To fellow photo editors,
Just wanted to inform you of my misery last night and the complete failure that was the elephant photo and story. Katie (the reporter) and I got there around 12:05am and waited at both the Midtown Tunnel entrance (where the elephants were to first appear in Manhattan) and at 34th st and 3rd Ave. The press peeps got a cozy little photogenic spot right smack dab in front of the Midtown Tunnel. Oh, but I didn’t have a press pass so I was stuck behind the barricades with pushy, grouchy, rude, insecure middle-aged ladies. It was already drizzling, but then it began to rain even harder, and then the wind started to pick up. Let me tell you, balancing an umbrella against your neck, strapping two messenger bags x-ed across my chest, and trying to hold a camera steady against the rain, wind and an excited crowd is not easy.
Eventually, I relocated to 34th st and 3rd Ave in hopes of a better, open spot. I found one next to a garbage can and stood in a 2″-deep puddle gripping the barricade and then proceeded to wait a full f-in hour for these goddamn elephants to show up (they were supposed to show by 12:20am). Finally, as I heard the cheers and saw the flashes of cameras go off, I warned this lady with a mini-film camera in front of me not to block my shot. She muttered something back and then when I said “Excuse me?” she had the nerve to snap back. Fuck her.
Anyways, so as the tips of the elephants head started to show and I steadied my camera in the darkness amidst dozens of flashing police lights, a fucking torrent of people rushed out in front of me, blocking my view, and began snapping away with their flashes. Well, fuck. There goes my perfect shot. I quickly turned around and dashed down the block hoping to pull ahead of the elephants enough to snap a clear picture. But no. I wasn’t the only one with this brilliant idea. And so I ran with crowds of other spectators down the sidewalk against the slanting rain, stopping twice to steady myself enough in hopes that I could snap one decent front-page picture.
Impossible. There were only around 5 elephants that all walked at the speed of a Mexican delivery bike. I could not catch up, hold steady enough to capture the photo in the low light, and still avoid the pushing and shoving behind me. I got around 4 photos of elephant ass and 4 more of hectic blurriness that might be elephant (and cops and flashing lights and raincoats and barricades and cars) and raindrops.
I had enough at this point and gasped, heaving under the awning of a deli to check whatever crap I had taken. This all happened in less than 5 minutes. My clothing, hair and $500 camera was soaked and I internally begged it not to malfunction and break as I wiped at it with my glasses cleaning cloth. Then, I handed it off to Katie (who had been running as best as she could beside me) to deliver the shitastic pictures and the bad news. There clearly would not be a front page photo.
P.S: Will post the dismal failure that is elephant-photo tomorrow.