Fishing for a camera: A muddy, water-logged reunion for assaulted photographer and his DSLR


posted Tuesday, July 19, 2016 at 2:00 PM EST


For many reasons, being a photojournalist is a tough gig. One of the challenges is that you often take photos of people who might not be in the mood. While photographing a woman feeding ducks at a public park in May in Hesperia, California, Daily Press photographer David Pardo became embroiled in a heated dispute.

After taking a photo of the woman, Pardo went over to her to ask permission to use the photo --- which was unnecessary but polite of him nonetheless -- and she refused. Beyond refusing, she demanded that he delete the photographs. Aware of his rights, Pardo said that he wouldn't do that. After the woman threatened to call the police, Pardo went on his way and continued taking photographs of people in the area.

As it turns out, the woman had instead called in a couple of acquaintances. Two men pulled up in a sedan and approached Pardo, yelling at him to remove the photos. After again standing his ground on the issue, one of the men sucker punched Pardo, knocking him down. While Pardo was on the ground, one of them took his gear and phone and threw them into the lake. Pardo suffered numerous facial injuries but fortunately no fractures or serious internal injuries. 

Following the attack, Pardo reported the incident to the police and eventually the two attackers were arrested and charged with assault and vandalism. What about the camera? Well sometimes when you go fishing, you catch something unexpected -- such as a Nikon D300s camera body, in the case of Hesperia resident Shelly Hirst.

She reeled in the DSLR, complete with its still functional memory card, and took to the internet to try to track down the owner. With the help of Facebook users and a local news station, Hirst was able to track Pardo down and give him back his camera. There is still a second camera body and Pardo's phone at the bottom of the lake, but he now has a better idea about where to look for his belongings.

California photographers are having a tough go of it in public places lately, between this incident and the automotive photographer being threatened and verbally assaulted earlier this month. Here's hoping cooler heads can prevail in the golden state soon!

(Seen via DIY Photography