I know it’s more than a few days into the new year but I still wanted to highlight some of my favorite frames of 2011. Most of this was shot on assignment for one client or another, but many remain unpublished — that’s half the reason I want them here My goal on every assignment, whether it’s for a newspaper, magazine, website or university, is to make a unique picture. I try not to shoot from the pack. I try and make something different, and unexpected — a pictorial moment within a news situation. Of course, I will get the safe shot, but when time allows, I am looking for a me photo. A different vantage point, a unique angle, better access — anything to find something unique, and apart from the pack. Sometimes that works out in my favor. The risk pays off. Every shoot is a teachable moment, and it’s only a mistake if you cannot learn from it. This was a successful year but every year is a learning experience and this one taught me that in a lot of ways. You have to hustle. You have to really want it. Onward and upward in 2012, my friends.
On Friday, April 8 I photographed the Ralph Vernacchia Team Track and Field meet at Civic Field in Bellingham. I went with about a half dozen members of the Western Washington University chapter of the National Press Photographers Association. Everyone went their own separate ways in an attempt to get something different.
With that in mind, I got the idea to do a remote camera from a high vantage point. At first, I was going to clamp a camera (in this case a Nikon D300 with 17mm lens at f/8, triggered w/ Pocket Wizards) to a standard at the pole vault area. Then a volunteer came up to me and wanted to know what I was doing.
I explained, and they offered to let me put a camera on a pole vault pole! I jumped at the idea, no pun intended, and in a few minutes and a guess at focusing I had my rig up in the air. I shot hundreds of images and after much finagling and adjusting I made a few frames I am happy with. I definitely would like to do this setup again at another track meet — the vantage point is just so different!
Here’s a photo of me shooting with this pole vault pole cam, by Rhys Logan
I also did a remote camera with the same lens at the steeplechase event. The camera was protected from the waves of water by a Penn Camera/Think Tank cover system that leaves just the front lens element exposed. Everything else is waterproofed! It came in handy as those runners really gave the system a soaking.
After each pass of the athletes I literally poured out water from the lens hood and quickly wiped off the front element to get rid of the accumulated droplets. I felt like a member of the NASCAR pit crew!
With a remote camera, I have the choice of being in two places at once! I put a Pocket Wizard II in the hotshoe of my main camera and each picture was synced with my remote. I got this steeplechase moment from two different angles:
All in all it was a fun couple of hours spent hanging out with photo friends and enjoying the sunny weather. What more can ya ask for?
Thanks for looking!
What a nail biter of a game — a handful of free throws in the final waning
minutes basically decided the game. With just seconds to go, the game was
within two points! When Western won, a scrum of fans stormed the court. It wasn’t
exactly the Super Bowl scrum but it was more than I’m used to.
More photos after the jump (more…)
Today I photographed the Seattle Marathon, which had about 10,000 participants, for the event company ASI Photo.
I made these frames in between trying to photograph as many of those 10,000 as I could.
It was amazing to see some of the same faces from early on, later, at the finish line. Seeing the runners’ looks of sheer joy and utter exhaustion, as well as their heartfelt messages scrawled on shirts, made this a really rewarding and interesting assignment.
Click more to view the rest of the photographs. (more…)
When I was first starting out in photography, the late Phil Webber, a photographer of nearly fifty years at The Seattle PI, imparted some invaluable advice to me. He told me to always shoot pictures for myself, even if they might never see the light of day in print. He thought this was critical to growing as a shooter, and I heartily agree more than five years later.
Personal assignments like the Seahawks fans portraits, Bellingham ComicCon portraits, The Seattle Elvis Invitational, Bhangra Bash UW, and my work photographing Seattle Tent City 3 have kept my shooting fresh and inspired. Even without an end client, shoots I have done just for me have been some of the most fulfilling and satisfying ones all year. As a freelance photographer, I am always working hard to meet the needs of my clients. But the photos I like to make, or try to make, might not fit for their needs — so, I shoot for me. With that said, here is some of my favorite personal work: images that I made on assignment for me, or while shooting for my portfolio.
I love making portraits. What could be more exciting and challenging than to meet a person for the first time, and in a short while try and make a picture of them that encompasses both who they are and why they are. It’s a constant give and take between photographer and subject, and I love it. Sometimes people step in front of the camera and they just own it — they’ve done it before — and they enjoy doing it. Others require more coaxing, and those are the shoots that push you as a journalist and a portrait photographer. This past year I have shot a lot of portraits outside of the confines of a traditional assignment. I went to events and photographed complete strangers, like at a Seahawks game, and at the Seattle Tattoo Expo. On those kinds of shoots, I have to trust my instincts and highlight what drew me to photograph them in the first place, in lieu of a backstory to illustrate. Those shoots are almost the opposite of most of my magazine and newspaper portrait assignments where I have the luxury of time to research my subjects. This year I have made the greatest number of portraits, and I hope to continue that trend in the new year.
They say you don’t know where you are going unless you look at where you have been. In keeping with that theory, I am posting my year in review for several picture categories: news photography, portrait photography, and unpublished (personal) photography.
Tent City 3 at Calvin Presbyterian Church Friday February 27, 2009 in Shoreline, WA.
On Saturday I had a very interesting assignment to photograph a semifinal match between the semipro Seattle Stallions and the Tacoma Warriors for The Enterprise Newspapers.
The game was scheduled to start at 6pm, but I arrived at around 4:30 with the hopes of getting pictures of the teams getting ready beforehand. I first tried to gain access to the Stallions locker room, and was flatly denied. Closed to press, is what one of the coaches told me. That was unfortunate, since the team has done very well this season in their Cascade Football League.
Moving on, I went next door to the visiting Tacoma Warriors locker room, and was met with basically open arms. The guys were just finishing-up, and after a few obvious jokes at my expense, the guys really ignored my presence. The Warriors were seeking to avenge their 56-0 loss earlier in the season to the Stallions, so I was really hoping that their energy and enthusiasm might carry over to the game. After all, what is more interesting than an underdog story?
After leaving the locker room, I made some images of the two teams practicing and stretching on the field pre-game.
As I stated above, the game was slated to begin at 6pm. Come game time, the teams are both ready, and I have gotten my gear all ready to go. There was only one thing missing: the officials. Stadium announcers mentioned that referees were on their way, but by 6:45 pm, there were still no officials on the field. A coach for the Warriors mentioned to me that according to league rules, if no officials are present within 1 hour of the start time, then the home team must forfeit the game. That would mean a huge loss for the Stallions, and a real boon for the Warriors.
I then concentrated on showing the stress on the faces of the Stallions, since they would be forfeiting a game they were expected to win.
The light was nice by this time of day, and I was stressing myself, realizing that all the good light would be gone by the time the game started. I felt bad too for both sides, since the energy level was clearly draining the longer they waited for the officials to show up.
Finally, an hour and a half after the game was scheduled to start, the men in black and white took to the field.
The very first play of the game was a 98 yard return by L. Wallace of the Seattle Stallions, which pretty much set the tone for the rest of the game. The Stallions would dominate the match for the rest of the game.
The game was very one-sided favoring the Stallions offense, and I really can’t blame the Warriors’ head coach for his visceral reaction to an official’s decision.
I am planning on shooting the finals next week at Shoreline Stadium, when the Seattle Stallions take on their next opponents.
Thanks for looking everyone!
Seattle Mariners DH Ken Griffey Jr gets ready in the on-deck circle during the 6th inning of their 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers Saturday July 11, 2009 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington.
A few photos from the Seattle Mariners’ defeat of the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 on Sunday June 21, 2009 at Safeco Field in Seattle, WA. Photos by Daniel Berman/SeattlePI.com
Thanks for looking!