Friday, March 27, 2009

friday night fish fry & barn cats

as i was winding up shooting a fish fry at one of our local churches, the volunteers joked that i should get on a pair of gloves and batter up perch filets myself...get the whole, i said, sure, i'll do it....and voila, here's me in all my flour mix glory, taken by one of the church members...nothing says friday night during lent like a fish fry!

these parishioners were like a well-oiled machine, dishwashers on one half of the small parish hall kitchen, batterers, fryers and servers on the other....lots of friendly banter back there, which is what makes shooting a fish fry from behind the scenes way more fun and better for fotos than the people actually eating the stuff...

the kitchen was filled with members of all ages getting into the mix (literally) to keep the filets a-flowin', from little kids to older members who have been doing this for over 20 years, serving as many as more than a thousand people in a single friday night

on my way back i was keeping my eyes peeled for possible features, the light starting to set and making everything rich and warm...i drove past some kids playing hoops, but horrible cluttered backdrops (and we just had a feature like that in the paper recently) i drove past these great old, weathered barns, i kept thinking, now why couldn't some kid be playing on the hoop hooked on that barn...or why can't there be a cat or someting perched in the window of THAT barn?! and not a minute after thinking that, i glance over and there it is! luckily, these cats stayed put (well, one shyed off as i got closer), and i made some frames...can't decide which one i like best, but i'm just happy to have found it....
talk about "ask and you shall receive"!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

SWARF & other things

i have no idea if this is an acronym or not, but it is my new favorite word...while touring an engine manufacturing plant, recently given an award for its good grade on going green by the DEQ, we (reporter and i) were taken down to the waste management room...amid the bins of metal shavings and oils was a whole section dedicated to the collection of what they call "swarf" - a sludgy mix of metal and liquid - it looks like a big pile of black goo, basically....the guy giving us the tour would only describe it as "real nasty stuff" ... such is the stuff that swarf is made of....still, such a fun word (even if it does pertain to something quite nasty)

this is from what i shot tonight - just a stand-alone feature to run inside - from a family open-gym play night...i just liked the graphics of it and her being caught mid-air right above that center part in the mats.....

this is exactly why the phrase "controlled burn" should really be considered more of an oxymoron in these should also be another notch in the belt of the common sense lesson "don't burn a big pile of leaves next to your barn on a windy day"....perhaps there is a bit of intended irony on the behalf of whomever coined the term "oxyMORON"
just finishing up for the day when a reporter told me about a call on the scanner for a field on fire that spread to a barn, now fully a house threatened? animals in the barn? possible explosion? the reporter didn't know and wasn't going but i could go check it out, right? okay, i make my way out into the country and finally find the i was shooting, the wind shifted a bit, and the smoke coming toward me made things look kind of cool..."watch out breathing in that smoke" one of the firemen says...i told him i was moving in a second..."you don't know what he may have had in that barn" he adds...hmmm, i'm thinking, farm, i slowly say "do YOU know what's in the barn?" cos if i'm briefly inhaling just regular smoke or something toxic, i kinda wanna know, right? so he says, "no, that's why i'm standing upwind...i ain't stupid" after about a second i look over "hey, did you just call me stupid?!"
i knew he hadn't meant it that way, but it was kind of funny all the same and fun to give him a hard time, too....
good times in Monroe!

Friday, March 13, 2009

kids r goofy

you know, just moments before, these kids were all intense, on the court, being tough and kickin butt to win the district finals, and it's good to know that deep down, they're still just silly kids in a way
this picture just makes me laugh

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

a house fire yesterday prompted the opportunity for us to get a story and pictures for a Sunday piece on the county's newly re-structured fire investigation team....very strange to be in the house that belongs to the woman on today's front page, wandering about the bubbled paint and charred remains of someone's lifetime's worth of memories...this scorched crucifix on the wall caught my eye as i was leaving, and these are just a few of the frames that turned out best

following the fire team as they started their investigation, i assumed they'd gone into the house, and following the sound of voices, started making my way in the dark, punctuated only by the small shafts of light coming in through holes leading to the roof and broken out windows...turns out no one was really in the house but me - they were in the basement, and i realized that only me walking upon the spongy floor filled with broken glass, wood, beams with nails jutting out, was inside here....needless to say, it struck me then...hmm, this might not be very safe....i came out, found the team, and they told me, yeah, i probably shouldn't be in there yet, i may have just fallen through to the basement, cos the only thing apparently holding up the floor is the furnace it's resting upon...we later went in, and though a chunk of the floor came up with part of the furniture, it was fairly safe after i was able to stay in with them and make more pix inside....but it's just another reminder to me of how i sometimes don't think in my own best interest when in pursuit of images...which means i may make/or have made for a really good or really bad war photographer....

Saturday, March 7, 2009

feature find on the fly & video

while trying to coax her neighbor into giving her a kiss, a young girl gets a big bite instead - just liked this moment - nothing either of us expected, but funny and a nice moment regardless

these two 1-year-olds had a lot of fun exploring the space-ship-like structure on the playground, and watching all the other kids playing around them

came in a bit early yesterday - thankfully, cos i found out we had no art for page 3; hoops started at 6, and i didn't want to be late cos i was going to shoot video and wanted to get the opening that meant feature hunting fast...thankfully it was warm and by then the sun had just started coming out after being grey all morning and most of the afternoon.... so i hit a playground - kinda of a cop-out i know, but i didn't have much time, and i needed something in the bag pretty quick - the first spot wouldn't let me shoot, cos it was an afterschool group, and they needed parents there to give permission - okay, back in the car, headed east, came across a group of neighborhood kids playing on the playground behind one of the elementary schools....this was lucky, cos i actually got a few frames i liked - i was just expecting something kind of whatever, but hopefully i could at least make it graphic, but there were actually some nice moments/opportunities....above are 2 of the frames i liked best

so, onto trying to get the feature in before the game and making sure the vid card was formatted, had extra batteries, etc., i left my big card in the reader at work - which i realized as i was pulling up to the high school...meaning i had 2 256mb's to shoot the district finals - which for anyone who uses a D3 knows, at a reasonable quality setting only gets you about 70-some frames a piece...going back would mean missing the opening shots i wanted for video, so i  figured it was a good time to be more selective in my shooting, rely less on the motordrive and a hefty dose of chimping with a purpose!! talk about editing in the field!
 this wasn't my first video, but it was the first that was going to be anything more than just a short, raw clip...i wanted to do something more story-telling....granted it's still pretty rough looking, and i can already tell that the fact that our only video equipment right now is that of a Nikon coolpix is going to get frustrating, but it was my first video shot, edited and solo posted to the web (and on deadline with all the other deadline work, including getting my own stuff edited and in)
it's on our website -
again, it's nothing great....but we're just getting started at all this (me especially)
while playing around with imovie last week, i found this video clip from an MPPA POY event 2 or 3 years ago, which will probably be entertaining only to me and a handful of others, but here it is anyway

you know, thinking back on learning how to post items to the web and all things digital, in general, it struck me - how strange is it that, given the technology we use to go out and pursue/create/relate our vision, what it all comes down to is a series of code - here i am out there in the midst of some human experience, no matter how big or small, and i'm witnessing it and reacting to it, and the people i'm documenting are living it, and what it all becomes is this (to my mind) complicated morass of letters, numbers, symbols - our whole human experience represented amid < >'s and " "'s
but, then i started thinking, well, what are we all really - i mean, when you get down to it, aren't WE just an intertwined network of DNA and RNA - helixes and double helixes...isn't everything just a system represented and built upon code? undoubtedly, i'm way overthinking things most likely...does that mean my code is running amok? getting lost inside of itself?
 i guess that's ultimately the beauty of it all - even if it IS all just code in its own fashion - biological or technical and man-made, it's still unique - it has to be in order to exist (cloning issues aside), and i guess that's all that's really important in the end....
thus ends my ramblings for the day
from my code to yours


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

still reflecting

apparently my reflection mania has not yet run its course...i'd just pulled up to the coffee shop for my daily fix when i caught this reflection in a diner window and the top of the ad magazine box in front of, how many things really ARE open AND free i wonder? well, reflections and perceptions, at least, it seems