Station fire

Water drop on the Station fire

The Station fire is huge: 30,000+ acres at the time of writing. Yet, unlike many of the most recent wildfires in Southern California, access is extremely difficult, both for emergency personnel and media alike. Roads, when existent, are hardly big enough for a single car, let alone a fire engine and two-way traffic, making ground access to the fire line nearly impossible and a possible escape dangerous, at best.

I covered a southern line of the fire, moving through Tujunga Canyon towards a neighborhood near Sunland. Hot shots spent all morning clearing debris from the hillside, but luckily the winds were low and air support was strong enough to keep the fire from reaching the hilltop residences.

Hot shots and the Station fire

Watching the Station fire

On a side note, I stumbled upon a visit by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger while I was at the command post looking for an up-to-date map.

Schwarzenegger Station fire press conference

View more photos of the Station fire here.

Prop 8 Marches

At 5:30pm on Tuesday, thousands of Prop 8 protesters rallied in front of San Francisco City Hall. Then they marched past the Supreme Court, down Market Street, and into Yerba Buena Park.
Daughter of a gay mother
Joining the Prop 8 March
Shouting out to bystanders

In the park, they staged another rally, albiet to a lower scale. The light was poor and there wasn’t as much emotion in the protesters, so at this point, most of the media left.

I was waiting around in the crowd when I heard some screaming and saw two police officers carrying away a protester, so I immediately ran over and grabbed photos of the arrest.
The arrest that sparked an uproar

The crowd in the park followed and encircled the officers, chanting “Let her go!” As the officers disappeared through a police line, a scuffle broke out and a second protester was taken down. The police moved their line down the street in attempt to contain the now outraged crowd, but they left an opening at a crosswalk. Noticing the opening, protesters poured into the street and headed out on a second, completely impromptu march.
Leading the second Prop 8 march
Paul Gross infuriated during second Prop 8 march
Brady Pearson and Paul Gross leading the second Prop 8 march
Protesters taking over Market St. on the way to Castro

The marchers headed back down Market Street towards the Castro District, snaking through different side streets to further throw off the police.

By the time they reached the intersection of Castro and Market, they had effectively lost most of the police, and so they staged a sit-in at the intersection now famous for Harvey Milk’s gay rights movements.
Tribute to Harvey Milk at the Castro Theatre

After a little while, everyone stood up and began marching all the way back to Union Square. However, a few blocks later, a truck blasting music and heading in the opposite direction turned the march around. The marchers ended back at the intersection of Market and Castro, and proceeded to take over the streets in the form of a massive dance party.

Crazy.

Dancing in the Castro District
Dancing in the Castro District

More photos of the Prop 8 march, arrests, and rallies here.

Prop 8 Upheld

I was in San Francisco this morning as Proposition 8 was upheld by the California Supreme Court 6–1.

The crowd in front of the Supreme Court was lively just before 10 am, demonstrating their support and desire for marriage equality.

Twice Married
In front of City Hall

Once 10 am hit, there was no general announcement from the court: just a slow trickle of the news through the crowd, after which people shouted out in anger and sadness.

Reaction to the Prop 8 decision
Anger after Prop 8 upholding

The Prop 8 protesters then marched around San Francisco’s City Hall and formed a circle in the intersection of Grove and Van Ness, blocking traffic from all directions.

Human chain after Prop 8 decision
Civil disobedience after Prop 8 decision
Surrounded by police after Prop 8 decision
A hug after Prop 8

After about an hour and a half, San Francisco police began arresting those still practicing civil disobedience.

Behind police lines after Prop 8 decision

Last kiss before arrest after Prop 8 decision

View more photos from the Prop 8 decision, rally, and subsequent arrests here.

Another rally starts up at 5:30. I’ll update with more photos after.

Cecilia Samartin

I had the chance to photograph San Gabriel-based Cuban American author Cecilia Samartin for her book publisher on Friday.

Cecilia was born in Havana in 1961 in during the middle of the Cuban revolution, though her parents escaped to the United States, allowing her to grow up in Los Angeles. Many of her fictional works, including Broken Paradise, recount struggles brought about by the Cuban revolution. Read more about Cecilia at her website or buy one of her novels from Amazon.

Here are some of my favorites from the shoot:

Cuban American author Cecilia Samartin

Cuban American author Cecilia Samartin

Cuban American author Cecilia Samartin

Cuban American author Cecilia Samartin