30 December 2008

"The West Point Experience"

Covering the USMA in 2008. Since it's contest time again, I've been reviewing a lot of my work from 2008, particularly at the United States Military Academy. For the past few months I've thought about putting together a piece like this containing the best images I've shot there at West Point. Here's my take on covering the USMA at West Point during 2008:

*(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. )

*Visit my paper's webpage on our West Point coverage by clicking here.

28 December 2008

"Back to work..." 12•26•2008

Had Christmas Day off for a change. Friday I was right back on the grind. Out on the mountain of a small ski facility here in the area. Made a few nice images of kids snowboarding and skiing; remembering to keep my feet firmly planted in the softer snow off to the sides of the main runs.
Managed to make a few file type images too, which could come in handy for future winter economy, business or just plain old ski / sport stories this winter. Or any winter for that matter.
I'll probably head to my favorite outdoor shop to pick up a pair of those clip-on type traction "thingies" that'll fit over your boots too.
Guessing the next time I get a ski assignment I'll consider riding the ski lift to the top of the course for different images, particularly at the starting gate of a competition like last year.
I'm already thinking about schlepping up another snow & ice covered mountain with two or three camera bodies, including one with a 300mm, and wondering secretly where I can possibly place a remote somewhere along the course for the high school championships at Belleayre Mountain, should I get that assignment again like last winter. (at right.)

Stay tuned & Happy New Year! -cg.

25 December 2008

"The Card. Happy Holidays...!" Christmas Day 2008.

For the past 12 years or so, I've been producing my own "Holiday series" cards. What initially started out as a few late nights slumped over developing trays in the darkroom at The Journal News in White Plains, NY in the mid-90's. (Boy that all seems like eons ago...) has progressed into a full-blown work schedule, and in past years, a mailing list of nearly 100 recipients. One year I think I put 105 cards in the mail.
Production of the cards has progressed along with my PhotoShop and Microsoft Word skills, as well as the self-assigning the work to actually photograph an image(s) intended for the card production. A lot of those early images were intentionally made on the streets of New York City, particularly found while roaming around the East Village neighborhood in lower Manhattan. Seemed as though I was always able to find compelling imagery down there. I will have to put together some sort of collage of those earlier images, as they've become a collector's item for quite a few friends and colleagues. As a photojournalist, there probably isn't any greater honor than to have a viewer make the effort to keep my work. -cg.

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night..."

21 December 2008

"Monster Snowstorm #1 (Day 2)..." 12•20•08

This one from Saturday up in Ulster County after covering a college graduation at SUNY New Paltz in the morning. -cg.
Ann Beeble of Highland with her horse, "Renegade", a 25 year old Appaloosa at the Gray Horse Farm in Gardiner, NY on Saturday, December 20, 2008. Friday's snowstorm dumped nearly a foot of snow in the Hudson Valley region with another storm expected to bring snow, rain and ice tomorrow. Times Herald-Record/CHET GORDON

20 December 2008

"Monster Snowstorm #1..." 12•19•08

I must be slippin' here. (no pun). I forget to put a few of these images up last night. Had to 'be out in it' yesterday, making images and avoiding accidents for work. Just stayed in the Newburgh / home area, so it wasn't too bad at least. Today hopefully will prove much easier to get around the coverage area. *(I sometimes secretly wonder to myself when I'm out working in weather like this; what all those folks who say they'd like to come out with me and "carry your camera bag..." are doing. Especially when the hands get numb, the snow is collecting on the gear, or worse, melting down the back of my neck...) I'll probably have my fill of making snow photographs by 10:47AM today or so. More snow expected on Sunday too. We'll see.

Back to work. -cg.

14 December 2008

*"Overnight repairs on the TZB..." Nov. 13-14, 2008.

2AM - Over the Hudson River:
This is from an assignment I shot last month, but had to wait until it was published last week, before writing about it here. (of course I had the HS State Championship
and Army vs. Navy
football games to cover in Syracuse and Philadelphia during the interim.) It certainly wasn't your typical work environment on the Tappan Zee Bridge, spanning the Hudson River up here between Rockland & Westchester Counties in NY. Spent an overnight shift on a chilly mid-November night with union iron workers and other laborers as they removed sections of the original roadway surface, and replaced them with new, pre-fabricated roadway sections, weighing upwards of 50-tons. That's right, 50-tons! It was some night to watch & photograph these specialized workers. I remember thinking it was quite the intricate dance they perform every night there over the river, in all kinds of weather. Here's the slideshow from that overnight. *(Note: All the images were shot available light, utilizing a bank of industrial floodlights powered by a generator, mostly behind me and to the left of my shooting positions.) -cg.

*(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. )

13 December 2008

"BOP, POYi and WPP..."

"Contest time..."
This mere phrase can easily bring head-scratching, queezy stomachs, sleepless nights, nervous late-night phone calls to colleagues, and hurried emails to contest organizers. It's that time of year again in the photojournalism trades. Contest time. Editing and preparing your year's best work for entry in the premiere photojournalism contests isn't an effort taken lightly by working photographers all over the world. Actually it's more like a nightmare. This is the time of year when you find out how well organized your work is - and usually more importantly - if you can find it all to begin this mind numbing process. (see my earlier blog post on the importance of good captioning, archiving and finding your images: here) Just the entry instructions alone in each contest can make one's head spin.
The trade offs? Each professional organization now allows on-line entries, and each publishes a book of the winners in all categories. World Press Photo (WPP) in Amsterdam, lists all entrants in an alphabetical listing in the back of their annual book. ALL ENTRANTS. That's a pretty cool list to see your name included among some of the biggest names in the industry who've entered. POYi (Pictures of the Year International) offers cash awards of up to $1,000. AND the latest, whizz-bang digital Canon professional camera body to it's first place winners.

I feel as though I've had a decent year professionally, having won a few of the NPPA's - MNCC contests,
and am mentally preparing for the long nights of re-editing my images for entry into these year-end competitions.

And so it all begins again. -cg.

12 December 2008

"Going home..." December 2008.

I made my way down to the NJ Shore a few days ago to see family. Took a few moments to stroll on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ - literally in the same footprints where my career began 20 years ago.
I remember hustling to photograph presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson here when he campaigned in Convention Hall back in the late 80's. Boy, was I green in the business back then or what...? Such changes going on there in the area now, as I can see how the developers have begun completely anew, starting with new in-laid sidewalks, lampposts, and infrastructure. Even the landmark Rock club, The Stone Pony is undergoing renovations. Looks like there are some grand plans for the region, and I'm wondering what will become of the longtime residents in the area. We'll see. -cg.

07 December 2008

109th. ARMY - NAVY Game. Philadelphia, PA. 12•06•08

Just getting home at 1AM from Philadelphia after covering my second ARMY - NAVY Game on Saturday. I'll post a slideshow of my take on the game later today, complete with more on the weekend of preparation, notes & thoughts on covering this football rivalry between the two service academies.
OK, Here goes: My day for covering a 12-noon game like this starts with a 6AM wakeup & hotel checkout by 7AM (at left). Fortunately we weren't too far from the ballpark this year. (Actually, this stadium is really close to the airport, and I remember thinking how that might've been a well-deserved alternative in better financial times.) I like to arrive at the stadium before 8AM, especially working in a venue I've never been to previously, get thru press gate security; which means having every piece of gear x-rayed, just like at the airports, and find the photographer's field level pressroom. Hustle to get to the top of the stadium to install my remote camera for the fisheye view of the whole stadium; particularly when the cadets and midshipmen fill the field in full company formations, starting around 9:15AM. Yea, that's still 3 full hours before game time. This game meant a lot - particularly for a former U.S. Marine like me. Not because it was my second Army-Navy game, after Navy's rout of Army in Baltimore last year. Not because it marked the official end of football season coverage for me. Not because POTUS was going to be there. (POTUS: President of the United States. - more of that coverage later.) Not because I was again looking forward to installing a remote camera in another pro stadium. (The game was played this year in Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, and it's just an exceptional ballpark to watch & work a game.)
I guess it was a culmination of all the work this season covering games, practices, press conferences and the like. I was beginning to feel as though a great weight had been lifted from shoulders as I arrived in the photographer's workroom just after 8AM. I knew this was going to be it for me. I was sure I had my "A-Game" tucked away beneath the multiple layers I was wearing. Surely had enough practice traveling & dressing for cold weather games the previous two weekends. Regardless of the outcome of the game - I was there again to photograph an extremely important sporting event. The butterflies in my stomach never made an appearance, which was a surprising good sign.

Here's my edited take on the game:

*(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. )

02 December 2008

HS Football Championship Game. Carrier Dome - Syracuse University. 11•30•08

"Road trip...." In the previous post below this one, I kind of laid out everything I packed for the Monroe-Woodbury vs. Orchard Park Class AA State Championship game in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University on Sunday. Let's just say it was a lot of gear and support items. No need to list it all here. I try to anticipate any sort of shooting challenges that I might encounter, especially on the road, so I tend to "pack heavy..." I've known for a few weeks that I'd be making the trip to cover this game if our team continued to win, and as of last weekend when they beat a powerhouse team from across the Hudson River in the frozen semi-final game, I knew it'd be a long weekend. Driving up to Syracuse again, this time with our web-video guy, I figured that we should hustle and get thru the 3+ hour drive and stop at the team's hotel, about 40 minutes south of Syracuse. That guess and/or gamble if you will, paid off, as the team bus was pulling into their hotel promptly at 5PM. I was pumping gas across the street when I spotted their bus pull in. Making those few images of players getting off the bus, and then being around in the hotel lobby with our sports writers allowed me to become a familiar face with the coaches, players, etc. the night before their game. This was a perfect time to wish the head coach good luck, offer my business card, and again make sure he recognized me. We had previously corresponded by email, as I'd asked for permission to photograph and record audio in their pre-game locker room. This game is a good example on how all the pre-planning in covering an event like this comes into place and allows the photographer to make intimate photographs, particularly behind the scenes of a game of this magnitude for these kids. This was their fourth trip in a row to the state championship game by the way; so you could really feel the tension when they arrived at the stadium two hours before game time. I knew this was all going to be special, so all I had to do was stay on top of my game, and make game-telling images.By the time I'd put up two remote cameras, and hustled back to the locker room with the team for their final talk & prayer with their head coach, I had to abandon the audio recording. I knew this game was going to take a lot out of me physically, not to mention worrying about running four cameras, editing a couple of hundred frames, and transmitting nearly 20 images before making the 3+ hour drive back to the office & home that night. Fortunately I had two days off to look forward to. This week it's a similar routine in preparing for the ARMY - NAVY Game this coming weekend in Philadelphia. Ah, the road beckons once again. Thanks for looking. Stay tuned. -cg.

Here's a slideshow of my take from the game:

*(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. )