Archive for January, 2008

This is what work will do to you

this is what work does to you

I started out the day under the impression that I had a centerpiece. The story was about stressed out students, and I figured we could do a pretty cool photo illustration to get the idea across. I figured I’d shoot a few test-frames using myself as the subject to show Keith, the Editor-in-chief, my idea rather than try and explain it to him. Keith looked at the photo and said, “It’s a good photo, but that story already ran.” That means at all of a sudden, at 4pm, I no longer had a centerpiece.

It’s funny that at the end of the day I was sitting at the photo desk in the exact same pose as in the picture.

On to the fun stuff: The photo was shot with a 70-200 on a tripod set on a 10-second timer. I lit the photo with one flash straight overhead triggered with Pocketwizards. The books were all borrowed from behind Jim’s desk.


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Elliott and I got picked to go to the Hearst Photojournalism competition for UK in the Sports and News category. My news images suck because before this year I never imagined going anywhere besides this campus. How stupid of me. Big thanks to Jim for selecting my images (half of which I forgot about) and getting them ready.

Wish us luck.

In what police called a drug-ridden area of Evarts, Ky., Officer Mike Lunsford picks up syringes. The boy, above, who wasn’t identified, reported them.

Inmates from the Harlan County Detention Center lift a basketball goal off a flatbed truck during the construction of a public park in Evarts, Ky.

For the first time since 1997, University of Kentucky fans celebrated atop the goalpost after a 24-20 win over Georgia.

The Kentucky football team gathers before the first game of the season. Expectations were high for a team that had struggled until last year.

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Get excited

Gymnastics is a hard sport to shoot. I went to Excite Night, UK gymnastics team’s first meet of the season, with no idea what a good gymnastics picture is. I still have no idea what a good gymnastics picture is, but I can guess that it’s one that’s sharp.

During every event the gymnasts are constantly moving, which means that focusing is a pain. And not only are they moving, but they’re moving fast, so catching someone the perfect position while they’re doing a triple backflip is a challenge to say the least, and that means avoiding all the funny faces they make when they fly through the air. I just put most of my attention toward shooting them when they pause during a routine. Gymnastics is also a moment overload. All the girls on the team are like best friends, and they go crazy after someone completes a routine. There are hugs and smiles left and right.

I did, however, discover that gymnastics would be awesome with remotes. You’re not allowed to stand in most places because it would distract the gymnasts, but if you stuck a remote in that spot, it wouldn’t be as distracting, plus there are tons of cool angles to be explored. I can’t wait to go back.

In the meantime, here are some pictures.

So much goes on around this chalk thing, I wish I had spent more time focusing on it. There’s always next time.


During the floor exercises, everyone that isn’t competing lines the mat and cheers on their teammate. I wish I had worked this more too, but since I was the one one shooting I couldn’t spent too much time experimenting.





Too bad this is only warm-ups.


No tornadoes

It was a familiar day. It was raining and we didn’t have a centerpiece for the paper. That means that I got to go around campus and shoot weather features, pictures of people getting rained on, or trying to stop themselves from getting rained on. Photojournalist Elliott Erwitt once said that bad weather makes for good pictures, and he was damn right. The only thing that stands between you and excellent pictures is your willingness to get soaked yourself, so put your camera in a trash bag, throw on your rain coat and head out to shoot.


I pretty much stole this from Britney, but I had a long lens and she was without.

I kind of liked this, but I think the people were too insignificant.


I would have waited for hours for someone to walk through the third floor on the first photo and the second or third level on the second photo, but I had a weather feature CP to shoot, so time was limited.

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Cincinnati Underground

Oh yeah, did I mention that Cincinnati has an abandoned underground subway system. And did I mention that while we were in Cincinnati, my brother and I went into said abandoned subway system?

Alice learned about it over the summer while she was working at the now-extinct Kentucky Post, then she told me. I had to go. I googled it and found out that the project cost 6 million dollars when it was started in 1925. They got the tunnels and platforms built and ran out of money before they could lay tracks. Currently there are two sections still in-tact. One section is about 1000 yards long, while the other section extends about 2.6 miles under Central Parkway. Currently the tunnels are used by the phone and water companies to provide utilities for the suburbs of Cincinnati. They occasionally open the tunnels for tours, but I hear the waiting list is 2,000 people long.

The original plan was to have a section of the subway below ground and a section above. The main entrance to the subway is considered the opening where the tunnel was supposed to switch from below- to above-ground. To keep the cables and pipes in the tunnel safe from thieves and to keep vagrants and vandals out the city put giant metal doors on the tunnel entrance. Jack and I were very disappointed when we walked up, but we managed to find a way in.

We walked into the tunnel, which was full of graffiti (some good and some not so much), until we came to the first platform, which was extremely eerie. We walked for about an hour and had to leave before we got to the second of four platforms because we had to eat dinner. I was pissed. Apparently the last stop is the most developed, with benches and ticket booths. I’ve also read that during World War I, the last stop was used as a fallout shelter and still has cots and survival kits in it.

Tunnels are black, as in zero light, so focusing is difficult. I had the sense to bring a strobe his time, but I didn’t spend much time using it. I’ve seen bad pictures of tunnels that are taken with on-camera flash, and that’s what I was trying to get as far away from as possible. But trying to create dynamic light in the pitch-black with a constantly moving subject while trying to focus and hold a strobe is hard. It’s even harder when you want to be enjoying what you’re experiencing rather than fighting camera equipment. It’s almost like missing the birth of your first child because you’re trying to set up lights. When it;s your first time, you don’t want to miss a thing. Once you get to your fourth kid, seeing it all isn’t as important. When I go back I know I’ll take a camera, but I don’t know how much I’ll be using it.
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This shot could have been a lot better, but when you only have one chance to coordinate everything, it can be difficult. This is in the first, shorter tunnel.

Again, taken in tunnel 1. Again, could have been better.

The first tunnel, the one that was 1000 yards long, was completely open and partially covered by low-hanging trees. Naturally it was a place where homeless people slept. In the next section of tunnel over there was a sleeping bag and a pile of ice. Since the ice was still ice and not water, we figured someone had just been there. Jack shuffles through all the malt liquor bottles that littered the entrance.

Jack near the entrance to the first tunnel, the one with the homeless.

Jack in the second, harder to enter tunnel. This is the kind of shot I was trying to avoid.

This is a giant pipe that ran the length of the tunnel. I jumped from the first platform onto the pipe. Jack’s down there somewhere.

These holes led to the storm sewer along the side of Central Parkway, which are another possible entrance in the event that entrance 1 is sealed off.

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