Sometimes in your life you just happen to be at the right place at the right time. That happened to me yesterday… twice.
It was another hot day in Topeka and I needed to get out of the house. So I loaded up my camera equipment in the car and went for a drive. By pure luck, I ran across the police just starting to surround a house. I quickly pulled over and got as closed as I could with my camera. It was a hostage situation which lasted almost two hours with a stand-off between police and a guy who was holding “himself” hostage. About 50 to 60 officers including S.W.A.T. and some heavy duty armored vehicles eventually had the whole area surrounded. While I was there only one other news agency sent a camera and the person using it was, um, well, an idiot. So I ended up with the only decent footage and photos of the whole thing. During the whole crisis I was able to position myself in the best place for taking pictures because I was able to listen to what the police were doing on using a 99 cent police scanner app I got for my iPhone.
When it was over, I decided to head to a local park to get some photos and footage. While there, I was listening to the police scanner app and heard about a train wreck. I quickly raced to the scene and again was first on the scene with a camera. A reporter from the paper showed up with a little “point & shoot” camera and eventually a news crew showed up over an hour later when it was getting dark. So again, I got the only decent photos and video of the accident scene. I was able to get there quickly thanks to the GPS in my iPhone.
I never leave my home without my camera. I don’t always load up my good tripod and other accessories, but I always have my camera and two primary lenses. And the silent hero yesterday was my iPhone. Without my police scanner app and GPS things would have turned out way differently.