Sep 27, 2009

Towering inferno

Last night I was assigned to get a photo of a firemen training exercise where they practiced battling propane fires. A local propane dealer donated several hundred gallons of fuel, which sent a tower of flame over two stories into the air once lit. Chief Glasson said that near the blaze it was putting off 3,000-plus degrees as the firemen approach to turn off the valve as part of the exercise.
We don't have a lot of REAL large fires here (thankfully), but their practices can be pretty awesome.


Sep 24, 2009

Kenz on the pitch

Tonight was Kenz' season opening soccer match. This is her fourth year playing, but my first time taking pictures of her doing as up until this year I coached her teams. I have to say this was a lot more fun and less work.

She's really pretty good, especially when she gets to play offense, cuz she's quick and can handle the ball while moving downfield.
She even assisted on a goal by her teammate and came pretty darn close to one herself.

As it is little league they switch the players around to all manner of positions. She even spent time in the net as goal keeper. And while she admits it's not her favorite spot to play, get her out in the open field as a forward, you better look out!
Awesome job tonight Kenz!


Sep 18, 2009

Bear River Battle

Tonight was the big local rivalry game between Ilwaco and Naselle. It was a weird game, as Ilwaco arrived about five minutes before kick-off (on purpose mind you) there were turnovers, funky ref calls, an interesting new offense from Ilwaco, etc. In the end Naselle blocked a field goal try to win 22-20.

This is quite possibly my favorite football picture of the year so far. I got it as the players were dressing in front of their bus they just arrived on. If his girlfriend were just a student in street clothes it would have been one thing, but to have her be a cheerleader, well, I guess the gods were smiling on me. Ooooh, I love high school football.
You can check out a gallery of pix from this game at the football blog if you like.


I just wanted to make a quick note about the photo above that was also featured on the front page of the paper this week. While youthful innocence was supposed to be the message conveyed in the photo of a cheerleader and football player sharing a brief kiss before the game Friday, it seems that some found it in someway inappropriate. Granted, kissing on campus is not allowed, but this took place outside of Ilwaco school grounds and much after class time was over. As I understand it the couple have been dating for quite some time and the girls mother said that she loves the picture and bought an extra copy of the paper. If her parents have no problem with her giving her longtime boyfriend a quick smooch after school, why should anyone else disagree? And to suggest that that it somehow reflected poorly on the school itself by publishing the picture is patently absurd. With all the tragedy that has taken place in our community in the last few weeks, my hope was that the photo might offer a glimpse at a more whimsical side of life that has been missing lately. Sometimes I think some people just take life way too seriously.

Back in court

Brian Brush was supposed to be arraigned today so I was back in superior court in South Bend to photograph. The court was considerably fuller this time around, a large group of whom were family and friends of Lisa Bonney — including her eldest daughter Elizabeth, at right. Unfortunately it was a waste of time for all of us in the end as the prosecution asked for and received a two week continuance before arraigning him.

There have been a couple of people who have called and complained to the paper over my photo that ran on the front page of the paper this week of Brush in court on Monday, and I just wanted to say that there was a fair amount of debate as to how to use the photos this week. We decided that we would use the photo of Bonney's memorial at the top of the page, while having Brush's photo, which was the bigger of the two, be split between fold of the paper. We are certainly not trying to be sensational or anything like that, but the fact that he is standing trial for this crime is news that much of the community has an interest in and it is our job to report that news. I hope that people understand that while our personal feelings may say one thing, our duty calls us to cover this story from all sides, ugly or not.


Sep 17, 2009

Nellie & Brian get married

As I'm known to do from time to time, last Saturday I was once again up in Oysterville to photograph a wedding. Of the 1,600-some I shot here are some of my favorites. Congrats Nellie and Brian!


Sep 15, 2009

A sad story

Yesterday was a pretty unusual day as I photographed the fallout from the murder of Peninsula resident Lisa Bonney, who was shot in broad daylight at the Bolstad beach approach Friday. The man accused of doing it, former boyfriend Brian Brush, was seen by multiple witnesses and two police officers on patrol.
It was late Friday when I first heard about it. I found out it was Bonney later on. The next day I found out it was Brush who was arrested — an odd side note, we ran a photo I took of them dancing together in the paper just a couple months ago at a ballroom dancing class.
So yesterday I watched all the TV reports on the case online and then headed down to where people had made an impromptu memorial for Bonney on a park bench near where she was killed. A woman came and placed a flower, wiped away a tear and walked away. I made two pictures.

A few hours later I was on my way up to South Bend to photograph Brush in his first appearance in superior court. From the moment he was brought in he was sobbing off and on.

The prosecuting attorney had yet to arrive so they placed him in the jury box near me (this is actually the second time this has happened to me while photographing in court in the last year). It gave me a good opportunity to show him in his shackles with the deputies watching over him.
He had yet to be given an attorney, so the court took a short recess as he talked with counsel for the first time in the back of the court. I made a few pix like this, felt this one was the most emotional. Sometimes I feel odd about taking photos in situations like this, but honestly, I felt nothing this time as he sobbed away, facing possible life imprisonment. I thought about this a lot on the drive home. Maybe it had something to do with what I overheard the prosecuting attorney tell the defense attorney in regards to the wounds he witnessed during the autopsy —"quite possibly the worst thing I have ever seen in my life." This was also a factor in him asking for, and being granted, a record $50 million bail amount for Brush.

This story is of course the lead in the paper this week, here's a LINK to the lead story, and it's SIDEBAR

My photos are also being used as the lead of the News-Review in Roseburg, Ore. today, and you can see that story HERE

Such a sad story,


Sep 11, 2009

Back on the field, pt. 2

After feeling half dead for the last few days and not being able to do much other than lay in bed, I felt good enough to make it out to the Ilwaco home opener tonight. However, the Fishermen played close to how I felt as they got clobbered by South Bend. For the first time in a long time I left before the game was over, as the score was 40-0 in favor of South Bend at the start of the fourth quarter. I don't feel too bad about leaving early though as it will get me back home to bed a few hours earlier than usual (hopefully I sleep the rest of this crap away tonight).

As halftime approached I caught Ned Bittner's little girl swatting bugs under the scoreboard.

At halftime the Ilwaco band performed while the cheer squad presented a giant flag in honor of the Sept. 11 anniversary today.

After the performance they scrambled into place for the rest of the halftime show.

You can see more pix from this game at the Friday Night Sights Blog Here


Sep 8, 2009

Back on the court

Tonight was the opening of the local high school volleyball season, and what better way to get things going than the Bear River Battle volleyball match between Naselle and Ilwaco? As I'm sure I've noted on here before, while I like volleyball, like shooting, it has never really liked me — meaning I have a heck of a time shooting it with any degree of success. I've tried probably a hundred different ways of lighting it, angles of shooting it, etc. Last year my best match by far was the last one I shot... So I took a long look at how I shot that match and tried to duplicate it tonight, with varying degrees of success. It still needs some fine tuning, but I feel pretty good about my chances this season...

You can see more pix from the match HERE at the Observer Sports Blog if you like.


East meets West

Amazingly enough we have bellydancers here on the Peninsula. Oh, but it gets better. There are actually two bellydancing groups, or classes, here on the Peninsula and are featured this week on the Life page.
I photographed the first group a couple weeks ago when they performed at the Golden Sands Assisted Living Center.

I got to hang out with Var'yin, who teaches classes out of a guest room at her house. She was quite good, but I kept trying to get her son into pix as he kept showing up in the doorway or windows watching her.


Sep 4, 2009

Back on the field

Tonight was the opening night for local high school football, and it just so happens that I found myself shooting the same team that I ended last season with, the Naselle Comets.
For the second straight year the Comets opened their season with their rivals, the Wahkiakum Mules, in the annual KM Trophy game. The Comets showed signs of a dominant running attack that powered them to a 21-12 win to bring home the coveted trophy for the first time in what is believed to be over 20 years. What a great way to start the season.
As per usual with me I found that I was making my best pictures away from the action — pregame, halftime and postgame.

I was wondering if any graduated players from last years state third place squad would attend tonight, sure enough I saw at least three or four, including all-state LB Mike Shirley, who hung with the team along the sideline for the majority of the game, even wearing an old practice jersey (I have a feeling that he would've loved to slip some pads under it and go hit some people...)
Yep, quirky, what else is new. Here the coaches son tries to dry off his dads clipboard after a steady rain fell for most of the first half.
In the movie The Dark Knight the Joker tells Batman "Tonight I'm going to make you break your one rule." Well tonight I broke my one rule and I shot action with a flash on camera. Haven't done that in a few years for football really. Didn't have a ton of success, but hey, 20% success rate with a flash as opposed to like 5% success without (especially under the NHS field lights).... You can see those along with a bunch of other shots from tonight's game over at the Friday Night Sights blog
Ooooooh, I'm so glad football's back.


Sep 1, 2009

An evening with Brian ... and all his friends

Last night I shot the townhall meeting by Congressman Brian Baird in Ilwaco. With all the unusual stuff that has been happening at these things lately we knew it had potential to be a good story. But it seems that our mellow beach manners got the best of us as people stayed pretty civil throughout the two hour event.
I got there an hour and a half before the start of the meeting, having read that there had been picketers outside of other Baird townhalls, and in some cases LaRouche supporters with their "Obama as Hitler" signs. When I arrived there were only about 25-30 people outside. These folks here were the first to pull out signs.
Local GOP chair Nan Malin was out there as well, talking to folks and tweeting — I told her she was way trendy. She agreed.
When it came time to let people in, they had to leave their signs outside — including those supporting Baird (rules of the house is what they telling people, as it was a school building). 
But even inside the signs were still present. This fellow here was really the only lefty signholder. I thought it was interesting how they separated themselves a few feet apart on the sidewalk. I thought it was also interesting how people didn't really engage each other, even though some of the picketers were standing essentially in the way of the ramp to get inside and people had to walk through their group to get in. A group of about 7-8 stayed outside, despite the fact that there was still room. From what I heard from them talking amongst themselves they didn't like the fact that people would be drawn from a pool to ask questions and that you had to be a resident of his district in order to ask a question (they were from Oregon).

Once inside things were pretty mellow. That's my boss, Matt Winters, editor/publisher of the Observer, to Baird's right leading the flag salute. He was the moderator for the evening.
People who signed up to ask a question were given a number and Matt drew from the bunch a few at a time to see who would go next.
It was interesting that in a community that votes so blue so much that IMO the greater majority of folks there were GOP-affiliated or at least right-leaning, as were the majority of questions asked. A couple times it seemed on the verge of maybe getting a little heated, but (unfortunately for the sake of my photos) never did.

And then there was Mrs. Snider, who was quite animated in her reactions to his answers, and was pretty entertaining to watch.

All in all I think Baird held his own pretty well, and IMO, I think he showed in his answers that he isn't a super-lefty, which I think maybe some feel that he was. He said repeatedly that he had not made up his mind on how to vote on the health care bill, and seemed pretty interested in what folks had to say. He's definitely come along way from the first time I shot him, flipping pancakes at a fundraiser for his first campaign for Congress in 1999 while I was working at the Columbian.