I was hired by SeattlePI.com to photograph the memorial service December 8th for the 4 slain Lakewood, WA police officers, gunned down in late November. The officers were starting their day in an area cafe, when a gunman entered and shot them. What an incredibly sad story. For a variety of reasons, this was one of the most challenging assignments I have taken in some time. Emotions were palpable, access was limited, security was heightened, and it was below freezing temperatures that morning in Tacoma.
Last night I covered the vigil for the victim of a stabbing last week. It was an event that I did not look forward to covering. It is not an easy assignment by any means, for a variety of reasons. People are skeptical of my presence, of why I might want their picture over that of someone else. Mostly though, people would like to be left alone in their grief. I just try and be quiet. Still and quiet, and respectful. Mindful of the hurt these people must be going through. Although I felt conspicuous, I received a few thank you for being here’s, which helped.
Every time I have spoken with someone about Teresa, the victim, their faces light up. They said she was a marvelous human being; a good friend; a great coworker. Genuine, and fun. It is my hope, that through the Seattle PI publishing my photos, the residents of South Park might be brought some relief, some how, somewhere down the line.
South Park is such a complex area and it’s tragic that the only time it is covered by the local press is within crime stories. I hope I might be able to cover it a more positive light some day down the road.
Thanks for looking!
On Monday I photographed a community meeting in the south Seattle neighborhood of South Park, where community leaders, residents, and the media met with police and city officials. The gymnasium at the South Park Community Center quickly filled up, and after brief speeches by both Seattle mayor Greg Nickels and high-ranking police officials, the microphone was opened to the public. Concerned residents spoke of fearing for their safety after dark due to lack of suitable street lighting.
They said South Park had a lot of drug problems, small crime problems — but not this: a brutal home invasion that left a woman dead and her partner lucky to be alive. The crime scarred the community and you could see that reflected in the faces of all present.
This was a difficult event to cover. Sensitivity is key. Quietness and deference are essential. As I was shooting and even on the drive home, I could not stop thinking, this may only be an assignment for me — but this is a way of life for them.
Lebowski Fest came to the south Seattle city of Tukwila. Dozens dressed as characters from the movie The Big Lebowski, while quaffing down white russian drinks, and bowling a few frames.
Jeff Dowd, the real life inspiration for the film’s main character “the dude” was also in attendance.
Thanks for looking!
- NOTE: These images are copyrighted and may not be downloaded without written permission. If you are a participant and arrived at this page, please contact me and we can discuss re-use of the images.
It is not every day that an event as photogenic as Bhangra Bash comes along.
Dozens of teams from across North America competed for cash prizes at the event, held Saturday March 28, 2009 at the University of Washington’s Meany Hall.
The event is an intense and colorful celebration of the East Indian cultural and musical tradition of Banghra. The rhythmic dancing is mesmerizing, and although there was only a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, each of these groups put on a beautiful show.
I brought my remote gear with me for the shoot, anticipating that I would want to be in multiple places at once. The great thing about good remote camera photos is that they bring the viewer somewhere they can’t be, or allow them to see an event in a different light.
That’s why I put a camera directly above the performance.
I asked a lighting technician backstage if it would be possible to lower the lighting carriage down to the ground and setup a remote camera on it. As luck would have it, the technician was totally into the idea and gave me all the time I needed to ensure the setup was safe that high up in the air. As always, safety is my biggest concerns when elevating a remote camera; I used numerous safety cables, strapped through the camera, magic arm, clamp, and the lighting carriage, along with gaffer-taped connection points, to ensure that if the camera became loose it would not endanger participants.
Here is a picture of my camera attached to the lighting carriage as it is raised into it’s regular position:
I chose a Nikon D2H with an 18-35 lens, set to 18mm, so that I would not have to worry about the participants staying within a certain part of the frame. Also, at that distance, the infinity focus would allow everything to be in focus. I had the lighting tech flip on the lights that would be used for the actual show, and from the ground, picked a base exposure and set the camera to manual exposure, 1/250 @ f/4 @ iso 1000. From the elevated position, I could see basically the entire stage, and this setup worked very well. I found that out by setting up the camera, having the lighting carriage raised, triggering the camera, and then bringing the carriage back down and checking the photos. The 30 seconds it takes to raise/lower the setup felt like an eternity. At intermission, I was able to change the battery and memory card.
Here are a few of my favorite images from the remote camera:
Although I had a good feeling the remote camera images would work out, nothing is for certain, and I used my main handheld camera more than I did the remote.
Some images from before the show, in the basement where all of the participants were getting dressed in their elaborate costumes and having fun hanging out:
As I was about to head back upstairs to shoot the main competition, I spotted this participant singing and dancing as he went down the hallway:
And here are some of my favorite images from the rest of the competition:
This was a terrific event to photograph, full of visual opportunities — I am just glad I got the opportunity to cover it. Thanks for looking everyone.
Thank you, thank you very much for viewing these pictures.
I found out about the Seattle Elvis Invitational when an ad in the back of a Seattle tab’ read “Elvis’ Wanted”. How could I not shoot this?
20 people performed in the competition, which was judged based on musical ability, “Elvis-ness” and costume. 2 women competed in the contest, and one of them tied for first.
Rudy Razon, 67, sits backstage before singing ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ in competing at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009. This was Razon’s first time competing at the Invitational.
Dino Macris sings ‘My Way” while competing at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.
Wayne Holder sits at a table relaxing before competing at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.
Wayne and his wife Colleen greet a fan.
Enjay Santos, left, greets fellow Elvis impersonator Rudy Razon.
The Peschel Family, minus mom: (L-R) Jimmy, Cassidy, and Shane. Taking after his father, Shane has actually performed as an Elvis Impersonator as well.
The Peschel Family, minus mom: (L-R) Jimmy, Shane, and Cassidy. Taking after his father, Shane has actually performed as an Elvis Impersonator as well.
Several participants pose for a picture while relaxing backstage.
Steve Adams warms up before his featured guest performance at the Seattle Elvis Invitational. Adams has performed annually at the Invitational for nearly a decade.
Steve Adams performs as a featured guest before the start of the Seattle Elvis Invitational. Adams has performed annually at the Invitational for nearly a decade.
A packed house of 21 and older at Club Motor
Elvis Pez dispensers are displayed on a table of merchandise for sale at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.
Other food for sale included a bar specialty: the Elvis sandwich. There were numerous takers.
Helen Gately performs ‘Big Hunk of Love’ during competition at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009. Gately tied for 1st overall.
Chad “Chelvis” Donahue performs during the Seattle Elvis Invitational
Danny Putnam laughs while chatting with other participants backstage during the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009. Putnam finished 4th in the competition.
A participant unwinds with a beer following his performance at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.
Several participants rehearse the lines of the song “Return to Sender” before performing as a group en masse to close out the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.
All 20 of those competing perform “Return To Sender” as a group to close out the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.
All 20 of those competing perform “Return To Sender” as a group to close out the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.
It was also interesting to learn what many of these people do when they are not playing Elvis: one told me he was in accounts payable, another a teacher (and his students don’t know of his hobby) and others were artists and professionals. Each had different stories of how they came to be in the contest, but they all had a burning love for Elvis. I feel privileged to have gotten the chance to party with them for a night, and tell their stories.
And ultimately, this was a satisfying assignment, and a self-assigned one at that. It was great to just wander, not have to worry about a deadline image, and just shoot how I would like. Even though these Elvises, or as they prefer Elvii, were intensely camera aware, eventually my laid back shooting style wore them down. They suddenly stopped flashing their best Elvis grin and pulling their hands back into a pistol shape — they let me shoot them as they really were.
Thanks for looking-
Seattle has been experiencing record snowfall this season and I have been trying my best to document it. I have gotten enough of the scene in my little neighborhood, so I headed to downtown Seattle to hopefully photograph the people, the crowds, the congestion, and the season. I was not disappointed. But since the weather is so foul, I didn’t want to drive. This left me to take the metro into Seattle — a trip that normally takes 45 minutes — but after the normal bus did not arrive, I had to take 2 buses with a Seattle transfer to get there.
Oh well, it allowed me to make some pictures that I would not have been able to otherwise.
You always tend to attract attention taking pictures of every day objects and occurrences, but it is precisely there, in the ordinary, that sometimes interesting pictures can be made. One of the biggest story lines of this snow event in Seattle is that Metro has really dropped the ball on bus service. The buses that are running are almost all full to capacity, and many people are stranded in their homes thanks to a lack of service to their areas.
I made this picture of a bus that had a driver with a sense of humor: it reads, “No, I don’t know where your bus is.”
I finally caught a bus that would let me transfer to another one and get to downtown. While waiting at the transit center near Seattle, I found an unlikely scene. Since the city is so wildly unprepared for this much continuous snow (we have gotten an inch or two every other day), we have not had garbage collection for about a week. I saw this ridiculous, nearly overflowing pile of garbage sitting next to one of the bus stops. I can’t believe someone would sit next to that pile — or worse, ignore it. Too bad I didn’t see anyone pulling their face back in disgust, that would have been interesting.
Almost immediately after stepping off the bus in Seattle I heard sirens approaching nearby. Like any enterprising journalist, I wandered in the direction of those sirens. When I turned the corner a few blocks East, I found dozens of construction workers exiting a site quickly. I asked one of them what was going on, and they surmised a propane explosion on one of the upper floors. I like this scene a lot, all the repetition and the colors against the bright snow.
They looked happy to be okay, or at least happy to be on a break from the job.
Another big story line in Seattle is that many Greyhound busses have been stranded, and those that are running still in and out of town are hopelessly delayed. I headed to the downtown station where I found some pretty frustrated people.
Continuing on, I found some people in downtown Seattle that caught my eye.
I liked the juxtaposition here between the woman with her back turned on her cellphone, and this poor guy on the bench at left. Christmas spirit, perhaps?
It was getting dark and I decided to head home. But the hardest part would be just trying to catch a bus home at all. All the busses that were heading north were hopelessly overcapacity, and they did not even stop at my bus stop. When I say full, I mean standing room only, can’t fit a single extra person on board. Terrible. After 2 hours of standing in the cold waiting, I decided to just try and make the best of it, and make some pictures.
Here, some passengers return to the sidewalk after trying to get on a packed bus. There was no room, and all were turned away.
I couldn’t overlook the irony of all these people waiting for the bus, many outside of this 3rd Avenue REI store, where the changing video displays sometimes pictured icicles hanging.
Eventually I was able to get home, but not before close to 4 hours of waiting for the bus. Way to drop the ball Seattle Metro.
Hopefully this snow will melt soon, as the weather for this coming week is expected to be warmer — if you can call it that — about 35 degrees.
Thanks for looking at the images, any comments are welcome.
Today was a day made for shooting, and by that, I mean I took advantage of the heavy snowing conditions in Shoreline to make a few pictures. I wandered around my neighborhood in a different direction from yesterday, and found myself near an elementary school. I knew the school had a great playground on it and I thought maybe kids would be playing. I was right.
I found these kids playing with the snow and the play structures — having a good time.
One of the first things I noticed was one of the three kids going headfirst down a snow-covered slide.
Soon after, the kid’s friends walked over and started pushing snow into his face. I love the look on the sliding kid’s face.
Photos can almost always be improved by cropping tighter, or being closer. So since this is a nice picture to start with, I zoomed closer with which improved the background by eliminating distractions (always beneficial), and the moment is more clear and dramatic. In newspaper speak, it “reads better.”
With the snow blowing in my face, I thought of a nicer place to be taking pictures, like Southern California. And as I thought about palm trees, warm breezes, and sand instead of snow, I also thought back to something I learned last March at the SportsShooter.com workshop out there: always look behind you. So I turned around and I saw one of the kid’s mom standing outside, shivering, and trying to stay warm underneath the covered basketball court. I like it.
After photographing her I walked back over to the playground where I did a double-take as I noticed one of the kid’s reinacting ‘A Christmas Story’ — putting his tongue to the metal playground structure, and eating snow. His poor tongue.
I don’t think he minded though.
I got kidded out though and decided to head home. The weather was beginning to get worse and I had accidentally left my extra memory cards at home. I made some nice frames on the walk back though, including this one of a man trying to get through the windy snow swirling around in the air:
I plan to head back out tomorrow and try for some more snow photos. Hopefully, I will make it to downtown Seattle for some unique shots of a city that seems to shut down at the mere threat of an inch of snow.
Thanks for looking — comments always welcome.
I went out on foot in search of snow features, as the snow began falling harder around 4:30pm today. It was strange: I didn’t see anyone else out playing in the snow or enjoying it — only drivers slowing to peer at this photographer trudging through the snow.
One of the only frames I liked that actually had a person in it:
Stay safe out there guys!
This past Thursday I shot the dedication of the new YMCA in Shoreline, and then on Saturday I revisited for the grand opening. I wish I had a membership to this place, it is a pretty neat facility.
A few photos from the dedication:
And a few days later a few images from the grand opening:
When I saw this rock wall I knew I instantly wanted to try climbing it. But having never climbed before, and never with a camera, I knew it would be challenging. But I put it around my back guerrilla style and soldiered on. The next shot after the symmetrical shot was from my climb.
Thanks for looking,