30 July 2008


Spent the morning on a horse farm here in Orange County, NY with Ray Schnittker, harness racehorse trainer, driver & part owner of "DEWEYCHEATUMNHOWE" the 3-year old undefeated colt who's the favorite in Saturday's $1.5 Million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Was down there yesterday for the post position selection luncheon and press conference with the owners, drivers, etc. Looks like it's going to be a heckuva horse race on Saturday afternoon. Thinking of setting up two remote cameras for the race and hiring a freelancer to help with all the gear. Here's a few more from this morning on the farm. -cg.

24 July 2008

EMPIRE STATE GAMES in Binghamton, NY. July 24 - 27, 2008.

I am at the EMPIRE STATE GAMES thru the weekend here in Binghamton, NY. Made the 3 hour drive thru summer morning downpours and went right to work at the track, and later at women's basketball. As you can probably guess by now, I really dig shooting sports, at just about any level of competition. So it's a treat to come up here and cover an assortment of athletic events with one of our knowledgeable sportswriters. We had a blast last year and I'm sure these next few days will make for good coverage on our end, and hopefully good images on my part. Stay tuned. We're here thru Sunday... -cg.

Day #1. Thursday:
Empire State Games. Day #1 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #1 Binghamton, NY July 2008.

Day #2. Friday:  Here's a few of my favorites from Day #2 here in Binghamton. *(Can't believe I'm blogging at 2AM in my hotel room...):
Empire State Games. Day #2 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #2 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #2 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #2 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #2 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #2 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #2 Binghamton, NY July 2008.

Examples of why I thrive on utilizing a remote camera. For the second day in a row I set-up a low angle remote for the hammer thrower yesterday and here with the 2000 meter Women's Steeplechase. Got lucky to have my subjects win big in their events, and even set new ESG records:Empire State Games. Day #2 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #2 Binghamton, NY July 2008.

Day #3. Saturday:  Check out of hotel in Sayre, PA where I've been the last 2 nights, 45 miles away from the college & media center. (that's what happens when you're finally confirmed to cover the 5-day event just the week before; where upwards of 6,000 athletes and their families, officials, and media flood into town. All the local hotels are booked far in advance. Made online reservations for tonight at a closer hotel, as many athletes and families leave on Saturday. That alone will eliminate the nearly 100 miles I've to drive to/from the main college campus & venues. Sent two feature images to the paper this AM before leaving for more track & field events, including a local pole vaulter, weightlifting tonight, and whatever else our sports writer can drum up. Wanted to post these two images from yesterday here, as they're the type of images that can be used as a "teaser" image on the top of the page, etc. More this afternoon. Thanks for looking. -cg.:

Empire State Games. Day #2 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #2 Binghamton, NY July 2008.

More from Day #3. Saturday:
Empire State Games. Day #3 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #3 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #3 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #3 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #3 Binghamton, NY July 2008. Empire State Games. Day #3 Binghamton, NY July 2008.

"Oh yea, any day I can work in shorts (and sometimes sandals) is usually a prelude and certainly a big help in making good images. Especially in covering outdoor sporting events in late July..."
Empire State Games. Day #3 Binghamton, NY July 2008.
"Been going early all week, and definitely getting the uniform dirty..." -cg.

23 July 2008

*It All Starts Here...

"Good morning, I'm Chet, and I'm a 'Gear-Head..."

OK, I'll admit it. I don't know if this all stems from my military background and a specialized attention to detail in maintaining your hardware & gear, but I realize that every piece of equipment I own, borrow or rent is instrumental in doing the job. Hauling all this stuff around sometimes isn't easy, and preparing to go on the road again this weekend, got me thinking of all the little accessories that we utilize to do the work at this level. (Two recent weekend trips to B & H Photo in NYC to add to my arsenal didn't hurt either...) I mean this stuff keeps me up at nights... I get excited by talking shop with a sales-rep about the importance of purchasing just the right well made Manfrotto ball-head for mounting my remote cameras:

The gear layout here at left is my ever-growing cache of cameras, lenses, flashes, clamps, magic-arms, Pocket-Wizard radio transmitters & receivers, and other essential gizmos & 'thig-a-ma-jigs' for shooting multiple cameras and installing a remote camera(s) and/or flashes. *(The 300mm f/2.8 isn't here, so I'll add a full working kit image when I get everything together for the upcoming road trip to Binghamton, NY to cover the Empire State Games this weekend...) Stay tuned. -cg.

19 July 2008

Combat Training at West Point. July 2008.

Spent most of yesterday in the field at West Point observing their cadet summer training, including instruction by active duty soldiers from the Army's 10th. Mountain Division in Fort Drum, NY. These soldiers are at West Point for the summer training with the cadets, sharing their combat tactics & experiences while fighting in Iraq & Afghanistan. Karen Hughes, the former White House official and Counsel to the President, was there in the field with other members of the West Point Board of Visitors.

*(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. )

15 July 2008

*NOLA to NBNY...

Hurricane Katrina: 10 months later.
New Orleans, LA (June 2006, top) - Newburgh, NY (July 2008, right)

Two years ago I spent a week or so in the Gulf Coast, 10 months after Hurricane Katrina struck. For the past few weeks, I'd been thinking about photographing this property not far from my apartment here in Newburgh, NY. "Notice the subtle similarities. Any questions...?"

13 July 2008

New light-meter. Yea, I'm still 'Old-School...' July 2008.

*(new) Sekonic L-358 Flash Master light meter. I needed to buy a new flashmeter in a hurry last week, as my old Minolta Flashmeter IV-F went kaput on me, and I had a few assignments coming up where I knew I'd be using multiple light set-ups and such, both inside and outside. Couldn't wait for repairs on the old one or depend on finding a loaner. Kinda tough to plunk down close to $300. for a new one at a moments notice, but you gotta have the right tools for the job. I still find it ironic that I speak with working pros in the business who never use one. Relying on that little monitor on the back of the camera as your savior is a big "no-no" with me. I learned a long time ago shooting film that you should make your (negatives) good enough that anybody can print them. That road-tested belief held true with me when shooting chromes in various formats and camera systems, where you have absolutely no margins for error in exposure. You either have it or you don't, exposure wise. Bracketing isn't always the way to go. I feel the exact same way about shooting digitally - make your files as easy to tone for the pre-press & color correction guys in the backshop, who work on our images nightly before they go to press, or other editors at wire services, publications, my stock agency, etc. I try to never do any PhotoShop (PS) toning and sharpening on my images, as that's what they are there for, and besides their parameters for color corrections are tighter than what we're dealing with on our monitors & laptop screens, as most newspapers are still printed on toilet paper. Or so I've been told... -CG.

*The (real) "Boys of Summer..."

I've shot a few Little League Baseball games the past two weeks or so. (translation: lots of Gatorade & an occasional bad hot dog on the run...) It's actually a lot of fun, kind of interesting, and still a challenge to make good images, even at this level. Working in shorts & sometimes my fav sandals is an added bonus. Still gotta bring my "A-Game." Fun to interact with the players, coaches and parents. One young player even went out of his way yesterday to shake my hand and thank me for coming, after his team won their divisional title game. That kid is going places. (Can't imagine Carlos Delgado or Alex Rodriguez thanking the press for coming out to cover one of THEIR playoff games.) Found myself muttering and cursing under my breath for missing a few good pictures during yesterday's playoff game. Realizing now what would really be cool is if our local team makes it through their state tournament games beginning next week and then gets a shot to play in Williamsport, PA in the national / world tournament. Can you say 'road trip...?'
*On a side note; I shoot these games with the same mental preparation and intensity (see: remembering to bring plenty of chewing gum) as the big kids, and even the pros when I covered them in the NYC market years ago. I religiously shoot with a fast 300mm f/2.8, usually with a 1.4 TE as my "long" camera body, with a 70mm - 200mm zoom on the "short" second body, and have even clamped up a 3rd. remote body on the fence down the third base line last week for potential plays at the plate. (that camera view got blocked by players leaving the dugout & the third base coach on the only play at the plate from that game, which I forgot they do. That doesn't happen in MLB, as the players rarely leave the dugout or bench, unless it's Game #7 of their "Championships-of-Whatever-Series..." You usually have clean views of the key points on the field at that level.) I digress. That's right; THREE digital SLR's to cover a little league game! LL baseball offers plenty of opportunities for good pictures. The players' reactions are immediate and right in front of you; exemplary "jubo" or "jubee" (jubilation - above.) and dejection (see: tears) are usually always a factor in the games, especially in the playoff rounds. I also like that the games are played with new baseballs and on well maintained fields for the kids. *(Geez, we never had those perks when I was a young slugger, but then again, I only managed to play in a local CYO / Park League growing up in Newark, NJ. That my friends, is a story for another time...)

*The (real) Boys of Summer...  July 2008 *The (real) Boys of Summer...  July 2008 *The (real) Boys of Summer...  July 2008 *The (real) Boys of Summer...  July 2008 *The (real) Boys of Summer...  July 2008

07 July 2008

*Alex Rodriguez archived images & the importance of writing good captions...

*(Above) Doing an archived search in the application CDFinder for Alex Rodriguez images I shot of him a few years ago.

OK, I'm going to give this lesson again. Pay attention. Sit up straight. There will be more explanations and a pop-quiz sometime soon following on the blog. I was a night photo-editor at one of the country's largest paper's, and demanded well written and concise captioning information from the photographers who worked for me when I was on the desk. Just as I was trained as a contributing photographer at the NY Times and USA Today, among other clients almost 20 years ago. I have stressed for the longest time to colleagues and anyone with any display of seriousness about wanting to work as a photographer, the importance of writing good captions correctly on your image files and then, more importantly, being able to find & retrieve those images in a timely matter to send to an editor, publication, wire service, or stock agency. I also speak of working in this business, as that is just what this is about - A BUSINESS. Period. Writing good captions correctly is the first and foremost way of archiving your images. If you're not following me here, it means that the images can be re-used by new potential clients & publications - in turn, listen up, MORE SALES. Bang! Imagine that ? We all have potential money makers right in our archives. Now I am not one to have any thoughts about celebrity news at all, and NY Yankee Alex Rodriguez' marital problems, first with rumors of his having an affair with the singer Madonna last week (denied by her) then just today, his lovely wife, Cynthia files for divorce; all means nothing to me. The same with the untimely death of actor Heath Ledger a few months ago. When I learned of his passing, and thinking quickly, I was able to find the portraits from the take I did with him a few years ago while on assignment for the NY Daily News, and then move a few images to my stock agency, as well as to my current newspaper, where I'm a staff photographer. It was also cool to see the Daily News re-use my images of Ledger, one gracing a full page. Anyway, here are a few of A-Rod during a check passing where he and his wife donated $200,000. to a Boys & Girls Club in Upper Manhattan. I wanted to show that it took all of about two minutes to do an archive search here on the Mac PowerBook at my kitchen table for the thumbnails, pull the corresponding archived DVD and grab the high res originals:

NY Yankee superstar Alex Rodriguez (left) and his wife Cynthia during a press conference where he donated $200,000.00 to the Children's Aid Society at the Salome Urena De Henriquez School IS 218, in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York on Tuesday, May 24, 2005. Cynthia Rodriguez has filed for divorce, with claims of infidelity against her husband. © Chet Gordon / www.chetgordon.com

06 July 2008

Harness racing. Day #2. July 5, 2008.

More from the quaint little harness track here in Goshen, NY on Saturday. It was nice to be able to return to the track for a second day of shooting (see: work) during their 5-day meet this week. There isn't any betting at the track, so the crowds are pretty tame, but it is a nice outing for everybody involved. I know the horsemen take all this very seriously. Our paper has had stories, some covering two full pages, during the week, so returning is an added plus, as a lot of employees went out of their way to introduce themselves and tell me how much they appreciate all the coverage the paper is giving the track. That means a lot in today's public perception of the news business. It's good to be recognized professionally. I mean, don't you like it when someone goes out their way to acknowledge your efforts...? Anyway, enough of the soapbox, let's look at images from yesterday:
*Mounted one of my trusty Nikon D-1X cameras again as a remote, this time on the outer wing of the starting gate to make the above image of the horses approaching the starting gate. (after further examination of this take from the second race, I see that the remote camera was actually fired while I was in the infield, to make the panning images of the leaders going by along the top of the stretch, and winner Jim Morrill driving the #1 horse (below). Again, knowing the official starter (we had a nice profile of him in the paper yesterday, with my photo, didn't hurt either.) allowed me to set-up my rig again on the starting gate. It's a different view from Thursday's remote set-up & straight-on view (earlier post from Thursday) of the horses & the driver of this horse above actually won 4 of the 8 races he competed in, so it was good to have a few different views of him in his races, as he turned out to be the main story of the day:
Harness racing on remote. July 5, 2008. Harness racing on remote. July 5, 2008. Harness racing. Day #2.  July 5, 2008. Harness racing. Day #2.  July 5, 2008. Harness racing. Day #2.  July 5, 2008. Harness racing. Day #2.  July 5, 2008. Harness racing. Day #2.  July 5, 2008. Harness racing. Day #2.  July 5, 2008. Harness racing. Day #2.  July 5, 2008. Harness racing. Day #2.  July 5, 2008. Harness racing. Day #2.  July 5, 2008. Harness racing. Day #2.  July 5, 2008.