Dec 30, 2007

el Sol = Sports

On Saturday my long time bud and sports shooter of the bizarre Sol Neelman did me the huge favor of looking over and editing down my sports pix from this past year — here's a link to his blog the www of sports. I've been in the process of going through what I think is my better stuff from 2007, to try and get a feel for how I did, if I grew as a photographer and whatever else I can learn. After going through about 50 images he gave me a nice tight 9 image edit for me to enter in the sports portfolio category of the POYi contest. Here they are in the order he suggested:

Croquet with the Sherlock Holmes Society

Relay teams warm-up pre-race

Peanut butter spoon event at the Doggie Olympics

District long jump finals

Scwingen: Swiss wrestling

Powderpuff touchdown celebration

District XC meet

Potato spoon race by alumni of Oysterville one-room schoolhouse

Pie eating contest at Wahkiakum County fair

It was great to get his insight and advice and I think I have a better idea of what I've done and where I want to go and how I want to do it. Thanks again man!


Thats the way the ball bounces

Here's a couple pix from the Ilwaco boys game at Holiday Classic the other night. I've been shooting sports with a wide lens for some time now, but had yet to really give it a shot shooting hoops. The experiments I had last year didn't pan and got stuck shooting with the tele-zoom instead — like always ...
After checking out a recent post on the excellent sports blog, The Season by the Chicago Tribune's Scott Strazzante, I was inspired as he was talking about how the common rule of sports photography "tight is right" as in a tight composition shot with a long lens, was not right and gave some great examples of shooting the action from the preps game with a wide lens.
I have a couple more I'll post later that I liked as well, but here's a couple of ones I liked that were more ball-centric rather than just game action,


Dec 23, 2007

There ... and gone

Welcome to the neighborhood
A broken door sign greets those who visit the crumbling streets of the Washaway Beach neighborhood

Last Thursday I was sent up to Washaway Beach to shoot for a piece on coastal erosion. Washaway Beach is the name given to a stretch of land near Tokeland that is the fastest eroding beach in north America. Washaway Beach is technically in the town of North Cove, but honestly, due to the erosion, there isn't much left of the town — over 100 homes have been lost, including a lighthouse, many of which in the last 20 years.

About two years ago I was sent there to check out the destruction during a storm that brought some of the highest tides in years. It was on that trip that I met LaDonna Hartke. When she bought her house in 1995 it was located over 140 feet from the edge. On that occasion her front door was about 30 feet or so from the edge after that storm blew through, as you can see in the photo below from Jan. 2006 (that's her house to the right).

I had kept email contact with her every once in awhile, with her writing briefly to say she was still there. She had a great faith in God that he would somehow save her house from being one of the inumberous to be swallowed by the sea. I read in a Seattle Times Article from September that she only had 8 feet left. I also saw in a Seattle Times blog from the week following the storm that her house had finally been taken. So when I set out last Thursday I planned to seek out her house and see what was left.

I found her house, or at least what was left of it. It sat on its side, smashed on the beach, held up only by a rogue tree that had either washed up or been blown over around the same time. I also found one of her son's, Eric, and his fiance, Janey, who were scavenging the beach for whatever belongings they could find. They had lived in the house with LaDonna for a few years and said they just got their marriage license a few weeks ago — right around the time of the storm. The two had been in the house at the time it was taken, running in and out, getting whatever they could at the last minute. Eric said he actually had to drag his mom from the building just moments before it went.

It's amazing to me that people not only still live there, but people are actually still buying lots and homes in the area. I hear beach front property goes for $500 a lot. Not bad, You might have it for a year or two, or maybe not even through the winter. I guess property just a 100 feet or so off the beach can actually fetch in the neighborhood of $100,000 a lot — hey, it might last a couple years, if you're lucky — it loses an average of 65 feet per year since the 1880s. Of course, you can't get insurance for it ... It is amazingly sad to see people trying to literally piece together whatever they can of their lives after something like this. But Eric said, "This is the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one."


** Appendix — After taking another look, here are a few more pix from that day at Washaway Beach

Dec 12, 2007

Christmas tradition in the valley

So last night I travelled up in the valley to shoot the annual Grays River Grange community Christmas gathering. This has been going on since the 1930s, or perhaps even later by some accounts. It is the epitomy of a small town event — just the kind of thing I love to shoot. They would normally hold it at the old Grange Hall, but due to the storm last week which causing some flooding to the building, they held it this year at the old Rosburg School. The building is a throwback to the schools from like the 50s, where all grades are in one building and all the fixtures and such are still intact. It hasn't been a school for some years, and is used now as a community center of sorts.

I'd say maybe 40 adults and kids were there. It starts out with a big meal, some of which is potluck. Then they all sing Christmas Carols, like the 12 days of Christmas. Esther Gregg, who has been involved in the Grange all her life, was at the table that had the 5 Golden Rings portion of the song.
After the songs local author Bob Pyle did as he has done for some 25 years and gathered the kids together to read Twas the Night Before Christmas. I took up a spot outside the foggy windows to take some pix.
While this was going on, in another room, Brandon Novoselic was dressing and preparing for his guest role of Santa. Brandon was drafted into the part by his uncle, Krist (our resident rock star, who is also the Grange Master) after the usual St. Nick couldn't make it at the last minute. Here he is giving Brandon some instruction on what to do before joining the party. "Remember it's 'ho, ho, ho,' not 'he, he, he.'"
Being Santa, of course he brought with him a sack full of toys for all the good girls and boys.
They ended their get-together by singing Silent Night by candlelight. A nice touch and a nice ending.

I just love shooting small town stuff like this. I know I've commented on here before, but every time I shoot something in the valley I always seem to have good luck and the people are so easy to be around. I'm always looking for stuff happening up there. They have a sensibility about themselves and the way they live that is a little old fashioned, and it's cool to see.


Dec 11, 2007

Storm, storm and more storm ...

Hey Everybody, Been a long, crazy time since I got on here,
I'm happy to say that things are finally getting back to normal after the storms. We had no power on the south end of the Peninsula for two and a half days — the north end was out for six days in some spots. We had no Internet for most of last week. Debris, damage everywhere. Crazy time.
To catch ya up, here's a link to the gallery I put up last week from when the storm hit. I actually had this up prior to us getting the paper out. Due to the power outage in Astoria we had to have the paper printed in Longview — which made our paper look weird because they have a paper size that is 85% of our size, so the pages had to be essentially shrunk.

Below you'll find some pix that will be in the paper on Wednesday.
Greg Gray begins to remove a large tree that had fallen onto a cabin on Joe Johns Road near Surfside Friday by way of a cable attached to his truck. Gray, who owns a tree service in Vancouver, has been busy removing trees from property around the Peninsula sicne last week.
We came across Vikki Harrison while out with the Red Cross as they made deliveries to people in Ocean Park who were still without power. She was pained as her back had gone out on her during the storm and at that point her power had been out over 100 hours and she had been keeping warm with a small propane heater, which ran out of gas earlier that day.
The clean up of just the hundreds of downed trees alone could take weeks.


Nov 29, 2007

Been awhile, here's some stuff

Hey out there,
Wow, it's been over two weeks since I've posted on this blog (I have been posting to the Friday Night Sights blog though). The week of Thanksgiving I was out of town pretty much the whole week. That was an interesting couple of days.
On Saturday the 17th I went to Tacoma to cover the Naselle-Life Christian playoff game which started at 7 p.m. Naselle lost the game 22-0, ending their season. The game was fast, as there weren't a lot of stoppages in the game, so I stayed after for a long time. The team has given me great access throughout the year, including the locker room before, during and after the games. This is where I got a majority of my pix from that game, including this one below which I think pretty much summed up the feeling of the team. The team was great to be around all year and I really appreciated the opportunity to be there to document it.

This week on the cover of the Life section we ran a retrospective on the teams historic season, which you can read HERE.
We ran seven pix in the paper, but you can find a slideshow gallery of like 35-40 pix from throughout the season HERE. It features mostly pix of things away from the games, like this one from the Homecoming game.

After getting home from the game around midnight I stayed up at least another hour starting an edit of the 800-plus pix from the game (because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep until I knew I had some decent stuff). I was up three hours later so we could leave town at around 4:30 a.m. to make the 9-hour trek down to California. Now normally we wouldn't be killing ourselves to make it down in any certain frame of time, but that day was the final performance of the play my dad was in, "Arsenic and Old Lace." My dad played Teddy the crazy brother who thinks he's Theodore Roosevelt, a comedic role that in my opinion made the play. He even looked the part. We got to hang out with family, play some Balderdash, and go to a "real beach" (our beaches don't have rocks or aggots). I handed the camera off to Vinessa for most of the time.

We had a good trip, had Turkey Day on that Tuesday cuz we had to get back by Wednesday night so Ness could prep for the big Thanksgiving service she was doing at the restaurant. All-in-all, all good.

One last thing, here's the link to the audio slideshow I did last week on a group of high school kids that are in the first ever cadet program with the Pacific County Fire District.
I worked on this piece for a little over a month. I liked how it worked online better than in the paper, as we only had enough room for like 5 pix, and I think it definitely needed more to help tell the story. Once again, many thanks to the kids and the fire department for the great access!


Nov 13, 2007

Winds blow out the lights

Yesterday morning I spent about three hours chasing down PUD workers and storm-related damage during a hurricane-force wind storm that knocked out power to the Peninsula, and still has the north end in the dark as of this morning. Here's a few pix from around town, including David Bright and his son (above) as they assess the scene after a large pine tree was blown onto the top of their home in Long Beach. I think I finally got dry and warm again about 4 pm yesterday afternoon.... something tells me this is going to be a long winter.

Stay dry,

Nov 9, 2007

Road Trippin', CPOYin' and end of the Season-in'

hey there, here's a couple things to check out:

• The College Photographer of the Year competition judging is being broadcast as a series of PODCASTS. Each installment features the semi-finals or finals of a category. It's pretty interesting to listen as the judges view the images and make comments on the entries. Best of all, there's some really great photos to see.

• The Season, a Photo Blog by the Chicago Tribune's Scott Strazzante has been a great inspiration for me as far as sports photography goes, just wrapped up. Scott is going to follow a single team from each season of high school sports throughout the ups and downs of their season. His fall sports muse was the Joilet Catholic volleyball team. He ran a single image each week in the paper, but updated the blog portion almost daily throughout the season — from their first practice to their loss in the playoffs. This is some really great images and storytelling — plus you get Scott's at times quirky narration too.

• Tomorrow I'm driving up to Bellevue to shoot the Naselle-Seattle Lutheran 2B state playoff football game. And while its really only about three hours, it still counts as a road trip! that of course means, road trip music time!

Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
I can't say enough about this record, it's easily the best and most complete album I've heard this year. I picked it up last time I was in Portland at Everyday Music on Burnside. It was pretty sweet, as the vinyl copy I bought was not only a sweet double album gate fold, but also came with a CD copy of the album as well. Even better, the CD features a link to Wilco's Web site, which gives the ability to download some live shows and a B side. Of course, many out there probably don't know who these guys are, but you should, they're one of the best American rock bands out there today. Actually, you probably have already heard many of the songs from this record as they made an unprecidented deal with Volkswagon to use a number of the new tunes in V-Dubs fall advertising campaign. I read an interview with the band that said with the demise of radio or even MTV as a way of getting music out there, advertising is one of the few ways people are finding out about new music. An interesting concept ...
Here's a video of them performing "Side with the Seeds" in their loft in Chicago where they recorded the album:

Nov 2, 2007

Their best for last

Last night I shot Ilwaco's final game of the year, a district crossover match-up with Winlock, you can read about it here at the Friday Night Sights blog. This is a shot I got in the second half when ilwaco was up by like 40 points and a lot of their JV or non-starting players were getting some playing time. I've been experimenting with a slow shutter at football games usually in the second half of blow out games this year. This is easily one of my favorite football pix I've gotten so far this year. Here's a link to another I got earlier this season at a Naselle game.
Naselle finished in a three-way tie for the league football title and are seeded second for the playoffs starting next week. They await the winner of the Darrington-Seattle Lutheran game tonight and will be traveling to one of those schools either next Friday or Saturday. I'm hoping for Saturday, as that means they'll likely have a day game! Yes! Football in the daylight is a very good thing — even if you have to drive four hours to find it!


Oct 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Hey everybody, happy Halloween. This is defintely one of my favorite holidays, if for no other reason than it gives people the right to look and act as crazy as they want.
The pic above I took a couple weeks ago for an advance of the Haunted Bunker. For those of you not from around here, it's like a haunted house, set up inside an old army bunker at Fort Canby (Cape D) in Ilwaco. It's put on by the local Coast Guard base and is a fundraiser for local charity. These guys always have a blast trying to make it scarier each year. I brought lights with me to do portrait style shots of the actors doing whatever it is they do. When it came to this room, the set-up was already perfect, as they had a work lamp set up to back light the guy with the chainsaw. I pretty much just set up a ladder to stand on and told them to throw lots of blood on the curtain. Perfect!
Here's something a little more tame, this was at the Ocean Park Elementary's Halloween parade this morning. I was amazed at how many kindergarteners knew who Elvis was, as they were calling out to this boy. Hilarious.
Here's a family shot from the other night before our Halloween/Hurray our adoption was finalized! Party at our house. McKenzie is a fairy princess this year. Meanwhile, here we have Wyse in one of his three Halloween outfits this year. I'll be sure to post one later of his Charlie Brown attire...

Oct 24, 2007

No 4-peat for Comets

Ever since I started working here in late 2002 the Naselle High volleyball team has been at or near the top of the Pacific League standings every year, usually fighting it out with their north county rival South Bend for the league title each year. So when I got the schedule in late August and saw this match-up I circled it on the calendar.
Now, things have not gone as planned for the Comets this year. Going into the game they were 4-4 in the league and 6-5 overall. Their string of three straight league titles had come to an end. Despite the less dramatic implications of the game, I still wanted to go, as South Bend has the only gym in the county, that I know of, that has a balcony that overlooks the court, which can make for some interesting pictures. Each year I try to make it up there for at least one game to take advantage of this ... um .... vantage.
It didn't take long for South Bend to sweep the Comets 3-0 in the match. Sylvia Herrold, above, must have known as the game ended and South Bend celebrated that her teams' playoff future is now possibly in jeopardy. This was a picture I saw coming as the third game wound down. Normally when they score a point, Herrold turns around in glee, her hand in the air. But as the points were slipping away from the Comets I saw the potential scene developing with the other team getting more excited. She was pretty bummed out after the loss, which was to be expected. I tell you what though, I'm sure not used to shooting these guys not celebrating a league title this time of year.

So, back to the game. When Naselle was on the side of the court facing the balcony I tried to get up as high as I could to get a nice shot at the net. I haven't really gotten any this year as Naselle's fieldhouse-style gym doesn't have bleachers that go up very high. What I found last night was that Herrold, the tallest girl on the team, ended up with the top white line of the net going across her face in each shot at the net. So I started watching sophomore Emily Green as she went up to block. A little shorter than Herrold, her face could be easily seen on each attempt and I just had to wait for the right moments.

I started noticing this year that I was getting a lot of pix of Herrold at most games, so much so that I had to start consciously looking for other players making plays. It's probably just me not looking at the bigger picture of the game perhaps, but she just always seems to find herself around the ball, so it's pretty easy to track the action to her. Here she makes a save at teh back of the court.
This one is probably my favorite from the night, as it gives you a good feel of the game due to the high vantage. Here she's calling out a ball that she thought was out. Typical of how things went for them last night, the ball was fair.As it has yet to be announced who is and who isn't making the playoffs this year this may have been my last Comets vball match of the year. I hope not, as they are always one of the more intersting teams to cover, as they have no problem showing emotion while playing, which is cool to see.