Friday, June 29, 2007

Dive In Movie

I had low expectations for the "dive in movie" I had to shoot tonight. Fortunately I was wrong. I played with the light a little. A remote light fired with a pocket wizard produced the above shot. And the pool lights made for some shadowy goodness in the other photos.

Can't Catch A Break

I've felt kind of frustrated with my shooting the last few days. I fear I'm letting the blog down. Maybe that's why I identified with this kid out on the ball field today.

Here he is, dropping a fly ball hit right to him in center field. It was the second time he dropped a fly ball that day. As I was leaving the field to turn in my photos, another fly ball went his way. He dropped that one too. I felt so bad for him.
And here he is, doing a face plant in the dirt. He slid too early and got picked off scrambling back to second.

He also reminded me a lot of myself. As a wee lad playing Little League baseball I would constantly drop balls out in right field. I remember frustrated parents hated me when I went up to bat because I would never swing. Good times.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Rain Delay

And I was just wondering if there was any way covering summer American Legion baseball could be less appealing to me. How about covering American Legion baseball in the rain? Fun.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I had no idea

If you haven't read The Washington Post story on the 911 tapes from the Virginia Tech shooting, you should. It is so well written with such devastating details. I can't even imagine. I didn't realize how horrible this was.

READ: 8 Minutes After 911 Call, A Rescue From Madness

I Skipped My Reunion For This?

If you haven't hung out with a group of preteen girls playing Truth or Dare in a small town gazebo lately, well, then you are probably doing something right.
These are from a 100 year celebration for a small Arkansas town. The rain, unfortunately put a damper on the festivities. The few people that were there were kind of standing around not doing much. I still had to come back with something though.

By the way, today is my 10 year high school reunion, which apparently I skipped to listen to a group of 12-year-old girls gab about guys. It is probably a fair trade off though. I really don't know anyone I graduated with back at good ol' Brazoswood High anymore, and I couldn't justify taking three days off to hang out with people I don't remember. Plus, can you image the bad 90s' music that is going to radiate through the Lake Jackson Civic Center all night? No thank you. I can get sloppy drunk and wonder what happened to the last decade of my life on my own. Except here I will have a much better soundtrack.

So a little party music from, where master remixers took LCD Soundsystem's "Sound of Silver" and turned it into "Sounds Like Silver." Genius.

North American Scum.mp3 by LCD Soundsystem (Dunproofin's Not From England Either Mix)
All My Friends.mp3 by LCD Soundsystem (AMIGAMAN REMIX)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Shave and a Haircut

I got new glasses today, and I think they are super cool. So cool, I had to get a snazzy new haircut to match. Now I just need to get the styling down.

Yeah, I'm so too old to pull off the faux hawk.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

All Stars

Clearly I was inspired by Benoit Charest's "Cabaret Hoover." Mostly, though, my first foray into video is inspired by visual journalists like Richard Koci Hernandez and Phil Wartena, who are more creative on their down time then I am all week.

So I borrowed a friend's video camera and invaded photo/media day, the first event in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association's All Star Week. I actually really look forward to this day each year. Even though it gets crazy and I only get a few moments with each kid, it gives me a chance to be creative and focus on taking nice portraits. I still need some work on my video skills, but I'm happy with how this came out. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dance, Dance

I was impressed with how spry this old man was, doing a little flat footing at an Arkansas statehood anniversary celebration.

Speaking of dancing, is anyone watching that show, So You Think You Can Dance? Come on now, don't lie. Usually I consider it mind numbing entertainment, but this past week I was amazed. I get inspired by truly creative people, no matter what form of expression they use. Pop choreographer bad ass Wade Robson put together a little number he described as "homeless cabaret." Who thinks of stuff like that? Not only was his work amazing, but the song he used was quite a creative feet as well. It's from the "Triplets of Belleville" soundtrack, the 2003 animated French caper of the same name. The music draws inspiration from early 1900s jazz and infuses it with an assortment of modern sounds as well as operatic and classical themes. At one point in this song the composer throws a vacuum cleaner into the musical mix. Who does that? It is so fantastic.

Cabaret Hoover.mp3 by Benoit Charest (from the Triplets of Belleville soundtrack)

See the SYTYCD video clip here.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


The annual FeatherFest event came back to town this weekend, and I got tapped to shoot the two-day event the last three days. The first day shooting the setup and preparation was fine. Once the festival actually started, however, I felt tapped out really quick. Today I kind of wandered in a daze trying to see an interesting picture I may have previously missed. Today was the last day, so hopefully I've shot my last FeatherFest photo until next year. Here are a couple of the photos from the last few days I kind of liked.

City Limit Saturday

Maybe it was all the hype- the overload of Internet buzz from bloggers falling all over themselves to jump on the Arcade Fire bandwagon. Maybe I just wasn't into that kind of music at the time. Whatever the reason, I decided a while ago that Canadian group Arcade Fire wasn't my thing.

All that changed a few days ago during a visit to my local Hastings. A missing label on one of the listening stations intrigued me as I strapped on the headphones for the mystery album and started listening. It wasn't long before I was waving down an employee to find out what I was hearing. I'm not going to gush about how brilliant it is or say its the greatest album ever. It isn't always and it's not. What I will say is that there is something comfortable, yet intriguing about their music. The instrumentation is refreshing, and there are some wonderful moments on the album worth hearing. I can't wait to see them live in September.

Preview Tracks: Keep The Car Running.mp3, Neon Bible.mp3
Artist Website:
Hear More Music: Arcade Fire on The Hype Machine
Buy Music: Neon Bible, Funeral
ACL Online: Festival Lineup, Buy Tickets

Friday, June 08, 2007

Reluctant Parent

I get to be a foster parent this summer. My former roommate/current landlord Jeff is going to study abroad this summer as part of his law school curriculum, so I agreed to watch his dog. I honestly don't mind taking care of his dog, "Boo." She's great, very well behaved and can catch a Frisbee like nobodies business. The problem, however, is "Luby."

Jeff decided to take in a stray dog a week before he departed for Ireland. That means my doggy-sitting duties just doubled. What's worse, this new dog doesn't like me, is very camera shy and has the unfortunate name of Luby. Who names a male dog Luby?
I don't fault Jeff on his first dog's name. Boo came to him already named. The name Luby, however, is not going to fly. So I've decided to rename the thing Radley (You know, as in Boo Radley, from "To Kill A Mockingbird." I thought it was clever). He already responds to Luby, so I think I might try introducing the new name slowly. I'll start out calling him Ludy for a few days, then Rudy, then Rady and then finally switch over to Radley. Hey, I've got all summer.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Line In The Sand

Must be summertime.

In the addition to some of the 20 questions posted on Chip Litherland's blog, little kids have started asking me a question I never used to get before. It is kind of disturbing. I was asked this question again today when I shot this group kids playng in the sand during a last-week-of-school field trip.

"Are you one of the Dads?"

To my credit I managed not to scream out a "NO!" like I have in the past. I wanted to ask the sixth grader if I really looked like a dad to her. I didn't, though, mostly because I'm afraid of what her answer would have been.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Too Little, Too Late

Some baseball dejection from the NCAA Regional Baseball Tournament over the weekend. Better late then never, I suppose.
In the late afternoon the field is half covered by shade. I tried to use it to my advantage as the starting pitcher got pulled after a poor start. The games Sunday were kind of boring. Arkansas breezed to a 6-0 win with little effort in the first game, then kind of rolled over to lose in the finals. They made a minor surge at the end to make it a one-point game, but it wasn't enough. That was good news for me, because my Arkansas-doing-bad photos were so much better than my Arkansas-doing-good pics. It seems like that should happen naturally, but it doesn't. If I had a dollar for every time I have a great losing shot in a game a team actually won...well, I'd have, like, $67.50 or so.

By the way, I have a little mid-week, non-ACL music for you. I couldn't sleep last night, so I spent a majority of the wee hours this morning on YouTube. People put a lot of random videos online, often dubbed with even more random music. There was one song, however, that kind of caught my attention. It comes from Australian brother band Evermore. I hadn't ever heard of them before, but I really liked the song. Who doesn't enjoy a little Aussie pop at 5:30 in the morning? If you like what you hear, check out their MySpace page for more music and band info.

It's Too Late.mp3 by Evermore

Saturday, June 02, 2007

May Moments

Today I was going through my photos over the last month in preparation for the NPPA montly clip contest, where I ran across these photos. For one reason or another they were never published in the paper and/or never made it my blog. Can't have that.

Outake from a Hispanic population project

Looking to his golf partner for help

Firefighters save the day

Arkansas falls to the Crimson Tide

My Stan Heath press conference photo, reborn at a writing workshop. Neither photo saw print. Maybe it's not as good as I think.

Memorial Day flags

City Limit Saturday

I hadn't really intended to include this group in my lineup of Austin City Limits musicians. I'm not even sure I will actually see them when it comes time for the big music festival in the fall. This Swedish threesome, however, caught my attention with a pretty catchy little song. Some online buzz over the past week courtesy of Kayne West didn't hurt their cause either.

The group has put out three albums since forming in 1999. Their most recent album, "Writer's Block," is starting to grow on me, mostly because of their lead single, "Young Folks." I'm not crazy about Peter Morén's voice, but there's something wonderfully listless about the delivery in this song. I've become quite addicted. The chorus is so damn catchy, and the whistling constantly gets stuck in my head. It apparently caught the attention of Kanye West as well, who used the song in a recent mixtape. Kanye's version is kind of a mess, but it's interesting to see a rap artist draw inspiration from something so foreign.

Preview Tracks: Young Folks.mp3, Objects of My Affection.mp3
Bonus Tracks: Young Folks (Kayne West Mixtape), Young Folks (Datashat Remix)
Artist Website:
Hear More Music: PB&J's MySpace, The Hype Machine
Buy Music: Writer's Block, Falling Out

Friday, June 01, 2007

I Quit

My photo editor is usually pretty good about filtering out bad photo requests and non events when making photo assignments. Today, however, a couple of random assignments fell through the cracks.

I try not to have an ego as a photographer. I don't mind input or recommendations from other photographers, reporters and editors. But I kind of cringed when I saw one of my photo assignments today. From the situation and the angle to the lens choice and where I should stand, the assignment spelled out exactly what I should shoot and what kind of photo I should bring back. I was not happy, and I ended up shooting something completely different to illustrate the assignment. I try to tell myself I did it to make a better photo, but I'm afraid I may have done it out of spite.

Then came the Monster truck rally. I didn't mind shooting the event, but once I read the entire assignment I realized it wasn't for publication the next day, they just wanted it for file art to use maybe sometime in the distant future.

I was a little frustrated, but I decided to turn it into a positive. If they didn't want it for the paper I would throw together a little slideshow and publish it online. Take that, I thought.

Yeah, it didn't work out so well. Somewhere between the rain, the ear splitting roar of the engines, having dirt sprayed on my face and being told by a 12-year-old boy where I could and couldn't stand, I threw in the towel.

Here are a couple of images I shot before I abandoned the slideshow idea and left defeated.