With help from a little friend

Some photographers get a lot of help from assistants, volunteer or paid. Newspaper photographers tend to be one-man-bands. We’re usually shooter, lighting expert, food stylist, pack mule and more, all rolled into one. Though we occasionally help each other out on tougher shoots, self-sufficiency tends to be our credo.

At this year’s San Joaquin County Fair I needed a little help to get a shot, and I got it in the form of a 7-year-old girl.

I wanted to shoot an overall of the fair, and I decided that getting a shot from the top of the midway’s ferris wheel would do it. I waited in line for my turn at a seat on the wheel. When it came for me to board I explained to the ride’s operator what I wanted to do. He told me that there needed to be two riders per small gondola. I looked behind me and there were only pairs of people in line. Having no other options I moved on and resigned myself to getting shots of the ride from the ground.

After several rotations the wheel came to a stop to let passengers off and new ones on. After several stops a lone little girl climbed up the stairs to get on the ride. The operator told her what he told me: two riders at a time. She started back down the stairs, partly disappointed, and partly relieved, as the pair behind her passed her up and sat in the seat intended for her.

I then yelled out: “I’ll go with her!” The operator looked at me, and I said “I can go with her.” I turned toward the girl and asked her “is it OK if I go with you?” She gave a quick little smile and nodded and we got on the next open seat.

It was 7-year-old Alondra Toro’s very first time on a ferris wheel. Her parents were busy with her little brother on another ride. Finally we got to the top and she pointed out her family, who were now on the ground below us. She had hoped that her brother wouldn’t see her on the ride because he’d be jealous of her.

Brothers Carlos Lopez, 11, left, and Ivan Lopez, 7, of Stockton, sat in the seat behind us, and I got shots of them getting a bird’s-eye view of the fair. Alondra didn’t mind the rocking of the seat as I turned to take pictures. Next to me she was having a great time marveling at the other fair rides and the tiny people below us.

Once the ride was over and we were back on the ground I introduced myself to her father, explained to him what I was doing and hoped that it was OK with him. He said that he felt more at ease to see that there was an adult in the seat next to her making sure she was safe on the ride. I thanked them both, and we went on our separate ways at the fair.

There’s a term that police and fire departments use called “mutual aid.” It’s when agencies help out other departments in different jurisdictions. With a little mutual aid of our own, I got my photos, and Alondra got the fun ride that she wanted.

This entry was posted in Column, Feature, General news and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Categories

  • Archives