A Lesson Learned: MLK March

I was assigned to cover the ‘MLK March’ that took place in downtown Chattanooga on MLK Day. I’ll say, it went better than my first parade.

The Saturday before, I had covered a “Welcome Home” parade for Dancing With the Stars champion, J.R. Martinez. The parade started at 1:30. I’m always, always, ALWAYS early for assignments, but on this particular day, we’d had a double homicide at Hutcheson Medical Center, so I was busy that morning shooting building mugs, press conferences, etc. I arrive in Dalton at 1:32, just in time to see J.R. scoot by on the back of a red convertible.

So I pull over right where I am and start running. I didn’t stop to look at the street sign so I’d know where I left my car. No, that just didn’t seem important. Until after the parade.

All in all, things were fine – I found my car, about 1 mile from where the parade ended and I learned a very valuable lesson that one just can’t gain from a classroom. Always, always be aware when parking your car.

One thing I wish I’d done during the MLK March, and my photo editor pointed this out, was to have gotten higher. Or lower. I wish I had climbed to the top of a building and shot down at the crowd. All my photos were shot straight on. Now, I rarely go to an assignment without crawling around on my stomach for about 10 minutes or pulling out my step latter and shooting down.

Staff Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse/Chattanooga Times Free Press – January 16, 2012. Cala Darby, left, and Robert Darby prepare to ride a motorcycle in the Martin Luther King march held Monday afternoon in downtown Chattanooga.

Staff Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse/Chattanooga Times Free Press – January 16, 2012. Tobia Melendez, 3, plays with a balloon before the Martin Luther King march that took place Monday afternoon in downtown Chattanooga. Participants gathered at Olivet Baptist Church and marched to Tivoli Theatre.

Notice the spelling of “birthday.”

And the next day, for the first time ever, I made A1 center, above.the.freaking.fold. Sorry, I promise I’m really not vain, it’s just it was my first time having the center story of a major newspaper and … well…I took this picture for my mom to scrapbook one day….yeah, scrapbook…that’s it.

To quote one of my friends and mentors, Macon Telegraph Photo Chief, Woody Marshall: seeing your name under a photo in the paper…”it never gets old…it never gets old.”

Here’s a link to the photo that ran: TFP

And while you’re at it, check out one of the most amazing ways to spend a Saturday afternoon in Chatty: here.

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