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  Field Notes From
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From Photographer

Penny De Los Santos

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photograph by Charlene Radies


ZipUSA 33856 On Assignment Photographer ZipUSA 33856 On Assignment Photographer
ZipUSA 98281

Field Notes From Photographer
Penny De Los Santos

Best Worst Quirkiest
    I was eating Canadian Thanksgiving with a big family in Point Roberts and started asking what everyone's plans were for the week. I wanted to put some feelers out on what I could photograph. One woman—a nurse—
mentioned that she was going to the 90th birthday party of a lady she helped out named Mary. Whistles started going off in my head, and the next day I was at Mary's house. Only three or four of us were there to celebrate, but we had a great time. I loved taking her picture because it made her feel special and, to me, that always means more than the best photograph.
After that I made sure to pencil into my shooting schedule "Tea with Mary." She was just a colorful individual, rich with stories, and I felt enlightened after visiting her. 

    I wanted to photograph Point Roberts from a helicopter, but the pilot I had planned on using was out of town. So I tracked down another guy. He was 80-something years old and didn't have a license, but he did have his own helicopter and agreed to fly me.
    He took me up on a really windy day, but we didn't stay out long because the wind was picking up and it was getting too dark for him to see. As we made our descent, I started to get a little freaked-out. When I had gotten into his helicopter I noticed that the landing pad was in a small area surrounded by very tall palm trees near a cliff. But it wasn't until I saw it from above that I realized how little room there was for error during landing. He even called it the "tricky part." We swerved around, and I figured it was just a matter of time before we smacked right into a tree and died. Well, we landed alive, and he asked me if I was worried. I lied and said "No." His reply? "I was."

    I found a wedding where the bride and groom were going to cross into Canada to catch a flight for their honeymoon. So I met them at their wedding, took some pictures, and then got into their stretch limo with them. It was a little awkward. They were making out and just enjoying their day as I tried to stay in the background. But it was OK because for hours I'd been anticipating what a great picture I was going to get when Canadian immigration stopped them, like they do every vehicle, at the border. I had everything planned out, but it must not have been my day. When immigration officers saw that it was a bride and groom, they flagged them right through. It was the only time I'd seen them do that the entire time I was in Point Roberts. As we flew by all I could think was "No! No! No!" No matter how much you anticipate the most amazing moment, it can disappear just like that.


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