was falling, melting the snow on the sidewalk that had accumulated the night prior.   I knew at that point I was in trouble, my trigger finger was twitching uncontrollably,  I caught myself already scouting shooting positions and angles for the next day………”sorry boys”,  was on my mind already. After a few snaps on the Iphone and an upload to Linnea at KGO Radio in San Francisco for a sound clip, we were back on our way.

The next day was gorgeous out, the air was extremely crisp, and the chants and cheers could be heard the minute I stepped up from the bowels of the MTA station…..”GAME ON!!!”….. I only had one quick chance to capture what I could.   The boys were headed to the restroom, just steps away in the Library of Congress…….I bolted for the event and shot for exactly 14 minutes, and only got screamed at 3 times by DC’s finest……

Those damn Westboro idiots yelled at me every time I stuck the lens in their red, childish looking faces, I gave them the dirty look as I mashed the shutter button with all the FLASH I had in that little camera…….

Most couples holding signs were laughing and having a grand old time, and the person dressed in the devil outfit was spinning in circles, dancing and rubbing up on anyone within his grasp…….it was almost as if I had entered a rumbling, synchronized carnival full of laughter….

I was gone as quickly as I had arrived, and uploaded a few dozen frames to the Associated Press. Shooting events like this always gets my spirits up and my instincts on edge.  I can’t wait to go back in June when the final verdict is due….I sure hope they win!

More images here:   http://alexmenendez.photoshelter.com/gallery/Supreme-Court-Gay-Marriage/G0000ZxkEvja3wPM/

NASCAR Kyle Larson Autoracing

NASCAR Drive4COPD Crash

Rookie NASCAR Nationwide driver Kyle Larson was having one heckuva week at his first ever Daytona International Speedway Speedweeks. He took second place in the ARCA race on the track and captured first place in the special night race that the track held for drivers. He never imagined however how his week would end, with him being the centerpiece of one of the most spectacular crashes the track had ever featured. It was the final lap of the Nationwide Series opener, the Drive4COPD event, that was being broadcast live across the world.

Larson was in the top 10 coming out of turn 4 and in racing for a top 5 spot, he got tangled up with a few other cars as they raced near 200 mph down the front stretch.  As race winner Tony Stewart was crossing the finish line with almost every camera focused on him with the checkered flag a wavin……a mere 300 yards behind him, all HELL was breaking loose!

Larsons car got tangled with a few others and the newly designed “Generation 6” car flew like a kite up against the catch/safety fence, spitting fire like an angry dragon. His racecar slapped right up in to the safety barrier about 15 feet in the air, with parts flying off like it was a lego toy. The madness only took about 3 seconds before the sound diminished into screaming fans, blood and utter chaos. As the race winner was being announced over the P.A. system and lightbulbs were flashing, the smoke started to settle, and cries for help could be heard coming from a few of the lower sections of seating.

Larsons car came to a rest on the infield, with the entire front half of the vehicle missing….he had left the entire front portion of the car, engine included, in the front sections of the grandstands.  An entire wheel, not just the rubber, but the rims and axles, as well as his entire engine had appeared to fly through the fencing and was burning at the feet of the security personnel standing in the front row.  Shards of metal, plasting and glass had sprayed the crowd like fireworks that had been lit on the pavement.  Chaos ensued and the medics were scrambling like pissed off fire ants to the scene. The burning engine block was quickly extinguished as the smoke began to rise into the already heated stands, and the television folks began to scan the victims with their broadcast cameras.

To say the tone was quickly turned down is an understatement, even Tony “Smoke” Stewart, the race winner, didnt celebrate like he should have, he said thanks and wished the best for the injured fans. The next day he would visit those same gearheads in the local hospital.

I was filming from the roof and after 15 races, can honestly say Ive only captured the race winner 1 time, when I could see that there would be no crash on that final lap, this time I felt it and decided to hold off on the winner once again. The following frames are the exact reason why I held off……..pure Instinct.  

I am so glad that no one was seriously injured in this crash, and glad the race organizers were smart enough to place this catch fence when they did. Many worse things could have happened here, and Larson was the luckiest of all….

More images can be found at this link below.

Larson Wreck