Thursday, September 30, 2010

Up through the atmosphere

I had a really random week at the end of August consisting of extremes of air and water. The week started with a ride in a Zeppelin. Not a blimp, a zeppelin. They were very insistent that a zeppelin is not a blimp.

The view south from the Eureka, one of only two Zeppelins flying anywhere in the world, Monday afternoon over Whidbey Island. The Farmers Airship will be flying sight-seeing trips over Seattle through the weekend from Paine Field in Everett.

A day or so later, with the help of Annie, a Lake Stevens police officer and police boat, a real wide lens, and a FISH TANK, I found myself on Lake Stevens photographing an invasive, underwater weed called milfoil.

Portions of Lake Stevens have been taken over by Eurasian watermilfoil, an invasive aquatic weed that mucks up watercraft motors and interferes with swimming. The weed is now part of at least 136 acres of the roughly 1,100 acre lake, according to Mick Monken, public works director of Lake Stevens.

And finally Friday, which found me getting to hop into a Waco UPF-7 biplane to preview a story about an aviation museum we have here in the county.

And just in the interest of full-disclosure, the image below is actually a panoramic image stitched together from a rapid burst of consecutive frames. We ran it as such in the paper with the explanation below. I'd never really violated the single frame like that before, but when I got up there, I just didn't have a wide-enough lens to capture what it felt like up there between those wings. So I shot a lot of images panning wing-tip to wing-tip with the below picture in mind but also shot a ton of just single shot photos.

Unfortunately a 17mm on a Canon 1D type camera just doesn't show a lot in that situation. I wish I had had the 5D and 14mm that I'd used for the fishtank photo of the milfoil above. Let me know if you have any opinions about that sort of stitching technique. Not something I'll probably do again, but it did capture what I saw, so ... argh.

With the Boeing Factory and Paine Field to the right and the Mukilteo ferry terminal directly behind him, Pilot Carter Teeters flys a Waco UPF-7 biplane south over the Puget Sound Friday afternoon. This panoramic image is composed by merging a series of consecutive pictures shot in a rapid burst while the camera was panned from wing-tip to wing-tip. This Waco UPF-7, which began training pilots in 1941 who would go on to fly in World War II and the Korean War, belongs to the Historic Flight Museum at Paine Field.


Had to run out on Tuesday and grab a quick photo for our local youtube sensation, Ike Ditzenberger. Ike took the ball 51-yards for his first varsity touchdown Friday night, and the video of the play quickly garnered over a million views as Ike's story made it to some national news outlets.

One of our writers wrote a really nice feature story on Ike with some great photos by Jennifer B. about a year-ago. I felt a little rushed to run out there in half an hour and steal a couple shots like I did. Watch the video though, it's pretty feel good. There's some room for debate, but it's a happy deal.

Train v Truck

Cleaning off my desktop. This happened just down the street from the office last week. No serious injuries, luckily.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I'm going to make a concerted effort to get caught up and back in the blogging groove.
To start, a quick video that I put together from a CLO (cut lines only) photo for the local section of the paper. The event was described as a "media opportunity" to preview a motocross event, but I happened to be the only media member to show up, and the organizers hadn't even quite finished the track yet.
A rider did show up though, and he was just such a darn nice guy, so I decided to make a little video from the stills and a little audio I collected as we sat in the back of his pickup truck while he put his riding gear on.

I'm starting to develop a little theory about video at newspapers. It's really sort of an all or nothing deal. You either go all out and make a real-deal documentary type piece, or you make something quick and/or throw up some raw footage. I don't think it's worth it to waste time creating something that folks would or could otherwise see on television. The video below is an example of something real quick that I didn't have to take too much away from doing my real job which was getting a photo for the paper (above). Any thoughts?