For six or seven years now, since Bonnie and I have gotten into greyhounds, we have been walking our dogs through William Land Park. It is, in my opinion, the most beautiful park in Sacramento, and is just a few block from where we live.
For several years now we’ve noticed a small group of asian seniors exercising to Tai Chi in the mornings. Over the past few years this group has grown to around thirty people.
They call themselves Tong Xin Tai Chi and a group of them have even traveled to Henan province in China to participate (and placed!) in an international Tai Chi Tournament.
They are lovely to watch, gracefully moving in synchronized moves, which look like choreographed dance movements, but are actually a form of martial arts.
They will be moving to Chinese music playing out of a speaker. In the early morning light, with the sun piercing through the canopy of leaves, watching the group of people moving in harmony, are visually a beautiful compliment to the many lovely trees that make up the park.
I’ve wanted to do a news story on them for years, then finally a month or so ago, while Bonnie and I were finishing up our morning walk with the dogs, I went over to the group as they were wrapping up. I introduced myself as being a photographer from KCRA and that I’d like to do a story on them. A few women laughed and said, “Oh, we are very shy asian ladies. You’d better come back next Wednesday. Oh–and Channel 3 is my favorite!”
I returned the following Wednesday just before 7:30 AM and filmed their 90-minute exercise routine. They were truly wonderful people who fully welcomed me and my cameras (I had both my Sony Cine Alta HD XDCAM and my personal Canon 7D with the Tokina 11-16mm super-wide lens).
After their workout I shot four interviews, then packed up and headed into work at KCRA for my regular day shift at 10 AM.
Yes–I started working at 7 AM, shooting a full special segment news story before going into work to do my 8+ hour day!!!!!
When I got into work I had some free time so I was able to log all the footage & start writing. That week proved to be very low-key, so I was also able to write and edit the piece within a day or so after shooting. Not common, just luck of the draw, I guess.
Often the stories I shoot will also have a shortened version to run in the evening news, but in this case we decided to keep it exclusively on Common Ground to make the show more unique.
This story aired on KCRA-3 TV’s once-a-month magazine program Common Ground on Saturday, August 16, 2014, at 6:30 PM.
The Tong Xin Tai Chi group is beautiful to watch and truly contributes to the serenity of mornings in Land Park.