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.