Friday, May 29, 2009

Camping Trip!

Back from vacation in the June Lake Loop, bearing good and bad news.

Good news first - we had a great time! I shot some digital, brought along the Mark II for the very first time on family vacation, as well as the Yashica 124. Joe brought the field 4x5 and also his A2E. We shot some of our favorite films, 320 Tri-X in the Yashica, Delta 100 in the 4x5, some very old, color-shifted, semi-exposed Polaroid type 59, and we even shot one roll of Agfa 25. Oh how I miss shooting with Agfa 25. So in short, we enjoyed the trip immensely.
I took a few digitals - mostly landscapes.
But we did some fishing, some hiking, some fooling around town.

Here are a few shots.







We stopped at Manzanar on the way home and left a 4x5 polaroid at the obelisk in the cemetary.




The bad news - I came home with a broken Mark II. It has started giving me Error 99 consistently, and it won't clear as normal. So I'm taking it in today and really hoping it will be fixed by the time graduations begin. We'll see.

I'm shooting with the 20D until it's fixed, and the 20D has a broken hot shoe. So I have an old bracket rigged up to hold the strobe out to the side... it's a pretty ghetto setup but it works.

That's all for now. Headed out to an assignment!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Science, Bikes, Cajun Fest!

Royal High School recently started a mountain biking club. Currently they do not get P.E. credit for participating. However, the golfers do. What's up with that?

IS 150 Mtn Bike

IS 147 Mtn Bike

IS 145 Mtn Bike

I took some photos of Stage Plus employees setting up for the Cajun Festival this weekend.

IS 358 Cajun Setup

IS 359 Cajun Setup

IS 360 Cajun Setup

And I photographed the grand opening of the new science lab at University Charter Middle School in Camarillo. Lots of great shots. These were a few of my favorites.




Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On the way, and in the news...

On the way - a 70-200 to replace my cheapo 70-300. And a 2.8, no less! Finally I will have the speed for indoor sports and the glass for nice blur, attractive bokeh, short depth of field. You cannot imagine how excited I am. I mean really, it's only a 70-200. Nothing that special. But this lens will be Mine. No more renting! 

In other news, the NY Times has put up a stellar photo blog. The format is very nice and the posts are quite interesting. Great insight into the best journalism in the US, if not the world.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Balloons of celebration and balloons of mourning.

Last week I shot lots of balloons - water balloons at a church carnival, and helium balloons released at a memorial park by families who had lost loved ones in the past year.

Carnival shots first.

This is sort of a mini-dunk-tank game, so instead of having a water tank, when the ball hits the target, water balloons pop onto the victim's head.

church carnival 03

church carnival 02

Church Carnival 01

Then I photographed a balloon release ceremony at Conejo Mountain in Camarillo.

balloons 01

balloons 02

When I photograph mourning families, I always try to be very sensitive to their grief. Sometimes your job as a photojournalist is to get the 'grieving family' shot no matter what. You have to swallow your empathy and intrude on their private moment. But whenever possible, I try to make compassionate photographs and if a family member hides their face, turns away, etc, I prefer to respect their wishes. I'm very sensitive to the wish for privacy at events like this. But occasionally, I come across people who seem not to mind being photographed, but then snarl at me when I ask for their names. This was one of those.

I made a few very sweet frames of this mother and daughter, holding each other, looking at this photo, with their balloons. When I approached to ask their names and reason for attendance, the mother nearly pushed me away and snapped "No. NO! It's different when it's a child."

While I very much sympathize with her grief, I often wish I could explain to people in this situation that as she is attending a public event, I may use the photograph no matter what. If she gives me her name I can publish a beautiful photo with a sensitive caption that explains her reason for grieving, something that she can clip from the paper and keep with her memories of the loved one she lost. Something that might help the process.

balloons 04

balloons 03

This photo ended up running on the front page of the Camarillo Acorn. I only wish I could have spoken to the mother and added a sensitive, empathetic caption rather than just using a generic that talked about the event.


Let's end on a positive note. Here are a pair of shots from the Conejo Valley Days carnival.

conejo days 01

conejo days 02

Catch-up and a wanted ad.

A bit of business to get out of the way first. I am in the market for a Canon 70-200 lens, either a f4 IS version or a 2.8 non-IS version. Hoping to pay between $750 and $900, hoping to find one that's in good working condition and tack sharp even if it has some normal wear on the outside. Email me if you have one for sale! Thanks!

And now on to the good stuff. I shot some interesting photos week before last that I didn't get in to my last post. Here are my favorites.

These were some swimmers from Calabasas High. Group shots are always hard, and one of the swimmers had a cast on his broken leg so an in-the-pool shot was out of the question. Here, standing them in the shallows and having a fill flash really popped out the portrait.

swimmers 01

Here was a K-9 demonstration at the annual police department "luncheon with the chief." Very cool! Seeing the dog take down a "suspect" up close was impressive and made it obvious that having a K-9 unit would be extremely useful for the department.

K9 02

Coach Gene Ubelhardt, who has taught football at Royal High School for as long as I can remember, is finally retiring. He's a really great guy and I will miss working with him when I shoot the team. This was just a very nice shot at his retirement dinner, where a ceiling bounce worked wonders for the photo.

uebelhardt 01

And finally, a couple from the Pleasant Valley Museum living history day.

living history 02

living history 01

Monday, May 11, 2009

From a while back

These shots are from last month's Ventura County Firefighter of the Year Awards. But I loved the shots as a group and wished they all could have run together somewhere, rather than each in the firefighters' respective home papers. Here are my favorites.

firefighters awards 04

firefighters awards 03

firefighters awards 02

firefighters awards 01

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Champions! (Again)

The Moorpark Acadeca team took first place in the nation for Division 1, again. Congrats to them! I can't believe the amount of work that goes into something like that. Incredible.

They had a police and fire escort to the party, but my camera kept giving me the dreaded Error 99 - right up until they were getting out of the limo! I can't afford to have it gone for a week to be fixed right now, which is really frustrating. Fortunately, despite the technical problems - and ensuing ones like not being prepared with the right shutter speed! - the photos came out nice and I ended up with much better shots than I thought I had. Lady Luck was with me.

acadeca 01

acadeca 03

acadeca 02

acadeca 04

acadeca 05

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Some catching up to do!

Recent happenings in Simi...

The freeway widening project completed Phase 1. Hooray! I love it because I live off of Kuehner. Makes the commute home so much nicer.

freeway widening 03

freeway widening 02

freeway widening 01

A side note with this photo. At the ribbon cuttings, it's inevitably the project managers and the developers that get all the recognition. But I always try to include some of the guys whose fingerprints are in the concrete, you know?

freeway widening 04

Mr. Q and Mrs. U got "married" at Phoenix Ranch elementary. Q and U are always together in the English language... get it?

" sickness and in health, in printing and in cursive, as long as you both speak English..."

q & u 03

q & u 02

q & u 01

Yes, that's a Ring Pop. Sweet.

...And the annual Arroyo cleanup pulled volunteers together from all over the community for a good cause.

arroyo cleanup 03

arroyo cleanup 02

arroyo cleanup 01
(It was a water heater, and they're dragging it out using a power winch on the front of the jeep. Very cool!)