Feb 26, 2010

The miracle in Chehalis

A qwik add tonite following the amazing Ilwaco win at the district tourney that sends them to the state tourney next week. Had about 10 hours sleep in the last two days due to back-to-back-to-back playoff games out of town. Will add more later, you can check out a gallery from the game HERE I'm sleeeeeepy


Feb 22, 2010

Court & Sport — 28 hours

Two work days, 28 hours, just under 500 total miles driven, five assignments, two bags of throat lozenges, one box of kleenex, three diet Dr. Pepper's and a piece of black forrest pie. Yep, my birthday was busy, like always it seems to be.
Last year I wrote about my crazy exploits surrounding me working out of town on my b-day, but this year I think I may have that beat.

It began at around 11 am on Friday when I drove up to South Bend for the arraignment of Martin Jones, the man accused of the execution style shooting of a state trooper last weekend here at the beach. The first thing that became noticeable to me was the fact that Jones didn't seem to mind being there, as he smiled, smirked and had little chuckles to himself throughout the proceedings.

His lawyers look sharp and had to argue a few items before the judge as the prosecution wanted to raise the bail amount. 
I don't know if the smiles were a nervous thing, an embarrassed thing, a confidence thing, or some other thing, but I don't know that I've ever seen anyone in a position like his doing that. But I'll guess we'll see how his mood maintains when they go to trial in April.

Once I was done at the court house I was on my way up to the Tacoma Dome to get some pix of Nakasha Custer, an Ilwaco girl wrestling at the state tourney. However before going I needed to email the top photo to my boss so that he could get it online. After my BlackBerry crashed from being accidentally unplugged from my macbook usb port it took way longer than it should have and slowed me down considerably. That mixed with the usually crazy traffic near Fort Lewis and south Tacoma I was running a bit behind. Custer was supposed to wrestle her second round match around 5 p.m. I walked in the media entry at 4:42 and was quickly made aware that my credential was not there. I had to walk to the other end of the dome and sweet talk my way to a pass, assuring them that I only needed it for one match and would return it in about 25 minutes (I wouldn't even need it that long). As I was doing this I could hear her being called on deck. I walked down to the mat and received a text from my friend Jeff in the stands at 4:50 that said: "perfect timing what a pro" right as I was shooting Custer as she walked out for her match. She won with a pin in less than two minutes. She had a brief exchange with her coach, and that was it. She would end up taking fourth in state the next day, the first female wrestler to place at state in school history.

After returning my temp credential and getting back to the car I had an hour or so to get to Tumwater for the IHS boys game that started at 6:30. Of course it was rush hour on I-5 and things were slow going again — it took the better part of an hour to go 30-some miles...

But I made it with a couple mins to spare and set up. I liked this one cuz its nicely lit and kind of indicative of the style of play in the game.
Also got a pretty good ouch shot, haven't gotten one of those in a while. 
The gym in this school is pretty big and there was more than 15 feet of out of bounds space behind each basket. I set up sitting about 5 feet back, giving the refs ample room. However during the middle of the third quarter a dude who works at the school tells me I have to move and wants me about 10 FEET behind the line. Did I mention that I'm working with the worst cold I've had in years? After giving me no reason other than "I say so" I pretty much had to go off on the guy, which has become a true rarity for me these days. I told him that since he was not representing the WIAA or the refs association he really didn't have the authority to tell me where I could be or not be and since I know the WIAA regs for shooting playoff hoops (be at least three feet from the out line) I felt that he was being completely unreasonable and I sat back down where I was before after telling him "No, I will not sit 10 feet behind the line, you are being unreasonable!" I don't know if I had that crazy sick dog look in my eye or what, but he steered clear of me the rest of the game (though our discussion cost me the better portion of the third period of the game). 

The next day it was east again, this time to Centralia for back to back Naselle games in the afternoon. I took the kids with me as Ness was at a bridal convention hocking her wares in Seaside. I dropped the kids off with their aunt in Olympia and they went rollerskating, which they both enjoyed tremendously.
Anyway, the Naselle girls won in a blow out and my pix weren't that good, though I liked this one of Kitzman — and it worked it good for the package we did in sports as she and Austin Burkhalter (below) were named MVPs of the Pacific League the other day. Austin's mom Susan was a lifesaver on Wednesday night when I shot a game in Montesano and was at the apex of this cold and she had a bottle of Advil in her purse, thanks again, definitely made the drive home easier.

This last one was a pic from the game gallery on the sports blog that I liked, it has kind of a Where's Waldo feel to it I think.
Things don't get any easier this week as the tourneys continue, and I could end up going to potentially 6 more games... at least this cold is finally easing up, a little bit anyway.


Feb 12, 2010

I thought Valentine's day was more associated with the color red...

I helped chaperone Kenz' Valentine's Day party at school today and took a bunch of straight forward ports of kids who were indulging in sour candy that was turning their teeth and tongues a bright shade of green. I liked this one the best — I think you can see in his eye a bit of the sugar high he was on by this point, pretty funny.

Speaking of funny, here's my daughter going cross-eyed trying to reach the candy she had placed on her nose...


Feb 9, 2010

Conner Jones

Last week while in Longview to shoot the IHS Knowledge Bowl team at a meet (for next week's feature page) I had the opportunity to spend some time with the Jones family to make some pictures to go with the lead story on the front page this week.
I've known Brad and Sarah some over the years and his parents Rick and Cheri live a couple houses down from us in Ilwaco, so I've been aware of Conner's struggles with CF and prune belly syndrome basically his whole life. The family now lives in Longview and though it truly saddens me to say it, it looks like his fight may be coming to an end. They have apparently exhausted all medical options at this point and the medications aren't having the same effect they once did. Knowing all this I was really torn about going to get pictures. I mean, what is appropriate?

While Conner was administering multiple inhalers to himself I got this picture, which I liked the best, as he looks contemplative and brave, IMO. He also looks like a boy older than 6, which I think has some truth to it too. I had others where he was actively using his inhalers but they felt too invasive, so I chose against them.
I liked this one a lot too, as it was by far the best connection picture with him and his family. Once again I was mindful with what I was showing as he was using another type of inhaler that projects a steamy mist — very clinical looking — and the way he was sitting his tummy was uncovered and the outward effects of his prune belly syndrome were obvious. Once again I had to decide what was relevant, what was appropriate.
What was perhaps most notable about my time there that night was how welcoming and kind they all were. I mean, they certainly don't have to let people like me come in and take a bunch of pictures, but I never felt uncomfortable once inside, and I thank them for that. You can follow the family and Conner's journey on his mom's blog devoted to the story HERE, it's a really honest take on being a parent.
Here's how I put together the front page this week, I think the package came together really well, and Amanda's story is really good.

I have to add that I have particularly resolute feelings on this subject
It is so unfair, but I guess most severe illnesses like this are, but I hate it. Eight years ago I lost a very good friend named Brandy Stroeder to CF, a girl who gained regional, if not national, fame for her fight against the Oregon state health care plan that would not cover the multiple transplants she needed to survive. It was one of the first stories I shot after getting hired by the News-Register in McMinnville in 2000, and I continued to shoot the story essentially the whole two years I worked there. She died in April 2002 a couple weeks before I left the paper and her funeral was the last assignment I shot for the N-R. It was heartbreaking to be covering it as a news story while developing a strong friendship with her and her family, only to have it end with her at the top of the transplant list.
I've never put together a really nice gallery of the final edit of the story (mostly because I never made really high quality scans of the best stuff which was shot all on film), but I did put together a small portfolio of it on Photo.net several years back. It's actually still there, but since the Web site was redesigned a couple years ago it runs backwards now for some reason, so if you want to check it out you can HERE, but to flip through it in linear fashion you need to use the arrow key on the LEFT side of each picture. In recent years I have considered seeing if the Portland chapter of the CF Foundation would be interested in maybe doing a gallery show of the pix, but I have fallen out of contact with Karen Case, Brandy's mom, and I wouldn't want to do it without her blessing. But who knows.


Feb 8, 2010

For 73 years, Valentine's day everyday.

This is the lead pic from a piece we're doing as the lead on the Life page this week. I've known the Hanner's for quite a few years and each of the last few February's I had thought about doing a Valentine's story about them as they have been married for more than 73 years — and quite happily I might add. They are really cool people.
This pic worked out on a lot of levels for me as I was hoping to get something sweet that showed the affection they still have for each other. Pete was a professional singer and jazz musician for much of his life and is still known for breaking into song at the drop of a hat. In this case he was singing a Valentine's song for his wife. I think it's particularly cute that she still gets a little shy or embarrassed when he sings to her like this, but during the tune she grabbed ahold of his hand, which he kissed prior to the last stanza. Amanda wrote a great story to go along with it, so hopefully you'll check that out too.


Feb 4, 2010

Pretzel logic?

This is an outtake from the Beach Brawl wrestling meet last Saturday. It's one of those you don't know you have until you take a look at everything you shot. Thought going B&W added to the ambiguity of whose arms are whose and whose head belongs on which shoulders...

*Shout-out — Thanks to Susan B. for letting me know that at least one person out there was missing the updates lately! Kinda jump started me to try and make more stuff that I wanted to show, seems to have worked as I have a few more things I'll be adding over the next few days.