30 June 2008

"R-Day" at West Point. June 2008.

Spent most of my day-off today back at the United States Military Academy to document their "R-Day." Reception Day is when the new class of incoming cadets report for their first official day on the post, receive their basic issue of uniforms, underwear, shoes, boots, duffle bags, BDU's or 'cammies', canteen, get that first shocking haircut, or as one longtime civilian barber put it -"personal air-conditioning unit", introduced to close order drill and formed into companies, and get their barracks assignments.
It brought back a few memories of my initiation at Parris Island, some 26 years ago; although I wasn't undergoing officer training. All I kept saying was "How young a lot of them are..." -cg

Here's a slideshow from the morning:

*(Use the arrows at the bottom of the player or click the image to scroll forward through the slideshow. Enable full screen viewing by clicking the 4-way arrow icon above the credits button at lower right of the player. )

29 June 2008

"Alas, another Graduation season has come & gone..." May - June 2008.

It's been a hectic 6 weeks or so for me, covering the two college graduations that our commencement coverage entails here in our area. (Mt. St. Mary College & the USMA at West Point, back in late May.) Then capping it all off this past weekend with 5 high school ceremonies in blazing temperatures, beginning Friday night & into Saturday morning. Going into the season this Spring, I at least had the logistics down pretty good as far as the schools' administration, shooting locations, parking access, and even knew to look out for some of the familiar faces I'd covered during the year. That foreknowledge worked out well at West Point and at the HS ceremonies; where I couldn't stay for any of the full ceremonies. It's kind of frustrating in the short period of time that you're at a venue (not including the college events) as you're already thinking of rushing off to the next school where their ceremony is simultaneously taking place. And then a third as well. That gets to be a real bear when you have three in a row on a Friday night in late June. Sort of like a "bang-bang-bang..." play in baseball. I like to think of it all as sort of a "shoot-n-scoot" excerise, although you better have quite a few decent images (with full caption info) for the paper and secondary "art" for the web galleries...
Anyway, after what seemed like endless hurried driving and running around the venues, and nearly no sleep Friday night (I couldn't stop thinking about Saturday morning's two ceremonies) as I got to the first one at 8AM or so for their 10AM start. Here are a few favs in no particular order, including a couple again from Army and MSMC too:

HS Graduations. June 2008. HS Graduations. June 2008. HS Graduations. June 2008.
HS Graduations. June 2008. HS Graduations. June 2008. HS Graduations. June 2008. HS Graduations. June 2008. HS Graduations. June 2008.
HS Graduations. June 2008.
HS Graduations. June 2008. HS Graduations. June 2008. HS Graduations. June 2008.

And from the college ranks:
Mount Saint Mary College Graduation. May 2008. Mount Saint Mary College Graduation. May 2008. West Point Graduation.  053108 West Point Graduation.  053108 West Point Graduation.  053108 West Point Graduation on Remotes. 053108 West Point Graduation on Remotes. 053108
West Point Graduation.  053108

26 June 2008

"Location, Location, Location..."

David Boisture of Cornwall HS is the Times Herald-Record's 2008 Baseball Player of the Year. He's photographed at the school on Wednesday, June 25, 2008.
*I'm real happy with these images of our paper's baseball player of the year, photographed a few days ago, but it took much more than just showing up at the field on Wednesday evening. I'd seen this image in my mind's eye for quite some time and knew it would take some preparatory legwork to get the results I was after. I hadn't shot any games at their school since I've been here at this paper, so again I went on a scouting mission to the school to see the field on my day off, particularly at the time of day I wanted to make these images. (similar to last year's preparation for our HS Basketball POY Justin Rutty.) We're usually assigned to make these type of portraits smack in the middle of the day, but with a few suggestions to the sports writer, we were able to set the shoot time for 7PM, as I didn't want the field in full sun, nor did I want the subject squinting and fighting a full afternoon sun in his face. Otherwise, I probably would've ended up shooting him on the bench in the shade of the dugout or something. I was hoping for a nice blue sky, and got lucky as there weren't any late afternoon thunderstorms rolling thru. Most importantly, I wanted to light him up just a bit with strobes (initially I brought a full compliment of Dyna-Lite studio strobes, complete with softbox, umbrellas, etc. - but we couldn't get reliable electricity down on the field or from a car inter-voltmeter.)
With the help of a dependable assistant, we dug out my "quick & dirty" location set-up of portable camera strobes; putting one into a umbrella, and another as a slight fill from the subject's left with a Stofen Omni-Dome. I also had the assistant hold a large Photo-Flex reflector, with the gold reflective surface bouncing some of the sunlight back into the subject's face. I know now I should've probably made a few more images, to include bracketing exposures a little more to darken the sky a little more, but during the shoot I was happy with the poses, and the subject's facial expressions, and after 20 minutes or so I felt we had enough to go with. Total time on location: 15 - 20 minutes setup. 20 minutes of shooting, 15 minutes to pack-up. Drive time to/from the school; approximately 90 minutes. -cg.

Here are a few of my earlier P/COY (Player/Coach of the Year) portraits shot on location, utilizing the full assortment of Dyna-Lites, softbox, umbrellas, gizmos, clamps, radio triggers, and other miscellaneous "whizz-bang" but necessary "what 'chama-call-its..." (Saving you the trouble of searching back through earlier posts here on the blog):

2008 HS Player of the Year. March 2008. 2008 HS Player of the Year. March 2008. High School Basketball Player of the Year. March 2007.  (#3) High School Basketball Player of the Year. March 2007. (#1.) High School Basketball Coach of the Year.  March 2007. 2008 HS Coach of the Year. March 2008.
"Go early. Stay late. Get the uniform dirty..." *(oh yea, bring lights too, when necessary.) -cg.

23 June 2008

George Carlin. (1937 - 2008.)

George Carlin. March 1991.
Comedian George Carlin performing at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ in March, 1991. Carlin, 71, died Sunday evening, June 22, 2008 in a Santa Monica, CA hospital after checking himself in, complaining of chest pains. © Chet Gordon / www.chetgordon.com

*I made George Carlin in concert on the NJ Shore back in 1991. If memory serves, I used a Nikon F4 or F3-T film body with a Nikon 300 f/2.8 manual focus, shot on T-Max 3200. Needless to say, I was a big, no huge, admirer of his work... -cg.

22 June 2008

Rugby Club Tournament Fundraiser. "Wow, the light was beautiful yesterday morning...!"

What a sport to photograph. Players wear no pads, and I think their biggest investment in equipment is their cleated shoes & mouthpieces. This guy ran like a bull. Nobody could stop him, and I was lucky to have a nice serious of him on this run, as I couldn't stay at the all-day event longer than an hour or so.
Canon EOS-1D w/ a 300mm AF f/2.8 & 1.4 tele-extender. That sweet morning light at 10AM really helped too... -cg.

20 June 2008

"Today We Hit a Home-Run...!"

I got a history lesson today, and loved every minute of it. Spent a little more than two hours this afternoon photographing Lee Carr in his trailer park home, here in Orange County, NY. Mr. Carr is a former heavyweight boxer, who sparred with Muhammad Ali and was a Pan American Games Champion in 1963. Now in declining health and broke financially, Mr. Carr spoke of his heyday as an amateur and pro fighter, alcoholism, a soldier, father and grandfather. After I'd packed up my cameras and lone strobe for the portraits, all I could tell the sports writer on the way to our cars was, "Today We Hit a Home-Run..."

18 June 2008

"You just never know..."

While banging around external HD's of archived images last weekend, searching for file images of my older concert work to add to the previous Cyndi Lauper post below, I came across these two images side by side in a "sent" folder; meaning that I'd already sent both images to my stock picture agency. Very strange juxtaposition(s) on how these two images ended up together... (African child scavenging for plastic vs. a meal in a Rockefeller Center restaurant in NYC, Black vs. White, Poor vs. Elite, Rural East Africa vs. Metropolitan New York City, hunger vs. an opulent meal...) -cg.
Kajiado, Kenya. Nov. 2001. Wild Salmon. NYC. January 2004.
(left): A young Kenyan boy collects plastic bottles after the three day festival of Maasai warriors in Kajiado, Kenya on Saturday, November 10, 2001. The traditional coming of age Maasai Manyatta festival brings Kenyan men and women together to celebrate the younger Maasai warriors reaching the next age level to become junior elders. © CHET GORDON / THE IMAGE WORKS
(right): Wild Salmon atop a roasted vegetable relish prepared by Chef Ed Brown at The Sea Grill Restaurant in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan on Wednesday, January 14, 2004. © CHET GORDON / THE IMAGE WORKS

16 June 2008

*"Shooting Stars..."

No, not that kind.
Made Cyndi Lauper & friends on her True Colors Tour Saturday night, kicking off the summer season at a really nice venue, the Bethel Center for the Arts, on the site of the original Woodstock, back in the '60's... *(thank goodness for long, fast glass. These images were made with a 300mm f/2.8AF with either a 1.4 or 2x tele-extenders.) I'll probably end up rummaging thru the personal archives to add some of my older concert stuff here as well...

And these few favs from my digital archives: Recording artist Mariah Carey performing at Radio City Music Hall in New York on Thursday, September 18, 2003. © CHET GORDON / THE IMAGE WORKS

Natalie Cole in concert with Ray Charles at the City Center in New York as part of the first-ever Verizon Music Festival, August 9, 2001. © Chet Gordon / THE IMAGE WORKS

Michael Jackson pauses during a press conference at Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network Headquarters in Harlem, NY on Saturday, July 6, 2002. Jackson joined Rev. Sharpton and other community leaders in support of an initiative to help protect the rights of recording artists against the unjust business practices of recording companies, such as SONY Records, headed by Tommy Mottola. © Chet Gordon / The Image Works.