Wednesday, July 30, 2008


"My name's Michael and I'm a photographer with the Caller-Times. I got a picture of you skating, you mind if I get your name."

"Oh, no, I don't want a picture of me skating in the paper."

But I like the shot, I thought. It has palm trees. It's not even a shot about you, you just happen to be in it.

He continued, "In fact, can you just delete the photo? I don't want to be in the paper at all."

I thought, I just spent the last half hour scouting out the scene and waiting for this photo. I spent even longer driving across this city looking for anyone actually doing something interesting outside. If you think I'm deleting this photo...

"Uhh, I guess." I said.

He skates off.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dolly Disappoints

All is well in Corpus Christi, Texas. Besides that little hurricane that landed about 130 miles down the coast, it was just another day at the office.

I bought some rubber rain boots yesterday, which came in handy for a few photos like the one above, but mostly I just felt awkward walking around in them. I was soaked by the end of the day, but at least my feet were dry.

We missed a direct hit from hurricane Dolly (thankfully?). It rained on and off all day as each squall from the hurricane's outer bands past over the area. There was some flooding in the usual spots and a lot of wind, but that was about it. No heavy damage reported in the area like there was down in Brownsville or Harlingen. I sort of stuck to the downtown area so I wouldn't overlap with the other photographers shooting in other parts of town.

It was pretty much a day of hunting for rain features. I was a little disappointed in how I shot today, but I think it was good practice if the real thing ever comes our way.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hello, Dolly

It's funny how quickly things can shift. I moved into a new place and had nothing but moving trucks, heavy boxes and decorating ideas on my mind all weekend. So I was a little caught off guard when I walked into the newsroom and people were buzzing about Dolly. I really should have picked up a paper or watched the news at some point this weekend.

As I walked to my desk, one of the other photographers asked if I was ready for a hurricane. My mind had a hard time processing as she went on to list all the items I should have in my car in case the tropical storm in the Gulf strengthens and swings our way. When she was done, all I could think to say was, "I really hope this doesn't delay getting the DSL set up at my new place."

I was soon sent out to get pictures of people preparing. As I drove away from the office, the reality of what could potentially happen over the next few days set in.

And I got very excited. I was also very anxious.

Back in May, everyone was sent a letter about volunteering to work the hurricane and given a copy of the company's Hurricane Preparedness Plan. They don't force anyone to work a hurricane. Once a solid threat heads this way the paper goes to an all volunteer staff. I wasted no time reading, signing and returning that letter. Why wouldn't I? Besides the potential for some awesome photos, you get hurricane pay AND you get to camp out at the office during the storm. Sounds like a blast! Now we just wait to see if anything actually happens.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This One Time, At Band Camp...

(God loves Trombone players)

A couple of images from a day at a summer band camp. I loved it so much, I put together a little multimedia thing. I shot stills and gathered audio, and our intrepid intern shot video and some stills. Here's what we put together:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

He Shoots

I may not have scored with the editors on this one, but I still really like the photo. Its a slam dunk, to me at least.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Will Not Be Ignored

After a week-long media blitz, the circus has finally left town. When I first found out the Ringling Brothers crew was going to be here, I thought, that could make a neat audio slideshow. The circus would be in town for five days. I thought it'd be cool to have the slideshow up so people could see it and still have a chance to go and check out the spectacle if they wanted too. A little plug for the circus, I suppose.

Well, these guys really didn't need my help. They know exactly how to get the public's and the media's attention, whether you want to give it to them or not. Days before the first show the elephants come off the train and walk to the arena. That could make some good art, so someone should shoot that.

Are you hesitant to shoot the actual show? Well, the circus has an interactive pre-show, where ticket holders can come down to the arena floor, meet the performers, see acts up close, try on clothes and get autographs. You kind of have to shoot that.

Still not convinced the circus is news worthy? Well, now the clowns are going to the children's hospital, visiting sick kids and bringing a little joy to their day. Are you heartless? How can you not shoot that?

Finally, if you managed to resist shooting any of that, the circus has one more trick up its sleeve. The elephants. Ten of the 6,000+ pound pachyderms went marching up and down Shoreline Boulevard, a well-known city street that runs along the palm-tree lined downtown bayfront. The circus will not be ignored!

Besides, would you really want to upset this guy by giving the circus inadequate coverage? I don't think so.

If you are curious, you can see the audio slideshow here, which I put together with a little help from our fearless intern.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Moral Victory

So it's time for the mid-season photo contests, with Editor & Publisher and SNPA now taking entries. I got a nice surprise when I opened up the PDF entry form for the SNPA contest.

That's totally my photo! Right below the Florida Gators jube shot, and just above the Virginia Tech shooting photo. I found it a little odd that my photo was used since I didn't win anything last year. Still, it was a nice surprise. At least somebody thought highly of my photo, even though it was cropped within an inch of its life. Maybe if I had cropped tighter I would have won. Here's the full image, if you are interested.

Anyway, start looking through your last year's worth of images. You can't win if don't enter.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Dance Lessons

I stopped by a Folklorico workshop Tuesday, where participants were going through a series of master classes on the traditional Mexican style of dance. It was endlessly entertaining. I could have stayed there all day, but fireworks stands and baseball games don't shoot themselves. These are a couple of my favorites.

I loved this guy. He was so spry and nimble on his feet, teaching the room full of women and three men the complex foot work involved. They were all so excited and passionate about the dance. It almost made me want to give it a try myself. Almost.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

High Fashion

Hooray for trampolines!

I shot a Closet Snoop, our weekly fashion feature, a couple of weeks ago. On Sunday it finally ran. I don't shoot a whole lot of these, unfortunately, but I really enjoy them.

This was the first time I shot one in the studio. Usually we shoot these at people's homes or businesses or some other predetermined location. It's sometimes a nightmare, but it gives me so many more elements and backgrounds to play with. The studio presented a new challenge. I shot the one above on the roof of our downtown newspaper building. Thankfully the girl was very open to the idea. When I first brought out the trampoline in the studio, she said "I love jumping on trampolines." Yes!

I will say, though, shooting someone on a trampoline was a little harder than I thought. Frame after frame there was always something a little off: I'd cut off a limb, her hair was in her face, he body was positioned awkwardly, the light was hitting her wrong. It was a challenge.

I like the way this one turned out as well. I sometimes have a hard time explaining to the subjects what I want them to do. They aren't models, they are just regular people in the community who agree to model their favorite clothes. Sometimes the only way to get my subjects in the positions I want, I have to put down the camera and strike the pose myself.

So now imagine me on that cube. Yeah, she busted out laughing too, but then she totally nailed it.

We usually shoot these a couple of weeks in advance, and by the time they run I usually forget to share them on the blog. So here are a couple of shots I like from the last few Closet Snoops I did.

Not quite the pages of Vanity Fair, but I like them. Sears catalog, here I come!