Aug 28, 2009

Court jesters

My preseason workouts tour continued yesterday as I visited Naselle and Ilwaco volleyball practices. Once again, looking for something a little different than just girls doing the typical bump, set, spike stuff.
Here we have the McDonnell girls having fun during a squatting drill (yeah, really) at IHS.

Over at Naselle I was lucky enough to catch them practicing their dive and rolls. Seems some of the girls needed a bit more practice in that area. One of the coaches said "looks like you came on the right night!" Yeeeeeah.


A fair night

Tonight I was up in Menlo to shoot stuff at the Pacific County Fair. Originally I was going to be shooting a feature on one of teh contestants of the Fair Queen pageant, but it didn't work out, but I figured I'd still check out the coronation, which I was told was tonight — only to find out when I got there that it was actually last night. Soooooo..... I spent a few hours just cruising around taking in the sights.

I took a bunch of pix of these dead dive bomber planes I kept finding on the ground
While checking out the elephant ear cooks I was sidetracked by the hypnotist who was performing on the mini stage. He had a large group of kids and adults "hypnotized" (ahem, not so sure...) and having them do funny things. At this point they were supposed to be laughing at "the funniest thing ever." Made for a good frame, even if they were just playing along.

Hit the midway, found our buddy Barack hanging out with Eminem, 50 Cent and what appears to be an Aztec God with a low rider...
This was a nice find to end the night, this family from Raymond who perform as the Merry Makers were playing some old timey tunes at the entrance to the foods building, right in front of the prize winning jellies and jams.


Aug 25, 2009

Sisters by saddleback

Over the last week and a  half I had the opportunity to hang with Makenzie and Makayla Matthews of Rosburg. The sisters were the subject of our Wahkiakum County Fair feature that is running this week on the Life page. The girls are active in raising horses and I got to catch them on the farm and at the fair. We didn't have as much space as I had hoped to run more pix, so here's a few that I liked, some outtakes, and some that made the paper.
Makayla had a great quote that ran in the story that I also used as part of the cutline for this pic in the paper: "I wanna be nice to him so that he'll come to me, so I give him lots of treats so I don't have to chase him around. That's the fun part of having a horse — to be in love with it."

I know literally nothing in terms of horse-related stuff, but I thought it looked cool as the girls were "lunging" their horses, which is apparently a way to work out the horses excess energy before riding them.

This is easily one of my favorites as they were polishing their riding boots in a lean-to shed that also was home to that great old pick-up truck.

At the fair things moved pretty fast and I didn't get exactly what I wanted, This one I thought was kinda odd/funny as Makayla finishes a quick change in between events. A moment before this the horse was trying to help her with the belt so she had to slide over a bit.

I wish I would have stopped down the lens maybe one more full stop so that the horse in the foreground was just a little more in focus...

A lot of the time what dictates whether or not a photo runs is whether or not it is related to what is said in the story. In this case, I really liked this pic of Makenzie and her friends, but she didn't really talk about them in the interviews and so it wasn't really a part of the story.

Here's a link to the story if you wanna check that out. As I was wrapping it up on deadline I was commenting to my boss how every time I end up having to write a story I am that much more convinced as to why I don't do it more often...


Free audio slideshow tutorial in Olympia Oct. 2

Hey there, 
As part of the annual Washington Newspaper Publishers Association convention, which will be taking place in Olympia this year, I'm going to be heading up a free two-hour audio slideshow tutorial workshop. This will be a basics class, mostly for people just getting their feet wet, or need some help getting off the ground in making a good show. For those more advanced I'm happy to offer reviews and feedback and would love to see you there as well.
It'll take place 10 am to noon at the Red Lion (where the convention is taking place) in a yet to be determined conference room. I helped lead a similar workshop at the Bellingham Visual Journalism Conference in July, though this will be a little more basic in nature. 
Questions? Wanna sign up? Just drop me an email:


Q&A on Friday Night Sights

Yesterday the Friday Night Sights football blog that we do here at the CO posted a little Q&A with yours truly about shooting football. You can check it out HERE if you like.


Aug 21, 2009

Oooooh, it's that time again.

I have sooooooo missed shooting sports this summer. This is possibly one of my favorite weeks of the year, the opening of fall sports practices, especially football.

Last night I was up in the valley to shoot Naselle's practice. Over the years I have shot A LOT of pix of the Comets doing their pregame stretches because they are so cool looking. I don't know if this one is new or not (I don't remember it) but they call it the "Frankenstein walk" (ABOVE) which reminded me of something from like Monty Python...

One of my favorite spots to shoot during preseason at Naselle is the water fountain where all the players grab a drink during break. This time I got down on the ground since they all have to bend over to get under the flow. I also knew I needed something to run with a sidebar this week about having players properly hydrated during practices.

Here's Riley dropping for 10 after jumping offsides during an offensive drill.

Tonight I was at Ilwaco for one of their practices. Once again shooting some cool looking drills, here is the Fishermen doing "monkey rolls."

Prior to hitting the field the team went over playbook stuff together.

I've been finding myself dragging the shutter  more and more these days, though never really being that happy with it.

Another kinda odd one. Never seen this before either, where players haul another on their back for 20 yards and then do 5 squats (man that sounds hard). Only 2 weeks till opening night...


Aug 14, 2009

Baby Marlee

Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to spend some time with baby Marlee Hughes with her family in Chinook. Marlee is the subject of our lead feature next week. I like these two the best from my take, though the second one doesn't look as good in color which makes me wanna go with the first one as the lead, but IDK, the second one is a strong moment.

During her six-month check-up it was found that Marlee had a cancerous mass in her abdomen called neuroblastoma. From the story written by reporter Amanda Frink: "Close to 50 percent of neuroblastoma cases occur in children younger than two years old." In May she had the mass surgically removed, a harrowing tale for sure. She's doing much better now, but goes in for regular doctor visits each month.
I have to say that I love working on stories like this where people have had to overcome such hardships. They're a great family and I really hope that things continue to get better for her. Definitely be sure to read Amanda's story in next weeks issue.


Aug 10, 2009

Taking the short, long trip

Last Friday I had the opportunity to take the kids out of town for a few days. It was a sudden urge. WHile driving south I thought to myself that it was a great feeling of satisfaction to do it that way. I have always loved deciding to do something and then going for it, spur of the moment. It is the feeling of freedom, that whenever you want you can do what you want to do. As I get older I realize that this kind of thing doesn't exist much (I guess until you get to retirement stage and own an RV perhaps), so when the opportunity is in front of you, you better take it.
I took the kids to the Del Norte County Fair, where Kenz had a great time, she is a real ride-rider. I however am not. I did buy a couple tickets so I could go with her on the Giant Wheel, mostly so I could get a pic of her. I like both of these, but couldn't decide which I liked best.

I love the fair at night, mostly for the lights. (She told me later that she was sticking her tongue out at me on the way down on this one.)

I had a fair amount of time standing outside the Gravitron as she rode it three times in a row. I got this pick and a few of a teen couple waiting too, this one is the only one that really came out. And while the waiting outside rides where I couldn't see her was a little boring, at least it gave me time to munch on a delicious doughboy (aka elephant ear) courtesy of the Job's Daughters (may have been worth the 16 hour round trip right there...)


Aug 6, 2009

Something new, for me at least

Today I did a couple things that I don't ever do — I re-shot an assignment, and I lit it with something other than natural light. Now for most folks these are probably fairly normal occurrences, but not so much for me. Now, I'm not saying that I haven't needed to do both at times — oh boy, I definitely have — but today it kinda worked out that way.
A couple weeks ago I shot a feature on a clay artist that was to run this coming week with an advance about the upcoming clay artists association show. It was an everyday sorta feature — go to his house/studio, shoot some pix as he worked, to be used as a section front. Rod Maxwell-Muir has been making various things from clay for more than 50 years and he works rather quickly. I shot it fast while the light was really working against me. When he was done I had the feeling that he didn't want to do anymore, so I left with what I had, which was okay, but it wasn't really that good IMO. On my way out I noticed this great vantage point on his back porch looking into his studio, but knew it wouldn't work without some lighting inside. It hit me a few days later (I'm kinda slow sometimes), Dude, you totally have the gear to light that thing and make it work (plus I just got a new softbox for my 300 watt strobe for shooting weddings... ). So I called him up and he was very gracious and he let me come by tonight while he was throwing a pot. Here are the results — I have to say I truly never use strobe to light assignments (save for indoor sports), but I really liked how this worked out. I think it will definitely give me confidence to do both again some time in the future if I need to.