Monday, May 26, 2008


I made a little Memorial Day video before I went on vacation. It was actually an idea that my photo editor handed off to me the middle of last week. The basic concept was to record a couple of different people playing "Taps" and have a guy talk about the significance of the song. He wanted just an audio slideshow, but I kind of ran with it and made a little video. You can watch it here if you wish. Enjoy your Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I'm hittin the road!

Since gas is so cheap right now I figured I'd take a good ol' road trip. Which of course means its time for the vacation blog! The motivation behind all this is really some good news. Last month I made my last car payment, which means I'm finally the proud owner of a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer. So to celebrate, I'm taking a road trip that cost the same amount as what I would have paid this month for my car, $355.84. Most of that will probably go to Red Bull and gas, but I'm looking forward to it.

I'm in Dallas now, where I've been chillin with my friend Bryan and not really taking many pictures. I'll see if I can fix that. For now, good things seem to be ahead. I got this little fortune today:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beach to Bay (or, When Blogs Collide)

A shot I took of a runner warming up Saturday at the annual Beach to Bay Relay Marathon in Corpus Christi. But I wasn't there to cover it for the paper. I was there to run it.

See more photos and my recap of the day at my other blog, Run, Zamora! Run!

This was shot with my new Nikon D300. Apparently having one new camera isn't enough for me. I also seem to want to be in credit card debt the rest of my life.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Your Cameras Are Pretty

So last week marked the end of an era at the Caller-Times. The end of the Nikon era.

I finally got the brand new Canon equipment I was promised last summer. The rest of the photo staff made the Canon conversion before I was hired. I was issued the last of the Nikon gear when I arrived (one of which I dropped and destroyed my first week on the job) until the final Canon set could be ordered in April 2008.

I like Nikon. Familiarity probably has a lot to do with it. I cut my teeth on a Nikon N90 film camera in college. I used the D1H and D2H cameras exclusively the last four years. In the last couple of weeks, though, I was ready to get rid of it all. The cameras I had, and particularly the lenses, were pretty beat up and at the end of their lifespan. I was really more excited about getting new, reliable equipment. The brand was kind of irrelevant.

After shooting one last Nikon assignment on my way into work Thursday, I was greeted by two beautiful boxes containing the cameras I'd been waiting for. I should have immediately pushed the Nikons to the side to start testing my new gear, but for some reason I waited. Let me file this assignment first and get a couple of things taken care of, I told myself. Then I'll have time to properly welcome my new equipment.

Well, the unpacking and assembling and the registering and the filing of serial numbers and other paperwork ate up my time. Before I knew it, I had to head to Alice, Texas, (about an hour away) for a baseball playoff game. I figured I'd have time to take some practice shots before the game. Besides, how hard could it be. I know how to take pictures.

I arrived to a packed house and more delays. Once I was set up in the press box, I walked down to the field still not having shot a frame.

"Your cameras are pretty," a little boy said as I walked down the bleachers with the my pair of pristine Mark IIs and a two-week old Canon 300mm lens. I felt like such a fraud. I don't even know how to use these cameras, I thought.

Back in December I did an in-house training session on multimedia. I gave tips on recording audio, and stressed to them NOT to have your first experience gathering sound be at a live interview or event. Take the recorder home, test out the equipment, become familiar with how it works. You don't want to be learning how to use it on an assignment that matters. So here I was a few months later, about to shoot Moody High School, the defending state champions, in a one-game playoff with an unranked team from Alice, Texas. You can probably guess how the game turned out.

Big Upset

For most of the first inning I was in full panic mode. Fortunately some of the photographers gave me some helpful tips before hand. They told me how to move the focal point in the camera and work the menu, select and delete functions. It all was extremely helpful, but getting used to it was (and still is) kind of tricky. Fortunately the game kind of worked in my favor. Alice totally blew out Moody in the first inning, scoring 5 unanswered runs. I'd never been to a game with so many home plate plays.

There was mass celebrating during and at the end of the game, and I struggled to capture it all. Though I LOVE having new equipment, my big gripe about the Canon is that the dials you use to adjust your aperture and shutter are the same dials you use to move the focal point around in the camera. That resulted in several over- and under-exposed shots as I was trying to move the focus around.

Everything is also backwards from Nikon to Canon, from how lenses screw on and the direction the card goes into the camera to the way you turn the lenses to zoom in and out. As I was shooting some overhead shots of the team huddled in celebration, I instinctively twisted my zoom to the left to zoom out and started firing. Of course when I looked at the image in camera I realized I'd actually zoomed in. It was constant adjustments and chimping all night.

I miss the Nikon thumb pad, but I'll get used to the Canons. The zoom I think will trip me up for a while. Over the weekend as I shot assignments I would twist to the left thinking "is this as wide as this lens really goes?", only to realize I'm twisting the wrong way. Even while I'm looking in the camera I get confused. I can see I'm clearly twisting the wrong way, but my hands still want to twist left to zoom out. Several times I kind of stared into the camera dumbfounded with a subject in front of me. I'd just keep twisting back and forth, unable to wrap my head around what I'm seeing the lens do and what I feel like it should be doing. Its very bizarre. I didn't realize how ingrained that little flick of the wrist was.

But hey, new cameras! I'm definitely grateful for that. While I may have problems adjusting to the Canon right now, this is a very good problem to have.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Deadline was approaching and my photos were all pretty boring from Tuesday night's Hooks game. The only good action that happened was a tag at second, and I knew my photo was out of focus. Just one more good play, I pleaded with the baseball gods. I promise I'll get it this time. And the baseball gods answered.

Sweet. I immediately raced to the press box to file my photo. Meanwhile, the image of a four+ column vertical on tomorrow's sports page danced in my head. The shot is of a San Antonio player turning a double play on Corpus Christi. As long as the Hooks keep losing, I thought, I'm good.

Of course the Hooks had to go for the thrilling win in the bottom of the ninth. I shot the photo below as I was about to leave the stadium, knowing it was going to win out over my other shot.

So no sweet second base shot in the paper tomorrow, but it did publish online. The Hooks game wasn't the play package anyway, so I guess I'm glad my shot didn't get buried inside or turned into a one column photo on the sports rail.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Si Se Puede

I headed to an immigration march Thursday, two years after the nationwide marches caught the attention of the country. Apparently it was huge in Corpus Christi the last couple of years. The numbers were down this year, but that didn't stop the faithful from chanting and demonstrating in their march along the bayfront to the federal courthouse. For some reason I was obsessed with the from-behind detail shot. But come on, how could you not love that hat? And when I saw this guy with two little U.S. flags poking out of his back pocket, I couldn't stop myself from making a picture. I took about 20 different photos of this guy's backside until it finally felt awkward. I wonder if anyone noticed.