Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sand Creek Massacre dedication

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Gazette photographer Kirk Speer covered the dedication of the new Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in Eads, Colo., with reporter Scott Rappold Saturday, April 28. Speer shot some nice moments at the event. See the story and photos online at or in Sunday's paper.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A powerful photograph, should it run?

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The Arizona Daily Star ran this photo of cancer surviver Shawn Reuss last week on the day of the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Tucson. Reuss, who found out she was cancer-free just a couple days before the photo ran, was one of 800 breast cancer survivors who participated in the event. The photographer Mamta Popat said she didn't want to shoot a medical-type picture of Reuss, but one that was more like art. Reuss said she was comfortable with the photo idea, even though more than 200,000 people would see it. Readers responded to the photo. Some applauded Reuss' courage while others were upset that the paper would run such a "crude, degrading and insulting" photo. Photo editor Rick Wiley said he thought the photo was an appropriate one considering the day's event. The photo "showed Shawn's defiance in the face of cancer," he said. "Even though the cancer had taken part of her body, she made it through and she was going to live her life."
No question the photo's message is powerful, even disturbing. But the photo really makes me feel for breast cancer survivors and what they have gone through.
Would The Gazette run such a photo? I don't know. But either way, we would thoroughly discussed it in the newsroom before the decision was made.
By the way, the Arizona Daily Star didn't run photos of Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho with his weapons as we did in The Gazette.
Daily Star Managing Editor Teri Hayt said "This community is still recovering from the University of Arizona nurses' shooting" in 2002. A gunman killed three instructors before killing himself. Those photos (Cho with his guns) "did not help tell the story," Hayt said. "You knew what was in his head-we didn't need to show the posturing."
There is now easy answer. I think the Daily Star made the right choice for their readers and we at The Gazette did same for ours. Sometimes newspapers need to show the world as it is. Good and bad. But if a newspaper runs a disturbing photo, run it for the right reasons. If the message is important enough, the photo should run, but running a graphic or disturbing without a strong message isn't fair to our readers. Send me your thoughts on the subject.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bounce the pop-up flash

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Anyone who uses a SLR with a pop-up flash like a Nikon D70 will want to check out the Lightscoop by Ken Kobre. It reflects the light from the pop-up flash onto the ceiling or wall (if shooting vertical), creating a bounce light effect. No more red eye. It slides into the camera's hotshoe. Check it out at
He's selling it online for $29.95.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Books about photojournalism

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Two books to check out if you are interested in photojournalism are “Photojournalism, Fifth Edition: The Professionals’ Approach” by Kenneth Kobre and “Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism” by Brian Horton. Kobre’s book is one I read in my first photojournalism class at the University of Montana. I still pull it off the shelves now and then to read. The Associated Press book is one I just ordered and it’s getting high marks from members of Both books are available at

Nature Photography Day

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Need an excuse to spend the day photographing wildlife? June 15th is North American Nature Photography Association's Nature Photography Day. The association suggests spending the day shooting the plants, animals and scenes around your home or visiting a gallery or museum in town.

For more information visit:

Nice baseball action

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Baseball can be one of the most frustrating sports to shoot because the action tends to be the same every game. Pictures of a runner sliding into second base to break up a double play or the catcher trying to tag a runner at home plate as he tries to score are seen everyday in sport pages across the United States. Gazette photographer Kevin Kreck captured a different shot today at the Air Academy/Doherty High School baseball game.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer winners were announced this week. This is one of the big awards for journalism. The Gazette has won for feature writing and has placed in the final round for photography in years past.
Here is some of the work from photojournalists that won this year.

AP Photographer Oded Balilty won in the breaking news category for his work of a lone Jewish woman defying Israeli security forces as they remove illegal settlers in the West Bank.
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Sacramento Bee photographer Renee C. Byer was awarded the Pulitzer in feature photography for the series "A Mother's Journey," her portrayal of a single mother and her young son as he loses his battle with cancer.
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And Los Angeles Times photographer Rick Loomis along with reporters Ken Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling won for explanatory journalism for their reports on the world's distressed oceans.
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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Snow and Sports

Every week, we, like newspapers across the country, receive several requests from the Sports department to photograph high school sporting events. As hard as you try not too, some of the imagery can be repetitive in the search for that elusive and unique sports photo that you don't see in a newspaper everyday. I like to think of it as trying to catch the big fish. It takes patience.
Thursday offered one of those opportunites when a rogue winter storm slammed into Colorado Springs and gave me a chance to photograph the Manitou Springs vs. Colorado Springs Christian School girls soccer game while it snowed flakes the size of quarters.
It's actually trickier to shoot that it appears. First you are battling the elements. I had to cover my camera and lenses in waterproof protection because the snow was very wet. Also I was wearing gloves and other winter gear which makes it hard to operate the camera. And finally autofocus is a challenge because the cold weather is affecting how the camera is focusing and the huge size of the snowflakes makes it hard to autofocus on the action.

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Logistics of shooting a long-haul truck driver

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A photo request came across the photo desk a couple weeks ago to shoot a long-haul trucker driver who had reached the million-mile, accident-free milestone. After meeting with business editor Joanna Bean we decided to follow him on the road for the print story and an online audio/slideshow. The problem was the trucker, Bill Jefferson, goes on the road for weeks at a time. I didn’t have the time to go with him for three or four weeks. And the option of driving with him for a couple days and flying back wouldn’t allow me a chance to shoot from outside the truck. The solution was simple. Photographer Jerilee Bennett and I would follow Jefferson in my jeep. He went back on the road April 3 and we met him at the truck stop in Fountain. He was switching loads with another driver and heading for Arizona. We followed. First, Jerilee rode with him to shoot the action inside the cab while I drove my car, shooting his rig from the outside. We switched at Alamosa and I recorded audio from inside the cab while Jerilee drove my Jeep and took more pictures from outside. We parted ways on the top of Wolf Creek Pass as the sun was setting. See Bill Radford's story in the business section Friday, April 13, 2007, of The Gazette and see the audio/slideshow at

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The power of documentary photojournalism

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Rob Galgraith's website has a great video of James Nachtwey, one of the best photojournalists alive today, from his acceptance speech for the 2007 TED prize. He talks about his experience in documentary photojournalism. He has covered conflicts around the world including El Salvador, Nicaragua, the West Bank and Rwanda. He is one of founding members of the photo agency VII. The website is For more on Nachtwey, visit his site at

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ethics in digital photojournalism

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Toledo, Ohio, photographer Allan Detrich resigned Monday after it was discovered last week that he altered a news photograph in Photoshop to remove a person's legs in the background. He was caught when other Ohio papers ran photographs shot by their photographers with the legs in the background. This raises the question of what is ethical in photojournalism. The policy of The Gazette photo staff is the only altering done in Photoshop are the ones done in the darkroom. Cropping, burning and dodging. That's it. The creditability of photojournalism lies in our hands. Twenty years ago nearly 100 percent of readers believed what they saw in a photograph. The percentage is much lower today. To read more about the incident in Ohio, visit

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A reader's picture

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Reader David Kameron e-mailed this picture to our photo director Stuart Wong Saturday night. Sure makes you cold just looking at all the ice. If you have a nice weather photo or any photo you want to share, send them to me at

Saturday, April 7, 2007

A walk of faith

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Photographer Bryan Oller and I returned today from New Mexico where we reported on the pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo. Thousands of worshipers walked 10, 30 or more miles to the spiritual place in northern New Mexico to heal their soul or body. Look for the story and photos in Easter Sunday’s paper and online at

Two ways of looking at the weather

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Photograhers Kevin Kreck and Kirk Speer captured our cold winterlike weather today in different ways. Kevin captured a quiet moment in Memorial Park while Kirk found a rather lively shot at the dog park in Palmer Park. Both nice weather pictures.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Fun with color temperature

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I started working on an Out There project about local athletes who excell in their outdoor sports like mountain biking, rock climbing or snowboarding. I wanted to create a style that would continue throughout the series of portraits.
I decided to play with color and color temperature. The human eye adjusts to the different color temperatures of light. We see white light when we are in a room lit with florescent lamps, but the real color of the lights is green. That's why when you take pictures in an office or school your pictures look green. Or when you take a picture in your living room without a flash everything is orange. Digital cameras and film don't adjust automatically. Without getting too technical, light is measured in Kelvin. The colder the temperature of light the warmer the color and the hotter the temperature the bluer the light. A candle is 1850 K and produces an orange or reddish light. A light from the sun on a bright sunny day is about 6500 k. So how does that relate to my project? Yesterday I photographed snowboarder Jill Baker-Haight. I set my digital camera at 3200 k (about the same of an incandescent light bulb) and used two strobes with warming gels to light her. The bright daylight of 6500k turned blue because the camera thought the light was oranger. The warming gels lowered the temperature of the strobes (normally similar to the bright sun) creating a nice warm light on Jill.
I should finish this project this summer so look for it in The Gazette this fall.