New photography related post on fall colors is up my The Dalles Chronicle blog, “Eye of the Storm.”
I recently created a website to showcase a friends book. Except for the book cover itself, I used photographs by others and created a simple html/css website. It was fun to see it actually go “live” on the web. The book is Living the Oath by fellow Chronicle newsroom grunt RaeLynn Ricarte. Excellent book!
Watching her work on the book for over a year, dedicating so much time and effort to it, I was reminded of when I was a kid and went to sleep to the sound of my mother typing in the next room… Hours and hours of writing, rewriting, editing. I’d wake up early in the morning to the last, triumphant “zing” of the typewriter roller spinning as she zipped off the night’s final page without releasing the carriage. What a lot of work goes into a book!
It’s that kind of dedication that inspired me to become, not a writer, but a photographer!
For those of you who wonder what a typewriter is, or puzzle over how it could go zing, I’m not sure how to explain it… I’ll just say that it’s all a lot noisier then the little tickity-tick-tick sound you make on a computer keyboard. And if that still doesn’t make sense to all of you touch screen users I can only shake my head and wonder what the world is coming to.
I’ve not been posting at this blog for some time, having been asked to be “point person” for the creation of http://www.thedalleschronicle.com.
What is a point person? Well, it started out I was supposed to be the guy who translated between the staff and the development guys, answered questions and helped input the framework we needed to organize the website. The only actual job description was that it didn’t involve anything so crass as a raise.
After a month or so of development, mostly on the weekends, I was told that I might need to upload the site one day a week when we went live. Well, that would be a lot of extra work, but one day is just one day. Then I was told I would be updating the site every day. Nothing off the plate, either, so I said I didn’t think one person could do it, and produce the daily run of photos as well. They said they would work on that.
Eventually “point person” became the guy who managed the website every day, uploading all the photos and stories from the newspaper, answering questions and finding solutions when things went wrong. It’s what some would call a “web master,” except that a “web master” would presumably be paid more then a staff photographer or “point person” and so far no title or raise has ever been offered. So I haven’t had a lot of time to blog here, and less heart.
But I have been blogging, very occasionally, at the Chronicle with a blog called “Eye on the Storm”: My first test post was about Mill Creek in the spring. I took awhile to figure out what the system could and could not do… WordPress is much more robust.
My favorite post is about almost getting shot at a police training exercise.
Of course, while blogging at the Chronicle I hesitate to gripe and complain about my job… It’s one thing to do it here, where they can see it if they wish, but another to do that under their banner. And if I still have readers here, after a year or more ‘gone dark,’ I’m happy to invite them to the new site. There is a paywall after three reads, but theoretically it doesn’t apply to the blogs…. let me know if you hit it, I’ll put on my web master/point person/newsroom lackey hat and see if I can help…
It’s not whether you win or lose, but how good a picture you get.
As a boy I loved to fish, and I often roll through The Dalles Marina to see what is going on at the dock as I search for newspaper photographs. Yesterday I was pleased to see a couple of young boys trying their luck in spite of a cool April wind and high, murky water. I took a handful of photographs, smiled at a few of my own youthful memories of fish and fishing, then continued on to my next assignment.
Editing my work that night, I was delighted to find the above photograph. The bright green lure, crisp against the black post, was perfect, as was the boys’ expression and the general composition… I saw and captured the expression and planned the composition but the lure was pure luck.
Luck is one of the things that bumps a photograph from good to great, and I egotistically announced to my family that I would win next year’s feature photograph category in the Oregon Publishers Association annual contest. Of course, luck can work both for and against you: My hopes were rather dashed when the picture ran as a little 2-inch square at the bottom corner of the front page.
Oh well. The boys didn’t catch anything, either, but they sure had a lot of fun.
Spring is, just barely, arriving here on the mid Columbia. Vultures have migrated back into the region, the first Grass Widow flower has already been spotted… yesterday a curled flower bud, today an open flower. There are bluebirds arriving in the hills as well. It’s the beginning of a long transition to summer here in The Dalles, Oregon.
That said, there is still snow in the low hills, it’s generally cold and windy. The photograph above was taken during a brief showing of sunshine as I explored a sandy spit at the mouth of Chenowith Creek Saturday, Feb. 18. The creek is west or downstream of Klindt’s Cove in The Dalles Industrial Park, and the sand is covered and uncovered by water, depending on river flow and wind speed. The ripples come from rolling waves pushed upriver by the wind.
This photograph was taken at night with the camera mounted on a tripod. The building in the background is an old flour mill once powered by an Edison electric motor with electricity generated at White River Falls near the Deschutes River. The Old Mill Winery is now located at the ground floor level of the mill.
To get the lights to show realistic, saturated color against a near black background, exposure was reduced from that recommended by the meter. Lens was stopped down for increased depth of field. The shutter was released using a self timer, to reduce the potential for vibration during the resulting long exposure.
This same setup works well for Christmas lights as well. IF you don’t have a tripod, you can set the camera on a stable surface and trigger it with the self timer. I generally bracket around the reduced exposure, to make sure I capture the lights as I intend.