Feb 27, 2009

One in, one out

Last night I shot what will probably be my last basketball game of the year, as the Ilwaco girls team was eliminated from the district tournament in Kelso. The night before I was in the same gym shooting the Ilwaco boys as they earned a place in the state tournament (the only one of four local teams to go to state this year). However, since the state tournament is in Yakima I have a feeling that unless they make it to the end of the week I won't have any sports related road trips in my near future. Thankfully, spring sports begin their practices on Monday, which of course is great (no more Godawful gymnasiums....). It was cool to see the school that has been through so much this week to have something positive to cheer about. It was also nice to see the girls team pay tribute to their classmate with homemade pre-game T-shirts as a memorial.
Anywho, here's some pix I liked. If you wanna see the full galleries, check out the Observer Sports Blog


Feb 22, 2009

B-day B-ball Bonanza

On Friday I spent my 32nd birthday shooting the first of four district playoff basketball games in 24 hours. The one that night wasn't so bad, but by the end of the three the next day I was dragging pretty well. The hoops journey took me from Ilwaco to Kelso for the game, Kelso to Chehalis (where I spent the night at my in-laws house), Chehalis to Centralia for games two and three (by far the shortest trip of my trek), Centralia to Longview for game four and then Longview to Ilwaco for some much needed rest (good thing I had a ton of podcasts saved up on my BB).
• Best part of trip — Receiving calls from both my siblings wishing me birthday bests right before I left town Friday.
• Worst part of trip — Getting home at 11:30pm Saturday night after an 11 hour day only to stay up till 1:30 am editing and uploading the last two galleries.
• Best small perk of trip — Using my new BlackBerry as a wireless modem to upload a photo gallery to the sports blog after game three from the cafeteria at Centralia High.
• Worst case of forgetfulness — Not remembering to swap out camera batteries and having to walk all the way back to the car before game four.
• Best surprise lifesaver — Using my backup-backup camera after number two stopped focusing....

Here's a select few pix that I liked from my b-ball adventure in no particular order. If you'd like to view the whole galleries from each game, go the Observer sports blog HERE

...I'll be back at the district tourney this weeks for a couple more do-or-die games


Feb 16, 2009

Watch POYi judging live online

For years I have wanted to view the judging of the Pictures of the Year International competition, but making it over to Columbia Missouri has never been a possibility. However, this year they are broadcasting the judging live online via Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro Meeting. This is really cool. You have to register (just a screen name), and they can only have 100 guests on there at a time.
Here's the link to the contest Website, and just follow the prompts on the screen.

I totally found this by accident today (I didn't even know the judging has started yet)


Feb 15, 2009

A quick note from district/regional wrestling

I spent Saturday at the district/regional wrestling meet in Castle Rock shooting three wrestlers from Ilwaco as they tried to advance to the state meet. You can see more pix and get more info on that at the Observer Sports Blog if you like. Here are a couple pix that I liked from the day:
Terry Elliott is cool to shoot because he goes through this active routine before he wrestles. However, prior to the start of the consolation rounds, which he was a part of, I found him relaxing along the gym wall.
Ikaika Thomas was the only wrestler of the three to advance to state by placing (the other two advanced as alternates). Here he is being congratulated by family and friends after winning his second round match, which put him in the finals and secured a trip to the state meet. What was perhaps the most impressive is that he won both of his first two matches by pinning his opponent in less than a minute. This of course would be noteworthy enough, except for the fact that he did so while fighting a flu bug.
Of course with every up there is a down, and in this case it was Rudy Alvarez, who lost his second and third round matches and missing a bid to the state tournament. He did however win his final match of the day and will be going to the meet as an alternate.


Feb 6, 2009

Fighting the man, I (heart) stage lights & keeping sports on the DL

There's an old adage in photojournalism (I really can't remember who said it first, or for that matter, who said it to me), but it goes something like this: "Get there early, stay late, and always look behind you." These words paid off for me last night when I attended a meeting/rally at Naselle School where the community had a chance to sound off their support for Naselle Youth Camp (NYC). The lone minimum security juvenile detention center in the state has been slated to be closed according to the governors budget for 2009. Such a closure would have a devastating affect on the community of Naselle. Read Amanda Frink story about it HERE
As the meeting wrapped up after almost two hours I wasn't feeling too good about what I had. The pix I was making were usable but weren't very good and either showed one side (those in the audience speaking their piece) or the other side (the reps from JRA who were being roasted by the audience all night). But when the meeting ended a flood of people took to the stage to continue the conversation, in a heated fashion, and thats where I was able to make the picture above, as JRA reps try to defend their position on NYC.
About two years I shot a long term project on life inside NYC, including a photo essay on one of its female residents. You can view the audio slideshow I did for that HERE if you like. The presentation isn't great (it was one of my early ones), but the photos I think are pretty good and tell a good story hopefully.

Today it was a bit lighter faire, as I hit the Hilltop Auditorium to shoot a play being directed and produced by a student for his senior project. I've always loved that building, and it's so great that it is back open again. Here's an outtake that I liked as I was trying to make something interesting looking. Don't know if I succeeded or not, but I liked the pic.
God I love theater lights... By the way, in case you're wondering, the comical murder mystery will be presented Feb. 12-15.

And finally, lately (and as I tend to do) I've been trying to do some different things at basketball games, including shooting on the down low. I have to admit I get pretty tired of the same old standard shots that we see so much. So I took a page from Scott Strazzante's book and tried a new technique (well, new to me at least). A few weeks ago on his BLOG he was talking about shooting hoops with his camera placed on the floor with a wide angle and pre-focused at a certain distance. I've had a variety of good and bad with it, but have liked some of the results thus far.
The Ilwaco girls game I shot last week was the first time I came back with something really usable from that vantage, and I particularly liked this one of Vallori Crowston flying through all these players.
Then last night for a quarter and a half of the Naselle boys game (before I had to split to go to the before-mentioned rally) I found that the floor there gave a great reflection (especially with the lights I had set up). Not a lot of action going on in the pic, but it gave me hope (and an idea) to try again here in the near future.


Feb 3, 2009

HI-larious - Amtrak photog "nailed" on Colbert

This dude was busted by Amtrak cops for taking photos of trains to enter in a contest sponsored by Amtrak looking for the best pictures of, wait for it, their trains.... and yes, that dude is walking a cat....