Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 Sports Favorites

I couldn't wait to post my favorite sports photos, so here you go. However, due to the fact that I have a limited amount of space on my Flickr account coupled with the fact that I am too cheap to pay the $25 per year to get unlimited space for said account, I ran out of space to finish loading all the photos for the slideshow. So, I have only 18 photos instead of 20. Sorry.
As I was editing through my photos I was surprised to see that I have very few football photos. And anyone who lives in Texas knows football reigns supreme. But I was still inspired to be a better photographer.
Because I don't have anymore space in my Flickr account, I probably will not be able to post any photos until the new year. Brooke and I are going out of town for the holiday on the 24th and won't be back until the new year, so I'll have plenty of my own photos to share with you then. Have a great and blessed holiday everyone!

2009 News Favorites

So I decided that I would go back through all of the photos that I turned in for every assignment this year at the Standard-Times and pick some of my favorites. I had quite a few photos that I liked so I edited down to two categories, News and Sports. In each category there are 20 photos, most were published in the paper or on the website, some were not (I just liked them).
The slideshow I've posted is that of the News photos. I really enjoy going back through my work at the end of the year. I get a good idea of where I started, how I progressed, and where I ended up in my ability to provide meaningful photos to our Standard-Times readers. It also gives me the opportunity to see how I can improve as a photographer, shoot more informative photos and it also gives me ideas on how to shoot re-occurring stories that are important to our area.
I'll be posting my favorite Sports photos in the next few days and I may even post some of my own personal photo favorites that I shot outside of the office as well. I hope you like them.

December Photo Column

For this month's Focus feature the theme or word was 'Pair'. I had a little trouble with this one, mainly because I kept putting it off until I was forced to do it last minute. I decided to cruise on down to our famous boot shop, M.L. Leddy's, and take a few photos of the boot-making process. This is the column that published with the above photo:

SAN ANGELO - There is no better iconic image of the great American West than that of the cowboy. And nothing says “cowboy” better than the clothes they wear.
“There is a certain idea that the public has of someone who wears the wide-brimmed hat, the button-up shirts, bluejeans and the traditional boots,” said Beverly Franklin Allen, whose grandfather founded the custom boot and saddle shop M.L. Leddy’s. “The attire is a statement of character, of trust and honesty.”
And making a handcrafted pair of boots can be just as empowering as wearing them. “I have a great job, and I am very proud of the product that I make,” said Joe Orozco, who for 30 years has been making boots by hand.
Orozco sits huddled over his work bench at M.L. Leddy’s shaving down identical toe boxes on a pair of boots that can take up to a year to complete. Why would anyone wait a year for boots? “Because they’re handmade,” Allen said, “and you can’t get better quality than handmade.”
Allen makes her way through the shop amid the pounding of tacks, the sanding of leather and the whirring of old Singer sewing machines that stitch ornate designs in the upper pieces of boots.
“And there is a sense of pride one has when wearing a handcrafted pair of boots,” Allen added as she ran her fingers over a set of light brown calfskin boots. “You feel like you can handle just about anything.”

Monday, December 21, 2009

NPPA Best Use of Photography 3rd Quarter

The National Press Photographers Association has just announced the 3rd quarter results of the Best Use of Photography contest on their website. You can see all the winners HERE. The above page was my favorite of the bunch. The photos were taken by St. Petersburg Times photographer Melissa Lyttle and won third place in the feature page division. Melissa took the photographs with her iPhone and used an app that mimics the look and feel of a Holga, a cheap plastic toy camera that uses 120 film. Melissa talks a little about shooting with the iPhone for the assignment on her blog HERE.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Week's Assignments

This last week almost all of my assignments were really bad. There was nothing that inspired me, nothing very visual, and to make things worse, the editors wouldn't believe me when I told them that there was no hope of anything coming out that would be usable for publication. Fortunately, the week ended well with a self-assigned story for a new photo department project that will publish in early January. (That's where the above photo is from.)
As you know, the Standard-Times photo department publishes a photo column every month called 'Focus', and each month has a specific theme or word each photographer must interpret with a photo. (Which reminds me, I need to post this month's column.) Next year we will try a little something different. Each photographer will focus on an individual in the surrounding community who has an interesting hobby or leads a unique life. A single photo will run on the front page of the newspaper with a short write up, in addition to an audio-slideshow of more photos and an interview with the subject on the website. The inspiration for this project came from New York Times photographer Todd Heisler's online project One in Eight Million. Heisler's project is community photojournalism at it's best, and I'm hoping that will be the result for us here at the Standard-Times as well.
We still don't have a name for the new project, but I'm confident that the resulting stories will be great.

Cool End of Year Slideshow

This is the time of year that all the news agencies start posting their best staff photos of the year. The Austin American-Statesman has just posted theirs and its pretty cool because they have included music and sound bytes from the various stories. I'll be sure to post more from around the country as I find them. I'll also be posting some of my own favorite photos that I shot over the past year. More to come!

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Office Hours

So, I am keeping new office hours... None! I have not been in the office since Tuesday of this week and I am still in town. My photo editor has agreed to let me try and file photos from the field for a few days to see if I really need to come in. Obviously I'll need to come in every once in a while for staff meetings, to pick up mail and papers and maybe a piece of equipment, but beyond that there doesn't seem to be any reason for me to come in.
I spent this morning with the monks out at Mount Carmel Hermitage near Christoval. I love going out there. They are a warm and friendly group of guys. Today we all just got to talking and before you know it we were all sitting around a sliced homemade loaf of pumpkin pecan bread and a freshly brewed pot of Cuban espresso. (Father Fabian, the prior of the hermitage, is from Cuba.) Good times. I think maybe I'll ask if I can do a Focus feature on Father Fabian early next year.
After I finished at the hermitage, drove back to San Angelo and filed my photos, I had nothing else to do for the day. I had mentioned in a previous post that feature hunts were not really my favorite thing to do, so I decided that now that I don't have to go into the office that I would try to get into the feature hunting mind set. I decided to head out to the lake to take a few clicks. It was a cool, overcast day. A nice way to end the week.


Monday, December 7, 2009

New Camera!

It came, it came! My new camera came in the mail a few days ago. I'm so excited! I would like to thank everyone who donated to my camera fund and I will be posting some photos soon. I'm still a little chicken to take it outside and use it. It's to pretty. It takes a completely different mind set to use your own gear when you've been using gear from the office ever since you graduated from college.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snow Day!

San Angelo received it's first snowfall in two years early this morning. I have lived in the Concho Valley for almost six years and we usually see snow at least once a year, but last year we didn't get anything. Brooke woke me from a deep sleep at about 7:30 am screaming "There's snow on the ground!" The first thing that ran through my head was "Crap! I have to shoot weather features." Most weather feature days start off slowly for me. I personally have a hard time getting into the whole feature photo hunt. But it was snowing, and we don't see it very much, so I tried to find interesting angles and varying subjects. It turned out to be pretty fun.
SIDE NOTE: I was reading a post on Sportsshooter.com this morning and came across this stop-action video someone posted. It is awsome!

Sorry I'm Late from Tomas Mankovsky on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fall Colors

Fall Leaves
Most years here in West Texas the fall season skips right over us. It goes from being 80 degrees right into the low 40s. We usually don't get any of the fall colors mostly because of the lack of rainfall through the year. But this year was different. We had more rain than usual, comfortable days in the mid 70s and 60s and a little color at the change of the season.
I was walking to my car yesterday after I got off work. My car is parked next to a crape myrtle and I noticed how pretty the red and golden leaves were as they surrounded the tree on the ground. Leave it to me me to think the leaves on the ground are prettier than the ones on the tree.