Friday, December 28, 2007

Between a camel and a camel

Talk about bad luck. A camel keeper gets stuck in the middle of camels after the start of a race at the Sweihan camel race track, about 100 kms south of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Dec. 28 2007. I hope he's all right. Associated Press photo by Kamran Jebreili

A country in unrest

Violence in Pakistan has exploded since the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Thursday. Here are pictures from the wire. The first one by Associated Press photographer B.K. Bangash of a Bhutto supporter mourning among the chaos after suicide attack is one that we'll remember forever.

Kashmiri protester throws back an exploded teargas shell toward the Indian policemen unseen during a protest in Srinagar, India, Friday, Dec, 28, 2007. Police in Indian-controlled Kashmir clashed with hundreds of stone-throwing demonstrators protesting the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. Associated Press photo by Dar Yasin

Angry supporters of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto attack a police officer, who trying to find shelter in a government office, at a protest rally in Gujaranwala, Pakistan. Associated Press photo by Aftab Rizvi

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Gazette photo staff. Enjoy this funny picture by Associated Press Photographer Rick Rycroff of British tourists Louise Norden and Roz Taylor wearing Santa masks and hats as they celebrate Christmas at Sydney's Bondi Beach.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Good weather, bad weather


Weather can make for some great photos--good and bad. Here are two examples from the Associated Press wire service. The top one was shot by Arno Balzarini of a woman skiing toward the 2,372-meter high Shijenzan, underneath the Schijenfluh in St. Antoenien-Partnun in the southeast of Switzerland. Beautiful picture. The second one was shot by Salina Journal photographer Jeff Cooper of a blizzard in central Kansas today. I like them both, but I think I would prefer to be in Swizerland.

The beginning of Christmas

This well composed image by Alvaro Barrientos is from the Grotto inside the Church of Nativity, where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born. It's in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem. I really like the way Barrientos framed the person in foreground with the others in the background. Nice use of layers. The body language of the pilgrims makes the picture too.

Out of place

This photo by Associated Press photographer Petar Petrov is a funny picture because he framed snowboarder Hans Kainz in a way that makes him seem out of place as he jumps during men's big air qualifications. The picture was from the snowboard FIS World cup in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2007. Sure, the competition was staged in town, but without seeing the jump it seems like Kainz is lost.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The hardest assignment

Rose Hockersmith, left, hugs her daugther, Leslie, as they and hundreds attended the "Celebration of Life Service" for Stephanie and Rachel Works who were shot to death during a shooting at New Life Church. Photo by Bryan Oller/The Gazette

Melissa Gonzalez, left, and Aimee Donahue collect flower petals from a flower arrangement at New Life Church following the service. Photo by Mark Reis/The Gazette

Memorials are the hardest assignments to cover as a photojournalist. They're even harder when the memorial is for someone as young as Stephanie Works, 18, and her sister Rachel, 16, whom were killed in the New Life Church shooting last week. Gazette photographers Mark Reis and Bryan Oller shot the service Wednesday. They both shot some compelling images. Unfortunately we didn't have room for any of the pictures in The Gazette.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wrong place at the right time

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Sunday when I was shooting the Broncos/Chiefs game I shot this picture of umpire Jim Quirk getting hit by Chiefs defensive linebacker Derrick Johnson. I was following Broncos running back Selvin Young when the umpire found himself in the wrong place, but the right time for me. I always like photo surprises like this picture. In the film days, I would have never known I had it until I saw the negatives. Today I saw it in the back of my camera when I was chimping after the play. Sometimes it pays to be lucky.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Best of the wire

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Associated Press photographer Odel Balilty used the light well to frame this cyclist competing in qualifiers for the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, at the Laoshan Velodrome in Beijing, Friday Dec, 7, 2007.

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This aerial photo shot by Associated Press photographer Elaine Thompson really gives a good perspective on the damage done by the recent storms in the Northwest. A piece of broken roadway lies in a muddy river in rural Lewis County , Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007.

Snow in those Colorado hills

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Our Colorado mountains are getting pounded, making for some great opportunities for powder skiing pictures. I got to get up there. The top picture was taken at Breckenridge by Leisa Gibson. Peak 8 opened Friday, Dec. 7, 2007, and more snow is expected all weekend long.

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Associated Press photographer Nathan Bilow found Jeff Hanle digging his girl friend's car out of the deep snow in Aspen Friday and a skier riding his bike to the slopes with his skis and poles on board. More than a foot of snow fell overnight in the Colorado mountain town.

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Here's a video from Breckenridge today:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

In our Colorado Springs backyard

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Sometimes we, Coloradoans, take for granted the beauty surrounding us. Here are two pictures from the last couple weeks. The first picture Gazette Photographer Bryan Oller shot of Pikes Peak and the second one of a sunset over Prospect Lake was shot by Gazette Photographer David Bitton. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

More flooding

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Associated Press photographer Elaine Thompson shot this picture of Interstate 5 running into the flooded Chehalis River at Centralia, Wash., Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007. Gov. Chris Gregoire declared a state of emergency Monday following the third in a series of storms that hit hardest on the Olympic Peninsula, Kitsap County and the southwest corner of the state. I feel guilty being in Colorado Springs today with its 60 degree weather and no rain.

Storm coverage

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Olympian photographer Steven Bloom covered the storm damaged Ranch House BBQ near Olympia, Wash., Monday and co-owner Melanie Tapia receiving a hug from Ginny Wallace, a friend and DOT worker who stopped by to check on them after a wall of mud destroyed the restaurant.

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Olympian photographer Steven M. Herppich captured this stranded motorist stuck in the middle of an Olympia, Wash., street as flood kept rising.

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Seattle Times photographer Steve Ringman was with Woodinville firefighters, Jesse Disch, left, and Justin Ralph as they pull residents and their pets from their apartments in Woodinville, Wash.

Seeing theses images from the Northwest brought back a lot of memories for me. I grew up in Seattle and worked in Oregon for five years. In 1996 I covered the Oregon floods and mudslides that left a family dead, many homeless and closed Interstate 5. Covering storms like that can be tough physically and mentally. First, keeping your equipment dry is impossible. I lost a camera body and a strobe in the mud and rain. I even lost my muffler and tailpipe on my car while escaping the rising Umpqua River. Second, you are cold, wet and dead tired as you work around the clock. And third, it hard to see people in your community lose everything. In Oregon, I had to cover the funeral of the mother, father and family friend who died in the mudslide. It's not easy, especially when the people you are shooting are your friends and neighbors. Covering events like this are a rush. Don't get me wrong. But they take their toll.

Friday, November 30, 2007

World Aids Day

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Worlds Aids Day is Saturday and here are three different perspectives shot Friday from around the World to mark the event. The top photo shot by Ron Edmonds shows the large AIDS ribbon hanging from the North Portico of the White House in honor of World AIDS Day.

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The middle photo was shot by M. Lakshman and shows a 4-months-old female child, who is reportedly HIV positive, sleeping inside a cloth hammock at a Community Health Education Society orphanage in Chennai, India.

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The third picture shot by Jacquelyn Martin shows students from the George Washington University chapter of the Student Global AIDS Campaign protesting outside the White House, calling on the federal government to "cut the red tape" around access to AIDS prevention and treatment.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Funny pictures

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Good photos spark emotions. The picture of the plane hitting the second World Trade Center tower on Sept. 11, 2007 and the picture of the firefighter carrying the infant after the Oklahoma City bombing are two examples that quickly come to mind. But sometimes it's nice to see picture that make us feel happy. Here are two pictures from today that made me smile. The first one, shot by Associated Press photographer Mike Thomas, is of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens throwing popcorn in his face after scoring against the Green Bay Packers. The second one, shot by Gazette Photographer Carol Lawrence, is a picture of local Chick-fil-A mascot Chris Loos playing around in front of the restaurant where he works in Colorado Springs. He won the distinction of being one of the Top-10 cow performers in the country.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Washed out

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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward hits the soggy turf at Heinz Field after hauling in a first quarter pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger against the Miami Dolphins. I know this game wasn't any fun for the players and fans, but as a photographer, the opportunities are endless. Reminds me of the five years I spent in Oregon shooting the Oregon Ducks and high school football in the rain. Associated Press photographer Gene J. Puskar shot this one.

Wrong place at the wrong time

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These fans were a little too close to the action when Los Angeles Clippers' Ruben Patterson jumped into the stands while running for a loose ball. One of the fans lost his dinner. Associated Press photographer Danny Moloshok caught the moment.

Santa Road

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They aren't The Beatles and street isn't Abbey Road, but these Santas shot by Associated Press photographer Gary He cracked me up. The volunteers of America's "Sidewalk Santas" were walking across Fifth Avenue.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Moon over Colorado

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Associated Press photographer Bill Ross shot this silhouette of a single engine plane caught in the full moon on Saturday evening over Denver.

Friday, November 23, 2007

On the Road

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I told Christian I'd try to be more active on this, so here goes.
I covered the World Series in Boston for The Gazette. Unlike larger papers who send three or four photographers as well as a photo editor, I went by my lonesome. This is a shot of me, taken by the Rocky Mountain News photog Joe Mahoney, in my shooting position along the third baseline, between the dugout and homeplate. As a fan behind me pointed out, we were closer to the batter than the pitcher was.
You can just see my laptop computer to my right. A wireless signal let me transmit from my position, saving me having to miss action to go edit and transmit from the photo workroom, out beyond right field. It rained during game one, forcing me to transmit during breaks in the rain, but with no rain in game two I could transmit between innings, getting pictures to the paper often before the next inning started.
The other great thing about the trip was getting to use the Nikon D3 Christian has already posted on. The camera really is remarkable, focusing much better and being able to use 6,400 ISO with little noise.
Write if you have any questions.
See you next time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Twice as nice Hilton

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I never thought I would put a photo of Paris Hilton on The Speaking of Photos blog, but photographer Eugene Hoshiko shot these two pictures of the U.S. socialite trying on outfits by Chinese designer Lu Kun at Lu Kun's studio in Shanghai, China.

Time for giving

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Gazette photographer Bryan Oller covered the annual Springs Rescue Mission Thanksgiving dinner today and found this nice shot of Phil Ginsburg performing for the guests. It's always our goal to give readers a different perspective from a yearly event and Oller did just that.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Terrorist or censorship?

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A young girl receives treatment at a hospital after sustaining injuries during U.S. airstrikes in Fallujah, Iraq, in this Sept.17, 2004 file photo by Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein.

The story below about Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein is scary. Could that happen to any of us covering the news or are there more facts that aren't coming to light? Either way Hussein has been in prison for 19 months without being charged with a crime.

By BRIAN MURPHY, The Associated Press
NEW YORK - The U.S. military plans to seek a criminal case in an Iraqi court against an award-winning Associated Press photographer but is refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented.
An AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the U.S. military plans a "sham of due process." The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months.
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In Washington, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell explained the decision to bring charges now by saying "new evidence has come to light" about Hussein, but said the information would remain in government hands until the formal complaint is filed with Iraqi authorities.
Morrell asserted the military has "convincing and irrefutable evidence that Bilal Hussein is a threat to stability and security in Iraq as a link to insurgent activity" and called Hussein "a terrorist operative who infiltrated the AP."
AP Associate General Counsel Dave Tomlin rejected the claim: "That's what the military has been saying for 19 months, but whenever we ask to see what's so convincing we get back something that isn't convincing at all."
The case has drawn attention from press groups as another example of the complications for Iraqis chronicling the war in their homeland — including death squads that target local journalists working for Western media and apparent scrutiny from U.S. intelligence agents.
A public affairs officer notified the AP on Sunday that the military intends to submit a written complaint against Hussein that would bring the case into the Iraqi justice system as early as Nov. 29. Under Iraqi codes, an investigative magistrate will decide whether there are grounds to try Hussein, 36, who was seized in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on April 12, 2006.
Tomlin said the defense for Hussein is being forced to work "totally in the dark."
The military has not yet defined the specific charges against Hussein. Previously, the military has pointed to a range of suspicions that attempt to link him to insurgent activity.
The AP also contends it has been blocked by the military from mounting a comprehensive defense for Hussein, who was part of the AP's Pulitzer Prize-winning photo team in 2005.
Soon after Hussein was taken into custody, the AP appealed to the U.S. military either to release him or bring the case to trial — saying there was no evidence to support his detention. However, Tomlin said that the military is now attempting to build a case based on "stale" evidence and discredited testimony. He also noted that the U.S. military investigators who initially handled the case have left the country.
The AP says various accusations were floated unofficially against Hussein and then apparently withdrawn with little explanation.
Tomlin said the AP has faced chronic difficulties in meeting Hussein at the Camp Cropper detention facility in Baghdad and that its own intensive investigations of the case — conducted by a former federal prosecutor, Paul Gardephe — have found no support for allegations he was anything other than a working journalist in a war zone.
"While we are hopeful that there could be some resolution to Bilal Hussein's long detention, we have grave concerns that his rights under the law continue to be ignored and even abused," said AP President and CEO Tom Curley.
"The steps the U.S. military is now taking continue to deny Bilal his right to due process and, in turn, may deny him a chance at a fair trial. The treatment of Bilal represents a miscarriage of the very justice and rule of law that the United States is claiming to help Iraq achieve. At this point, we believe the correct recourse is the immediate release of Bilal," Curley added.
Hussein, a native of Fallujah and a member of a prominent clan in the western province of Anbar, began work for the AP in the summer of 2004 as the anti-U.S. insurgency was gaining ground.
On the morning of April 12, 2006, Hussein was out buying bread for breakfast when he heard a blast on a nearby street in Ramadi, according to the AP investigation. He dashed home and allowed several strangers to follow — as was customary to offer shelter during unrest in the city. Marines later arrived and used Bilal's apartment as a temporary observation post.
Hussein told the AP he was later taken into custody by the Marines who also confiscated equipment including a laptop and satellite phone. The guests he invited into his apartment amid the chaos were also detained.
On Monday, Morrell said two guests in the apartment that day were "suspected insurgents" and that one of them later was convicted in a court of having a phony ID. It was unclear whether he remained in custody or was released.
Calls for Hussein's freedom have been backed by groups such as the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Tomlin said it remains unclear what accusations, evidence and possible witnesses will be presented by military prosecutors in Baghdad.
"They are telling us nothing. ... We are operating totally in the dark," said Tomlin, who added that the military's unfair handling of the case is "playing with a man's future and maybe his life."
Although it's unclear what specific allegations may be presented against Hussein, convictions linked to aiding militants in Iraq could bring the death penalty, said Tomlin.
U.S. military officials in Iraq did not immediately respond to AP questions about what precise accusations are planned against Hussein.
Previously, the military has outlined a host of possible lines of investigation, including claims that Hussein offered to provide false identification to a sniper seeking to evade U.S.-led forces and that Hussein took photographs that were synchronized with insurgent blasts.
The AP inquiry found no support for either of those claims. The bulk of the photographs Hussein provided the AP were not about insurgent activity; he detailed both the aftermath of attacks and the daily lives of Iraqis in the war zone. There was no evidence that any images were coordinated with the insurgents or showed the instant of an attack.
Tomlin also questioned the U.S. military claims that Hussein's fate rests solely with Iraqi justice. Noting that Hussein has been in the sole custody and control of the U.S. military, he said it's up to military prosecutors to lay out the allegations and "it's impossible that they don't have a specific set of charges drawn up."
Gardephe, now a New York-based attorney, said the AP has offered evidence to counter the allegations so far raised by the military. But, he noted, it's possible the military could introduce new charges at the hearing that could include classified material.
"This makes it impossible to put together a defense," said Gardephe, who is leading the defense team and plans to arrive in Baghdad next week. "At the moment, it looks like we can do little more than show up ... and try to put together a defense during the proceedings."
One option, he said, is to contend that the Pentagon's handling of Hussein violated Iraqi legal tenets brought in by Washington after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Among the possible challenges: AP claims that Hussein was interrogated at Camp Cropper this year without legal counsel.
Hussein is one of the highest-profile Iraqi journalists in U.S. custody.
In April 2006 — just days before Hussein was detained — an Iraqi cameraman working for CBS News was acquitted of insurgent activity. Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein was held for about a year after being detained while filming the aftermath of a bombing in the northern city of Mosul.
Tomlin, however, said that freedom for Bilal Hussein, who is not related to the cameraman working for CBS, isn't guaranteed even if the judge rejects the eventual U.S. charges. The military can indefinitely hold suspects considered security risks in Iraq.
"Even if he comes out the other side with an acquittal — as we certainly hope and trust that he will — there is no guarantee that he won't go right back into detention as a security risk."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Purr-fectly pinned up

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Reporter Melissa Cassutt and I reported on local photographer Adrienne Cragnotti who shoots pinups pictures for military wives to send to their deployed husbands. We created an audio slideshow about the process. Check it out at

Friday, November 16, 2007

From around the world

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Colorado's ski season is off to a slow start, but in Germany the snow gods have been kind. Associated Press photographer Diether Endlicher shot this picture of a snowboarder riding through the fresh powder on top of the Zugspitze Mountain near Garmisch Partenkirchen in southern Germany. I'm jealous.

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The Christmas season started with a bang over the Michigan Capitol and the official state Christmas tree. Associated Press photographer Al Goldis captured the moment.

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Associated Press photographer Javier Galeano gave us a different look at models getting ready before a fashion show by Cuban designers to commemorate Havana's 488th anniversary.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Last thoughts on the D3

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Gazette photographer Carol Lawrence used the Nikon D3 on one of the worst conditions to shoot with available light. She shot the Air Force Academy water polo team in the dungeons of the academy. Normally it would be an assignment that required portable lights. She shot this picture at ISO 6400 with an 80-200mm lens at 1/500th and f2.8. The color quality of the sodium vapor lights couldn't be fixed totally with the camera, but the noise and detail was pretty good. Earlier in the month Gazette photographer Kevin Kreck discovered that shooting fast (like 1/2000th) under some stadium light would create images where the color temperature wasn't consistent across the picture. The shutter speed catch the lights mid-cycle like shooting a TV screen at a shutter speed faster than 1/30th. Something a shooter would have never encounter with the slower ISOs cameras.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Paper makers

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Gazette photographer Carol Lawrence produced an audio slideshow about Colorado College's paper making class, which is an effort to revitalize The Press, the CC Book Arts Curriculum. She wrote a story for the paper that ran Sunday, Nov. 4, in the Life Section. The slide show was lost on The Gazette's website so I wanted to draw attention to it. She did a really nice job. Check it out at

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The moment and the light

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Sometimes a good photo captures the moment and sometimes a good photo is a unique look at a typical situation. Here are two examples from today's photo wire: Associated Press photographer Fareed Khan captured this intense moment as a supporter of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto makes victory sign from a police van as he is detained by police, during a rally against the emergency rule, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007, in Karachi, Pakistan.

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Associated Press photographer Nathan Strange used the quality of light to make this nice image of actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt attend the European premiere of Beowulf in London, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Top pixs of the day

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Here are two of my favorite pictures from the wire today. The first one taken by Asssociated Press photographer Ed Wray is of the Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) volcano in the Sunda Straits between and Java and Sumatra, Indonesia. Sending a boom echoing across the bay, the volcano known as the "Krakatau's Child" unleashes another eruption, but while impressive, the eruption was nothing compared to what took place in 1883 at this spot, when Anak Krakatau's predecessor blew apart in one of the most devastating eruption in recorded history.

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This second picture is taken by Associated Press photographer Herbert Knosowski on the 18th anniversary of the opening of Berlin Wall. Tourists look at the installation 'Vanished Berlin Wall' by South Korean artist Eun Sok Lee in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. The Berlin Wall was opened on Nov. 9, 1989. I can't believe it's been 18 years. I was working that night at the University of Montana's student newspaper, Montana Kaimin, when the news came across the wire. Damn I feel old.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More on the Nikon D3

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Last night I used a Nikon D3 for the first time to shoot the Broncos/Packers Monday Night Football Game. I shot the game at 3200 ISO at a shutter speed of 1/2000 at F 2.8 with a 400 mm lens. Amazing results. The 3D auto focus was quick and followed the your subject throughout the play. Much better than the D2H's auto focus. The buffer was frustrating at first because the camera I was using would shoot a burst of about six or seven frames than stop as the camera caught up. Then you could shoot again. I had the settings set for JPEG at normal and it still did that. Other photographers trying out the D3 didn't have a problem so it may have been the test camera I was using. The downfall could be a non-issue by the time the production cameras come out later this year. The thing that amazed me the most was the lack of noise at high ISOs. Look at the pictures above. Even in the tightly cropped picture of the ball the detail and lack of noise is unbelievable. Fellow Gazette photographer Mark Reis explained it well when he told me the D3 could be the biggest advancement in photography since the switch from film to digital. I think he's right.