24 January 2012

"They're just 'Hammers & Nails', man..." (Part 2) 24•Jan.•12

Packing up the hardware for a junior college basketball game between two local rivals tonight:

Here's a few favorites from the night, which included working with four cameras (one as a remote installed in the bleachers & aimed down toward a basket), two Dyna-Lite Uni-Jr. strobes clamped high in the stands in either corner of the gym, and just as importantly - gaining permission to edit and transmit my first 5 images on deadline from a coaches office after the game. That alone saved a lot of time and stress before packing everything up and loading the car to head back to the office, only a few blocks away. (Ironically, this is the same college gym where I'd installed the backboard remote and made the image that appeared in Popular Photography Magazine and subsequently their how-to book, "TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT: Essential Tips & Tricks For Shooting Amazing Photos" I'd written about a few days ago as well... ~cg.

"They're just 'Hammers & Nails', man..." Jan. 2012

My gear used to cover Boys HS Varsity swimming between Monroe-Woodbury & Kingston High Schools at Monroe-Woodbury Middle School in Central Valley, NY on Tuesday, January 17, 2012. © www.chetgordon.com/blog

Now that covering the indoor sports seasons are finally in full swing for me again, here's a brief look at what I go through as far as camera & lens selection, lighting equipment, the whole bit. There are a few more big basketball games coming up (both HS & college) in the next few weeks, so now is as good a time as any to continue getting the bugs out of my equipment systems, and shake the rust off while actually working these games. Thanks for looking... ~cg.

Cameron Meyer of Kingston swims the 100 meter freestyle to finish second at 53.9 during their Boys varsity swim meet against Monroe-Woodbury at Monroe-Woodbury Middle School in Central Valley, NY on Tuesday, January 17, 2012. CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

Elijah Ghrael (#22) converts his second free throw to put NFA ahead by one point, 65 - 64 in the closing seconds of their game against Middletown in Newburgh, NY on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Ghrael had 15 points as NFA defeated Middletown 65 - 64. CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

19 January 2012

"Another One in the Books..." 19•Jan.•12

A favorite sports photograph of mine (above right) was published again, this time in sort of a how-to book presented by the editors at Popular Photography Magazine: "TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT: Essential Tips & Tricks For Shooting Amazing Photos" It's actually a pretty decent looking soft cover book, easy to read, nice simple diagrams, and edited for everyone from serious amateurs to working pros. ~cg.

*This image has truly "grown legs" as we say in the business about a story or photograph. Below are the earlier posts again on the background history of the image and what it took for me back then to make the picture in 2008... ~cg

In all the craziness of this year's HS playoff basketball tournaments the past few weeks, I've just gotten around to writing about the above piece in Popular Photography magazine. A photo of mine with an accompanying story was published last month. (March 2010 - page 42.) Click HERE. It was actually a file photo from a HS basketball playoff game here in my coverage area made 2 years ago, and I've previously written extensively on the preparation and execution in making the image here on the blog. Click HERE to view those earlier links. (now posted below as well.) The real interest in the image itself was that not only was the image made from a remote camera mounted behind the backboard glass - that camera also fired the arena (studio) strobes a colleague and I installed the night before in the college gym for the weekend's playoff games. Professionally for me and extremely gratifying was the exposure of one my images in a national magazine. I began receiving emails from photographers around the country who'd seen the piece as subscribers, when I couldn't find a copy of it here in any of the big retail bookstores in my area. A couple of local photographers teased me about the piece at a big HS basketball game (where else?) one Friday night in late February; that due to scheduling, I wasn't even working. It was a big deal game between two local rivals and I still sat along the baseline to watch the game from what would've been my normal working perspective.
In all seriousness, it all began by answering what looked like a generic or possibly even a junk email after Christmas, which materialized into a series of phone interviews with the senior editor at the magazine, subsequently followed up by email submissions of the images from me.

*A final word on having a photograph like this not only seen by other editors, but the rights purchased for publication (from the paper) and a decent fee paid to us both. Proves again that you never, ever know who's looking at your work from afar...

Big fun. Nice tearsheet(s). I'm looking forward to hanging this piece on my office wall sometime soon. ~cg.

Sebastian Valdez, #41, left, and Cory Quimby, #44 right, of Minisink reach for rebound during their Section 9 Class AA Championship game against Newburgh Free Academy at SUNY Orange in Middletown, NY on Saturday, March 1, 2008. Minisink defeated Newburgh 60 - 57. Times Herald-Record/CHET GORDON

Strobist info & other tech talk: Nikon D-1X *(yea, I still use my old digital Nikons) with a 14mm F/2.8 Nikkor AF, mounted with a Bogen Magic-Arm & Superclamp behind the backboard glass for this championship series game. Four Dynalite Uni-Jr.'s lit the gym, that were clamped to the top corner railings of the bleachers the night before for earlier games. The whole rig was fired by Pocket-Wizards. I also shot from the floor with 2 other bodies, one short, with an 70mm - 200mm f/2.8 AF & the other with a 300mm f/2.8 AF to shoot the other end of the court. Game time exposures were: ISO 800 1/250th. sec. @ f/3.2 - 3.5. Note: This image was from the marquee game at 5PM. There were three other championship games played prior to this game, which meant I was in the gym actually turning on the house lights myself, and up on a ladder, 8 hours before tip-off of this game. Breakdown time of the strobes & remote rig was about an hour & this image still made deadline for the paper. -cg.

*This image took ONE YEAR, 3 DAYS & 8 HOURS to produce. Here's the Why & How: After we'd lit up the gym at SUNY New Paltz (NY) with four strobes for last year's HS Sectional Playoffs, I knew I wanted to make the effort to mount a remote camera "behind the glass" for this type of image, and have been talking about doing just that with a colleague at work for a year. *(that's the One Year part). I've been mounting remotes for basketball for years, both at the pro, college & even HS level, but those cameras were all making images under the venue's available light at high ISO's. This was the first game where I actually had the full assortment of gear & probably just as importantly - time - to mount a backboard remote, and also have this camera separately fire the four studio strobes mounted up in the corners of the gym. Last Thursday afternoon I met with the college's Director of Communications, and the assistant Athletic Director in the their gym to explain what I hoped to accomplish. Showed them samples of my earlier strobed sports & images made at NBA games with remotes & handed out business cards, etc. The DOC (communications guy) formally worked at West Point for years in their SID (sports information dept.) and understood immediately the importance of strobing arena games. (that's the 3 Day part). Finally, I had to arrive at the gym approximately three hours before the start of the first noontime playoff game in the gym. This image was from the marquee game played at 5PM. *(that's the 8 hour part), as I was in the gym at 9AM, literally 8 hours before tip-off of this game. I shot a few tests with this camera from the earlier games, and grabbed a ladder at halftime to pull the card to make sure everything looked OK on my Mac. The college maintenance guys, HS Tournament officials, coaches & fans who arrived early to see me up on a ladder, working behind the backboard to install the remote camera were all supportive and enthusiastic. That meant a lot during my set-up time.

*Oh yea, "Go (very) early. Stay late. Get the uniform dirty..." -cg.

12 January 2012

"Tè Tremblé..." Remembering the Earthquake in Haiti. 2 Years Ago ~ Today. 12•Jan.•10

Two years ago today, January 12th., 2010, Haiti was devastated by a massive earthquake, what Haitians call "Tè Tremblé, the earth trembles..." Nearly a quarter of a million people were killed and more than 1.5 million were left homeless. It was one of the worst natural disasters in history. I arrived in Haiti two weeks after the earthquake with longtime client Operation Smile of Norfolk, VA, and spent a week in the surgical compound set up at the Love A Child Health Center in Fond Parisiene, about 5 kilometers from the border of the Dominican Republic. I managed to spend my last full day of the mission in the capital, Port-au-Prince. (500, 000 Haitians are still homeless today throughout the country and millions of dollars in donated aid has yet to reach the victims...) Here's some of what I witnessed during my week on the island nation. I've included a slideshow of my take as well at the bottom of this look back. ~cg.

*To view all of my original posts from Haiti, including the surgical relief mission in January 2010, click HERE.

If you want to get an idea of what it was like after the earthquake in Haiti two years ago, and what it's like now, I urge you to spend a few moments and watch this video from the PBS series, "Frontline." This is the first of four videos on 'The Quake' After this first chapter, a link will take you to the remaining piece on the PBS site. ~cg.

Watch The Quake on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

and this from Friday's Democracy Now! broadcast:

and Aljazeera:

08 January 2012

The 2011 POY - Pictures of the Year. *(full version).

"The 50..." OK, so another year in the business is in the books. Fondly looking back at 2011, it wasn't such a bad year for making images, both for work and on my own self-generated & self-financed assignments. *(see: working vacations...) Bermuda. Kenya. My fifth Army graduation where the low-angle remote camera finally delivered the image I'd been chasing in my head for five years and three previous attempts, way too many games and / or general news events with multiple cameras & a super telephoto on a stick, as well as hauling around more full strobe sets to light HS & college gyms and medium sized arenas than I care to remember, installing a remote camera in the ceiling of an arena in White Plains in less than 15 minutes for a HS playoff basketball game, numerous video clips with the Canon 5D-MKII (which you won't see here yet, unfortunately), a few decent feature images and portraits. And the news; major snowstorm and Hurricane Irene followup coverage, the new governor doing his thing at Marist College, an FBI led pre-dawn raid (with temperatures in single digits) of suspected gang-bangers wanted for unsolved murders, a 23-year old shooter and his partner sentenced to life in prison w/o parole and the funeral for a Poughkeepsie police officer who was gunned down on the job. Here's how the best of my take on 2011 kind of shakes out. Again thanks for looking. "See you in the paper..." ~cg.

06 January 2012

3 - Alarm Fire. Newburgh, NY 6•Jan•12

There really isn't any additional commentary I need to add in helping to explain these images from a stubborn fire early this morning that destroyed multiple business in a small shopping plaza not far from home... ~cg.

Ron Palmer reacts at the scene of a three-alarm fire at Algonquin Plaza, 190 South Plank Road in the Town of Newburgh, NY on Friday morning, January 6, 2012. His business, Monell's Camera Shop was severely damaged by the fire. CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

Ron Palmer (right) is comforted by his father Ray Tadry (left) at the scene of a three-alarm fire at Algonquin Plaza, 190 South Plank Road in the Town of Newburgh, NY on Friday, January 6, 2012. Palmer's business, Monell's Camera Shop was severely damaged by the fire. CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

05 January 2012

Kodak Teeters on the Brink of Bankruptcy. 5•Jan.•12

I made this image of the rice farmer near Pohang, South Korea back in the mid-1980's on Kodachrome Professional 64 with an old Nikon FM2 or similar body with a fast Nikon telephoto zoom. (I was an active duty US Marine, training in the field at the time. You know, "Back in the day...") The image was previously posted HERE on the blog when Eastman Kodak discontinued Kodachrome film in 2009. I have re-posted that original piece below after the WSJ article and link. "Wow, Just Wow..." ~cg.

Copy image of a rice farmer in Pohang, South Korea, photographed in 1985 by photographer Chet Gordon of New York on 35mm Kodachrome transparency film. The Eastman Kodak Company announced on Monday June 22, 2009 that it will discontinue production of it's popular slide film favored by professional still photographers and the motion picture industry. The company said declining customer demand and the proliferation of digital photography brought an end to its oldest and most iconic film which was available for the last 74 years. © Chet Gordon / THE IMAGE WORKS

This from today's Wall Street Journal:

Eastman Kodak Co. is preparing to seek bankruptcy protection in the coming weeks, people familiar with the matter said, a move that would cap a stunning comedown for a company that once ranked among America's corporate titans.The 131-year-old company is still making last-ditch efforts to sell off some of its patent portfolio and could avoid Chapter 11 if it succeeds, one of the people said. But the company has started making preparations for a filing in case those efforts fail, including talking to banks about some $1 billion in financing to keep it afloat during bankruptcy proceedings, the people said.

A Kodak spokesman said the company "does not comment on market rumor or speculation." A filing could come as soon as this month or early February, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Kodak would continue to pay its bills and operate normally while under bankruptcy protection, the people said. But the company's focus would then be the sale of some 1,100 patents through a court-supervised auction, the people said.

That Kodak is even contemplating a bankruptcy filing represents a final reversal of fortune for a company that once dominated its industry, drawing engineering talent from around the country to its Rochester, N.Y., headquarters and plowing money into research that produced thousands of breakthroughs in imaging and other technologies.

The company, for instance, invented the digital camera—in 1975—but never managed to capitalize on the new technology. Should it seek bankruptcy protection, Kodak would follow other well-known companies that have failed to adapt to rapidly changing business models. They included Polaroid Corp., which filed for bankruptcy protection a second time in December 2008; Borders Group Inc., which liquidated itself last year; and Blockbuster Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010 and was later bought by Dish Network Corp. A bankruptcy filing would kick off what is expected to be a busier year in restructuring circles, as economic growth continues to drag and fears about European sovereign debt woes threaten to make credit markets less inviting for companies that need to refinance their debts.

Kodak's founder, Mr. Eastman, took his life at the age of 77 in what is now a museum celebrating the founder and Kodak's impact on photography. His suicide note read: "To my friends, my work is done. Why wait?"


"Goodbye, Old friend..." (June 2009)

Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to take pictures. Like the pros. Used to cut out images from the major magazines, and literally tape them to my bedroom wall as a teenager growing up on the NJ Shore. I'd also collect these clippings in binders and committed to memory the name photographers of the day. When I began seriously shooting slide film back in the early 80's, Kodachrome was an automatic requirement, just like the big boys. I've run a lot of transparency films through my Nikons and Leica through the years, and nothing matched the consistency, tonal range, contrast and of course flesh tones that Kodachrome film stock provided. For me, Kodachrome Professional 64 (PKR-64) was the standard when I traveled internationally. With Kodak's announcement yesterday that they're discontinuing the film, it surely marks the end of an era for those of us that know.
Yea, like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, "I've always wanted to "take" pictures. Kodachrome "made" me a photographer... -cg.

Read about it here and here.

10:45PM: More on my Kodachrome images:

After quickly producing the images of my mounted & unmounted archived Kodachrome slides earlier this morning, I was quite pleased to see that my editorial stock agency, THE IMAGE WORKS posted the files within the hour on their main search page. Nice work, guys. Now let's hope for a few "bites" from their clients on any of these images. -cg.