Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dear Reuters, I Would Love to Work For Getty....

The minute I held my first camera I knew what I wanted to do.  I was 17.  Thank you Mr. Ochs, 12th grade photography teacher.  I ruined a few Ocean Pacific shirts back in the day  but it got me where I am today.  I thought I wanted to be an anthropologist, biologist, astrologist, etc. but I just played with the pencils and sometimes fell asleep.

But give me a camera or a canvas and I perked up.  It's like a drug, when you find your calling.  You never stop thinking about it.  Eventually, when the snow-globe snow particles settled, there I stood in that tiny bubble of a world with a camera around my neck looking for a place to point it.  I wanted to go for the top.  The Statue of Liberty.  The New York Times.

 Well, I landed at The Gazette in Colorado Springs.  One of the best little papers in America.  A photo staff that would not quit.
Check this out.
  Here is a short list of some it's past and current greatness.
  Bob Jackson - Pulitzer Prize winner.  Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald.  Yes, that photographer.
 Rick Loomis, Jeff Chiu, Smiley Pool, Jay Janner, Mark Reis,  John Kotlowski, Chip Litherland, Chuck Bigger,  Peter Lockley, Tracy Boulian,  Tom Kimmell, Kevin Kreck, Jerilee Bennett, Andy Rogers, David Bitton and on and on.
I worked with all of these people.
The Gazette photo department is now a staff of three.   Editors and photographers, just a few years ago, numbered 11.  Wow.  Shameful if you ask me.  What the hell happened?  In the age of visual communication, one of the most incredible photography staffs in the country went from 11 to three. 

So, what do you do?  Well, you either crawl into a hole in the wall or you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try to start all over again.

 And that is what I am going to do.  Today I decided to start from the top and work my way down.  I applied for positions at Getty, Reuters, The New York Times, ZUMA, Sygma, and the Falcon Community News (joke).
I know a few people at some of these great organizations and I have hope.

Here' the bitch of it all. When I applied to Reuters, I said I to them that I  would love to work for Getty!  And then I misspelled Reuters.

 F*** me.  Oh well.

In the meantime, the photojournalism is raging in my blood.  I can't wait to get the next assignment. 

So, I cannot stop being a photojournalist.  I am a freelance photographer right now.  But my heart belongs to photojournalism.  Luckily, I  have received assignments from the Denver Post.  I am grateful.  I love working for these guys. They really are true friends. And  I am hoping they call me more often.

Here is a portrait I did last week for a story about a high school hockey team, Fountain Valley School, who had the potential to  make it the state hockey championship finals after an 18 year dry spell.  They gave it there best but lost in the semifinals.  The Denver Post ran a story and a slide show on their website.  Here is a link to the story. 

A true honor. 

The head coach let me have a few minutes to make this photo.  A very nice guy but their bus was late.  It was totally rushed but that's what they pay me for.  In the end the Denver Post ran this image and it was all over their website.  That made me happy.

Please, continue to check out my website

Monday, February 21, 2011

A whole wwwreessslin' meet

Go watch Breakfast Club.  One of my favorite exchanges from the movie comes from" John Bender, played by Judd Nelson, as he razzes "Andrew Clark", Emilio Estevez's character during an exchange, making fun of wrestlers. 

Understandable.  It is a day of shooting asses and elbows. But I love every minute of it.  The amount of emotion that one sees in a few short minutes is the same as many people experience in a year.

Here is a photo of the loneliest feeling on the planet.  Losing a match during the state wrestling tournament.  My hat's off to this wrestler, Rip Price of Air Academy  High School.  I photographed him in the hallway contemplating his loss.  A true athlete who has accomplished more that most.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bittersweet orchestra

I think that the powers that be communicate to you by forces that only make sense to you.  Here's why I feel that way.  The night my mother died was restless and disturbing.  In my dreams John Denver talked to me and told me everything was going to be alright.  One of his songs was playing in my head, although I don't know which one exactly.  Nevertheless, I recognized the song.  My dream was interrupted by my dad calling me and telling me my mother had died.  We had a John Denver bond.  We both loved his music.  It was completely dorky but it brought us together.  Over the years traumatic events have happened where music has had an interesting presence in my life.  Many times.  I just failed to make the connection.
On Jan. 21, 2011 I was laid off from my dream job.  I was crushed.  I'll spare you the details but I was completely shocked.  Fifteen years as a loyal employee, gone.  I thought I was an ambassador of this organization.  Nope.  I was an expendable employee with an employee number. 
When I got into my car and turned the key the radio came on and the song "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve was playing.  I drove away in tears. 
Flash forward two weeks later to the HOUR.  The Denver Post called me and asked me to shoot an assignment for them.  When I got in the car to drive to the assignment, guess what was on the radio? 
The same song.
I'm not bitter anymore.

Here's a photo from that assignment.  It's a story about the 50th anniversary of the 1961 plane crash that claimed the lives of the entire US Word Figure Skating team.  This bench at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs honors some of the skaters who perished.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Return of the...I'm not sure yet

Welcome back!  After a few years of laziness, the blog is re-resurrected.  I want to thank you for taking about 30 seconds of your day to visit.  Today, is the launch of my new website I was a full-time staff photographer for The Gazette in Colorado Springs until recently.  As of today I am officially self-empployed.
One aspect of photography I am planning on becoming engulfed in is portraits and weddings.  So don't be shy asking.

 I have photographed weddings in the past so I am not a complete newbie.

Please check out the website!
One of the links you will see is the 2010 Athletes of the Year.  It is my attempt to combine my creative forces to honor several outstanding high school athletes.  My theme was: Classic kids/classic albums.

 How can you not like that idea?
Anyway, I chose several classic album covers and photographed each athlete to match up best each album.  If you can guess all albums I will photograph your dog or cat for free!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Greg Bryant Athlete of the Week

OK I'm back in the studio for this portrait session with Greg Bryant, a Lewis-Palmer High School hockey player.
I thought really hard about this and decided to go ahead and do the shoot at The Gazette.  Luckily the studio is filled with tons of props from previous assignments over the years.  I found a piece of plywood painted with black spray paint and propped it against a roll of white paper.

Next I attached a two dark orange gels to a studio light, aimed it at the white background and was able to create the burnt orange color of the schools colors.  The other, needless to say being black.
I then used a second light on a light stand and aimed the light at the back of Greg's head so that the light would slightly rim him and the hockey stick.  I dialed that light down to it's lowest setting.
Finally I positioned a box light to the left aiming it away so that the light wouldn't interfere with the background.
Right about then Greg and his father showed up and we commenced with the photo shoot.  After a few adjustments I found the setting on the Nikon D3 I was looking for.
I really like this image with it's color contrasts and dramatic lighting.  Greg was great and did a nice job of working with me and being himself. 
I played around a bit with the Nikon D3's settings and wound up shooting the photo on the lowest ISO setting at 250th shutter speed and anywhere between f11 and f18.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


My co-worker Jerilee Bennett looks at the website of the Rocky Mountain News announcing their final edition.  She just came back from an assignment.  We both looked at the page in disbelief.
We knew this day was coming.  We didn't know when.  But we knew it was coming.

 It still took my breath away when I saw the headline.  Like the death of a good friend.  I know a lot of people at the Rocky Mountain News.  I've chewed a few mouthfuls of dirt with most of the staff photographers out on assignment from one end of this state to the other.  And the country from time to time.
Air Force football games, CU games.  Forest fires, Fort Carson memorials, breaking news.  The list goes on and on. These people are my colleagues but they are also my friends.

I will miss the friendly competition.  I will miss going out and having a few beers after a long day shooting the Denver Broncos on the road.  I will miss picking up this newspaper and not being able to see those incredible photographs.  I will miss the Rocky Mountain News.
This is sad, sad day for the state of Colorado. 
Here's to you my friends and colleagues.  Here's to you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tough Day at City Council

So I had to photograph a City Council meeting.  Usually a yawner but this one was a bit more lively than usual.  I was there for item No. 11, budget proposals.  In other words they were cutting public transportation, raising fees, consolidation but mainly the cuts to the bus service.
It was a painful day for all.  You could see the strain in the council members faces and the angst with the crowd.  
I stood at the front of the meeting where I could have an eye on the council members as well as the crowd.  I needed to be in a spot where I could see all faces all the time.  I was looking for a reaction image.
It's interesting aiming you camera in a room which is mostly silent and the camera is clicking away.  It's a bit disconcerting especially when getting glances back from people who obviously don't like being photographed.
A big sigh of relief, for better or worse, was felt at the end of the discussion and the vote.  But then reality set in.  The council was obviously upset as demonstrated by Margaret Radford as she leans back in her chair and Cynthia Barram who put her hand to her face with the realization she will not be able to use the public transportation system to get back and forth to college.  She's in a wheelchair and it will be more difficult for her than most.
These are tough times but I will reiterate.  We need photojournalists in our society to be there to document the rollercoaster that is life.  
I can only hope through my work someone will be able to help Cynthia.  It's why I do what I do.