Aug 22, 2011

Farewell sweet lady, Martha Murfin 1918-2011, Seaview, Wa.

Here is a column I wrote for the paper this week about Martha Murfin. With it is a portrait I made of her at her home in 2006. The story below tells of that shoot and how I think I missed a really great picture.

On the front page this week is a portrait I made of Martha Murfin at her home in Seaview back in 2006. The ocasion was the Sydney Stevens series about the “North Beach Girls,” women who grew up on the Peninsula in the early 20th century.
At that time I really had very little experience doing lighted portraiture, being much more versed in candid photography. I wanted the portrait to be nice, so I brought along a big bag of lighting stuff — flashes, light stands, umbrellas, light meter.
While frantically trying to set it all up Martha patiently passed the time by doing what you might expect, by reading a book. And this is how I lost a great picture.
You see, I was so concerned with the lighting aspects (which I honestly didn’t do very well), that I missed what could have been an iconic picture of the beloved book worm. This is because not only was she reading, but she was doing so sideways in her big wing back chair, legs over one side, like a kid might. Silly me, I had her sit up for the picture.
Martha was always very nice to me, and always let it be known how much she liked my daughter, and how pleased she was by her love of reading, something that meant so much to her. Word is that the school choir may be singing at Martha’s memorial on Sunday, and my girl is very much looking forward to that honor.
The last time I saw Martha was in June at the Relay for Life. I snapped the picture below of her as she watched the survivor lap. A few days earlier at the community meeting for the school superintendent candidates I sat with her and had a good laugh. One of the candidates came up to introduce themself to Martha, and I made sure to note that they were standing in the Martha Murfin Library, something that I know Martha was very proud of.
Martha would have been around 49 years old in 1967 when the Beatles recorded the song “Martha My Dear” for the White Album. A line at the end of the song seems particulrly appropo.
“Martha my dear you have always been my inspiration.”
To this Peninsula, and all of its kids, Martha will always be an inspiration. Farewell sweet lady.


Aug 15, 2011

Surf & Saddles Junior Rodeo, Long Beach, Wa.

You can find more photos from the junior rodeo (including some great action pix by Maddie) HERE


Dan "the oyster man" Driscoll, Observer office, Long Beach, Wa.

Dan has been a friend of mine since I moved here in 2002, and I've taken his photo many times. This week, however, I shot his portrait for the weekly Q&A and I liked them so much that we ran them as a triptych.


Thank you

I just wanted to say thank you to the unbelievable amount of people who have responded to the story and photos of Dale Ostrander that were first published here on my blog.
Nearly 50,000 people visited the blog in the last week after seeing the story and pix on a wide variety of television news broadcasts, Internet sites, radio programs, and countless newspapers worldwide. When I wrote to my friend Nan (who is the queen of Twitter IMO) last Monday night and told her to please get the word out on this incredible story, I never could have imagined the way it would seemingly capture the publics collective imagination and take off the way it did.
I especially want to thank the hundreds of people who have left comments, sent personal emails or have phoned me directly with some very kind words after seeing the photos and reading about Dale. They are flattering, humbling, and very much appreciated.

And now for an update. On Saturday the doctors told the family that he sees no reason why Dale would not be able to make a full recovery over time. Last night on the Prayers for Dale blog it was noted that Dale, with the help of a physical therapist, walked down the hall at the hospital. Lest we not forget, a week ago Sunday he was still in a coma. Amazing. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that some time soon I may be given the opportunity to meet the family, and especially Dale.


Aug 8, 2011

Boy brought back to life after drowning in the ocean, Cranberry beach approach, Long Beach, Wa.

This is by far the most amazing story I have ever been a part of. I'm still awe struck as I write this, but I am so very happy to be able to tell it.
Last Friday afternoon a large church youth group from Spanaway were visiting the beach off the Cranberry beach approach in Long Beach. Shannon Kissel and his daughter Nicole were boogie boarding nearby when they saw that two boys were in need of help. While they were able to retrieve one boy they were not able to rescue Dale Ostrander, who was caught in a wicked rip tide. It was about 10 minutes until the surf rescue team was on scene. Twenty-plus kids from the youth group sobbed uncontrollably and prayed on the sand during the search, a truly heart wrenching sound if ever there was one. It was then at least another 15 minutes or so before rescue swimmer Eduardo Mendez spotted the boy and he and swimmer Will Green were able to grab him and pull him aboard the jet ski.

Seconds later at the shore, Doug Knutzen carried him up to where paramedics were waiting to treat him. They were on the beach for another 10 minutes trying to revive him. I think it's safe to say that everyone who was there was certain that he was dead.
But the crew continued to work on him, and apparently once they got to the hospital they were able to get a weak pulse and get him breathing. He was Life-Flighted to Portland for treatment. And you know what? After being in an induced coma for a couple days he woke up. And today they removed his breathing tube, and not only did he breath on his own, but he spoke complete sentences. Amazing, truly. This boy was dead for upward of 20 minutes, easily.

From the blog At 4:11 pm today "The doctors just removed Dale's breathing tube and he is now breathing on his own. Also, because of possible damage to the brain they were unsure if he would be able to speak. Minutes after the tube was removed, the doctors told him to cough. Not only did Dale talk back to the doctors, he responded in a full sentence saying, 'I don't have to.' Dale continues to get better by the minute and the doctors are more and more amazed!"

Going to these kinds of breaking news situations is always tough, as you never know how they're going to turn out. I was heartbroken for almost a day after this. And to be able to share this kind of news now is just so heart warming to me. Please visit the site listed above and follow as Dale recovers miraculously. Because if ever there were a miracle, this would be it.

Jake the Alligator Man's "fourth annual 75th birthday party" and bride beauty pageant, Downtown Long Beach, Wa.

 With Maddie riding shotgun at the freak scene that is Jake's annual birthday party, I chose to shoot with my droid as my primary camera, using the Vignette camera app. I figured the look kinda went well with the decor.

You can see more photos, including Maddie's HERE


Portraits, Observer office, Long Beach, Wa.

 So, here are the results of my tests from earlier in the week with light set ups. Above is the Leuthe's, this week's featured couple, and below, Angi Derrey, this week's Q&A.
So after subjecting Maddie to endless light testing the other day in order to make the shot of Derrey, I wanted the one of the Leuthe's to have a little different look, so late Friday night I tried out overexposing a white background and underexposing a black background. This, however, meant using myself as the test subject...


Aug 4, 2011

Observer intern Maddie Dickerson, test model, Observer office, Long Beach, Wa.

Today our summer intern Maddie helped me out as I tried to put together some lighting for a portrait shoot. She was more than generous with her time, as this took a ridiculous amount of time to work this simple set up out. (This is why I so rarely shoot with lights...)