Aug 30, 2008

Thoughts on volleyball, sports ...

For years as a young photographer I thought there was only way to do some things. Case in point, high school volleyball. I've shot a lot of it and usually always the same way — with a long lens, from one side of the net, facing the team I was covering, looking for action at the net. And though thankfully in more recent years I've come to shoot a lot of sports in a different way — shooting more with wide lenses, looking for moments away from the ball or the action — deep down I still feel like I have to nail that quintessential action shot (aka, redundant action shot) at games.
This year though I'm making a vow of sorts to approach how I shoot high school sports in a different way, all the time, to more like how I shoot pretty much EVERYTHING ELSE.
I've always liked the kind of off the cuff shots I get at practices and training camps, like the football stuff I posted last week. I took that same basic mentality with me to shoot previews at the volleyball practices this week and got stuff I liked a heck of a lot more than I would have if I had just tried to get another pic of someone trying to spike a ball.
So as the seasons begin, I'm going to try and take that mentality to the games that count and see what I get. I really liked shooting basketball with a wide lens last year and am going to keep trying new things like that for me. Now I'm not claiming this as rocket science, far from it. People like Scott Strazzante ( who shot a great blog called The Season last year on three different sports) and Sol of course have been using a similar approach in their sports shooting for years, but for some reason in my mind I seperated how I basically shoot everything else, from how I shoot games. But not anymore hopefully — though I'm sure I'll fall back into that familiar comfort zone from time to time, hopefully I'll have sense enough to push myself to look further than what's in front of me.
So anyway, with all that out of the way, here's some pix from volleyball practices that I liked.

When I got back to the car after shooting the Naselle practice I found Kenz, lounging in the car half asleep listening to orchestral music on the car radio.


Aug 28, 2008

Kenpo kids

With our normal Monday deadline for the B section of the paper moved up to Friday due to the Labor Day holiday, I found myself shooting, editing and designing the Life page feature all today. Without much time for advanced planning we decided to do a simple feature on a new Kenpo Karate class for kids at the River City School of Arts. And while I don't always feel like I get very good pix at kid-centric events a lot of the time, I really kinda liked these.

I have a bunch of volleyball pix to post too, as I shot the practices at both high schools over the previous two days and was pretty happy with what came out of it, but I'll share those tomorrow.


Aug 24, 2008

Practice pix

Good God this week has been crazy. It seems like I've literally been going non-stop since Wednesday morning when I took Ness and Wyse to the airport and Kenz school shopping in Portland. Thursday, Friday and Saturday saw non-stop shooting work in Naselle, Ilwaco, South Bend, Menlo and Skamokawa (that's a lot of driving). Part of that including shooting the first practices of the football teams at Ilwaco and Naselle high schools. Here's a couple pix I liked best from those. You can check out a gallery of Ilwaco pix and an audio slideshow from Naselle in a post on the FRIDAY NIGHT SIGHTS football blog.

PS - I didn't post anything from the Wahkiakum County fair cuz it was kind of a bust for me. I wasn't super pleased with what I got from the Model-T races. And the greased pig contest, which I was most excited about got pushed back — by six hours. A half hour before it was supposed to start I went to the fair office to ask where exactly it would take place and was told that it had been pushed back from 2:30 till after 8 pm — but she said she'd be happy to show me the pen where the pigs were if I wanted to get a picture of that.....


Aug 22, 2008

Pac Co Fair

Every summer since I've been here I've shot the Pacific County Fair, and each year I try to focus in on a different aspect of it. This year I decided on the Fair Queen pageant, which took place Thursday night. It didn't work out quite as well as I thought it may, as it turns the pageant was on Wednesday night and Thursday was just the crowning ceremony. The whole putting the crown on thing didn't make for a good pic IMO, but I liked a few from before the crowning took place.
Afterward while McKenzie rode rides for the next few hours I made a few snaps of people at the fair.

Like her mom, Kenz (at right) loves the thrill rides and got lucky enough to find a couple of girls to go on them with her.

Tomorrow I'm heading up to the Wahkiakum County Fair, another summer tradition for me. I've had some pretty good luck over the years there, and I hopefully this year may continue that trend. I'll be shooting the Model-T Ford race finals and a greased pig contest.......


Kevin German's Wandering Light

I added a great blog to my blog roll on the right of the template page here called Wandering Light, you should definitely check it out. It is the blog of photojournalist Kevin German who is connected with the new Luceo Images
Kevin has been in China for the last few weeks shooting a piece he's calling "Outside the Rings" which shows life by the everyday people of China as Olympic fever goes on all around. IMO he's been shooting the best stuff I've seen from the Olympics because instead of getting the same stuff that thousands of other shooters are getting, he's hitting the street with a single camera, a couple fast lenses and coming back with a wealth of good stuff. And even though the PRC is trying to keep people from shooting reality as it pertains to their country during this time, he's doing a heck of a job doing just that. I've been checking it out everyday (and he pretty much posts everyday) and have loved it. Definitely go back a few weeks on the posts and view the work from the beginning of his time there forward, it continues to get better IMO. He's over there staying with my buddy Sol who has also been getting some great stuff at the games.

A side note just to show my ridiculous talent for retaining useless information. Back in maybe 1999 or 2000 I met German while covering a traffic accident along I-5 in Springfield, Ore. I was working my first full-time shooting job as a staff photographer at the now defunct Springfield News and he was interning for the Register Guard, probably the best paper in Oregon. I'm sure he doesn't remember, but this just goes to show, I can remember meeting someone one time eight or nine years ago, but I can never remember my parents birthdays ......


Aug 19, 2008

A mixed bag over 24 hours

Last Friday and Saturday I was pretty busy shooting four assignments and a bit of a wedding.
Things got started on Friday when I checked out the Cub Scout day camp in Ocean Park. I was attracted to this due to the old-fashioned kinda activities like BB gun sharpshooting and archery. A strong wind made shooting for them a little tough but for me just fine.

On Saturday I went to the First Nations Gathering, where I came across Jerry Chapman, who was there to give a traditional blessing when the Chinook arrived via canoe.

The day ended with a freelance job, another local wedding, this time in Ilwaco at the Heritage Museum. It was nowhere near as time consuming as the previous week, as they just wanted to do some stand-ups after the ceremony. Of course I arrived early and got some as things were getting going. The groom and his groomsmen arrived on Harleys.


Aug 17, 2008

A nice find

On my way out of Ilwaco yesterday on my way to Raymond I did a double take when I saw this. I did a quick U-ey and went back to check it out. He and his dad were cool with me a taking a few pix. They had plans to go see the new Star Wars movie that night.

Being a total Star Wars nut as I am it was too cool of a find. it made me wonder though, thinking about Boba Fett, the infamous bounty hunter is one of the more favorite characters of Star Wars nuts, though he only has three lines, all coming in (the best Star Wars movie) Empire Strikes Back. Here they are:

Darth Vader: There will be a substantial reward for the one who finds the Millennium Falcon. You are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive. No disintegrations.
Boba Fett: As you wish.

Darth Vader: You may take Captain Solo to Jabba the Hutt after I have Skywalker.
Boba Fett: He's no good to me dead.
Darth Vader: He will not be permanently damaged.

Boba Fett: What if he doesn't survive? He's worth a lot to me.
Darth Vader: The Empire will compensate you, if he dies. Put him in.


Aug 14, 2008


Sometimes I feel like I can't even buy a good photo. Other days a nice moment just appears out of nowhere and is a no-brainer. Here's Wyse snoozing with Kenz in the back of the car after returning from Astoria. I believe that's chocolate ice cream on his cheeks....


Aug 12, 2008

8/8/08 project

The idea was simple. On 8/8/08 make eight photographs that reflect life on this rare date from the local area. Easier said than done. Dates of a repeated number like this only happen 12 times each century, starting with 1/1/01 and ending with 12/12/12. Though a bit late, I came up with an idea last year in honor of 7/7/07 to round up seven photographers who would make seven photos on that date and then host a gallery Web site with what we came up with. Unfortunately I only came up with three photographers (including myself) who could do it on that day. This year I decided that I really wanted to make this happen and planned to go it alone and see what I could come up with. The inspiration for the project came from the Day in the Life series of photo books, of which I have owned “A Day in the Life of California” for many years. And while I considered doing something more thematic with this — for example have every photo have something to do with the number eight — I was finding in my planning process that just trying to make eight good pictures of eight different things from throughout the day was going to be hard enough. Perhaps next year I’ll do further advanced planning in order to make that happen. So what you’ll find here is essentially what I found going on that day — just a regular day, with an unusual name.

Here are the pix I liked best from the day in essentially sequential order of them being made.

My first stop was down at the north jetty where I found Billy Price fishing for crab. I have to admit I've never seen someone intentionally fishing for crab with a rod before, but he was having success, as I watched him pull up number 3 and 4 while I was there. I thought it was a good way to start things off, though I was not able to make a very good picture, IMO. Despite it's shaky appearance I kinda like the second one better, though I know it would not have worked for the paper.

After the jetty I went home to have a bite and get the kids ready to go to daycare. I made these pix of my daughter brushing her hair in the middle of a plate of eggs-over-medium and a few slices of watermelon. I actually liked either of these better than some of the other pix I would make during the day, but we really don't run pix of family members in the paper if we can get away with it, so....

I think I'm beginning to see a trend here ... I really like this pic for some reason. Yeah, it's out of focus. I'd love to say that it was that way on purpose, but truth is when I pulled the camera up to take the pic of this truck sitting on a road of oyster shell in Nahcotta the camera focused on the window for the first frame. IDK, the soft color looks nice IMO. The one below it of someone's discarded sweater on the pile of shells just didn't quite do it for me.

For perhaps selfish reasons (yeah, I really wanted one of their focacia for lunch) I headed over to Bailey's Bakery in Nahcotta. Their door is right next to that of the Post Office and is a nice little hub of local traffic as people get their mail. I got lucky after a bit as Ginger Bish come out with a handful of mail and a bright pink sweater on.

On the way to my next stop in Naselle I came across Bob Hamley and his friend Bill Farrell picking blackberries on the hillside near the Bear River crossing. WHile I don't think this is a very good photo, I like the find itself.

My stop in Naselle was one of the few planned occasions on the day. The Congrgational Church holds a senior social every Wednesday where people get together and have lunch and play games. I liked this first one best, but felt it was way too much like the blackberry one, so I went with the one below it instead, which I also like for the serious look on her face while she plans her next move.

I figured it couldn't really be a day in the life of the area without hitting up the beach at some point, so when I returned from Naselle I headed down to the Bolstad beach approach. By this time it was starting to to rain a bit, though that didn't stop a ton of people from heading down to the water the same time as me. Some were even brave enough to get into the water.

Before heading over to my last planned item of the day I found Landen Baker busking with his guitar downtown. This kid is pretty good, playing a wide variety of music in the short time I was there. He said he is down there most days before and after work playing music and trying to make a little extra money to pay his rent. Unfortunately, while I was there everyone just passed on by without dropping anything in his case.

Sarah and John Schelling were married on Friday afternoon at her parents house after having their original plans for an outdoor ceremony rained out. The two said they did not pick the date intentionally. Sarah said "It sort of worked out that way. But if somebody else thinks its lucky, that’s fantastic for us.” John said he shouldn't have any problem remembering their anniversary date....

Once again motivated by hunger I stopped off at Bluto's for a small pie with fresh mushrooms and found Bruce Bailey still there hand-tossing pizza skins as closing time was approaching. I shot him making a few pizzas while waiting for mine to emerge from the oven.

This is the last pic I took on Friday night while driving back to the office.

So, I can't say with any honesty that this was a successful project, I think I swung and missed more than I made it to base and I didn't hit any out of the park. But at the same time, in consulting my Day in the Life of California book I found some similar results that I hadn't really noticed in the vastness of the content before. It's all pretty much everyday moments and people. Like I said before it's just another day with a different name. I don't know if I will indeed try this again next year or not. It would be awesome if I didn't have to do it alone I think, as more often than not on Friday I felt like I needed to keep moving in order to fill my self-imposed quota of eight pix of eight different things when in most instances I probably could have made better pix if I had spent more time in some of these places like I normally would. Oh well, chalk it up to a learning experience.


Aug 11, 2008

Miguel & Amanda get married

This last Saturday I did something that I rarely do — I photographed a wedding.

It's not often that I do these, and this is not by accident. While I like weddings, and I like taking pictures at weddings, I'm not all that fond of being the person hired to take the pictures that will document one of the most important days of someone's life. It's a lot of pressure, as if you miss an important moment there's no going back.
That being said, if it's the right occasion I don't mind so much. This was definitely one of those occasions. Amanda and Miguel agreed that they were more interested in having their wedding day shot in a more documentary style, which is really the only way I like to shoot them, with just a minimal amount of stand-ups (posed pictures). The bonuses were that they were doing it in Oysterville, and any time I have a chance to shoot in Oysterville I take — plus her dad is a fan of my work, so how could I say no?
Here's my favorites from the nearly 2,000 snaps I took during the day.

Congrats to the newlyweds!

A side note, my wife Vinessa was the caterer at this event, and I don't know that I've ever mentioned it on here, but we own a catering business that she operates, The Beach House Catering Co. She's the only real caterer on the Peninsula and is a excellent chef. I know this is a shameless plug, but she deserves it. So, if anybody out there is ever looking for a caterer or a private chef for a special occasion — she does all kinds — drop her a line: 360 642 0064.