Mar 28, 2008

Battle of the Sexes

This past week Ilwaco HIgh hosted spirit weeks event called the Battle of the Sexes — pretty much like homecoming week, but with a boys against girls twist rather than the different grade classes facing off. With wacky lunchtime activities and a culminating pep rally, it made for some fun, if not at times strange, pix. Anyway, I'm sure these will likely end up in a gallery on our site too, but I thought I'd give a sneak peak. The activities included an ice melting contest, a game resembling musical chairs, a plunger-powered race, a burger eating contest and a game where one person covers their face in peanut butter while another sees how many marshmallows they can throw and have stick..... in the end the girls ended up winning the weeklong contest.


Mar 27, 2008

Snow day

In like a lion, out ... like a polar bear?
So, maybe I'm wrong, but isn't it supposed to be springtime? Yesterday the Peninsula got blanketed with a three-hour snow fall. And while it didn't accumulate a lot — only about two inches — it dumped some of the fattest flakes I've ever seen. In fact, I don't think you can even call them snow flakes per se, rather snow fluff perhaps? It was like standing in a cotton candy machine. It was bizarre and fun and too short. Of course, today while on assignment it dumped hail on me for a good, cold five minutes...


Mar 24, 2008

My favorite band of all time

I haven't done a music post for quite awhile and tonight just felt right.

I have loved R.E.M. ever since the first time I heard them, which I believe was on the old MTV show 120 minutes that would come on late on Sunday nights. It was likely a video from the "Document" album, probably "The one I love" or "It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)". Since then I've collected all of their albums and I actually have many of them in triplicate — cassette tape, CD and vinyl. I've actually bought their debut album, "Murmur" four different times. In high school I would wear their t-shirts till they had holes in them and I wore a Automatic for the People shirt under my gown at graduation.
I've only been to one of their shows sadly, and it wasn't as great as I'd had hoped. They played the big stage at Bumbershoot a few years back — has anyone played a great show on the big stage at Bumbershoot? It was cool but they pretty much stayed with stuff from the most recent albums.

Anyway, SPIN had a cool article on them and their new album coming out soon and it had made mention of these shows the band did last summer in Dublin which they termed "live rehearsals," and featured many of the new songs. But the really cool news is that they played a bunch of songs from the early albums, which they haven't played in some cases in about 25 years. And (thank God for YouTube!) people posted a ton of the songs online. I know that for some of you this may be old news by now, but hey, it's cool and new for me ...

So here are a select few of the videos. For some reason I can't embed them, so I guess I'll just give you the links so you can check it out for yourself if you so choose. The video quality isn't great but the audio is pretty good in all of them.

Wolves, Lower — From their debut EP, Chronic Town. This is fantastic, one of my early faves by them from an album most people haven't heard.

Second Guessing — One of my faves from their second LP, "Reckoning" which may be ... hmmmm ... my favorite album by them?

West of the Fields — From "Murmur," I love that album so much.

These Days — A great rocker from a great rock album, "Life's Rich Pageant." This song has some of my favorite REM lyrics, "We have many things in common, name three ... We are young despite the years, we are concerned, we are hope despite the times." That is so great. "These days have been promised, take this joy wherever, wherever you go."

Living wells the best revenge — This is one of the new ones from the Accelerate album coming out. Sounds better than anything on their last three albums...

And here's a bonus — REM were inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame last year and they performed with original drummer Bill Berry for the first time since 1996. Here's a clip:

Gardening at Night — From Chronic Town. I guarantee you they hadn't played this one in 25 years, and this is the first time I've actually understood most of what he was singing... It's not a particularly great performance, as Stipe seems a little stiff, no where near the excitement as the Dublin clips, but the historical value is cool.

Anyways, enjoy if you like,


Mar 19, 2008

Nice day for a ball game

Yesterday afternoon I got lucky and the baseball game I was supposed to shoot did not get cancelled — a pretty rare thing around here this time of year. The only change was the venue, from a Naselle home game to an away game. But since It was such a nice day — and who knows if we'll have another any time soon — I decided to make the hour drive to Cathlamet to shoot the season opener for the Comets. and I'm happy to say my time paid off. I got great light, and watched a pretty good game — especially for it being their first game. It wasn't so lucky for them though as they lost 4-3.

This is one of my favorites becuase of what happened right before this. Naselle had a potential scoring situation with a man on and Austin Burkhalter coming up. Austin apparently hasn't played organized baseball in a few years and this was his first at bat. The coach kinda smied and said as much to the other teams coach after he swung and missed pretty bad on the first pitch. Two pitches later though he hit an easy double and ended up on third on a throwing error which scored a run.

One more from a little earlier...

I shot the volunteer clean-up at the county fairgrounds on our way to Chehalis on Saturday and I liked this pic, which ended up on our front page this week. There was a lot of debris around the grounds from the December storm and they ended up burning it up on a huge slash pile.


Mar 18, 2008

GREAT gramma

Last Saturday we traveled over to Chehalis to visit with Ness' gramma Laverne. It's so sad to see how her illness has sapped her body, but it was incredibly inspiring to see that it has not touched her spirit, as she was as kind and pleasant as ever. Two of my favorite pix of Kenz as a baby are ones where she is being held by my gramma Thelma and another where she is being held by Laverne. Unfortunately Laverne is no longer strong enough to pick up Wyse, but she enjoyed watching them play on her living room floor.


Mar 13, 2008

Make hay (or pix) while the sun is shining (or at least not raining ... too bad)

Yesterday afternoon I drove to Naselle High to shoot their season-opening softball game, which was to the be the lead for the sports page next week. Needless to say I was a little disappointed when after making the 30-minute drive I find that the home game has been switched to an away game. I knew that the only other game happening locally that day was a golf match in Surfside, but it would take almost an hour to get there from where I was and would likely be over.

Knowing that I still needed something for lead art next week a light bulb went off and I remembered that the Atlas futbol team from Ocean Park was playing a Liga Hispana match at the Warrenton soccer complex in a half hour, so I took off across the river. We've been wanting to cover this men's league team for years, and finally was able to a bit last season, when they went undefeated and won the league. This year we plan on doing some more regular coverage of the team, when we can, as high school sports of course is still king.

Here is the story that my buddy David Plechl wrote up for me. He plays for the Wolf Pack team in this league.

Atlas handed first loss in over a year
Atlas scored first, but it would be their last. The Ocean Park-based soccer team of the Liga Hispania was stunned by Romania, a team based out of Astoria, by a final score of 4 to 1. Atlas, the league's returning champions, uncharacteristically created few decent scoring chances, as Romania, in its inaugural year in the league, tallied three first half goals.
The single Atlas goal came fifteen minutes into the game on a free kick from Bernardo Tinnoco (#12). The shot was not well-placed but slipped between the legs of Romania goalkeeper Kiely Bondurant.
But Romania refused to crumble, and answered with a breakaway goal from Adrian Condrea at the 22 minute mark. Condrea lobbed the ball expertly over charging Atlas goalkeeper Rafael Temones.
Romania added another goal 10 minutes later when forward Chris Senich shot from twenty yards out under a hard tackle from the Atlas defense.
As the match wore-on, Atlas strung together the usual number of well-timed passes, but failed to attack with any real threat. As Atlas remained hesitant, Romania kept up a fierce counter-attack. Condrea scored again 40 minutes into the half when he slotted the ball perfectly from 20 yards out into the corner netting on a drop pass from Jay Flint. It would Flint's first of two assists. Josh Long, coach and central defender for Romania was surprised at the returning league champs' lack of initiative in the final third.
"They weren't really trying to penetrate at all," said Long. "We won the fifty-fifty balls, and controlled the game quite well."
Things changed little for Atlas in the second half as Romania kept up the charge. Romania forward Chris Lamb scored from just outside the penalty box when he chipped the Atlas goalkeeper. Five minutes later, Atlas had a chance to score when the Romania defense was called for a handball in the penalty box. However, Bondurant saved face from his first-half blunder by decisively smothering the penalty kick from Atlas forward Norberto Tinoco.
The Romania goalkeeper remained solid the rest of the game, and had little trouble squashing the overly eager long shots fired from the Atlas front line. Romania continued to dominate the rest of the half with nearly a dozen shots on goal. Atlas reacted late by pushing everyone forward, but the effort only made them more vulnerable to Romania's counter.
The upset gave Romania its first win in two games. Atlas has also split the last two games, but the loss is the team's first in a year.

Thanks David for the assist on the story!

Mar 11, 2008

A well-rounded week

Hi there,
haven't been on here in awhile, but have wanted to. I guess I have this feeling that I have to have something of importance or something to put on here in order for it to be worth everyone's time. That's probably a bit silly to think that way though. Posting to the blog in the evening used to be part of my routine, but of late my routine has changed a bit. I think for many photographers in this line of work your routine and in some cases your overall schedule can change with the seasons. And when I say seasons, of course I'm talking about sport seasons. During the fall and winter months I'm working a lot at night, going to basketball, football, etc. However, when it switches to spring, everything takes place during the late afternoon, which is great on many levels, not the least of which is the natural light (I don't mind setting up lights to shoot hoops and such, but it is great to be out under the clouds and sun again!) RIght now is also a transition time in terms of this, as the games have yet to start — at least not until Wednesday.
Another change is at home as my wife's schedule now affords her to be home most nights and having all four of us together every evening has changed my perspective on wanting to work late. Anyways, just thought I'd give a little explanation as to my absence on here.

Anyway, back to this week. This was a nicely balanced week, which is good, as I think I tend to shoot better when I have a variety on my menu. Some sports, some news, some features. All-in-all pretty balanced. And while I won't say that it is super great stuff, or groundbreaking photographically, I'm pleased with the results for the most part. Thought I'd share the pix from this week's edition with you before it hits the streets tonight.

First up is this week's lead story, a piece about local tree farmers whose property sustained major damage in the December storm and how they are now dealing with the loss, as they are now doing what is called "emergency harvesting" of the timber, which will only fetch them about 20% of their potential value on the market. Arne Wirkkala of Naselle (above) says "It's like a bomb went off. It was a tsunami of wood." This story had me hustling around all week, trying to get someone who would let me up where the harvesting was taking place. Wirkkala was very generous in giving his personal time to take me up to the farm, which is located up on the Naselle ridge. Unfortunately the loggers were just going home (at 2 p.m.) but he was happy to show me around. The devastation was obvious, even though many of the blow down trees were already cut up and stacked.

Now I don't do this kind of thing a lot — a posed portrait — but in this case I thought it was suitable. The story was an advance for the annual quilting show. It was a last minute idea that had me going up to Beverly Wakeman's home in Ocean Park on Friday morning to get a pic to illustrate. After quilting for 24 years she was chosen as this year's featured artist in the show. When I got there she showed me around her work area and showed me some of the many quilts she had made over the years. However, when I asked her if there was one that held any special meaning to her she went right for this one. She had made it in honor of a friend of her's that had passed away in 2003. "I was going to make it blue, but her favorite color was red. It's one quilt I'll never give away." When I asked if she wouldn't mind having her picture taken in it, she liked that idea.

Finally, here are a couple pix from spring sports previews, NHS baseball and track. I was lucky on both accounts, as my timing wasn't great as I caught the end of both. Thankfully the shot put throwers were practicing in an area where their shot was laying around on the bleachers, which made for a nice layered photo. And the baseball one, while admittedly cliche with the balls in the foreground, I was happy to have something happen within that frame — having the player leap onto home plate was a nice surprise.

MultimediaShooter RIP
In the past I've mentioned one of my favorite Web sites on here,, a great resource for learning and getting inspired by multimedia journalism. However, it's all gone now, thanks (or in this case NO THANKS) to some heartless hacker how trashed the site for good. Richard Koci Hernandez wrote a brief eulogy for his baby, which you can read HERE
This site will truly be missed by those of us who loved it, and truly appreciated what Koci was trying to do with it!

POYi winners announced
Winners in the Pictures of the Year International competition were announced recently following the two week-long judging earlier this month. Some great, some interesting and some head scratching images — as always — to be seen for sure. You can take a look at the winners gallery HERE, where you can click on specific categories. I will advise, some of the news image categories do have graphic images in them, if you have an aversion to that sort of thing. Congrats to all who placed in this prestigious competition!