Monday, November 28, 2011

A tale of two tapes

So there was a little bit of déjà vu the other night as I stood behind the crime scene tape taking pictures of a shooting scene on Cypress Drive Thanksgiving night.  I had that uncanny feeling I had been there before.

I have spent a good deal of time behind the crime scene line and one shooting scene sort of blurs into the next.  But still there was something oddly familiar about this view I had of the crime scene tape flickering red and blue in the lights from a police cruiser.

Then I knew exactly why it looked so familiar, it was going to be the cover of the Tracy Press on Friday.  We built the paper on Wednesday as everyone was scheduled to be off for the holiday.  To go with the story on crime around the holidays ramping up I found a photo from a stabbing I covered in December of 2010 on Eaton Avenue.  This was the view a year ago.

So as we publish a story about the efforts to curtail the crime near the end of the year three separate shootings in town wound two in one day.  The story seems to change but the sights always remain the same behind the line.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Over hill and dale

Our last hike a week or so ago was a trip to a small park tucked into a open spaces near a subdivision near Dublin.  We were heading out to one of our urban excursions where the road meets the trail.

Dublin Hills is part of East Bay Parks system and is nestled in the hills and   T at the end of a new housing development arching up the hillsides.  Heading out on the trail takes you along side the homes before branching off into grazing land for cattle.

The trails are not to steep but littered with cow pies from all the not-so-content cows that eyed us warily along the trail. 

I found myself shifting back and forth between color and black and white as the vistas and farm land called out for subtle gray tones.

There are a few weeks left in the year and I'm not sure where we finish 2011 on the trail.  Diablo's canyons Morgan Territory's streams would make interesting sights as they rain brings new life to dry creek beds.  It would be great to catch the last glimpses of color on the leaves before winter's grasp closes in for the season.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bad Cat-atude

"Hey fatboy....yeah you.  No pictures!  Get that f-----g camera out of here!

Monday, November 14, 2011


I was just about done with my shift today when a call came across the scanner of 10-57.  That is a report of shots fired.  The police department was getting multiple calls of shots fired in an area on the western edge of town near Fabian Park.  An ambulance and fire engine were staged nearby in case anyone was hit so I decided to head out and see how bad it was.
This was one of the oddest shootings I have been to and in some ways one of the most dangerous.  Reports were sketchy but someone had fired shots into the quiet neighborhood in a drive-by shooting just before 5:30 p.m.  A lot of shots
Some residents in the neighborhood heard five or six rounds fired off.  Others heard what sound like dozens of rounds being fired.  All told police recovered 14 shell casing from the street.  A two block stretch of Ogden Sannazor had five shell case spread over nearly two blocks where residents heard the shots and then a car race from the scene.
On Valencia Drive nine cases were recovered from an area no more than 30 feet long. Cones marked the path of the shooter down the street.   It was a  display of senseless gunplay.  Fortunately no one was hit and police could find no damage to nearby houses or cars.
I hope this is not a new trend, random gunfire in quiet streets and hopefully this latest burst of violence is quashed quickly. I don't wish to return to the days of standing in the night behind the crime scene tape.  I am done with those days for certain.

Monday, November 7, 2011

End of an era

It was a bittersweet moment standing in the cold last Friday night as the Tracy High Bulldogs played their last game on the natural turf of Wayne Schneider Stadium.  In July the stadium will be razed and a new modern stadium erected in its place complete with artificial turf.  The project will take a year forcing the Bulldogs to play the 2012 season in nearby West High or Kimball High stadium.

It is a long time coming but in someone ways it is sad.  It was the one of the last links to the Tracy High I attended and graduated from in 1982.  The classrooms I attended are all gone, demolished or renovated to a point where they bare no resemblance to the halls I attended.  The football field where I graduated from on a Friday night in June was one the spot that hadn't changed in all the years.  It was the one constant-the same tradition passed down through the years.  But it will be gone in a few months.

Sad as it may be it was a long time coming.  Walk up the steps of the home bleachers at Tracy High and it seemed you could feel the aluminium buckle beneath your feet.  The lights were yellow and dim and my football shots showed the effects of such aged lighting equipment.  Midfield in the rainy months was a quagmire and the sidelines weren't much better.  Yes it was time for a change.  I guess I wanted to hold on to a few memories from my younger years.

The new stadium will be a great place for the Bulldogs to play and the new field with modern lights will be a better shooting environment. While the old stadium might have fond memories the new venue will create its own memories and highlights and is sure to be home to thrilling games and championships.  It's really not the place that makes the memories, it's the people in them.
I feel honored to have been at the stadium for the last game ever and two years from now I will feel another bit of pride as I photograph the first game at Tracy High's new football stadium.  It is the end of an era, and the opening of a new chapter at Tracy High.