Sep 26, 2008

That darn cat...

Well, I guess I have something else to do while I have pretty much the next three weeks off ... heal.

Last night after getting back from shooting a volleyball game I had to chase down one of our cats to put him out for the night, but he had other plans. As I went to grab him he leaped toward the stairs and in my attempt to catch him my left hand hit the corner of the wall at the base of the stairs and as it turns out tore the ligaments in two of knuckles on my left hand. Hurt like hell. Still does.
Doctor said it should become less painful and swollen in a few days. And I should regain full range of motion in those fingers — in like 6 weeks....
Of course that didn't help me tonight when I had to shoot a football game with essentially one hand. Despite stabilizing it pretty well in an ace bandage I continued to bump it, sending pain up my hand. Needless to say I didn't shoot very well. You can see what I got here, in a gallery on the Friday Night Sights blog if you're so inclined.
One of my objectives at the game tonight was to get a few more pix of the Naselle cheerleaders for a feature we're doing on them in a couple weeks. Here's a couple others I liked of some girlfriends trying to get some pix of boyfriends.


Sep 21, 2008

Here's mud in my eye

Yesterday morning I headed over to the Seaside Three Course Challenge, which is a giant cross country meet featuring a ton of high schools from both Washington and Oregon. It was a good opportunity to get pix of both the schools we cover, but more than that it was an opportunity to shoot the famed mud pit along the harder two courses.

I had remembered a few years back seeing a pic by Oregonian photojournalist Bruce Ely of a cross country runner falling into the mud (though I did not know until a couple days ago that it was from this race). We also ran a photo of an Ilwaco runner covered in mud last year after a parent sent it in. I pretty much made my plans then and there that I had to make it this year.
Ness was busy, so I had to take Wyse with me — I think this is the first time I've taken him on an assignment with me. I packed him on my back, and let me tell you after two hours and hiking two-plus miles (I got some bad directions as to where the pit was on the trail) I was pretty well beat — but it was soooooo worth it.

I guess in years past they have filled the pit with water right before the race. This year they didn't. But I think that may have helped encourage the kids to go a little nuts with it, as many chose to take flying leaps into the mud, others running by would grab handfuls of the stuff and slap it on their face as they continued on. Shoes having to be pulled out after getting stuck was a common practice too.

Many of the runners in previous races came down to watch the final run. But after the last of the runners had past the mood changed and the cross country meet turned into a mud wrestling brawl....

Me and Wyse were both pretty well covered in mud by the end, but it was all good. My one regret (other than the fact that none of the kids from the two schools I was there to cover really got into the pit, choosing rather to run along the edges) is that I did not think to get a pic of me, covered in mud, with him on my back. I guess I just get so tuned into to what I'm shooting that I don't really think of myself too much. All in all though, a pretty killer way to spend an afternoon.


Sep 16, 2008

Gleaming the hill, SK8 R@ce

On Sunday me and Kenz headed over to Astoria to check out David Plechl's downhill skate race. I'm not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to the streets of the hilly town, so innevitably we got lost. Once we found the hill where it was to begin I quickly realized that I had all of about a minute to get a pic as they were going to be heading down a very steep street going full-speed. Kenz and I ran down the hill a bit as skaters started to pass us. I had planned on following them in the car down the hill once they passed us, but they were going so damn fast that by the time we got to the car and started after them they were long gone. Needless to say my photo opportunities were pretty limited. I kinda went pretty wide on some of these as I wanted to show the idylic neighborhoods they were riding through. Not sure how well it all worked or not. Seemed like a pretty cool little event — at least the little bit I saw of it.....

After the race I made this dorky pic of downtown Astoria, kind of an ode to Plechl's photo project on his blog of doing unusual landscape shots of the town. The LNG sign was just too easy to pass up.

While we waited at the top of the hill prior to the race, Kenz got a little bored and started picking flowers, which she in turn offered to me. They ended up in my pocket.


Sep 13, 2008


Last night I traveled to South Bend for Ilwaco's second football game of the season. The Fishermen lost the game, 21-7.
It's been pretty fun to go "old school" as far as shooting football goes for me once again. Patrolling the sidelines with just an 80-200 2.8 and a 20-35 2.8 takes me back to the very first games I shot professionally for the Coos Bay World the fall after I graduated high school in 1995 (and of course at that time wishing I had a long lens and a couple pro strobes). Usually I'd be pretty wired for games, bringing way more gear than I needed, only really shooting for a peak action play and stressing over the action I missed or was out of focus. These last two games I have been way more relaxed. I still get some action, though I'm taking the "tight is not always right" approach with it, and looking more for unusual stuff (see mosquitoes attack below) or emotion.

If you like, you can go to the Friday Night Sights blog to find a gallery of pix from the game HERE
Here are a couple that I liked best:
South Bend QB David Lorton reacts to the umpires call after diving in for a two-point conversion. The score put South Bend up for good.

In the second quarter the Ilwaco sideline was beset by a large swarm of mosquitoes which had their way with the legs and arms of the players. Funny thing though, by the start of the second half, they were gone.

This one just looks kinda strange, which is why I chose it. Here, Ilwaco starting center Tyler Johnson tries to relax as the final minutes tick away while he suffers from bad leg cramps that took him from the game.

And here's one form the other night when I shot the Ilwaco vs. Naselle volleyball match. Once again, just looking for something different. I don't think this shot would work come hoops season, as they only shine the floor before the start of the school year. Scott Strazzante once said that he really doesn't like cliche'd shots like, unless he's the one whose doing them... Of course I feel the same way...


Sep 11, 2008

Bungee boarding

SO my wife, who is an avid surfer and a surf rescue swimmer, tipped me off to this crazy new thing some of her buddies were doing out in the water last week. It's called bungee boarding, and yes, it's pretty much exactly as it sounds. This long, braided bungee cord is anchored into the surf. One person pulls it tight and another person, with a skim board under their feet, grabs the other handle. When the holder lets go, the surfer goes for a ride into the waves.
This was one of the funnest things I've shot in a while. It got to the beach (which was totally socked in with fog while the rest of town was beautiful), put on my hip waders (anytime I get to use these I'm loving it) and waded out with them into the surf.
Of course this led to some spectacular wipe-outs...

It's nowhere near as dangerous as it may sound, but it's definitely as fun as it looks...

I guess my 7-year-old hip waders have finally sprung a little leak, as I left with a pair of wet legs afterward, but it was well worth it...


Sep 9, 2008

Class is back in session — Back on the Hill

As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent the better part of last week at the new Ilwaco Middle/High School photographing student life in the time of this local milestone. I did the same thing on the last few days before the school closed for renovations and remodeling in June 2005, when it was a 4-6 grade school.
After taking a few thousand frames there last week I got it down to an edit of about 50 pix, which I turn whittled down to nine for the paper this week. But to be honest, I really liked a bunch of the pix that did not make it into the paper. My original plan was to do just a diptych gallery with some photos juxtaposed from last week (on the right) and the final week at the old school (on the left).
I did that, though I'm not totally satisfied with how it ended up. Some of them work well, others are a little bit of the stretch, and there is only like seven in all, which is smaller than I had originally planned. Here's one:
If you'd like to check out the rest of the pix in that gallery CLICK HERE

When I finished up the diptych gallery there was still a bunch of pix that weren't going to see the light of day that I liked, so I threw together another gallery of pix just from last week. It's a little bit larger than I would normally do (it's like 25 pix I think), but I figured it's local history, so what the heck. Here's one of them that I liked quite a bit from picture day:
You can check out the rest of the pix in that PHOTO GALLERY HERE


Sep 6, 2008

Game one, game lost

Tonight I shot the opening football game of the high school season, Naselle vs. their rival, Wahkiakum. I'd write more but after driving an hour each way, editing about 1,000 images from the game and posting a gallery to the football blog, I'm pretty tired (is it really 1 am?) .... Perhaps I'll add something more tomorrow?
Anyway, my goal, as I mentioned in an earlier post, was to try and stay away from your average high school football shots — ie; something in the way of like a player running with a ball.... It was tough at times as my mind kept telling me to take the easy way over what I should be shooting and how. For one thing I brought way more gear than I really needed, as I brought both the normal football stuff — long lens, flashes — as well as what I really wanted to use — short lenses, no flashes...
After getting a couple of "action shots" with the 300 2.8, I pretty much hung it from my shoulder the rest of the game, wishing all along that I had left it, and a bunch of other stuff, in the car. In the end though I was happy with what I came away with from this first game.
You can view a slideshow gallery of my pix from the game HERE at the Friday Night Sights football blog

One thing I did not get pix of was post-game reaction from Naselle, due to the fact that after the handshakes I ran after the Wahkiakum player carrying the KM trophy (awarded to the winner of the rivalry game) and had my keys fall out of my hip pack. I spent the next 15 minutes walking over the same 25 yards of turf looking for them — every once in awhile I'd look up and see pix I was missing, which really didn't help anything. Thankfully a Wahkiakum coach found them — thanks!


Sep 4, 2008

Back to (old/new) school

Just a quick update. This week I've been shooting the first days at the new Ilwaco Middle/High School. I can't tell you how much I love the fact that I get to spend so much time working on this project. I was there for pretty much the whole first day and a fair amount of today and I'll be going back again tomorrow for awhile. My approach is kinda in a street photography way, as I'm just milling about the school, trying to be invisible, wait for things to happen in front of me that are interesting/storytelling. I'm also finding areas in the new building with interesting light and color (and there's a bunch).
I shot a similar piece three years ago when the school, which at that time was a 4-6 school, was closing for a year for remodel (it took a little bit longer than expected...). Part of my plan this week is to make images that can be juxtaposed with some of those as a diptych gallery online. We'll see how it goes.
So far I feel like I've made some images that I like, but I still have more to go. Here's one I made today near the bus departure area. I just love how she is up on tip toes....