My 21 minutes of fame came in 1997 when I co-hosted a segment for the Travel Channel TV Series, Freeze Frame. These were travelogues where a professional photographer would accompany celebrity host Bill Boggs on travel adventures and teaching him photo technique. San Diego was the offered destination and I thought it very doable since it was only 2 hours away.
I had no real desire to get in front of the camera, but along with the video assignment came along a 21 image photo spread in American Film, Popular Photography and Travel Holiday magazines. Top magazine exposure for this (at the time) editorial photographer.
So I bit the bullet, jumped through the hoop of fire and auditioned for the assignment. I did let them know ahead of time that there was one adventure I would not do. I told them that I had tremendous doubts that they would get any usable video if they aimed a camera at me while I was in an open cockpit flying loop de loops in an antique biplane. Despite my refusal to do this, I won the part and they rewrote the segment with me on the ground.
Small production budget equals long location scouting and shooting days, small crew, no perks and a lot of stress for this newcomer. Luckily for me there was no script to memorize, but instead I was responsible for coming up with interesting photo techniques and teaching them in an entertaining way. Minolta was one of the sponsors and I had to use all their consumer grade cameras for the video shoot as well as the 50 locations I needed to document for the editorial spread. I got a box full of their latest 1997 film cameras and had about 3 days to learn and test the equipment. Just enough time as we had fast one-hour photo stores to process the film.
Another segment that didn’t end up in the final video was our photo safari at San Diego Wild Animal Park. The torrential rain didn’t let up the entire time that was allowed for us to shoot the segment. Although all my equipment was in soft bags, we were in an open truck bed and all the digital film cameras got ruined. Minolta shipped another box that arrived at my hotel room the next morning…with a different slr that I had to immediately learn with no time to test. AGFA was another sponsor and provided all the film and processing. That was great as I got to use as much as needed or wanted. As close to National Geo type support as I was going to get on this assignment.
Although the crew and producer were great guys, I rarely relaxed and was very happy to wrap the 5-day portion of the assignment when I was in front of the camera. Once we finished, I went home for a day and returned with Stuart to San Diego for the magazine work.
When the show “premiered” on the Travel Channel, we threw a party and about 30 friends laid around our living room watching the show together on our 27” television. They reran it dozens of times, but probably not once in this century. Imagine, Hummers were the stars of one segment. They were exotic new vehicles at the time. I hadn’t seen it in many years and happy to have found it on youtube and be able to share it with you.