Nov 28, 2008

Comets conclude

Tonight I was at the Tacoma Dome to shoot Naselle playing in their first ever state semifinal football game. Unfortuntely the Comets couldn't muster enough offense in the second half for the win (though they did make it close, 18-13) eventually falling to the Napavine Tigers who will now play for the 2B state title next week.
And while I'm sure that there is a great feeling conclusion for the players, coaches and fans, I too came away with a bit of a feeling of finality as well. I've covered this team pretty closely for the last two years as they have set school records for team success on the gridiron and it's a little sad to see it end, especially a game away from the championship, but like I said, I know it is waaaay harder for the players obviously. In the next week I plan to edit down what I hope will be some of the best and most story-telling images from the over 16,000 I've shot of the team this season to put together a photo essay on the season.

As a parting shot, I have to say, the Tacoma Dome sucks! This is the first time I've ever shot a game inside, and only the second time I've been in it period (the other time was to watch the minor league hockey team Tacoma Sabercats play their final game like 10 years ago). The lighting is cooky, though better than the stadium lights at many high schools. The air is dry and funny smelling. The event staff is ridiculous as to where you can be and not be. I don't know, I just coudn't get into much of a rhythm shooting-wise. I think I made a few good frames, but not many despite the fact that I really wanted to, for at least the team's sake if not my own.

I have to say though, I really feel lucky to have been afforded the kind of access that I have gotten from the team and its coaches over the last two years. It's very cool to be treated like you belong in a situation like this, but it's even better in my profession when people are so accustomed to you being there that they don't even pay you any mind, which more often than not this team has done, and I wanted to say thanks!

Below is the gallery I put together for Friday Night Sights, if you wanted to check that out.


Nov 25, 2008

A home for the homeless

This last week I got the chance to spend some time at the local Humane Society animal shelter (and are a no-kill shelter) for a feature we did for this week's paper. I put together an audio slideshow to go with the piece ... the first one I've done since like August. It was kinda weird since I was doing at least one a week for a while there, so I was a little rusty. It's not the best one I've ever done, but thankfully its not the worst either... IMO anyway. Let me know what YOU think...
Press the arrow below to make it play


Nov 22, 2008

To the Dome!

Today I shot the Naselle High Comets win their state semifinal game against rival Valley to earn a trip to the final four at the Tacoma Dome next week. Here's the gallery I put up on our football blog Friday Night Sights.

It was cool to get to shoot with my pal Bill Wagner from the Longview Daily News, who I haven't seen in over a year!


Nov 17, 2008


Though I'm sure it's normal, I feel bad sometimes that I don't get as many pix of Kenz on here as I do Wyse at times, so here's a few of my favorite girl from this last week.
First off, after a good round of Clue (her new favorite game) Kenz decided to lay down with her brother and they both ended up snoozing away on the couch. I think Wyse has a little milk and cookie left on on his face....

It seems that her unusually early sleepiness was because she was getting sick. This is her after coming home early from the school the next day, reading on her bed with her cat. There are so many little details that I just love about this picture...
McKenzie loves to read and does so at a near sixth grade level in second grade this year. She was actually given three reading awards today in an assembly at school


Nov 16, 2008

Comets move on

Today I drove up to Bellevue to shoot the Comets first round playoff game against Seattle Lutheran, the team they blew out in the first round last year. Yep, this was more of the same for the Comets, who will now face their league rival Willapa Valley this coming weekend in the quarterfinals. Here's some pix I liked from the game (I'm starting to find that a lot of my work for the Friday Night Sights blog of Naselle is ending up a nice little photo story on the teams season). You can view a gallery of pix I shot HERE including (gasp) a bunch of action pix. Hey, this was the first time in a year I got to shoot football during daylight hours...





Nov 10, 2008


A lot of times in this job you have to try and make something from next to nothing sometimes and this last Saturday was kinda like that. It started out with me shooting a play practice, an old boat and home, and ended unexpectedly with the biggest fire I've covered in a few years.

First up was the first dress rehearsal for the Peninsula Association of Performing Artists' revival production of Fiddler on the Roof. The same group did the same play last year and we didn't want to do the same kind of coverage — last time I did lighted portraits of the main characters to go with a preview of the play. This time around we decided to do an article on the group, as they are newly formed, and try for more candid photos. I still ended up making a couple on the stage, but liked the look of these.

Next up I was driving up to Bay Center to photograph this guys old Navy ice breaking research boat that he's restoring. The story also apparently touches on the fact that he owns the old Cheney House, which is a historical home up that way as well. He was kinda picky as to what I could shoot (I learned upon arrival that having him in the pix was out of the question). Nice enough guy, and interesting enough boat, but God do I love taking pictures of inanimate objects....

Just as I was finishing up my edits and getting ready to go for the night I heard the call over the scanner for a fully-engulfed house fire that all departments were being called out to. I grabbed my stuff and drove over. It's been a couple years since I've been to a fire this big. Limited light made the pix a bit of a challenge (as did the rain that started coming down about halfway through), but I thought these ones looked alright. So far as we've heard no one was injured thankfully, but the house, which was a beautiful old home, is pretty much destroyed.


Nov 7, 2008

Out with a bang

Though Naselle Comets volleyball team lost their first round district playoff match with Adna Monday night, you really couldn't tell from the way they played, or the way they acted. It was an inspired performance, if not ultimately unsuccessful.

I haven't shot much volleyball this year for one reason or another. I think this was only the third match to be honest. I like volleyball, but its a difficult sport to shoot as you never know where the ball or the players are going at any particular time — save of course for the net, which I've come to try and avoid if possible as it is the most common and redundant shot in the sport. And of course it figures that I have my best game shooting on the last game I'll be shooting this year...
Prior to driving over to Napavine (two hours each way) for the 7:30 pm match our sports writer and I exchanged e-mails that conceded that Naselle would have to play the match of their lives possibly in order to win. I said that for both our sakes I really hoped this was true. And while the outcome was not what most would have hoped we did witness an intense and exciting match.
I like using a two light set-up for volleyball, though I'd prefer if one was on each side, from high pointed low, I arranged two Nikon speedlights from a rail along the balcony weight room in the gym, one pointed right along the net, the other pointed in the back court area. Now this set-up worked for some angles, while others not so well.

Like I said before, I don't really like net shots, but....

Pretty much every game of the match I tried something different as I felt a bit less cautious, which kinda surprised me as I was fretting a bit while driving over.

Since the final match was close and ended a bit abruptly I don't think the girls had too much time to realize the finality of the loss and so the sad feelings and gestures that usually accompany a season ending loss were pretty minimal.

You can read Kevin's story from the match HERE


Nov 6, 2008


As did millions of people throughout this country of ours, Tuesday night was a historical and monumentally satisfying night for me, my wife, and many of our friends as we gathered to watch Sen. Barack Obama be elected as our next president at our Barack Night party in downtown Ilwaco.
Of course I brought my camera, however I found myself taking a lot fewer pictures than I would imagine, as I found myself glued to the results and the speeches. This was the exact opposite of what I was doing in 2000, when I was running back and forth between Demo party HQ and GOP HQ in downtown McMinnville, Ore. till after midnight photographing that historic, and ultimately dissatisfying election for my previous employer, the News-Register. I can remember clearly returning after they had initially called it for Bush and finding a cloud of utter disbelief and disappointment over the newsroom with people commenting on how things had just made a momentus turn for the worse in our country. This would clearly be shown to be true over the next eight years. But Tuesday night, I felt nothing but an utter sense of relief, hope, pride and joy. I had the honor of making the toast for our group, imploring both the adults, and the children who were there, to remember this night and how important it is for our future as a country. Here's a few pix I happened to make:

As the results from the west coast came in it was a done deal and we all watched as the race was called for Barack. I was particularly proud of the fact that Washington and Oregon were the final pieces, along with California, to put him over the top.

There were many wet eyes, including my own, as we watched him give his stirring acceptance speech.


Nov 3, 2008

Two days of non-stop action, excitement ... driving?

Friday and Saturday were an interesting 48 hours for me as I worked late, worked early, drove over 300 miles and shot a bunch of pix of athletes winning stuff left and right.
I started work at noon on Friday, which was also Halloween. Around 4, me and Ness took the kids trick or treating around Ilwaco. We had to go early because I had to drive to South Bend to shoot the Naselle football game, and we get a ton of kids at our door too. We were however the first to knock on most people's door... Wyse was a skunk (fitting on many levels) and Kenz, what with her literary loves, went as Nancy Drew.

Our trek actually had me leaving town a little later than I would have liked, as I arrived at the game a few minutes after kickoff for the first time in a long time. The game would be a nail-biter and was tied at halftime. That is when I made this frame, by far one of my fave fball pix this year.

In the second half South Bend got out to a two TD lead, but Naselle would score the go ahead point on an extra point with only seconds left. The excitement was tangible for both fans, players and coaches.

The win over their archrival clinched a playoff berth for the Comets, a nice gift on their coaches birthday.

I got back to the office, edited pix and got up the gallery for the football blog (which you can see HERE if you like) by a little after midnight. I charted out my driving route for the next day and got home to bed by like 1. I was up six hours later to get ready to drive to Lacey for the District cross country finals.

Despite being a bit tired, I made it to the meet in plenty of time to walk a portion of the race route and find some interesting places for pix. There were a couple of other photogs from bigger papers there, but were sticking to more conventional (and IMO a bit boring) XC shots, which really motivated me to try something different. This one is the start of the boys 1A race featuring the Ilwaco team. Feel free to click on it to get a better view.

I guess because we don't have a lot of deciduous trees down here on the coast that the color of the autumn trees really caught my eye. I kept finding myself trying to get pix with yellow and red leaves in them.

As the day played out, both the boys teams from Ilwaco and Naselle made the state meet (Ilwaco was second and Naselle finished third, sending them to the state finals for the first time.

As exhausted as I was upon returning home that night, it wasn't more than a half hour later I was up and going again as my wife's family was in town and we were going out to eat. I had thought about bagging out, but went, and was glad I did as it was a good time.
Looks like I'm back on the road again tonight, as the Naselle volleyball team play a district playoff game in Napavine.... no rest for the weary