Trials and Squarer

July 6, 2012 

For the first time since I was an intern in the summer of 2007, I didn't have to work the Fourth of July. What I did instead was enjoy some glorious laziness with my family on the Oregon Coast. I kicked off this vacation with a return to Hayward Field to team up with Craig Craker for a day at the Olympic Trials.

In addition to some basic sports snaps, which are so pedestrian I won't bother sharing them here, we worked on a couple of fun feature stories. What was originally going to be a fun, pressure free day of track feature hunting turned into an actual work day, though my pressures were far less than the other shooters on deadline who had to jockey for position with dozens of other photographers from around the world.

I had my time to focus on non-action, thankfully, but with plans for a photo page leading up to the Olympics, I'll save those for another BtF. Instead, here are a couple outtakes from the feature stories.

First was Kelly Blair LaBounty, a former Olympian originally from Prosser. Craig and I met up with her during a lull in the heptathlon and found her playing with her family in the Starting Block kids area. I had been nervous about trying to get a decent shot of her since she was there to watch her former event and getting interesting photos of somebody in the stands is hard enough at a poorly attended event. At something big like this, even finding a position to shoot from around all the paying ticket holders could be difficult.

Kelly knelt and watched as her sons Jacob, 8, and Lucas, 4, crashed through some low hurdles,

and her husband Matt lowered a few balls for Lucas to jump for too:

Then she let Lucas win in a hurdles race that the little one treated as a slalom,

before jogging back the other direction:

Later, we tag teamed shadowing Quenna Beasley, originally from Pasco, who was part of the 1985 NCAA Women's Outdoor Track championship team at Oregon. Beasley was featured in a documentary premiering on Saturday and was there to watch the action and help promote the movie. There was a fun reaction when she first saw the board featuring her biography and statistics,

but I didn't frame it that well. Then she shared a laugh with former teammate Claudette Groenendaal and her son Logwone Mitz after posing for pictures with the trophy:

That ended up being the shot, but it was a close call between that moment and these, as she had fun meeting Neta Prefontaine, older sister to legendary distance runner Steve:

It was a fun return to my alma mater and it felt great to not worry too much about the action. I'll be writing more later, I'm sure whether this photo page comes together or not. Changes are happening in our Sunday edition and I'm still not sure what's going to happen.

Until then, I'll toss in some personal photos. Having been an Instagram junkie the last few weeks, I figured I'd share my time off with you through some funky square frames. It starts at the trials and goes through my family trip to Newport, Ore. My family is in several of them. I'll let you figure out who they are.

Pro Tip: They're Asian.

It's fun to take a low-fi approach to photography and to work with the limitations of the iPhone's camera. As you can see, I'm not anti-filter, but I don't rely on funky effects to save what I think is a bad photo to begin with. These were all shot with Camera+ and some were edited in Snapseed.

If you like those, follow me on Twitter to see my obsession develop into compulsion. You'll also see plenty of cat pictures, though I'm pretty good about not sharing every meal I have.

Want to get back to the Olympics?

Joe Klamar's portraits of American Olympic athletes has gone viral, with amateurs and pros deriding the shoddy work. Some are blaming it on poor management and editing, some on his apparent inexperience with portraiture and then Michael Shaw points to the possible intent of going against the usual polished grain. This Slate article has a nice rundown of what might have happened.

While I can see the possibility that this was a reaction to the normal hero-worshiping imagery, it's hard to believe a clever statement through the photo equivalent of stick figures and typos.

EDIT:For the company line, check out this reaction at AFP.

Here's a cool feature on a robotic camera system Reuters will be deploying (not employing, as actual photographers will be running the system) in London.

For some good and bad news about journalists, 22-year-old AP intern Armando Montano was found dead in an apartment elevator shaft in Mexico. He apparently was not on assignment at the time, but with all the violence against journalists in the country, it's hard not to think he may have been onto something. We'll have to wait for the investigation, though.

Former newspaper shooter and current photojournalism professor Josh Meltzer saved three from potential drowning on Monday. Students are often taught in journalism school that we're people before journalists, and Meltzer has some first-hand experience to back that lesson up now.

Here's a funny look at stock photo choices by several news outlets to illustrate a story about spanking.

And finally, as firefighters in Colorado try to maintain control on those devastating wildfires, check out some extensive photo coverage. In Focus has a repetitive edit featuring some powerful aerials of the aftermath along with an edit of the battle with the blaze. And while I usually favor In Focus' presentation of big events, I like the mix of moments over at the Big Picture better this time around.

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