This was… different. I was assigned to shoot a concert by Here Come the Mummies a while back, wrote up this post and completely forgot about it so here it is. They’re a funk band out of Nashville that dresses up as, well you can see for yourself. It was a pretty fun show to shoot, I just wish I’d had more time and a little more room but hey them is the breaks. The truly great thing was that they had no restrictions as far as how long I could shoot. Unfortunately my deadline and the fact that my work day started at 7:30 a.m on about three hours of sleep didn’t leave me with much time. Hope that our paths cross again sometime. Thanks for looking
Last week I got the call to go down to Sikeston, Mo., for the Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo. Muddy just doesn’t cover the conditions after a week of nearly daily rain here in Southeast Missouri so the bareback riding competition was interesting to say the least. I left the arena covered from head to toe in what I fervently hope was mud but the simply gorgeous light, jumping horses, falling riders and flying mud made it all worth it.
I was assigned to shoot some weather art this afternoon only the weather didn’t cooperate. We’ve been getting quite a bit of rain here in Southeast Missouri with more expected through the week so I was sent out to get some shots of it as a standalone, only problem was that it pretty much stopped raining as soon as I headed out. I had the idea to shoot some macro shots of raindrops on flowers, I know, it’s a cliche but I’ve never actually done it before, but was faced with yet another problem, I don’t have a macro lens or any extension tubes.
My education and experience as a photojournalist aided by watching a lot of MacGyver as a child have taught me to never let a little thing like not having the proper equipment get in the way of getting a photo or completing an assignment so I improvised. I manually set my 50 1.8 wide open with the focus at infinity and held it in my hand adjusting the distance between the back of the lens to my camera and the front of the lens to the subject to focus and using some gaffer tape and cinefoil as an “extension tube,” and I was in business.
My failure rate was really, really high as my cameras light meter was almost useless and focusing accurately was next to impossible with the extremely shallow depth of field and the fact that I was, shakily, hand holding everything. An unexpected aspect of this was the changing of the focus plane which resulted in some rather interesting results. I wasn’t able to spend to much time with this since I needed to get a more traditional found feature but I’m certainly going to play around with this some more in the future.
I spent most of the last nine days working on the 2013 All-Missourian team photos for the Spring. The best high school athletes in our coverage area for baseball, girls soccer and track descended upon our studio to have lights flashed in their faces. All told I moved 390 portraits. That’s not a typo I worked up 390 portraits.
Portraits have never really been my thing, I tend to do better reacting to people and predicting their behavior than I am at directing them. I wanted things to look natural and comfortable so for the most part I had them do things that they were familiar with, such as going through their swinging/kicking/throwing motion or simple poses like stand there and look here.I wanted to have a pose that would be unique for each athlete so we shot 10-15 looks for each kid and ran between 8-12 photos of each one in the galleries, hence the huge total number of moved photos. My strategy was to get them into a position and then either wait for a moment to occur or create one by causing a genuine reaction rather than having them “smile for the camera.” I have to admit by the end I was REALLY running out of ideas.
This is the first time that I’ve born the brunt of this twice annual assignment. I’ve picked up a couple of kids here and there in the past but I’ve never shot the bulk of them like I did this time. It was a fun, though draining, experience, but I’m looking forward to being able to do something like this again in the future.
We ran them in color (you can see the complete galleries here) but I like them in BW since I feel like it gives the collection a greater sense of visual continuity and it’s my blog so there. Here are some of my favorites.
One of my assignments on the Fourth of July was to shoot a mud volleyball tournament that was being held as part of the festivities Jackson, Mo. I was the only photog on duty so I wasn’t able to spend to much time there, I shot about a game and a half, but when you shoot something like this it doesn’t take long. One of these days I’m going to be able to really cover one of these.
One of the things I love about my job is that it isn’t a 9 to 5 gig, every day is different including when I go to work and when I leave. As much as I enjoy this it can be problematic from time to time, such as last week when my workday ran from 8:30 a.m. to nearly two in the morning. This wasn’t a case of some calamitous event or big happening, just the usual mix of news, sports and features.
My day started with a news assignment to get a photo of a city garbage truck to go with a story on a rate increase, I know, exciting stuff. Of course finding a garbage truck isn’t as easy as it sounds even when you’ve called to find out where they’re doing pickups. I spent about an hour driving around before I snagged the sure fire clip contest winner above.
I went back to the office to file my masterpiece and check in with my editors to see if anything else was cooking before heading to assignment number two: The final round of the AJGA Rolex Girls Junior Championship. I’d spent much of my week covering this tournament which featured the top ranked girls golfers in the country. I simply can’t overstate how good these girls are and I had a blast covering this.
Finishing up with golf a little before three I ran back to the office to dump my cards and get started on editing before heading to assignment number 3: a portrait for a feature that would run in a few days on a girl who used a lemonade stand to raise money for a family whose 8-month-old son was being treated for a rare form of cancer.
Back to the office for editing, editing and more editing of the nearly 2,000 frames I’d taken by now and then back out for some American Legion baseball
before heading over to my final assignment of the day, Relay for Life.
I then ran home for a much needed shower before going back to the office to finish up my editing and start making photo galleries,
I was well into hour two of cruising for wild art one day last week when I noticed to teenagers crouched down at a water spigot in a local park as I drove past. I’m not sure if its my journalistic instincts or my misspent youth but I immediately wondered if they were filling up water balloons. Like any good newspaper photographer I stopped to find out what was going on. The two Southeast Missouri State University students were indeed filling up water balloons for use in a water balloon fight later that afternoon. They were members of an unofficial club on campus named the Daytime Deluxe Diving Dunkaroos. I made a few frames, found out a bit more about their group and what was planned for later and gave them my business card as I left telling them to shoot me an email if they ever had anything going on that they thought would make a nice photo and that I’d try to make the fight later that day.
I went back to the office filed what I had and told the ME that I might be able to get something better later if my scheduled worked out. I had a 3 o’clock assignment to shoot some high school golfers who had qualified for state and I wasn’t sure if I’d make it back in time. The photo gods smiled upon me for the second time that day as my portraits went quickly with all of my kids showing up on time or early (never happens!) and I was able to make it to the SEMO campus with time to spare and my GoPro Hero2 video camera. I grabbed names of the kids participating and talked one of them into wearing the GoPro on there heads adn we were good to go. Things were a bit crazy once they started as you can see from the stills and video. I almost managed to avoid getting hit but I got tagged by one of the last balloons thrown when a kid ducked and I didn’t. I came away soaking wet and a bit disappointed that my wide angle was out of commission since my 50 seemed to tight and to slow to focus but it was a good time. I didn’t have time to really edit the video from the GoPro but I think it kind of works as it is anyway. Thanks for looking!
It’s high school playoff time here in Southeast Missouri which means long days, long drives and lots of drama filled games. In the past two days I’ve shot two district championship games, one baseball and one soccer. Soccer was decided in double overtime and the baseball game ended with a walk-off single in the eight inning, prep baseball plays seven inning games here in Mo. As far as the teams I was covering they split the difference, one loser and one winner. Thanks for looking!
I don’t have a whole lot of experience shooting diving. Frankly the venues and my gear have made shooting it semi-annual exercise in frustration for most of my career. That changed last week I got the assignment to shoot a meet in an venue with enough light to actually stop the action. Leaves me feeling kinda sad that I’ll have to wait for the boys to start up in the Fall to have another chance to shoot this again. Thanks for looking!
Way, way, WAY behind on blogging. Here’s some rectangles from a Crossfit class I shot for the business tab a few weeks back. Feared I was going to be walking into a cluttered room filled with ugly light and a bunch of people who didn’t want to have their photo taken. Was pleasantly surprised to find some clear backgrounds, a lil natural light and people who ignored my presence. Thanks for looking.