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Sometimes it’s just the color

No real story behind this shot which was taken at sunrise on Dec. 26, 2013, just above Webber Canyon south of Benton City, Wash. Sometimes simply the color of the sky is worth stopping for.

Cattle holding pens are seen at the Simplot feedlot located next to a slaughterhouse in Burbank, Washington December 26, 2013.  (ROSS COURTNEY/Yakima Herald-Republic)

Cattle holding pens are seen at the Simplot feedlot located next to a slaughterhouse in Burbank, Washington December 26, 2013. (ROSS COURTNEY/Yakima Herald-Republic)

-Ross Courtney


11th Annual Yak Attack

My (Selah) Community Days

I grew up in Selah. It’s the place I learned, returned and now raise a family within. This year, I had the honor of covering my hometown parade. It was an emotional day because it was my last weekend representing the Yakima Herald-Republic as a photojournalist and having my work on parade, literally.

It’s a bit hard to describe, but some photojournalists try to be a fly-on-the-wall, observing and documenting moments to help tell a story while not being noticed. With all the cameras, gear and stuff to help do our visual storytelling — being discrete is challenging, especially at parades.

At parades I gave up on being discrete. I walk up and down the sidewalk, ducking between people, crouching and standing on objects to get a better vantage. It’s hardly fly-on-the-wall.

To get the different angle or better perspective I put myself out into the parade with the goal of visually taking a reader to a place they would not expect when they see my photos.

To get off the wall and out in the action, my camera is oftentimes smashed against my face. It’s a comfortable barrier between me and who I am shooting. Being behind the viewfinder also wipes away the stage fright of being so visible while working.

Which brings me to Saturday. My love of covering Selah days was muted by my roll as a photojournalist all morning — until my family came into frame.

While walking the entire parade route and amidst a middle school band, my family photobombed a series of photos. It stopped me dead in my tracks.

I chuckled and smashed my camera harder against my face because I instinctively wanted to hide the tears welling up behind the viewfinder.

Right then, the joy I have of being a journalist was reflected in the faces of my children, wife, parents and grandparents.

– TJ Mullinax

 

 

 


Screen Shot 2012-03-28 at 10.17.18 AM

In Review — Dealing with a crash…

This past weekend I covered the WIAA state dance and drill competition. It was a really fun event to cover because the performers enthusiasm was infectious. I would compare the state event to drinking two triple shot espressos, then downing a box of pixie stix.

That kind of high comes with a bit of a low too. My computer was giving me fits — crashing when I needed it to work as fast as I was. Because of deadlines I was forced to leave one entire memory card of photos unedited. They never made it into my machine that night because of the computer problems. The next day (that I worked), I gave that final card a try, and the computer didn’t complain and I was able to add them to the online gallery. Here are a few of my favorite photos from that last card, on a second chance try to publish them for our readers.

Click here to see the full gallery

-TJ


Kristy Renee Tackett, left, fills out paperwork after being involved in an accident on North 40th Avenue just north of Nob Hill Boulevard about 7:30 a.m. Friday, March 23, 2012. Tackett was heading south on 40th and stopped at the traffic light when a Mustang driven by Stacie Rae Johnson tried to pass Tackett on the left to make a left turn onto Nob Hill Boulevard. Johnson's car hit Tackett's car and rolled over onto its top, according to Yakima Police Department Sgt. Shawn Boyle. Johnson suffered minor injuries in the accident and will likely be cited for improper passing, said Boyle. "It was kind of an unusual crash," said Boyle. (GORDON KING/Yakima Herald-Republic).

More time for coffee

“How soon can we get something for the web?”

It’s a question posed often in newsrooms around the world as we all look for the fastest and best ways to gather words and images and get them posted on the web. In our case, posted to www.yakimaherald.com.We can transmit photos back with our laptop and Verizon MiFi mobile hot spot. Not a bad way but a relatively slow way. We have to download the images from a compact flash card and then edit the photos in Photoshop before sending the images. And don’t forget, the photographer has to find a place to set up the laptop and flashcard reader. I’ve used the trunk lid of a car plenty of times as a desk. Inclement weather has also forced me to sit inside with the laptop on, you guessed it, my lap.

It’s a little faster using an iPad with a camera connection cord. But it still means setting up the iPad someplace to work, sometimes an inconvenient task.

Enter the Eye-Fi card, iPhone4s and a couple of iPhone apps. I’ve found this to be a fast, no-hassle way to get a photo back to the newspaper.

I set a personal-best speed record this morning: 3 minutes from the time I took the last image until I sent it to the newspaper. All done while standing on the sidewalk. On my way in to work this morning an accident call went out over the scanner. The result:

Kristy Renee Tackett, left, fills out paperwork after being involved in an accident on North 40th Avenue just north of Nob Hill Boulevard about 7:30 a.m. Friday, March 23, 2012. Tackett was heading south on 40th and stopped at the traffic light when a Mustang driven by Stacie Rae Johnson tried to pass Tackett on the left to make a left turn onto Nob Hill Boulevard. Johnson's car hit Tackett's car and rolled over onto its top, according to Yakima Police Department Sgt. Shawn Boyle. Johnson suffered minor injuries in the accident and will likely be cited for improper passing, said Boyle. "It was kind of an unusual crash," said Boyle. (GORDON KING/Yakima Herald-Republic).

It took me another minute to dictate cutline information into a text message (thanks Siri! You rock!). Total time: less than five minutes. Which left me plenty of time to stop at Starbuck’s for a coffee and still get to work at a good time. How can you not like something which allows you to work less and drink coffee more?

I’m using the Eye-Fi card in my Canon 1D Mark IV because it has two flash card slots (compactflash and SDHC). There is an adapter available to use SDHC cards in single-slot cameras, an adapter I will have to purchase if I want to use the Eye-Fi cards in my Canon 5D camera.

To edit the photos I’m using the Photogene2 image-editing app and for transmission, the FTPOnTheGo app.

It’s a simple process. The photos shot to the Eye-Fi card are automatically transferred from the card to the iPhone in my pocket. I select the appropriate photo from the camera roll in the phone and tone it in Photogene2. I save the toned photo back to my phone’s photo library. I then launch the FTPOnTheGo app, select the toned photo and upload it to a server back in the office.  Using Siri, I dictate the cutline information into a text message which gets sent to the newsroom. That information will be attached to the photo when it is placed on the website. No muss, no fuss.

This isn’t a new system but it’s new to the Herald-Republic and so far, it’s proven to be a speedy answer to the “how soon” question.

I couldn’t have figured this all out without the help of others (I’m no tech wizard). Many thanks to Herald-Republic staffers Scott Francis, Mark Morey and TJ Mullinax. Also thanks to Cliff DesPeaux who fielded some email questions as I worked through some tech issues.

Time for another cup of coffee!

 

–Gordon King