Monday, July 27, 2009

Classic Summer

Splashing in foutains to cool down, fresh produce at the farmers market, day camp with the girl scouts, sounds like summer! Well we're in full swing here at the end of July. Enjoy.

Kids play in the fountain and splash pad at Rancho Tapo Community Park (that's Lemon Park to all of you Simi-ites!)

IS 417 Simi Beat the Heat copy

IS 418 Simi Beat the Heat copy

IS 419 Simi Beat the Heat copy

The farmer's market in Thousand Oaks moved back to the Oaks Mall parking lot.

IS 409 Farmers Market copy

IS 410 Farmers Market copy

IS 411 Farmers Market copy

The Simi Valley Girl Scouts held a camping-skills day camp (the boys are there with the Boys Unit).

IS 404 Scout Camp copy

IS 403 Scout Camp copy

IS 405 Scout Camp copy

And, sadly, Vina June, a longtime Moorpark community resident, volunteer, and leader, is moving away. Her neighbors came to say goodbye.

IS 422 Vina June copy

IS 424 Vina June copy

Butterflies and Baseball

Lots going on in the baseball world lately, but first let's start with butterflies. A hospice in Thousand Oaks had their annual butterfly release ceremony, which turned out a lot of nice shots for me of people that jumped up and left right away. Without names, I can't run those photos! But I can post them here. :)

IS 305 Butterflies copy

IS 309 Butterflies copy

IS 308 Butterflies copy

IS 306 Butterflies copy

And now, onto something else that flies - baseballs! First, some PONY players in Camarillo.

IS 208 Pony Baseball copy

IS 209 Pony baseball copy

IS 210 Pony baseball copy

IS 223 Pony Baseball copy

And this is Little League in Moorpark, the 10/11 division - which won!

IS 314 Little League copy

IS 312 Little League copy

IS 311 Little League copy

IS 310 Little League copy

IS 316 Little League copy

4th Festivities

Since this month has been so busy, I haven't been able to keep up with this blog (sorry Readers) ! But I thought I should post these before the month was over. Enjoy.

IS 218 4th Festival copy

IS 211 Fourth Festival copy

IS 213 4th Festival copy

IS 214 4th Festival copy

IS 216 4th Festival copy

IS 219 Fireworks copy

IS 220 Fireworks copy

IS 221 Fireworks copy

IS 222 Fireworks copy

IS 224 Fireworks copy

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Well, I promised the raceboat guys that eventually I would get the photos I shot at the Camarillo Pond Rats race up here. So finally, here they are. 

Have a look at the slideshow! Hint: Click play, then move your mouse off the slideshow window to make the thumbnails and stuff disappear. 

Or, you can go directly to the flickr set here
Boat owners, if you would like me to send you a copy of any of these or if you would like to use any of these photos anywhere else (including newsletter, website, facebook, etc) please let me know. :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

A glimpse into the nightmare that is identification.

Last week, I photographed a baseball game between Newbury Park High School and Moorpark High School. I took some nice shots of the NP pitcher, which I am planning on submitting for this week. If you don't work in newspapers, you might not know the absolute nightmare that is trying to identify athletes. It should be simple. Each player should have clearly visible numbers on their uniform, which correspond with the roster. But it's never that simple. 

The photograph I have shows the pitcher in mid-throw, the ball headed toward home. He's bent over, his arm extended, uniform crinkled, no number visible. 

First I check the roster to see if the pitcher is identified. It's signified by a number "1" or a "P" under the position column. I see no number one, and the column is smudged with inkblots covering multiple numbers. No such luck. Worse, the row with a hand-drawn divider, listing two players for the same position - a likely listing for "pitcher" - shows two names with numbers that don't match up for the second pitcher. So I can't be sure this roster is even reliable.

So I move on to the next method. I always save every single frame I shoot from any athletic event, because inevitably you will need the throwaway frames for identification help. Here, I should have been able to flip a few frames forward to the shot where he is bent over, arms down, after the throw, exposing the big number and name on the back of his uniform. 

Except this player is a lefty, not a righty. So he is bent over, but his back is facing away from me. No luck there either.

Most athletic uniforms have numbers on both the front and the back. In photos of his teammates, their jerseys have the team name, "Panthers" on the front, and a number below. But he's wearing a slightly different jersey. No numbers on the front at all. Again, no luck.

I shoot from multiple angles for each game, and I usually have photos of the pitcher from different angles. One of them is bound to show his number. Except that they switched him out for a different pitcher before I moved to the other side, where his back number would have been visible. No luck.

Occasionally a player is identifiable by his shoes and uniform quirks - socks lower than his teammates, labels or stripes on socks, patterns on shoes, even shoelaces. So even if I have two players that look identical from the back (meaning I can't use their face or front of uniform to identify them) I can distinguish them by their footwear. But many other players have similar shoes and socks. No luck.

My last resort is to move to outside sources. I check Maxpreps, a high school athletics website, to see if these players are pictured there and I can use those shots to help me. But it's off-season. These kids aren't listed anywhere yet! 

I look for Newbury Park's baseball website. The link from their school website is broken, leading me to a dead end. 
Finally, using Google, I locate the new baseball site. And fortunately, they have a 2009 roster listed. With pitch/throw listings! Two players throw left-handed. One is an outfielder, and I have another photo from the front of the same pitcher in the outfield. 

So I cross-reference this roster with my roster from the game. The lefty thrower from the online roster matches to a player in the game I shot, one of the guys with a smudge over his position. Bingo. 

Sometimes you can never identify the player, and the shot goes into the trash can. This time, with a little extra work and a little luck, I saved it. 

Friday, July 3, 2009

Roller Coaster Week!

This week has been a little bit crazy. Some very slow days and some crazy ones. 
Onto the photos! 

First, Simi Valley had a shooting. The news came to me through my editor, and I live on the opposite side of Simi from the location. By the time I got over there, picked my way through the police barricades, talked to the Public Information Officer and got to the actual scene, it was all over. Sometimes even with your best efforts, you're just not quick enough. 

This was my most interesting shot, and it really doesn't excite me. Michael Coons, a local freelancer, was much quicker and got the best shots out of all the photogs there. He actually got pictures of the hostages escaping, of the arrest, of the SWAT team moving in. 

IS 137 Shooting b

We didn't use it in the Acorn, and I noticed the Star didn't use any shots from their photogs either. Sometimes it's all over before you get there, and the rule is to never leave an event without a shot, any shot, you have to FIND a picture before you go. But sometimes the best picture just isn't yours. It's always a bummer. 

Anyway, onto the photos where I actually was in the right place at the right time. 

Arboles Animal Clinic held a microchip day.

IS 106 Microchip b

There were quite a few pet events to shoot, actually. Here's an adoption event at YogaWorks in Westlake.

IS 118 Adoptions b

IS 117 Adoptions b

A cute scene at a pet faire in Camarillo.

IS 111 Pet Faire b

Last week I shot the poppies in bloom at the Conejo Valley Botanical Garden.


IS 420 Poppies b

The Conejo Valley Arts Council held its 40th anniversary celebration, with some local performers.

IS 418 Arts Council b

IS 417 Arts Council b

The Camarillo Newcomers club gave Food Share a check for $4,000. Apparently much more than they were expecting!

IS 400 Food Share Check b

Conejo Valley Association of Realtors handed out their annual scholarships to local high school kids. Here's a great way to make group shots more exciting - use a wide lens and get close! I used bounce flash here, which would have been better if I could have had some natural light mellowing out those shadows, but it was a very small, dark room. It still came out better than your standard on-camera-flash group shot.

IS 121 Scholarships b

Simi Valley's little league Challenger Division (for the handicapped) held its annual baseball game. What a fun event to shoot. Difficult (parents wandering around the field, getting in the way) but fun.

IS 411 Challenger Baseball b

IS 413 Challenger Baseball b

IS 410 Challenger Baseball b

IS 412 Challenger Baseball b

Venture Crew held a backpacking seminar. I think they must not have advertised much - it was a very small turnout. Good information, though. Here they are showing off their camping knives, an essential piece of equipment.

IS 122 Backpacking b

And in Thousand Oaks, I shot Touch-A-Truck! Very cool event.

IS 414 Touch A Truck b

IS 416 Touch A Truck b

IS 415 Touch A Truck B

I also added Agoura High pictures to my graduation photos. Scroll down a couple entries and you can find the slideshow.