February 2010 Archives
It can be quite an emotional experience when a family reunion takes upon the return of a deployment. Seabee EO1 Brian Howard is greeted by Roberta Avellaneda at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, February 20, 2010, after returning with the Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 from a 6-month Afghanistan Deployment.
A few years ago I had taken a portrait of a Ventura College basketball player standing in a stairwell. He was lit naturally by light streaming in from a nearby window. It was a very nice affect and when a fellow VC Star staff photographer saw the photo his comment was "nice piece of light." I returned to Ventura College recently to take pictures of Jordan Harris who, despite all the controversy the program is having, has had a pretty good sophomore year. When I looked in the team locker room and saw light from a high window illuminating a spot on a bench, I knew that once again I found another "nice piece of light."
We have been covering all the county area spelling bees this month, sponsored by the Ventura County Star's parent company, EW Scripps. This is such a wonderful slice of life! I have posted two images that I like beyond what will run in the newspaper that I think express an array of emotions in both the children and the crowd. Today's Area 2 bee was held at Blanche Reynolds Elementary School in Ventura with 26 schools represented (there were 28 on the program but two schools did not make it to the event).
Once all the areas have concluded their bees, the county bee will held March 8 at 6:00 PM at California State University Channel Islands. One child will be named as the best speller from Ventura County, plus one alternate, and both will travel to Washington, DC for the grand stage.
For information on the EW Scripps national spelling bee, please go to http://www.spellingbee.com
This was an intense workout as five college football players prepared for the NFL scouting combine. USC's Taylor Mays had to flip that tire several yards back and forth and then step up and down to complete the workout. Their fierce workout, which included running in a sand pit, tossing tires, sprints and upper body work with heavy ropes, lasted about an hour. In back is Ryan Capretta, executive director Pro Active Sports Performance. His clients include: 4-Super Bowl MVP's; 1-NBA FInals MVP; 30+ NFL Pro Bowlers; 20+ NFL first-round draft picks and Olympians from softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball. If you would like to learn a little more about what is the NFL scouting combine, also called the National Invitational Camp, please check out this link from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NFL_Scouting_Combine
I'm grateful when I meet people like Gold Coast Transit bus driver Maria G. Morales. Meeting Morales made my day. She impressed me with the time she took to help answer commuters questions. After working as a bus driver for 20 years she still takes pride in helping people and they show their appreciation by bringing her candy and fruit.
When I saw a monarch butterfly alight on a flower in my front yard, I couldn't resist grabbing my camera and shooting a few frames. I liked these photos for several reasons, the delicate aspect of the subject, the lighting, the soft colors and the composition or the layering of background, subject and foreground. In many ways they are not 'perfect' photos, if there is such a thing, but I thought that at least they are pretty photos. As photojournalists, the photos we take for the paper are always content driven. There really isn't room for pretty photos like these, but sometimes you just have to stop and smell the flowers... and, just maybe, you'll find a butterfly.
It was exciting covering the 25th Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The honorees were generous visiting the fans, who came to catch a glimpse, as well as with the media. Although parking, possible rain and the paparazzi (paparazzo, when it's singular) were a challenge this was one nice event to be at on Friday and Saturday night.
I found this image (above) of fans who arrived early at the Arlington Theatre as they secured a good spot to see Sandra Bullock. After the stars went inside and the event began the street turned empty and quiet.
Beautiful couple, Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker and his wife actress Keisha Nash made a great impression with the crowd on the first night of the SBIFF. I liked how personable they remained in front of the media. There were two lines of a lot of photographers crammed together taking their pictures as they walked to the event.
American Riviera Award honoree and Academy Award best actress nominee Sandra Bullock. I was on a platform behind other photographers. Most times they waved their arms to get her attention for a photograph, which blocked us. She was kind enough to allow all of us the chance to get her picture.
I had one more chance to photograph Sandra Bullock while she was being interviewed by a videographer. I loved the way their camera light illuminated her face. A very gracious person, I hope the picture shows that quality of her.
Second night of SBIFF, I recognized Avatar producer Jon Landau, on left, but I was surprised to learn the identity of the other person as Michael Lewis. Lewis is CEO of RealD, which provided the 3D theater experience for Avatar and several other movies. Check out their website: www.reald.com
Academy Award winning director James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis. I brought a 300mm telephoto lens and purchased a sturdy step stool (that got the attention of other photographers) to get their photo during an interview at the SBIFF. I was happy for the extra height as there were more photographers in the spot I had the previous night. Standing on that step stool for over an hour left me with sore legs and feet the next day.
I used the 300mm, again, as James Cameron moved down the line and gave another interview. Once again that step stool came in handy. It felt like an honor to photograph the director who has two of the all-time highest grossing movies, Titanic and Avatar. I learned Avatar grossed over $600 million in 47 days while Titanic took 252 days to go over $600 million.
The TDA, Transformational Development Agency, recently held a prayer circle with friends and family members at the Calvary Community Church, after spending a week in Haiti after seeing some of the worst devastation in recent history. I wanted to focus on the hand-holding and make it the focal point of the image and still show the people in the circle for a dramatic effect.
When on assignment at Camp Bow Wow last month I was drawn to the yellowish cast beaming through the plastic strips separating the indoor and outdoor area for the dogs. Matt Berkovitz was sweeping the indoor play yard for the small sized dogs and I seized the opportunity for a silhouette effect with results I was pleased with.
Last month I photographed the annual Martin Luther King Peace March in Oxnard from Plaza Park to the Performing Arts Center. Rain and gail force winds were expected that Saturday morning and when I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the turn out. As people milled about before the march, I noticed an elderly gentleman holding a poster of MLK delivering his "I Have a Dream" speech. I began photographing him, using an off-camera flash to illuminate his face that grey morning. I gradually realized that I had photographed the gentleman before. When I edited my take from the assignment, the photo turned out to be my favorite from the event.
I had soon realized that I had taken the gentleman's photo at the same event three years earlier. I just recently came across the previous photo. It had been one of my favorite photos I had taken all that year. He was holding a poster as well, showing a tighter shot of MLK in a contemplative mood. Taken on a clear but cold morning, a sliver of sunshine illuminates the gentleman this time, with nearby trees casting shadows on his fellow marchers. Although I was pretty sure that it was, I had to laugh when I double checked my caption to see if it is the same gentleman in both photos, it is, although in the first one he said his name is William Terry, now he goes by Bill.