The Red Carpet

Like everyone else on the planet I consider myself a photographer. Every 18 months I feel compelled to invest in the latest technology to obtain the highest pixels, the fastest shutters, the longest lenses, all confirmed over Talmudic debates at B&H photo. But keeping up with fellow shutterbugs can be costly, so I am always on the lookout for actual photo assignments. Which is why an email blast announcing a Red Carpet for The Opening Night of the Film Festival caught my attention.

Wow! – A Red Carpet – Finally a chance to wear that dress I’d wrestled away from two fashion bloggers at an Armani Sample Sale..

But the more I thought about it – Red Carpet notwithstanding – the dress and heels would have to go with 30 pounds of camera gear in tow..

As I read on my heart beat faster: “opening night attendees:  “De Caprio, Clooney, Redford, Madonna, Bionce, Lady Gaga..”  This could mean  a serious chance at the money shot.. media outlets outbidding each other. If I could pull this off I’d be in the black again…

Preparation was essential – I went over the checklist: – cleaned lenses, charged chargers, flashed flashes with snuffers and Fongs …

And most important of all the Manual.. A slight review…

The day of:  I arrived early – Major press outlets were already lining up.  This was definitely the big leagues..

I presented my credentials to KPR press coordinator, Norma Star, who flipped pages: “NBC, ABC, Cosmo, HuffPost, Getty, Daily Beast, Nightly Sharks…”

“New York 1, Bronx 2, Staten Island 4, …. Oh there you are.. ” Norma was pointing so far back I’d need a taxi just to get there…

But it would take more than a PR snub to deter this pro.. I spied my colleagues and joined the front lines. It was great – to be back among my fellow artists – swapping war stories, trading tech talk..

Then came the press briefing..” Welcome everyone. You know the drill – arrivals three minutes apart. We expect a good turnout tonight”  Tip sheets were distributed…and they were impressive.

I had to get this right. I went over my camera settings.. lens speed, shutter speed, ISO, focal length. I hit the “FULLY AUTO” button.. and held my breath…

The first arrival – Amy Adams fresh off “American Hustle” and OMG – Ann Hathaway a veritable toothpick but gorgeous??!! They flashed million dollar smiles directly in front of my post.

Then I felt a sharp nudge to my right and jab to my left. In a flash I was fork lifted up and back. Like Patton’s Fifth Armored Division .. a WALL of photographers closed ranks in front of me.. 

And that wall spelled G-E-T-T-Y – The mother of all photo houses – Now my only view was a tent pole and the over coiffed head of a Hungarian stringer!

So much for my Canon 5D Mark 111 and L series telephoto. What I needed was a 3 foot fiberglass Werner stepladder!!

Luckily I spied one just behind the tent pole. Solution found! Except that it’s rightful owner, Courtney from Cosmo made it abundantly clear she wasn’t sharing-

During our negotiations, we nearly missed a celebrity spotting – George and Amal Clooney heading towards the stage door. The press took off down 65th street.

I joined the herd – my heart pumping, adrenalin flowing, sneakers pounding, I’d get those shots if it killed me.  

Suddenly a guy from “Live at Five” spotted Beyoncé in a taxi and veered off catching my right foot in his microphone cable. I bounced along the sidewalk like a lassoed heifer until we came to a full stop. 

Mr. “Live at Five” didn’t miss a beat – executing a plier jeté over my body he rejoined the pack. With whatever wind I had left I yelled – “Are you insane? Beyoncé in a taxi??!!!”

Fortunately, my tendency to over pack for everything in my life included my bulging backpack which  cushioned my fall and protected my camera. But it was clear that my paparazzi days were over. Goodbye HuffPost, Vanity Fair, People and DailyMail… Hello listings, 7 day auctions…

“Hey! Where is everybody??!”
Her gargantuan shoes clattered across the pavement. She Leaned In.  “Tell me” she continued pointing to my arsenal “does that stuff still work?” 

I nodded. Then Lady Gaga proved her true LADYSHIP by graciously helping me to my feet. 

Main squeeze Tyler Kinney joined us and we went to work..

The shooting was a breeze. They were great together. It wasn’t until I went in for a close up and realized something was up. I switched my camera to video record  and asked the tough question. “Is there anything you guys would like say?”…

Tyler Kinney said it first. “We’re engaged” and Lady Gaga added “just now in the limo we decided on a June wedding in Rome.” 

And there it was – the money shot!  Plus a SCOOP!! I had to choose my media carefully… in the end Arianna could be very persuasive.. 

And the best part of all – Gaga and Tyler invited me to their engagement party. .. Where I got to wear that Armani number after all. Life is good… you betcha!

The End

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