Archive for October, 2008

31
Oct
08

Rounding out the political coverage….

Barack Obama came to town last night and I got to shoot it (along with every other journalist in this town/school).  I have always said that Mizzou is sort of a mixed blessing.  Sure, it is one of the best journalism schools in the country.  But, that also means when something big happens in this town, EVERY journalism student swarms the event.  This rally was no exception.  I was fortunate enough to actually get a press pass though.
The photos I got were nothing unique, but it was still cool photographing a presidential candidate 5 days before the election.
One cool thing I noticed was Obama actually signed every book given to him.  They were somehow gathered up, signed, and returned after the rally (see bottom photo).  I guess people just wrote their names in the book and they made their way to the rightful owner via a campaign official.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is welcomed to the stage by Missouri gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008 on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, MO.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is welcomed to the stage by Missouri gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008 on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, MO.

Festive pumpkins were carved with political themes and placed on stage for Thursday's rally.

In the shadow of Jesse Hall on the University of Missouri campus, democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama delivers a speech to an estimated crowd of 40,000 people Thursday.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama gives a final wave to supporters before exiting the stage Thursday night.

A campaign aid returns books that were signed by Barack Obama after Thursday's rally at the University of Missouri. The books were collected, signed by Obama himself, and returned to their lucky owners

26
Oct
08

Ultimate Fighting = Ultimate Photographs

For my sports assignment, I went to photograph “Battle at the Blue Note 8.”  It is an Ultimate Fight match or “Mixed Martial Arts” match that takes place in a caged ring.  “Ultimate Fighting” is actually a brand of Mixed Martial Arts and is confused for the name of the sport (including by me).  Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States despite pressure from social and political entities who call it too brutal.  John McCain a few years back called it “human cockfighting.” (There goes that vote…). Recently, more rules have been added (or at least enforced) to help the sport come back from the underground and it is increasing in popularity.

The thing I found most interesting was that many of the fighters knew each other or were actually friends.  In the ring, they want to kill each other.  But, once the match is over, its all hugs and respect.  What?  You just broke my nose?  No problem!  Lets go get some beers to ease the pain!!  I like it…

This event was sports feature photo heaven and it’s something I definitely will try and pursue in the future.  It’s just something different from the same old football, soccer, and basketball shots that I have been taking for the last 4 years.

I should also add that most of these photos were taken with the Nikon D3 (I betrayed my Canon roots for a night).  It blew me away.  The first 3 photos were shot at 5000 ISO at 1/40 of a second and you can barely tell.  It makes me want to switch to Nikon.

Also, thanks to all the fighters and organizers who let me get in their way for a night. If you want to read more into MMA in Missouri (and the Midwest) Click Here. Also see the Columbia Missourian article on the event.  Enjoy:

In a laundry room beneath the Blue Note’s stage, Jeremy Monroe mentally prepares himself before his fight at ‘Battle at the Blue Note 8’ in Columbia.

In a laundry room beneath the Blue Note’s stage, Jeremy Monroe mentally prepares himself before his fight at ‘Battle at the Blue Note 8’ in Columbia. Monroe says he listens to music from the movie '300' to prepare for his fights.

Jeremy Monroe tries to convince his trainer to snap his nose back into place after losing his fight and breaking his nose in the process.

Jeremy Monroe and hugs his opponent Jake Thorton after being defeated in the first matchup of the night.  Even though Thorton broke Monroe's nose, the two planned on getting beers later that night.

Jake Thorton (left) makes amends with his opponent Jeremy Monroe (right) after breaking his nose and defeating him in the first match of the night. Despite the injury, the two planned on getting beers later that night.

Marla Kay (left) grabs her opponent Stefanie Lavender (right) into a headlock during during “Battle at the Blue Note 8” in Columbia Friday, Oct. 24, 2008.  “All you can think about is how much you want to kill that person,” says Kay.  Once the fight is over though, Kay and Lavender have nothing but respect for each other.

Marla Kay (left) grabs her opponent Stefanie Lavender (right) into a headlock during “Battle at the Blue Note 8” in Columbia Friday, Oct. 24, 2008. “All you can think about is how much you want to kill that person,” says Kay. Once the fight is over though, Kay and Lavender have nothing but respect for each other.

Ultimate fighter Marla Kay sits sickened from exhaustion in an alley behind the Blue Note after a winning her match in the second round during ‘Battle at the Blue Note 8’ in Columbia.

Marla Kay sits sickened from exhaustion in an alley behind the Blue Note after a winning her match in the second round.

In the final matchup of the night, Missouri State Heavyweight Champion Kevin Croom (left) sets up to punch his opponent Ronnie Meret during ‘Battle at the Blue Note 8’ in Columbia.  Croom won the fight just over a minute into the second round.

In the final match up of the night, Missouri State Heavyweight Champion Kevin Croom (left) sets up to punch his opponent Ronnie Meret during ‘Battle at the Blue Note 8’ in Columbia. Croom won the fight just over a minute into the second round.

And finally, a shot from the remote camera I hooked onto one of the light bars above the ring.  I didn’t really know how they would turn out since I couldn’t get to the camera once the bar was raised.  Not bad, but next time I would want the camera zoomed in a little more.  A big thanks to the crew who kept raising and lowering the bar for me:

23
Oct
08

Friends in High Places

To continue my week of doing crazy things and getting away with it, I got to climb on the Tiger Hotel sign today.

Ever since I arrived in Columbia, I have been praying that one of those big neon letters would burn out.  When lights burn out, someone has to go climb up the sign and hang there to fix it: Good photo opportunity.  Today was my lucky day.  To make things even better, the clouds today made the photos a little more dramatic.

Luckily, the hotel management was pretty relaxed about me sitting on the edge of their roof and gave me free reign of the place:

Kendall Schlup of Bee Seen Signs replaces a transformer in the letter 'G' on top of the Tiger Hotel in Columbia, MO.

Kendall Schlup of Bee Seen Signs replaces a transformer in the letter 'G' on top of the Tiger Hotel in Columbia.

And a final shot before I came down:

Maybe tomorrow I’ll go jump out of a plane… who wants to come?

22
Oct
08

Knowing When to say When

So I was just sitting around doing nothing tonight and feeling pretty worthless.  Then, I hear thunder outside.  Oh goody!  That means lightning too!!

I have always had an obsession with photographing lightning.  Maybe it comes from my fascination with storms– one of the reasons I like living in the Midwest.

I grabbed my gear and headed down to McBaine, MO (where I am also shooting my final project) and set up shop in a soy bean field.  The lightning wasn’t all that intense when I got there so I just sat on top of my car and watched the storm approach while taking in that “imminent rain” smell.  While waiting, I grabbed a few shots of the light pollution coming from Columbia 10 miles Northeast.  It’s kind of spooky– it almost looks like a sunrise/sunset.  But, these photos were taken at 11:00 at night:

The lights of Columbia visible 10 miles

The lights of Columbia shine through a soy bean field 10 miles Southeast of the city limits

The lights of Columbia glow over tractors sitting in a recently harvested soy bean field in McBaine, MO

The lights of Columbia glow over tractors sitting in a recently harvested soy bean field in McBaine, MO

Then, the lightning finally started to pick up.  I think a good lightning shot needs something in the foreground to make the photo more interesting.  Simply capturing the lightning on the horizon isn’t good enough.  So, I used my car headlights to illuminate a big tree in front of me:

A lightning storm looms on the horizon near McBaine, MO

A lightning storm looms on the horizon near McBaine, MO

I grabbed a few other shots before I realized I needed to call it quits.  When do you call it quits as I did?

A) You are standing under the biggest Burr Oak Tree in the United States ( Strike 1 for me )

B) If you weren’t under the big oak tree YOU would be the biggest object around ( Strike 2)

C) You are playing with a big metal box attached to 3 big metal poles next to a big metal car (Strike 3)

So, I am happy with what I got.  This wasn’t the best type of lightning (simple cloud to ground).  What I really wanted was the spider like lightning that branches off into 20 different directions all over the sky.  Maybe next time.  Enjoy:

21
Oct
08

I Smell Elections in the Air…

I will start off this post by saying that secret service agents have very strong grips… Read on to find out why I know that…

I love being in the middle of political rallies.  This is a historic election and it’s great to be involved in it.  I have covered McCain a couple of times before– once in Dallas during the Texas primaries and again this past labor day in O’Fallon, MO (which was also Palin’s first rally). I have also covered Obama, Hillary and Huckabee.  Obama seems to avoid me and schedules rallies when I am the most busy.

My theory when shooting something is to keep shooting until somebody tells you to move.  I did just that.  When I got to the BBQ joint, everyone was moved to the other side of the street.  I got around this by hiding inside a business next door and shot through their large glass storefront.  Not the greatest shots:

Posting up in a store nearby since the police wouldn't let us any closer

Posting up in a store nearby since the police wouldn't let us any closer

So, bad shots of McCain coming out of the restaurant… I realize the police don’t really care about us anymore, so I slowly make my way to the crowd where McCain is greeting supporters:

Cool, I'm close, Maybe I can get closer?

Cool, I'm close, maybe I can get closer?

Then, he decides to come a little closer and nobody is telling me to move, so I keep shooting…

Ok, I am happy with this… but wait, is he getting even closer to me???

I think I am just lucky at this point.

I think I am just lucky at this point.

I follow him down the line as he shakes hands– secret service are moving past me but don’t seem to mind me– I’m not hurting anything…

I think this is when I got too close.  How do I know?  Probably because I was grabbed by secret service, yelled at by that lady behind him and then told by John McCain himself that I “need to stay back.”  Ok, point taken:

A little too close for comfort...

A little too close for comfort...

So what lesson did I learn??  Keep taking pictures.  And, objects in the wide angle lens are closer than they appear.  I guess I didn’t realize how in the way I was until I actually took the camera from my face.  But, no harm, no foul… I’ve learned my lesson.

And I’ll look forward to getting the extra screening next time I go to the airport…

08
Oct
08

Empty Promises

I guess I will start out this blog just like everyone else does with sad excuses about why I will not be posting everyday, why I am too busy to post, etc etc.

I tried to start a blog during my freshman year of college, but abandoned ship 3 months later.  I think it is time to get back on that boat and try again.  After all, my last blog post was 4 years ago and the blogging world has changed dramatically since then.  It used to be sort of a tedious process to post photos (I had to have a separate program to do so) but it seems pretty simple now.

Four years ago, I would have never thought blogs would have the impact that they do now.  I guess they are just one more part of that big scary world that is threatening (or helping) journalism and newspapers…

Hopefully this blog will serve as an outlet for some of my photos and writings while I go through graduate school and whatever adventures come with it.  Enjoy.