Call this a stand-up robbery.
But at least there was no shooting.
This week I was in San Francisco, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, for a video shoot in Crissy Field, one of the best places in the city, at the foot of the majestic Golden Gate Bridge.
Thursday around 5:30 pm I did what the industry calls “stand-up”, extended the tripod, mounted the camera, plugged in the microphones, and there I was, talking directly to the camera about great places in San Francisco for them best photography.
Then this young teen came running towards me with a huge grin, faster than you can imagine. Somehow he managed to grab the entire tripod and camera and slide them into the getaway car, a blue Honda, in a matter of seconds.
When I said “No!” screamed and ran after him, the duo ran away like Bonnie & Clyde and had long since disappeared from the Presidio when the police answered my call.
But in the Internet age, two passers-by somehow had the skill to take quick smartphone photos of the excursion and the license plate: CA 8HLL352.
The policeman said he was glad to have the license plate, but the robbery is currently so unremarkable in court that even if the thieves caught him without video evidence, they would be released within a day or so.
The camera and lenses would be sold, they would pocket the proceeds and then target someone else in the park. Sites like eBay and Craigslist would have new listings.
I’ve done stand-ups all over the world, from Madrid, Venice and Lisbon to Tokyo, Osaka and Paris to sketchy parts of Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York City.
And nothing like this has ever happened to me.
So now I’m not writing this as a woe to exercise, but to let people know that none of us are invincible. Danger!
The sad thing is that what happened to me isn’t uncommon in San Francisco these days.
In March, a reporter for KPIX, the local CBS broadcaster, filmed a report on theft in Twin Peaks, which has breathtaking views of the city. An armed group of thugs stole his television camera during the report.
Highway robbery in SF – caught on my TeslaCam. pic.twitter.com/oZ8RFgboCm
– Alex (@ amegregan5) February 6, 2021
Equipment was stolen from a property photography team in San Francisco in February when the car was stuck in traffic. The thieves saw the bag, smashed the rear window, and quickly ran off with $ 7,000 worth of equipment. This was taped from a Tesla dash cam as you can see in the video above.
In late 2020, a crew working on a TV commercial in town took over $ 50,000 of equipment during a shoot.
I played endlessly in my head what I could have done differently.
A bad move: I did the standup very close to the road so the getaway driver could easily pull up and quickly do a vamoose.
Next time: Stand in the middle of the field.
Except, let’s face it, people on bikes, rollerblades, and other wheeled vehicles whiz up and down the sidewalk in San Francisco, making it easy to pop by and grab your stuff quick. Though I ask how to ride a bike and hold a huge camera / tripod operation. at the same time but I’m sure if there is a will there is a way.
I took photos with the largest lens I have, the mammoth Sony 70-200 mm G Master 2.8 lens, which unfortunately, I now believe, was a thief magnet and said: “Stand me! Steal me! “
A smaller lens (85 mm 1.8) on a smaller camera would make more sense for on the go. Law?
I wish there was some way to chain a tripod to your leg. What do you think? Nice appearance?
Either way – at least there weren’t any guns or guns involved.
And when it’s all said and done, even though I lose my job for the day, it’s just equipment. That can always be replaced.
Total booty for the thieves: Sony A7RIV, 70-200 mm lens, Rode Wireless Go II microphone, Manfrotto tripod and two 128 GB SD cards. Total: $ 6,000 +
So Paul’s Photo, you’ll see me shortly this week!
About the author
Jefferson Graham is a photographer, videographer, former USA TODAY columnist, and guitarist. He also moderates “Photowalks with Jefferson Graham” on Tubi. To learn more about his work, visit Jefferson’s website, Instagram, YouTube channel, Twitter and sign up for his newsletter. This article has also been published here and shared with permission.