Jul 29, 2008


On Monday night, Nan and Brett Malin opened their front yard to the community to host a campaign rally event for GOP gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi.
Rossi is the first gubernatorial candidate to make a campaign stop on the Peninsula during an active campaign in over 15 years. Rossi was in the general area on Monday and Tuesday making stops in Cathlamet, as well as north county towns the next day. Nan is a long time friend of Dino and was able to pull a string to get him to make the special appearance. Rossi lost the 2004 election to current governor Christine Gregoire by less than 150 votes.
As with most political rally's, this one featured some schmoozing on the part of both the candidate and those interested in meeting him and having their picture taken with him. Over 100 people turned out, which was a somewhat surprising number, judging by how "blue" the Peninsula has voted over the years. I give Rossi credit, he was pretty low key for such a high profile figure.

Of course the highlight of the event for those in attendance was his stump speech, which he gave in front of the Malin home, which was decked out in flags and bunting. The crowd was assembled before him in lawn chairs, munching away at their dinners while he waxed "politics as usual sort of stuff" about how he would do things different, how the current governor isn't doing a good job, etc. Probably the same thing Gregoire says in her speeches to fundraisers I would guess.

I did think it was interesting that Rossi would make a boast about having all this money in his campaign coffers despite doing any fundraising. This was the day after the Sunday Seattle Times-PI cover story about him noted how his foundation had in the last year had their finances under question after it appeared that it was essentially a campaign fundraising entity under the guise of a non-profit organization. But hey, we don't get the Times or the PI down here, so.... That part of the article is under the subhead "In a very difficult spot"

More than anything else at an assignment like this I want to show basically what it was like to be there, and convey the mood/feel for it. This certainly wasn't the most exciting or important thing I've shot, but it certainly had historical significance on some level and getting a few good frames was important so I arrived early, stayed late and worked it. Now these certainly aren't on par with some of the better political photojournalism that has been taking place this year, but it is my small contribution. Hopefully, and I don't think we've shored this up yet, but hopefully sometime this fall as the election gets closer I'm trying to get Brian Baird to approve me doing a follow-along kinda thing as he campaigns down here. And I think it would be great to do the same for the GOP candidate running against him as well. We'll see how it goes.


Jul 28, 2008


One of the things I particularly love about publishing this blog is the fact that I can post pix that would never end up in the paper otherwise. The photo below is one such example.

While I find it bizarre and interesting at the same time, the fact that it kinda looks "suggestive" would defintely take it out of the running of any edit for the paper.
What is going on is actually very normal, in terms of rodeo stuff anyway. I found this fellow, Bucky Dickson, behind the chutes at the Long Beach Rodeo Sunday prior to his ride in the bareback bronc event. I found him immediately intriguing because of his choice of shirt. But as he continued to prepare he started simulating the way he would move while on his ride, I guess to get his body stretched out, which made for some interesting pix. I ended up going with the pic below, which I also like, as part of the package in the paper.

A couple weeks ago I talked with an aquaintance and great shooter Andy Bronson from the Bellingham Herald and he was talking about how when he worked at the paper in Roseburg that he would actually shoot from inside the rodeo yard — you know, where the wild animals are. I actually gave it a thought upon arriving, but decided instead to stay on the back side of the fences, where I felt I had a better chance to catch the cowboys and girls in situations that weren't just them riding.

One of the few real "action shots" I got was from the steer wrestling competition. That's Charlie Barker trying to bring down his cow. It took him seven seconds, which was good enough for sixth place. I shot this with my tele-zoom from along the fence and it's cropped a fair amount to bring it closer. I usually carry my long glass to events like this, but didn't want to be weighed down too much, so left it in the car.

On the other side of the arena I hung out for awhile where the barrel racers and team ropers were gathering and preparing for their events.

The rest of the afternoon I stayed along the chutes as the bull riding events took place. I have to say that I have come a long way in terms of nerve when it comes to hanging out up there and holding my own as the masses move from one chute to another. I used to be kinda afraid that I had to stay out of everyone's way, but it resulted in bad, if any, pix at all. This time I just acted like I was supposed to be there and I was a little happier — though not thrilled — with what I got.

And while I know it comes with the territory, it was pretty gnarly to see bull rider Justin Bain have his head stepped on after falling off his bull. I actually watched it happen rather than shooting it, because it was out of range as I was shooting with a wide lens as they left the chutes. And while he appeared fine at first, when he almost keeled over a minute or so later, cowboys quickly came to his aid while EMT'S were called.
I found it interesting that a woman from the announcers booth above this chute yelled down to the judge in front of me and told him to make me stop taking pictures. He was nice enough about it, but I found it strange that this would even be an issue. I mean, do they think that by seeing this people might get the idea that bull riding is dangerous?
Here's what I did with the pix in our paper this week on B1.


Jul 22, 2008

Footbal & Futbol, Pt. 2

SO, I know this is like a week late, but since it is related to the stuff in the paper that comes out tonight, well.....I don't feel so bad.

As I had mentioned last week, on Wednesday I spent pretty much the whole day shooting some kind of football or another.

In the morning I was at the Ilwaco High training camp at Camp Rilea army base. You can find the Friday Night Sights blog post HERE which has a link to the gallery of pix.

In the evening I shot the Liga Hispana soccer championship, which featured the Ocean Park team Atlas, which ended up winning in the final minutes, 3-2. I was pretty psyched because as the light was failing I decided to shoot wide with my 35mm f2 right next to the other teams goal, in hopes of getting something if Atlas scored up close. Well, I didn't have to wait long, as in five minutes they scored the winning goal right in front of me and I have two in the GALLERY HERE that worked out great from that position.

This week should be fun, as the Finnish American Folk Festival is this weekend, which includes the out of the ordinary sporting events the boot toss and the wife carry race — and yes, they are just as they sound. Plus, as a bonus it is rodeo weekend in Long Beach. Should be fun.


Jul 19, 2008

BVJC & "Sir Roberto Pettite"

Yesterday I attended the Bellingham Visual Journalism Conference at Western Washington University for an all-day Soundslides production workshop where we heard some great speakers in the morning and then we partnered up and went out and shot, recorded and produced a piece by the end of the afternoon.

We were really pleased with how it turned out and received some really great feedback from those teaching the class. It is about a street performer who calls himself "Sir Roberto Pettite," aka Robert Little.

I was partnered with Maggie Schmidt, a senior at Central Washington University and the summer photo intern for the Yakima Herald. We left the campus initially thinking we were going to shoot some camp kids that were going sailing for the afternoon. That didn't work out, so we went to plan B, a ballroom dancing class downtown. Upon arriving I could hear Robert playing from down the street and was immediately intrigued. As it turns out the ballroom dancing school was closed, so we improvised further and were pleasantly surprised. I shot the pictures and Maggie recorded the audio and did a great job for her first real go at it.

Robert was a little hesitant at first, but when I was able to draw from my knowledge of old jazz LPs we struck a common ground and he started playing music for us and talking to us about his life, his music and his opinions. Needless to say, we felt very lucky to have this experience.

After the hard day of learning and working we all headed over to Russ Kendall's house for an amazing BBQ. Kendall is the photo editor at the Bellingham Herald and is the director of the NPPA's region 11. He made some amazing food — BBQ chicken, salmon, ribs, chops, sausages, etc. It was really a great gathering of a wide variety if folks in our field, including Pulitzer winners, the former president of the NPPA and longtime photo icons of the northwest, as well as us lesser known folks. It was very cool to have long conversations with Sarah Rupp, an online producer for the Seattle PI and Phyllis Fletcher, a reporter from NPR station KOUW in Seattle, both of whom were speakers in the morning session.


Jul 18, 2008

Football & Futbol, Pt 1

Just a quick update, as I'm out of town for the Bellingham Visual Journalism Conference at Western Washington University.

On Wednesday I pretty much spent the whole day shooting football in some form or another. My day began shooting the Ilwaco high football team at training camp at the Camp Rilea military base.

I ended the day shooting the very exciting Liga Hispana championship game between Atlas and Wolf Pack. This shot is the winning goal by Atlas in the final few minutes of the game.

I have a bunch more pix to share from these, and will do so once I get back.


Jul 15, 2008

Shoalwater Bay Tribe Pow Wow

Last Saturday I drove up to Tokeland, one of my favorite little towns in the county, to photograph the Shoalwater Bay Tribe's annual Pow Wow. It was a really beautiful and warm day — which made it kind of a bummer that the actual pow wow events were all indoors. So when I got there, I spent a fair amount of time hanging outside, photographing people biding time before the grand entry, and getting dressed in their regalia. Here's some of what I saw:

This is probably my favorite pic from my take. It's not as Sol would call a "Slam F@*%ing Dunk! (TM)" picture, but I love the light and the subtlety to it. The girl on the right is receiving instruction from her older cousin on some of the finer points of traditional dance, as this was one of her first pow wow's.

I found these kids here leaping between two logs prior to getting dressed for the show. Once again taking advantage of the light.

I was attracted to all the yellow beads on this woman's attire, which apparently is the idea. She said many dancers will use a brigter color for their adornments in order to catch the eye of the judge.

A new division this year was called "tiny tots" for kids under the age of 7. After doing a couple dances they gave the kids a prize of a couple bucks and a Tootsie Pop. During this process some of the kids started eyeing the others' prizes, kinda sizing them up I think.

Here's what I did with it on the cover of the Life section this week.

I think I may have mentioned this before, but I really have grown to love photographing cultural events like this. I do it pretty often and the best ones are those where the people participating really believe in what they're doing, as it lends an air of sincerity to it I think.

The night following the Pow Wow I photographed the new priest at the local Catholic church giving the Sunday night mass at the 100-plus year old McGowan Church. I think the story is being held at least a week though, so I'll wait to post anything from that for a bit. But I'm pretty excited at how those pix came out too. By the end of the year I would like to be able to put together an essay of sorts with the idea of "something old, something new" with people of the modern day taking part in things that are more associated with oder times. I think that both of these may apply.


Jul 11, 2008

Yuma, AZ photog saves a boy from drowning

I came across this STORY TODAY and was heartened to see how this photographer reacted. I know that a lot of photographers in his position probably wouldn't have gotten involved because supposedly we, as observers, aren't supposed to get involved. I've never truly agreed with that and feel that if an opportunity to help someone should arise before me that I would react in a similar HUMAN way. That is my hope. What really makes this special, from a photographers standpoint, is that after helping this kid and getting him medical aid, he also made a great picture that ran with the story of the event.

For an even better telling of the story read his BLOG ENTRY about the event.


Jul 8, 2008

Steinstossen & Schwingen — and the case of one lens love

On Saturday I traveled to Frances, the eastern-most town in Pacific County, to photograph Schwingfest, which is an gathering and celebration of Swiss folks and their traditions. This is the second year I've shot the event, so of course I wanted to go about it a little differently this time around. Last year I concentrated solely on the Schwingen, which is a Swiss wrestling tournament and is the main attraction. This year I tried to get photos that were representative of the whole day. I love shooting these kinds of cultural events that aren't contrived and just fun.

I arrived in the mid-afternoon, just as the last two rounds of Schwingen were getting underway. I planted myself along the edge of the wood chip-filled wrestling ring and started shooting action. Photos like this were easy to make.

I quickly decided that I wanted to start finding moments that were not action-related but told the story of those taking part.

A little while later I found exactly what I was looking for. Ernie Cardin and his girlfriend Corrina Wilson made for some good photos, like when Alex Muller was joking and teasing them about their plans for the dance later in the evening.

A little later after one of his matches I found her brushing the wood chips from his face while he was trying to kiss her.

Back to the ring, I started looking for moments that would take place during the matches but were not necessarily action shots, like here with Fritz Kaech.

The final match for the championship pitted two giants of men against each other, with Nathan Aufmauer winning. I was told by someone prior to the match that is was tradition to lift up the winner and carry him around the ring after the match. I was ready for it, but I don't think those doing the lifting were, as they only had him up for a quarter turn around the ring.

I like finding scene-setters, something that gives a feel for space and the people within it. I found this scene prior to the start of the stone toss.

The stone toss, or Steinstossen as it is known in Switzerland, is not as big a deal it seems as the wrestling, but it still made for some interesting pictures. Rudy Kaech Jr., who was disappointed with his wrestling outcome seemed to take some of that aggression out on the 30-plus pound rock.

While the winner in the mens portion of the competition had a best throw of 26 feet, Alicia Richardson won the women's side with a toss of 12-6. An interesting note, in the Steinstossen competitions in Switzerland the stone can weigh upward of 160 pounds.

While waiting for the culminating event of the evening, the Swiss dance, I was walking around the grounds and found these teens hanging out. I was surprised by the classical proficiency of the boy playing the piano, as he was wooing the ladies with Beethoven tunes.

The ender of the evening was the dance, which unfortunately I couldn't stay around for that late. I thought it was supposed to start at 8 but it was closer to 9 before it really got underway. Of course this didn't matter to those dancing, as they went on until the early hours of the morning.

An interesting note: All of the photos that made my final edit from this assignment were all shot with the same lens, a 35mm F2, which on a DX digital SLR camera has a focal range closer to that of a 50mm lens. I didn't really intend for this, as I did shoot some with my wide zoom and a telephoto, but for some reason I just liked what these ones looked like. I don't know if its that old Zen attitude I was exuding last week, or the fact that because of what happened last week I have less equipment to think about or use, but it just felt right. I guess some will complain that there isn't enough lensing variety, but thats fine. There's been many photogs over the yers who shot solely with one lens and did alright. I don't know, I've just had this lens on my camera a lot lately and it feels right for the stuff I'm shooting. I assume that it will change at some point here when that lens choice just won't work, but for now, it seems like the right choice. I don't know, what do you think?

Also, another interesting note: On the way home I was hit by a deer. Yes, that's written correctly. I know it is fairly common for those driving in rural areas to hit deer, but this time it was the other way around. I was coming out of Raymond on a dark corner and then all of a sudden there was a deer running into the side of my car. It crunched up the whole driver side of the car (even leaving a few hairs of deer fur behind) but we were both alright I guess. I got out afterward pretty freaked out and was surprised (and relieved) that the deer was gone. Pretty wild stuff. Later on the drive home I slowed down for two more deer in the road and a baby fox on the shoulder...


Jul 3, 2008

The dinner party

The other night we had the privilege of attending a dinner party over at the Simmons' home. Marc had one of his former students who is now the chef of a 4-star restaurant in Georgia give us a tour of tastes during a seven hour, 9-course meal. Truly amazing and delicious!
Between bites and bottles of wine I snapped a few. Here's a look at some of the things I saw,

I think this is one of the nicest pix of Kenz I think I've ever taken.

Nick trying to win a staring contest with Wyse.
Putting babies to bed.
When one bottle just isn't enough — after finding the empties...
It's not a dinner party until a plate gets broken.

Our chef and our host enjoying the end of the evening.