Friday, January 29, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

After yesterday's day-long downpour an arctic front moved through the southern states dumping more rain, sleet and snow as well as freezing temperatures. San Angelo was spared the first three, but not the cold temps. The high today only got up to about 38 degrees making for some very chilly assignments. This photo is of a sapling in the backyard after I got home from work.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I. Hate. Weather. Features.

... but this photo is kind of nice.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love the weather, just not when I have to take pictures of it for the paper. In a past life I must have been a weatherman or a meteorologist, or better yet, a tornado chaser. Yeah, that's it, that's the ticket.
My day was almost a complete waste of time. I knew that when I heard the pitter-patter of raindrops on the window late last night that Thursday was going to suck. And it pretty much did. So this morning I got up and out on the town to shoot rain photos. There is nothing I hate doing more than shooting rain photos. At around 10:00am one of the higher-ups in the office calls me and asks me what I'm doing, as if he doesn't already know. I tell him I have been driving around town for the last two hours looking for rain features but with little to no success. "Well, we got to have them," he said. And then, with all seriousness, he said, and I quote, "I want you to show me that it's wet."
No, I'm not f-ing with you, he actually said that.
It's freakin' raining, it can't help but be wet!
Fortunately, I ended my day with a better story out in the Bluffs with a few military families.
SIDE NOTE: One of my all-time favorite photographers, James Nachtwey, just shot a story for Time in Haiti. Here is the link:
Haiti: Out of the Ruins

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Roe V. Wade Day

Abortion Protest
I think it's safe to say that I live in a fairly conservative region of the state of Texas. Obviously Texas as a whole is a conservative state, but here in West Texas, the majority of the population is conservative. They are also a quiet group, content to live their lives in peace, on the front porch with a glass of tea.
Friday marked the anniversary of the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Roe v. Wade and a rare occurrence happened... a protest! The bishop of the local Catholic diocese held a pro-life mass at noon and then invited everyone to stand out in front of the Planned Parenthood offices to recite a rosary.
That is how I spent most of my Friday. The photo above is from the protest, one of about eight I edited out from the entire take. This one was my favorite. Oh, and if you're wondering if I have made any headway on my progress assignments... I haven't.
SIDE NOTE: (Wow, haven't done a side note in a while!) Be sure to check out the new websites I have added to the LINKS column of the blog. The first is called "I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist". It's a British site dedicated to the rights of photographers in public spaces. The next two are photo blogs of the staffs of the St. Petersburg Times "All Eyes", and the Virginian-Pilot "Common Ground". Some very cool work.
What I really want you to see is this. I read a recent post on about an amazing scenario in Haiti where a young boy, who was buried under a collapsed building for days, was finally rescued and gave a rousing thank you to the crowd. Here is the CNN video of what went down.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's Been a Slow Week

So lately I have been working on a bunch of stories that will publish in February in the paper's Progress edition. It is an annual edition of the paper that highlights the major events of the previous year and includes stories that look forward to the coming year.
This particular edition has always been a tough one to photograph for, mostly because the stories are these large, generalized concept pieces that don't have any straight-forward photos to be made. I have been trying to gather photos for the past week or so with little success.
I was out and about this afternoon after another failed attempt when I heard sirens blaring from a passing fire engine. I usually don't give much thought to emergency vehicles as we have car crashes all the time. I then saw three police cars fly by with their lights on so I decided to follow.
A small house had caught fire on the south end of town. I hate that the elderly lady and her son that live there have lost their home, but the it saved me from a pretty depressing week of assignments. I posted a gallery on the Standard-Times website HERE.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti in the News... Again

Images of the small Caribbean country of Haiti are once again flooding the wire and news sites in the wake of the devastating earthquake earlier in the week. Lives lost, property destroyed, it seems like a low blow to a country that's already down for the count.
Haiti was in the spotlight a few years ago when Hurricane Ike blew through the island nation killing thousands. Miami Herald photojournalist Patrick Farrell was one of the first on the scene after the hurricane struck. Farrell's images won him the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography. This is a slideshow of some of those images as Farrell recounts his time on the island two years ago. If you do choose to watch the slideshow, please prepare yourself to see some very graphic images.

The Photographer's Storm: Patrick Farrell and His Photos of Storm-Ravaged Haiti from Poynter Institute on Vimeo.

Farrell is once again making the trip back to Haiti to cover the aftermath of the current crisis. Other great photographers are also making their way to Haiti including Damon Winter of The New York Times, Carolyn Cole and Rick Loomis of the Los Angeles Times, and Spencer Platt of Getty Images to name a few. The LA Times has posted a few audio slideshows by Cole and Loomis and you can see them HERE. Again, be prepared to see some graphic images.

Explosion of Emotion for Implosion

Blow It Up!!
I had a fun day. The small town of Eden was able to get a family-owned company that implodes buildings to come and take down one of their grain elevators today. Another cool thing was that TLC (formerly The Learning Channel) was there filming the whole thing for a new show they are producing called 'Imploders'. My focus was on the reaction and excitement of the townsfolk as the event happened.
I got to shoot the implosion of the ASU dorm last year and that was really fun. I figured that today's event would be similar. The entire Eden ISD was bused out to the blast site to watch the event so I positioned myself between the front row of students so as to photograph their faces as the C-4 went off and then to quickly switch cameras with a longer lens to shoot the building coming down.
At the ASU implosion there was a series of charges that went of inside the building before the outside charges went of to help bring down the dorm. Today, there was only one blast and the building immediately came down. So, in the split second that I got off a few frames of the kids faces, turned and picked up my second camera, the building had already fallen. I missed it. Dang. But I did get fairly good shot of the students' faces.

Blowb Up
If you would like to see a video if the blast, one of our web guys set up a camera pretty close to the site. You can see it HERE.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Great Videos by Christopher Morris

I came across these great videos shot by one of my favorite photographers Christopher Morris. He is one of the founding members of the VII Photo agency, an agency that includes my all time favorite photographer James Nachtwey.
I believe that the videos were shot with a Canon DSLR as it is mentioned by Morris that he used a 45 mm tilt/shift lens to get that great depth of field look. Morris is known around the world as a conflict photographer by in recent years began covering the political scene in the US. Some of his photos covering the Bush Administration, the Democratic and Republican conventions and now the Obama Administration have been fantastic.
The videos seem (to me) to be more of an artistic nature than your typical news reportage. Morris uses his the shallow depth of field, graphically aesthetic images and instrumental music to create an overall feel. Hope you enjoy.

The New Leader from Christopher Morris on Vimeo.

Obama's War from Christopher Morris on Vimeo.

Obama's Burden from Christopher Morris on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Boots on the Beach

Boots on the Beach
I have slowly been going through the photographs that I casually took over the Christmas holiday Brooke and I spent with her family in North Carolina, pulling out a few of my favorites. This photo is of Brooke's cousin Emma walking along Wrightsville Beach in her cowboy boots. Emma, and her sister Sophie, quickly became my favorite subjects for the week. They are beautiful girls with bright red hair. (I'll post more form the trip soon.)
But, have you ever been on a great trip and after coming home and looking at the photos you wish you could have done a better job? This was one of those trips for me. We had a great time and did a lot of fun stuff. Brooke's familoy is absolutely amazing. But, I just wish I had taken more photos, and better photos of the stuff I did take pictures of. I have to admit that I was a little heartbroken after reviewing the overall take.
I only bring this up because over the holiday I came to the re-realization of just how important family is. Brooke and I got see all of our parents and siblings over the holiday. That's a rare occurrence considering that I have two sets of parents and Brooke's live in Indiana. And going back over my photos I realized that I didn't get pictures of certain members of the family that I wish I had, because we never know when we will be together again.
As a way to keep up with how everything is going in the family, Brooke and I would like to start a family photo annual that we will put together at the end of each year. I think it would be a cool way for Brooke's family to keep up with mine and my family to keep up with her's. Which reminds me, I need to send out that email to everyone so photos are taken early in the year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Exciting Holiday Vacation

So, my holiday vacation started out like this....

... at a dead stop on I-20, 30 miles east of Abilene in white-out, blizzard conditions. We couldn't see 75 yards in front of us for hours. Brooke and I left San Angelo at 8:00 am on Christmas Eve for DFW. The drive, that would normally take just over four hours, ended taking over 12 hours and in a motel room in Dublin. My mom and step-dad tried driving into DFW from Lubbock but only made it about 20 miles before being forced to turn around because of road conditions.
We got up on Christmas day, had Christmas breakfast in a gas station in Stephenville, and then drove the rest of the 100 miles into Dallas. It was horrible. But once everybody made it into town we had a great time together. We ate, drank, and opened presents together. Then, bright and early on Dec. 26th Brooke and I flew to North Carolina to see her family and we spent the rest of the holiday looking at this...

Wrightsville Beach
Pretty, right? Brooke's parents rented a beach house for all of us to stay in on Wrightsville Beach. We had a great time. We ate a ton of food, drank gallons of booze, and lived it up for what was the rest of 2009. (Speaking of that, Happy New Year everyone.)
But now its a new year: new goals, plans, trips and dreams. I did make on resolution this year, but I'm not going to divulge it just yet. I don't want to jinx it. Hope everyone had a great holiday and has a happy and prosperous 2010.