The soul of photojournalist

Carl - one cool dude.

When something profound, original, and this intangible feeling find their way into my life, I sometimes write about. It also happens with loss, or a big event that benefits many. This blog post is all about all of  those things wrapped up into one person.

I was given the gift of my lifetime when I went to work for the Democrat and Chronicle as a freelance photographer. I think that anyone who knows me, knows that I love storytelling through pictures. Two years ago I was given the opportunity to try broadcast journalism at channel 10. It was a difficult transition for me, but I had a lot of good people showing me the ropes. 

Although I had interacted with Carl at various breaking or spot news events, it wasn’t until I was at channel 10 that I would realize what an incredible man Carl Shuba was. He wasn’t too much older than me, but his world of experience was obviously far beyond anything I was capable of. I understood that, and listened to any advice he would pitch my way. He was an artist that knew his craft inside and out.

Carl Shuba having a well deserved cocktail.

He was a guy that seemed like he was straight out of the late 60’s and 70’s. I don’t think I ever saw him nervous or worried about getting the shots and B roll that would make his story so easy for the viewers to digest. He would give suggestions of things to shoot and we always had good conversations while waiting for things to happen. I genuinely liked his demeanor, his attitude – especially about life. Just letting it go, letting it happen. When I was at a presser or waiting to do a live shot that he was also doing, I paid attention to what he was doing. What better way to learn than from a guy like Carl. Sometimes I would ask why he did something a certain way, and he never acted l was getting in his way, or something I should know.

My Chief photographer and just about everyone else told me to always use a tripod. No matter what. Steady shots are key in making good stories. Well, Carl was his own tripod. I never saw him use a tripod save live shots. When I watched his pieces on TV, I couldn’t tell he was shooting off hand. He did use this bean bag that he made. The one I saw him use, I asked about and he told me how he made it. It was perfect for low angle shots or for resting the camera on other objects.

Carl – one cool dude.

Any viewer would have no idea what a talented man he was. How TV news is made and the steps involved in doing it right. Even when I was watching his stories on air, I could tell what a remarkable story teller he was. His photopacks were excellent.

I have had a more friends pass in the last year from cancer than I think should happen to anyone. My mom passed from cancer when I was 23 and that’s when I began to really hate that disease, my first close encounter with it. My aunt soon after, and since then friends and colleagues every year. I wish I could have hung out with Carl more often and maybe had some of his skills rub off on me.

My most humble and sincere condolences to his family, the employees of 13 WHAM and the rest of the PJ’s that interacted with Carl. He will deeply missed in this community, and the sad part is, many of the viewers of channel 13 won’t know he’s gone. His work will remain in archives and be pulled occasionally for news stories. Carl was but 52 years old, and ironically, while in life he let things just roll, just happen, he was born and died on the same day.      

In Memoriam. by 13WHAM