May 16, 2011

Not Giving Up!

 Last week we had this crazy weather going on in Anchorage. I was coming home from the grocery store around ten in the evening or so, without my camera (cardinal sin!) and I couldn't help but notice there was all kinds of amazing light going on. There was clear sky in some areas, very dark clouds in others, rain here and there, and a couple of rainbows. I cursed myself for not having a camera and (slightly) sped home to get one.
 That accomplished, I started to panic- "Ok, where is the best spot to try and capture all that was going on?" It was then I realized the value of getting out more in my own town so I'd have a list of spots keyed in to shoot from depending on where the "action" was.
 I decided to go down the inlet a bit, it seemed the sunset may be amazing. Unfortunately that vantage lost much of the varied weather I was attracted to and I was running out of time to try and capture something. I took some decent photos at one spot and even had a nervous experience with a young bull moose- photos I'll share later, but all in all I was disappointed. I felt I had missed out on a special opportunity. I walked out to the mud flats and took some typical sunset photos and was pretty bummed, I knew I'd delete them when I got home. I lingered hoping to find something in the waning light. I noticed  a tiny patch of dried grass with a hint of the last glow of daylight and was drawn to it. There has to be something here. I lay on my stomach and noticed the nice juxtaposition of the frail willow branches near by against the colorful clouds and knew I found a photo I'd be happy with. I took several frames at a slow shutter speed with the camera resting on the ground.
  This is my favorite.
 I was happy to finally find a keeper and reassured myself of the value of not giving up!

April 8, 2011

Alaska Press Club Awards!

 Last week I was happy to find out that the First Alaskans magazine with my photo of Terzah Poe on the front, and a feature on her inside, was awarded "Best Magazine Cover 2010" by the Alaska Press Club!
 I was told the magazine was going to enter it several months ago and completely forgot about it. It was a wonderful surprise when I read about it the day after the awards! (I didn't attend obviously!)

 The enclosed feature, "Terzah in a Hurry", took second place in the category of "Best Magazine Feature 2010". Writer Victoria Barber and I combined to create a wonderful piece on a truly amazing woman.

 I spent many hours with Terzah over the course of two months. We spent time on the job, during radio interviews, at home, at meetings, on the campaign trail with her husband Bob, and I even followed her up to Fairbanks for more work and time with her relatives. It was a real honor getting to know her a little. She really let me in to her life for this and I think it shows in the quality of images we were able to get.
 It's been my great pleasure to work with First Alaskans on several features so I'm glad to be a part of recognition for them as well! Thanks to Tony Hall for hiring me!
 Here is a scan of the double page opening of the feature:

March 29, 2011

UC Cooperative Extension, Placer County, CA: Wayne Vinyard

  Wayne Vinyard; You may be wondering where the winery photos are. I had a bit of confusion when I was setting up this part of the assignment. I was trying to locate "Wayne Vinyard" on a map given to me of all the agricultural locations I was to shoot over the course of several days. After scanning the map several times I finally made a phone call and found the problem. Wayne Vinyard is the farmers name and his crop is rice! 

 This was a pretty cool day in the field. After a winding crazy drive in an area covered by fields of one crop or another and following directions such as " turn left at the largest silo at the end of the longest straightaway" I somehow ended up at the right location. 

 Within minutes of meeting Wayne I was riding along side him in his rice harvester. It was amazing to see how easily the tall fields of rice were cut down and the individual grains of rice harvested in one quick and decisive turn of the harvesters blades. I learned a lot that day as I watched Wayne and his family- there are three generations at work in the field- harvest their crop. As it always seems when I'm dealing with people who work the land, the Vinyard family had an obvious love for what they were doing. It makes me envious of the dedication to one important way of life chosen so long ago. Then again, it makes me feel damn lucky to be a photographer who gets to experience small portions of these lives and share those experiences with others.

March 21, 2011

UC Cooperative Extension, Placer County, CA: Fortezza Vineyard and Winery

This is Lisa Mann, owner of Fortezza Winery in the rolling hills of Placer County, California. I got to spend an afternoon in her vineyard just as they were harvesting grapes at the end of her growing season. It took a little coaxing but Lisa finally allowed herself to be the subject. She was more than willing to give me free reign on her property but she was bashful in front of the lens. I think she finally realized she'd be rid of me sooner if she succumbed to my requests!
 Actually, Lisa was a real pleasure and I think you can see in these photos the love she has for what she is doing. The winery is fairly new but from the taste she gave me I can vouch for her talent as a wine maker.
 As a photographer I love it when all is lush and green but I enjoyed working with the earthier tones here. Lisa herself seemed to blend in quite naturally. Most of these were taken with natural light but I used a gold reflector on some as well. I was getting pretty good at shooting and positioning the fill light at the same time!

March 9, 2011

UC Extension Agricultural Project: Flying Mule Ranch

The most exciting location during my various assignments for the UC Davis Agricultural Extension in Auburn, Ca was Dan Macon's Flying Mule Ranch. I was asked to photograph sheep on Dan's ranch. I was fortunate to arrive on a day when Dan was moving his flock from one grazing site to another. While the sheep are beautiful the stars of the day were Dan's two herding dogs. Dan opened the fencing from the first grazing area and the two dogs took over. I can't tell you how fun it was to plop myself on the ground as a hundred sheep rushed past on all sides! Thanks to a stray sheep here and there I was able to keep rushing ahead and have the flock come towards me again. The quarter mile trek was short but exhilarating. The most challenging part was capturing the two dogs in action. Thanks to the bright daylight I was able to shoot at fast shutter speeds and freeze the animals movement. here are some of my favorites!( Check out the dogs in their well deserved swimming hole at the end!)