28 July 2009

"Jumper Down...!!!"

Newburgh, NY. 28•July•09

Real news, breaking right here close to home, no less. Today was exactly like my days working the streets in NYC, particularly in these hot, steamy summer months. Preparing to start my afternoon shift with a last minute assignment at police HQ here in my town, I got a call from my colleague - reporter Doyle Murphy; "We've got a jumper in the water off the (Newburgh - Beacon) Bridge." All I remember now was hurriedly putting away food here in my kitchen and getting one of my personal Nikon D-1X's and a 300mm f/2.8 with a tele-extender together to head out under the bridge at the river's edge here not far from my apt. What a great view of the bridge from the shoreline condos that are completely hidden away in that part of town. *(note to self: return to this location for file images of the bridge...) After speaking with the desk and relaying that I've made the State Police helicopter & rescue boats and it didn't appear that they've found the jumper, I was then directed back to the original assignment back at police HQ. Bummer, I kept mumbling to myself as I know in some of these cases a jumper can be found alive - as previous jumpers have survived off the Tappan Zee Bridge. Spent about an hour at police HQ for a story on their dept. receiving nearly $1M in federal funding for more officers, etc. I secretly wanted to be back on the river. Finishing up the shift change with the cops, I made my way back to the river, where a local Tee-Vee freelance cameraman was now on the scene. Managed to wait out what was now a recovery scene for two hours and shot everything but the body removal from a rescue boat. Even if the paper had no need to publish a "body bag" photo, I strongly believe if the deceased is a notable person, it's an image that has to be made. In a week or so, we'd want the picture right...? After finishing my edits at home and sending in a few images from the initial rescue scene of the SP helicopter and the static images of the police briefing, another call from reporter Murphy before 8PM; "You interested in checking out a fire...?
I can see the dark smoke from my house..." Doyle lives a few blocks down from me here in the city, so we've developed a good feel for working together, especially on spot news events. "Hasbrouck & S. Miller."

"Sure", I reply. "I'll be there in 10 minutes..."

Just like the old days. -cg.

23 July 2009

*A Portrait that just 'Sings...' Newburgh, NY 22•July•09

It doesn't happen often. You never, ever know when everything is going to work precisely as planned. Even visualizing the final image in my head doesn't always reach this level of simple satisfaction. The few images of orchestral conductor and classical composer Marcus Parris of Worcester, MA and Boston, literally jumped out of the camera and completely blew us all away. I think I made about 10 - 12 frames of him, after suggesting we move the electronic keyboard he's leaning on away from the large window at one end of his sparse studio apt. The room was a nightmare technically when I arrived as the reporter finished up his interview. White walls with an overly strong midday sun blasting thru aluminum white blinds. Fortunately I had the time to listen to the last few minutes of the interview and carefully observe Mr. Parris. The guy is only 26 years old! Extremely gracious and with a good sense of humor, he agreed to move the keyboard away from the window, changed into his tuxedo jacket and formal shirt and grabbed his baton. He remained dressed in khaki shorts and I explained that it didn't matter since I was only concerned with making a few tight head & shoulder portraits. As we joked a bit through the first test shots of him standing at first, it all kind of fell into place, almost instantly. When we pulled over a chair, and I adjusted the grid light to fall off coming in from the right, I dropped to my knees and made the images with the medium telephoto. Shooting time was probably no more than 10 minutes, after spending all of 10 - 15 minutes setting up my two small camera strobes. I knew by adjusting the exposures drastically, I could control the background and how I wanted those dreadful white walls to fall into shadow.

Here's a set-up photo of the subject after I finished and was secretly doing cartwheels inside. For all you gearheads and lighting junkies, here's the set-up / equipment info: Canon 5D-Mark II w/ 28mm - 70mm f/2.8AF. ISO 400. Two Canon strobes - main at right with a DIY snoot made from black Cine-Foil on a stand at camera right at 1/4 - 1/8th. power. Varied exposures between 1/30th. - 1/125th. sec. f/6.3 - f/8 after the interview. Second strobe low at camera left with a Sto-Fen dome at 1/32nd. power. Both strobes powered by a Quantum Battery I's and triggered by Pocket Wizards. "Cheers." -cg.

20 July 2009

This photo has "grown legs..." July 2009

An image of mine I made back in 2006 in the Gulf Coast appears on client AmeriCares website. I'd toured the New Orleans area, as well as into Mississippi during the week I spent shooting for them back in June 2006, ten months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast states.
An image from that brief stop in a FEMA trailer compound in Moss Point, MS was also used by AmeriCares on a calendar they produced a few years ago as well.

Gotta find that calendar... -cg.

19 July 2009

"Show Me the Hands..."

I know it's been said that the eyes are the window to the soul. But in my own sort of ways of thinking and working as a photographer, I've found myself observing and even seeking out how a subjects' hands look.
It has become an almost unconscious thing when I know I've gotten close or "inside" with a subject. Someone once told me that you can tell a lot about a man by just shaking his hand. I never forgot that. Here's a brief take on some of my images made of hands (and a few feet too in extreme situations) through the years... -cg.*(Click the arrow at the bottom left of the player to start the slideshow, or click the image / or the arrows at lower left to scroll through the show manually. Enable full screen viewing by clicking the 4-way arrow icon above the credits button at lower right of the player.)

11 July 2009

*Pulling an all-nighter w/ City Cops... July 2009

*Overnight Tour w/ Newburgh, NY PD & NY State Police.
Friday July 10, 2009. 11:09PM

I spent part of an overnight shift last night with our beat reporter Doyle Murphy in the back of a cramped police SUV, touring the various neighborhoods here in my city, Newburgh, NY. Doyle and I have collaborated lately on a few of the big stories here in Newburgh, including the FBI bust of the terrorist bombers in May. Working a story like this brought back a ton of memories (no, I'm not a regular in the back of police cruisers...) but it did allow me to reminisce about a similar ride along I did with the PD in Seaside Heights, NJ about 16 years ago while working as a freelancer for the NY Times: (I'll have to pull a couple of those street images shot on film and build a comparison slideshow here) Requesting that the paper publishes the images in B/W. Have only had about 2 - 3 hours of sleep, as today started off covering the ongoing search with search & rescue dog teams for Laura Garza, who's been missing up here since last December.
Here's my take as a slideshow from the night w/ the Newburgh Police and NY State Troopers.


*(Click the arrow at the bottom left of the player to start the slideshow, or click the image / or the arrows at lower left to scroll through the show manually. Enable full screen viewing by clicking the 4-way arrow icon above the credits button at lower right of the player.)

07 July 2009

"Down - Time..." Monday July 6, 2009.

What better way to clear my head a little after the working the tiring holiday summer weekend, than to head out to the airport and photograph aircraft...? Here's the scene: A beautiful July afternoon, my two Nikon D-1X bodies & long glass, and after a quick trip to the grocery store, I settled in to await approaching airplanes on short final and landing. Got lucky when a mammoth C-5A Galaxy cargo plane (above) arrived and touched down just after 4:15PM. Sweet. A beautiful set of images that have already been shipped to my editorial stock agency, THE IMAGE WORKS.

Besides the images of the C-5A, the photographs I made of civilian and commercial aircraft are good file images for work, the agency and can be used to illustrate business, economy, transportation and of course aviation stories. -cg.

"Did You (I) Work Hard Enough Today...?" July 4th. 2009 Weekend.

I occasionally find myself wondering if I've put enough into an assignment, workday, week, personal-project, whatever. You get the idea. This isn't a field where you can second guess your techniques and beliefs in creating images, and certainly not your equipment. Most of the time I have a finished image in my mind from a particular event, or some version of what I'm trying to accomplish. Working through this past 4th. of July weekend, I was faced with a broad range of assignments and picture possibilities, and choose to attack each opportunity aggressively.

Not to mention the nearly 400 miles I drove on Friday & Saturday to / from assignments. Saturday afternoon also allowed me to coordinate a freelancer's coverage up north in Sullivan County of an abducted baby case, which in turn developed into a story where the young father has now been charged with attempted murder. It's a good thing that our guy was available, and acting on instinct; I made the call from the newsroom on the holiday "to get him going..." Just like my old days on the photo desk at the NY Daily News, as an assignment editor a few years ago.
The longer I work in this business and continue to meet the daily challenges of being a newsphotographer, I continually realize the hurdles we face and have to overcome, sometimes literally at a moment's notice.
You know, stuff that doesn't show up in the boxscore, if you will. -cg.