My photo
... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Friday, August 31, 2007


We have been following up all week on the Warner Robins World Series winners. Tuesday I photographed
Payton Purvis relaxing at home for a story one of our writers was doing. The same writer was doing another
story about the huge increase in signups of Warner Robins American League Fall Ball due to the World
Championship. I went out Tuesday evening for their tryouts.

Some assignments you have to struggle to find pictures. This one I could not walk for shooting. And such
a neat bunch of kids, just being little boys. The guys in line, one kid balanced on his bat, another guy totally absorbed on his water bottle label.

The adults working with the players, boosting their confidence while keeping everything going smoothly.
Kids and baseball, summer in America. How much better can it get? You could not pose this stuff if you wanted to. Go shoot candids, use a long lens for some shots, but get in tight with a wide angle, too. Keep it real and you just can't go wrong.
I was really happy with my images from this one. Guess some other folks liked 'em too. Same pictures ran on the front of the HoustonPeach and as 1-A centerpiece. OOPS.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Election Nights

Shooting elections can be really rewarding, and also very frustrating. Local elections can go fairly quickly, but when you are covering candidates where votes are coming in from multiple counties, things can really drag on. And if you are photographing the loser, it can make for a long night.

Last year I covered U.S. Congressional candidate Mack Collins on election night.
You get to where ever the candidate's election night celebration will be held fairly early and then you wait. You also find a good spot for your laptop, and hope for DSL. Often candidates make appearances during the evening, visiting with the faithful. When they appear, you shoot like crazy. You also shoot whatever else looks interesting, knowing that half of what you shoot will never get used(unless you do a blog). Send some pictures early, but you are waiting for the big moment.
It helps to know who the important folks like campaign managers and spouses are. You chase them around a lot.

Then as the end nears and a winner is obvious, you wait for the candidate to make their final appearance. Winners usually pop up faster than the losers. You shoot like crazy again, being rude, getting in the TV folks way. You pray for a shot that shows some emotion.

Then you hit the laptop trying to make deadline. Now days the copy desk folks are amazingly patient. The last hour is the fun part, knowing when you get the picture, jumping on the laptop and sending that puppy home.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Saved by the MiGKiller

I came in to work Wednesday morning with a plan for a HoustonPeach centerpiece
photo package, but was worried about what I would get from the assignment.
The plan was for a cooking class, but it was going to be finished late, and was not sure what kind of art I would get. With it bumping deadline, I didn't want to get stuck with boring pictures.

When I got to the office, I discovered a voicemail form the Museum of Aviation. The
call came in early Wednesday morning about them moving a fighter into the front of the Museum. They were to have moved it a full hour before I was due in to work.
This would have made a good centerpiece.

I was sure the aircraft had been moved already, but was hoping the museum folks were still setting up the display. They were still working under the wings when I got there, and it was positioned perfectly for a photo, between the main building and the old control tower. Sun was breaking over the vertical stabilizer. I could see the
wonderful image at the top of this page in my head.

This is the image I captured. I knew if I blew out the sky to get detail in the shadows, I could never darken the sky enough. So I exposed more for the sky and sun, and when I got the image in the computer, lightened the shadows to the way they looked when I shot the photo.

With digital images and slide film, if you over expose, you can never get the detail back. If you carefully underexpose you can make it work. Just bracket a bunch if you are unsure.

Anyway, this was my centerpiece, and the cooking class worked out great for the next day.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Which Picture?

I shot the Warner Robins Peach County scrimmage last week. Had some pretty good luck for the first
football of the year. Always a bit rusty the first couple of games, so it was good to shoot before the
first Friday night.

I had this missed pass I really liked. Then I had another incomplete pass. Shot a burst on it, and had
a really hard time deciding which photo to use. Both so very close, the main difference is that the Peach
County receiver's hands are closed in the last frame. I finally turned in the one where both guys are still
reaching for the ball. There is a flow in it, the hands reaching toward the ball. In the other photo, is
is over. Still not sure which one I should have used.

Guess I was not the only one have an off night. The official didn't call this facemask either.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Be Safe

When you are looking through the viewfinder, be sure you know what's going on around you. Shooting sports can be dangerous, I have been hit by foul balls, basketballs, footballs, sent to the emergency room once by a hockey puck, and flattened by football players-high school through pro.

You get involved following the action, and someone blindsides you, or the action gets to you sooner than you expect. You kinda expect the prospect of getting hit shooting sports. But you better watch out for critters.

Charlie Lanter and I were doing a story on a local farm several years ago. I was standing near a fence shooting this neat ostrich, totally involved with the image in my viewfinder. Charlie yelled and yanked me backward. The other ostrich in the fence was coming after me. A near miss.

So, doesn't matter where you are, or what you are shooting, be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for strange critters and people. Be safe.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Funny Moments

Funny moments with politicians are few and far between, so you really need to shoot 'em when you see
them. Those funny little things that just pop into the viewfinder, sometimes so quickly you almost miss
them, And there are some that you don't see until you edit your film.

This photo of Ned Sanders' grandson Jackson is one of my favorite photos. It was taken at the swearing
in ceremony for Mr. Sanders as Houston County Commission chairman. I was kneeling in the center aisle
shooting away when this little face peeked around the side of the chair. I got off a couple of frames before
a mortified momma grabbed him. The photo made a 1-B story suddenly worth 1A, and is one of the most
commented on photos I have ever shot.

The Bob Dole photo was during a campaign visit to Macon. The lady witht e disposable camera was one
of a group of educators who had been chosen to join Dole on the dais. Her expression as she leaned around
to photograph him was too good to pass up. By far the least boring moment of the campaign rally.

The last photo is the late Lester Maddox. He was a very interesting man. He was a one time a very staunch segregationist, later was governor of Georgia. One of his more interesting talents was the ability to ride a
bicycle backwards.

You never know what is going to pop into your viewfinder. Whatever it is, shoot it and decide later if it
is a keeper.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Heat Photos

Last week I shot football practice every almost afternoon. It amazes me that these guys can do what they do in this heat wearing pads and helmets. The coaches really look after them, taking frequent breaks for water
and to cool down.

I wanted a heat feature from the Houston County practice Tuesday afternoon. We had run a bunch of
heat photos already so I wanted something different. We had run pictures of folks sweating and drinking.
I wanted to get the sun in the picture,but how do you get the sun in the photo at 4 in the afternoon?
You get down really low.

I waited until until they were running an agility drill so I could get down low without getting run over. For this drill They were running the length of a ladder shaped chain, like the old tire drill. This was I could anticipate their path in relation to the sun, metered for the sky and sun so the players would silhouette
against the sky.

I kept enough detail in the player to see his numbers and to see the swoosh on his shoes. The swoosh
showing up seems important in the photo to me. I also wanted the detail in the ground to see the chain.
The coach and other players in the background really add to this frame.

Just to finish out the idea, I did a detail shot of the player drinking. Like the low angle again for the
detail not seen in a photo from a higher angle. Put the two images together and the idea works pretty well.

Friday, August 17, 2007


I love to fly. I love taking cool pictures involving aircraft. Covering the base has contributed some neat asignments. The top photo was not military related, I was flying with the Red Baron stunt team. I had always
wanted to fly in an open cockpit biplane. This was so cool. The photo was made with the camera in my lap
while we were doing barrell rolls. We did a bunch of aerobatics including a hammerhead stall. That was awesome. And I got carsick every time we traveled when I was a kid.

I also am terrified of heights. Have trouble climbing anything above a six foot ladder. So why will I walk to the end of the open ramp of a C-130 at 2500 feet? I don't know.

Air to air refueling is an amazing site, so much skill involved. This was kinda scary. One little miscue and
we in trouble. I have never worried about flying with military pilots. Figured they knew their stuff.

In August of 1998 I got to do something I had wanted to do all my life. I flew through the 100 knot winds
of Hurricane Bonnie and photographed inside the eye. As a 3rd grader I saw a tv show about these folks
who flew into hurricanes and never thought I would have the chance. That was an assignment I didn't
tell my mom about until it was over.

Anyway, some of the most fun I have had as a photographer has been in airplanes documenting things
most folks will never get to do. How blessed is that?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blue Birds of Happiness

This is another picture that I had misplaced until last night while looking through pictures.
Another of those lost treasures. This one a treasure on many levels. I shot this one Saturday in my
Mom and Dad's backyard. My Dad died five years ago. This photo was one of his favorite things.
He had a mouse pad with, and a framed print hanging in his den. It is still on the wall.

He had been watching these blue birds and their baby for quite a while. He told me about them soon
as I arrived. After we visited for a while I grabbed the 300 and got as close as I could to the bird house.
This photo took about an hour to shoot, but was so worth it.

I can still see the joy on his face when I gave him that framed print. Made us both really happy.
One of the cool things about photography is the fact that it is so easy to share.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Reflections make such cool images. Lots of times the trick is to find the right angle for the best composition.
This was at the Camellia Gardens at Marshallville. I went down with my photo group from my church. We had gone back to the Koy pond. I saw the reflection while standing but it was really cluttered. This was shot with my 70-300 at 300mm. I had to lay down on the rocks to get this angle. It was worth working for.

Really low angle shots are a different look for most people's portfolios. Can make for a more dramatic image,
and lots of folks never think to kneel down, or lay down to get the shot. Being short, guess it is a natural
perspective for me. I can't shoot if I don't kneel down at some point.

So, be flexible with both your imagination and your body.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Devine Inspiration

Quite often to check my exposure and color balance I will photograph my hand.
It is easier than trying to find someone or explaining what I am doing. People already think I am kinda crazy.

Anyway, I was at the Warner Robins High practice field, laying on the ground when I shot it. The angle and the perspective of ground and sky makes it look like the hand of some drowning victim reaching for help.

I saved this image because that is really how I was feeling that day. I was shooting a football tab cover and had been worried about what I was going to shoot and how to make it work. I was using a fairly new open bulb flash. I knew that my regular lights would not work due to the wide lens I was shooting with....well enough of that. We will save that for another blog.

Anyway, my idea worked, I got the shot. And I really like this photo. Think I will keep it around for inspiration

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

First Days

I was at Lake Joy Primary in Warner Robins early Monday morning for the first day of school.
My 36th year of shooting the first day of school for the Telegraph. Some of those years
I covered two first days. While working from the Macon office often doing Bibb and Houston
Counties, then after moving to the Warner Robins office covering Houston and Peach
Counties first days. This year Houston and Peach started the same day.

After hearing me comment about all the years of doing "back to school" both my wife Deborah and H/P editor Randolph Murray said that it would be cool to know where all those kids are now. Deborah said it
would be neat to track some of them down.

Lots of changes over the years. See lots more moms and dads with their cameras now, too.

Some things are still the same. Lots of drama and emotion that first day. Always been one
of my favorite things to cover. Some kids excited to be there, some wanting to go back home,
just not willing to turn mommy loose. Momy really not quite ready to turn them loose either.
Some lost and not sure how to find their new classrooms. And a bunch of really dedicated
educators who love their jobs and love these kids.

Mix all these ingredients together and you can't help but get some great art. Someone asked
if it was not boring shooting the same events over and over. Parents, kids and teachers. It is
the same but different too. Different people experiencing new, very important moments in their lives.
And I am blessed enough to be there recording them.

Monday, August 6, 2007


If you are getting a little bored, and want to try something a bit different, try a
Lensbabies Selective Focus SLR lens. Guess one is just a Lensbaby.

Photos shot with a Lensbaby have one area that is sharp, referred to on the Lensbabies website as the "sweet spot surrounded by gradually increasing blur."
Images done with these lenses have a distinctive look, almost like a pinhole
camera. Just like any after market lens, you buy for your specific camera. You can use them on film and digital SLR's.

Autofocus does not work, and neither will your auto exposure modes. Gotta focus and set you own exposure manually. You do have a few aperture choices, but you have to change a disk with a hole inside the lens. This only takes a few minutes.

To focus, you pull the lens in, or push it away from the camera. To move the sweet spot, you just bend the lens. Really simple. A lot of fun.

These are a lot of fun to play with. Check out their website at

Friday, August 3, 2007

FRiday Night's Are Football

August 31 will be the first high school football game of the year. Guess I will be covering Houston County and Northside's game. I have always been happy shooting football in the Houston Peach bureau. We have the best football in Middle Georgia here. For years I have been shooting my Friday night color at 800 ISO with a flash. When I started shooting with the Nikon D2Hs I discovered I could shoot available light at McConnell Talbert Stadium in Warner Robins. It will do a true 3200 ISO and with the noise reduction built into the camera, it works.

The early season games begin well before sunset, and I can shoot some with the 1.4 extender on the it. I usually shoot with the 300 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8 as my main lenses.

For last year the Perry Stadium was upgraded, and now can shoot without a flash there as well. This year the lights at Peach County's Anderson Stadium have all new 1500 watt bulbs. Guess I will have to wait and see what the light is like.

Just hope I have some shots in focus from the first game, where ever it is.....

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


This was a fun picture to do. There are two eggs in the photo, the rest are reflections. One whole, one is cut in half.

I made an open box with three mirror tiles, one on the bottom, two for the sides.
Decided where I wanted the eggs to be, cut the shell in half and placed them.
The light was a monolight shot using a softbox. A softbox is a light modifier sort of like an umbrella, but gives you a lot more control of your light. The light is very directional, an umbrella spills a lot of light around the room.

It was shot with the room lights off. It was difficult keeping the camera and the
light source from showing in the mirror, but the hardest part was cutting the egg
in half without cracking the shells. I broke quite a few to get the one that was photographed.

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