Mold check

May 3, 2013 

While my well-chronicled misadventures with news video have got me down, a couple recent assignments were a nice reminder of what I love about this job. The emphasis on video has pushed photo galleries into the background, but some assignments just scream for stills.

There was no doubt what I would be producing last Sunday at the Northwest Alpaca Showcase. With limited time and a need for content in the paper coupled with what might be the next big meme-worthy animal, I focused on shooting a well-rounded take during my brief, but blissful visit to TRAC:

Special thanks to Andy Schumacher of Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch in Coeur d’Alene for offering to snap a few shots of me with his alpacas:

Sunday also gave me a chance to wrap up my photo coverage of this year's Sun Downs races. It was the first time I've covered the races since my first year on staff in 2008. Knowing I'd be shooting at least two or three days of races as my turn on the weekend shift wrapped, I planned from the start to approach it as a photo essay of the short local horse racing season as opposed to shooting full galleries each day.

I went with black and white in this presentation to work around some wonky mixed lighting temperatures:

Neither are fully formed photo stories, so it didn't have the same re-energizing effect as really digging in and doing the kind of work that got me interested in photojournalism. It felt good to spend time shooting stills, however, without juggling all the other little big things we're expected to do on assignment these days.

It's strange that "only" producing a couple photo galleries feels like such a treat when galleries were our bread and butter just a couple years ago. And it’s nice to make sure it’s not rancid and moldy.

And now for Link-a-palooza...

Dallas Morning News photographer Michael Ainsworth has a nice piece (that really shouldn't have to be written) about respectfully covering a memorial for the victims of the West, Texas, explosion. Genevieve Belmaker at Poynter further explains the need for compassion while covering tragedies like Boston and Newtown. Especially interesting are stories from journalists who have been on both sides of the coverage.

Some Boston University journalism students talk about jumping into the deep end as the fun of covering the Boston Marathon went crazy.

Check out Jeff Bridges' on-set work with a Widelux camera over at Lens.

Last Sunday was World Pinhole Day and the BBC has a fun look at Justin Quinnell's work with the DIY medium.

In a retro high-tech experiment, Theo Stroomer used an old Nishika 3-D camera to create 3-D GIFs as Colorado celebrated legalization last week.

It's been scary to see the proliferation of so-called ag-gag legislation that criminalizes surreptitious filming of farming practices. Even scarier is the prosecution of Amy Meyer in Utah for filming from a public street. If this were as hot-button an issue as the gun control debate, surely people would be drawing parallels to Kenneth Bae's plight in North Korea. While that may be a touch hyperbolic, it's easy to see the slippery slope we're headed toward if ag-gag bills continue to gain political support. Thankfully, the charges were dismissed this week, but I doubt this will be the last attempted prosecution of the sort.

And if that's not nauseating enough, check out this mini documentary about a pair of Russian daredevil photographers who gained notoriety for sneaking atop Egypt's Great Pyramid.

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