While on the 7th hour of my Friday shift as a Boston Herald staff news photographer, I was summoned to Beacon Hill for photo coverage of the Herald’s Home of the Week. I started that way from Melnea Cass Boulevard, near Northeastern University. While driving on Tremont St., approaching the traffic lights at Dartmouth St., I noticed the leading edge of what appeared to look like an ocean tide encroaching on a beach. This torrent of water, rolling down Dartmouth St., was quite strong. There was no audio from my police/fire radios regarding an event/emergency of this type, but I stopped anyway thinking this was newsworthy and might make for interesting photos. I parked, still thinking that I was going to photograph a short-lived apparent water main break. It was then that I heard police sirens. I started to take photos, but when I came upon the scene something seemed different. A police sergeant told me to leave the street, and the faces of workers, neighbors, police, and shortly thereafter Boston firefighters, told a story of anguish and deep concern. It was shortly thereafter that I learned that one, and then another worker was presumed trapped. Steve Smith, a construction laborer working close by, and who was on a break when he heard screaming, sprung into action as he tried to reach the trapped workers. He tried to enter the hole but dangerous conditions forced him back. I retreated to the sidewalk and watched, then photographed, as he was reaching into the water to attempt to find the street plates covering part of the trench. On his hands and knees he finally found the part of the heavy plates where a chain can be affixed, to then lift with a backhoe. Smith seemed to pause for a split second, as exhaustion and grief overwhelmed him. Boston firefighters used sticks with hooks on the end to try and hook the workers, but to no avail. A very sad day. My photos appeared on page one and inside the October 22, 2016 issue of the Boston Herald.
A stunned Mirtha Colon, a resident of 10 Dartmouth St. apt B, watches firefighters scurry into position in the first moments after a trench collapse and water leak killed two workers Friday afternoon on Boston’s Dartmouth street.
I tried to photograph lightning late last night during the first and second waves of some pretty hefty thunderstorms. Things did not go as planned, as the lightning became too unpredictable, thus too dangerous. I did get a shot of lightning over the city of Boston, from my perch along the Winthrop coastline. Dejected, I went home and then to bed. Just prior to bed, the weather radar on my trusty iPhone app., was showing a line of heavy storms bubbling-up near the Connecticut/Rhode Island border. These storms appeared to be growing and moving toward Boston. I was too tired and dejected to wait for them, so I wait to bed. Ninety minutes later, at approximately 2:30am, I was awakened by thunder. I noticed that the frequency of the lightning was impressive, with maybe 1 lightning bolt per every 5 seconds. I headed out again but was a bit too late, as I needed some time to get set up (with a tripod, etc,) and to get to my position (trying for a city of Boston skyline foreground). This storm was too fast and the heavy rain, as well, was not helping matters. Finally, thinking the storm was over, it was time to get home and go to bed. Then, my weather app. pointed to some regeneration of the lightning at the tail end, the Southwest end, of the storm. I set up my tripod, Canon EOS 1DX, cable release, and Canon 100-400mm II lens, setting it at 248mm, along the coast of Winthrop. I set the ISO to 50, and my exposure was 5 seconds at F5.6. I do not ever like to “fudge” a photo, so whenever the first burst happens, I then shutdown the camera, thus keeping it real with the one moment of impact. I pointed the camera toward Graves Light lighthouse, and I waited, and waited. Finally, at 3:18am this morning, four large lightning bolts, during a split-second cloudburst, appeared over the Boston Harbor landmark. This photo is almost full frame, as I cropped in from both sides and a little from the top. I have a bit of a too-tight scenario happening at the base of the photo because it was hard for me to tell where the lighthouse and horizon lines were due to the extreme darkness. I was happy nonetheless. Thanks for viewing my site.
When I heard the first police radio transmission of today’s dramatic Boston truck crash I hopped in my car and accelerated away from the Moakley Courthouse, where I had been stationed for Boston Herald coverage of the James “Whitey” Bulger trial. I hit extreme traffic that was barely moving inside the Tip O’Neill Tunnel. I finally made it as far as the Zakim Bridge when I was passed by Boston EMS and Fire department trucks. I heard a trooper on the police scanner say that the roadway was going to be fully shut down for “a while.” I donned my yellowish-lime safety vest, that media photographers MUST wear while working on a roadway, and made sure my press pass was around my neck. Shortly after the Zakim bridge I pulled over as far left as I could go and ditched my car. My car was fully out of the way of any other emergency worker’s vehicle that was still enroute. I then grabbed my cameras and jogged the Rte 93 upper deck until I arrived at the accident scene adjacent the Sullivan Sq. down ramp (see my photos below, and with Herald scribe John Zeremba’s story at the Herald’s website). The Massachusetts state troopers, Boston Fire and Boston EMS personnel were AWESOME & accommodating. The real problem was the extreme rain, as I could not keep my lens’ front glass dry, and making sure that I didn’t lean over the railing too far 🙂