How Do You Cover a Hurricane - Press of Atlantic City: Blog: A Photographer's View

How Do You Cover a Hurricane

Covering a major hurricane is a complicated and sometimes dangerous task. Getting to places that you want to photograph are restricted or sometimes impossible to reach, photographers are placed in harms way, and the elements affect on cameras and computer equipment can go beyond damaging. There were five Press staff photographers and several of our talented freelance photographers on the street when Hurricane Sandy was approaching and when the storm hit. Two photographers were embedded in a hotel in Atlantic City, where residents were evacuated. The biggest problem there was getting through floodwaters. The others were on the mainland shooting the storm and trying to get on the barrier islands. In the digital age, we employ a shoot-and-send philosophy. Something is shot and immediately sent in to our picture desk so it can be on the website quickly to show others what’s happening throughout the storm. Our photo galleries were the most viewed item on our website. My job was the visual command center. As photos and videos were transmitted I collected them and put them on our website and our mobile site, attaching them to specific stories, and creating photo galleries. As reports came in I contacted the nearest photographer to check out specific locations. It was hectic, it was exciting, and then the lights went out. We had devised a plan for when the lights went out: Dropbox. Sending photos to a cloud server where they could be reached by other editors and placed online when our network was without power was a success. It’s how we got a newspaper out when there was no power at our offices. For our photographers, covering a storm of this magnitude is not fun. You’re wet all the time, cold, it’s almost impossible to keep your equipment dry, and all the places you want to go are impassable. We have a group of dedicated, hard working and talented photographers at The Press. Hundreds of images documented how the storm took over our area and how it affected the people who live here. And it’s not over.

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