Storm- and flame-chasing PD photographer Kent Porter is vastly more comfortable behind a camera lens than in front of one.
Even so, Kent complied days ago to a request that he speak about his work and his coverage of the October fires while being videoed by Austin Meyer. Austin, you may not need to be reminded, is the Santa Rosa native who aspires to global, impactful journalism and in 2015 trekked to India and Nepal with Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times.
Austin’s video of Kent is powerful. Many of Kent’s fire images are there.
As you’ll see, Kent can’t put his finger on exactly why he has reacted to extreme, potentially deadly weather and fires the way he has since he saw, at age 8, that Clear Lake’s Aurora Marina was aflame and he grabbed his dad’s Polaroid land camera. And went to work.
MARILYN RESS was among the people remembered in our collection of stories last Sunday on those who perished in the October fires.
One of Marilyn’s best friends told me in an interview that the 71-year-old former Penngrove farm girl was hugely caring, generous and an absolute kick to knock around with. I spoke again with the friend, Cynthia Conners of Santa Rosa, just the other day and she said she’d found a Press Democrat story I’d written years ago about one of her and Marilyn’s hijinks.
How could I have forgotten the tale from 2004 headlined: “The Church Ladies and the Tinted Glass”?
It was Marilyn’s idea, on a Saturday in July of that year, to treat herself and Cynthia and two nuns from St. Eugene’s Cathedral to a sunset dinner cruise on San Francisco Bay. The outing was entirely splendid, until the drive home.
The foursome was headed north in Marin County in the sporty used car Cynthia had just bought, a 1998 VW Jetta with quite dark, custom tinted windows. Cynthia had just eased onto Highway 101 when at least six police cars swooped in and surrounded her Jetta.
Guns were aimed at Marilyn and Cynthia and the nuns, who weren’t wearing habits, as they followed orders to step from the car and lie facedown on the shoulder, where they were handcuffed.
About then, Cynthia heard an officer utter, “Uh-oh.”
A Tiburon police lieutenant told me a short later that at the outset an officer noticed that the Jetta’s registration tag was expired. And that when the officer ran the license number, the response came that the car had been stolen in Stockton.
Thus the felony stop. Minutes later, the uh-oh moment: the officers learned the stolen-car report was in error.
Marilyn recalls what one of the nuns said to Marilyn as she and her fellow sister exited the car in Santa Rosa:
“Marilyn, thank you for an unforgettable day. But please lose our phone number!”
A.G. WAS HERE: You’re up on current events if you’re aware that 37-year-old Arthur Gregg Sulzberger has become publisher of the New York Times, succeeding his father, Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr.
And your memory is awesome if you recall that in the summer of 2002, A.G. worked in the PD newsroom as an intern. A good guy, wicked smart, he graduated from Brown and reported for the Providence Journal and the Oregonian before he walked into the Times building for the first time as an employee in 2009, pushed the elevator button and went up and up and up.