We arrived in a water taxi. Scott had his backpack full of gear, his camera in hand. I was hauling the tripod. A Kachemak Bay State Park Ranger was joining us for the hike from the bay to the Grewingk Glacier. A four-miler, round-trip through remote Alaska wilderness. The type of assignment Scott and I both live for. It was day two of KTUU's week-long summer travel series, "Destination Alaska."
We offloaded onto some stairs that cascaded out of the tidal waters up a steep mountainside. We quickly began climbing. Scott ran ahead, to capture video of the ranger and me hiking towards him. I would ask a few questions, we'd stop…then we'd walk back, grab the gear and shuttle it ahead of us. If we had been hiking the trail outside the confines of a same-day story, we would've taken all day, packed a lunch and eaten at the base of the glacial lake. But we were on deadline.
This was my first experience working with Scott on a week-long travel assignment. We were shooting this and three other stories for a live remote. Once we shot the stories and traveled by boat to and from our daily destinations we would edit within minutes of our live shots at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. And as the anchor of the Late Edition I would be anchoring the 10 o'clock show live from our location, with the entire second half of the show filled with stories we compiled that same day. Scott and I had our work cut out for us, but he was all over it. We talked easily about the goals of the story. How it should open, where we wanted to take it and how it should end. On the hike he covered twice as much ground as the ranger and I. It's what I like most about working with Scott; he is willing to do whatever it takes to get the most beautiful and stunning images to our viewers without taking shortcuts.
After the hike, we headed to Halibut Cove, the site of that evening's remote. Scott headed off to shoot several VOSOTs without me as I logged our hike tape and began writing. We exchanged scripts and tapes about an hour later and then I logged the new video and interviews, and then began writing those stories. When we had a few minutes we co-produced the late show. Around midnight we had our first downtime. We sat on the deck of the Quiet Place Lodge under the midnight sun and talked. It was then that Scott became more than my photographer, he became a good friend.
When he first came to KTUU, he had already been honored with the Ernie Crisp NPPA Photographer of the Year award. I was thrilled to be working with someone who had conquered the "big" markets. But that never mattered to Scott. His only focus: shooting and editing award-winning work. He has taught me to look beyond the same old story, and find the "visual" element reporters often overlook. Not always easy, but always possible. Scott often talks about moments, capturing the emotion of every story.
In the spring of 2007, Scott and I headed out on the Iditarod. Neither of us had covered the race before. On the first day during the ceremonial start, Scott had the idea of hopping onto the back of a sled, forgetting he was connected to a cable-tethered camera. He got caught at the end, flipped over the sled and was dragged about five feet. It wasn't pretty. The next day, after a night in the hospital, Scott picked me up with a brace on his leg for our two-week assignment. Like I said, nothing ever gets in the way of a good story for Scott.