Tuesday, September 11, 2007

So Friday I was notified that I would be part of the 13News contingent to make the trek to the beautiful Outer Banks of North Cackalacky... Naturally as a relatively green photog, I was thrilled. A chance to be near the center of a tropical storm (or at that point, a SUB-Tropical Storm).

After getting called out TWICE (Once at midnight, then again at 7am), I showed up at the station to pick up my reporter, and head on down. Our first stop? The Visitor's Center in Kitty Hawk. Talked to a bunch of people, started getting the word that people are anything but worried about this storm. Checking with hotels & realty companies only confirms this. At this point, we get word from Norfolk that they want us to make our way towards Hatteras to do our 11pm live shot there... We piece together a little somethin' somethin' and feed it back from Avon Pier on Hatteras Island, do 6pm hits for our station, our company's station in Charlotte and a look live for The Weather Channel (which would air an hour later). Pack up to continue to Hatteras.

We stop in Buxton to grab a bite at the Sandbar & Grille... great eats... but here's where the fun begins. My reporter wants video of the surf before the sun goes down (which is was in the process of doing)... we turn down a packed dirt road to try and get to the closest beach. We couldn't have been more than a few hundred yards from said beach when my truck stops. The wheels start spinning. We're stuck. Great. I try fruitlessly to get myself out of this ONLY spot of soft sand on the road (so said the 4x4 who would later pull me out).

My reporter, realizing that we were screwed, calls our sat truck operator to wait at the end of said dirt road for her to walk out. I stay with the truck and wait for AAA, who said they'd be there by 10pm (CRAP!). About 45 minutes later, my reporter calls (despite the fact my phone has no bars of signal, I can make and receive calls just fine) and informs me a local with a 4x4 will be there in 10 minutes. Salvation! Thank god. In the mean time, she & the sat truck operator are going to shoot the 11pm piece at the restaurant we just ate at. The 4x4 shows up, pulls me out, and I'm on my way back to Avon. (At this point we had no intention of finishing the trek to Hatteras). Track, edit and make slot by a mile. I think back on the events of the past couple of hours and start to realize in the end, it was pretty funny, knowing I'm not the only poor photog who has gotten stuck in the sand somewhere on a story much like this one.

After the 11pm hits for Charlotte & Norfolk, I take my reporter back to Norfolk only to come back the next day and take a different reporter back down there. This time, we camp out at the tried & true Comfort Inn in South Nags Head. Luckily my reporter had the foresight to book us the last two rooms in the place the day before while I was busy being stuck in a sand pit.

We get back to OBX and it's as sunny as any other beautiful summer day, just a bit windier than usual. At this point, the storm was making landfall far to the south, and we decided the focus of our story would be that folks aren't worried about the storm at all. First three words in the package are "NO... BIG... DEAL..." Which is just what it turned out to be. Two major rain bands past through between the time we got there and midnight, the second of which soaked us of course while we stood there waiting to go live... all the while soaking the audio connector for my mic. But weather issues are far from new on a story such as this, I don't think any crew from WVEC or WTKR escaped this... and I'm sure many others up and down OBX had similar problems.

All in all, despite a coating of sand on the floorboards of my truck & sat truck, soaked rain covers & sandbags, I had a blast down there. Would I do it again? You bet. In a heartbeat, no questions asked.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha is this the inevitable "I lost my wedding band trip?"

11:51 AM  
Blogger HokiePhotog said...

Why yes, yes it is... It's probably still down there on that d&^n road...

12:07 PM  

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