Friday, July 29, 2011

Farewell, Little Buddy

I lost one of my favorite photo models this week. Mokie was a kitten when my wife and I got him 15 years ago and he's been a good friend and constant companion ever since. Needless to say, it's been a long week or so. Any pet owner would agree.

Like most "children," he was often a ham when I pointed the camera at him. To get pictures of him that didn't involve him either showing off or turning his head I often had to sneak up on him when he was sleeping or shoot pictures from a distance with my 80-200mm so he didn't know.

One of the first pictures I shot of him (the one above) I had to plan in advance. I parked my camera next to me during an afternoon nap one weekend when I knew he would nap on the blanket with me. Of course, my planning wasn't perfect, as I had left my 100mm f/2 lens on and not my wide angle. As I pushed my head into the back of the sofa to try to get enough distance to get a photo of him, he woke up. It's still one of my favorite photos of my Little Buddy.

As is often the case with people, my wife and I used pictures to help us through the grief. We spent the weekend looking for as many pictures of Mokie as we could find and put together a little video memorial. It certainly isn't my best work, but it did help us remember all the good times we had with our feline buddy. He will always be missed, but he won't be far from our hearts, thanks to all the pictures I took of him during the good times.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Over and over again

The space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from the Kennedy Space
Center Friday July 8, 2011 (from The Week in Pictures). AP Photo

It's hard to cover the same event over and over again. Even if it's not the exact same event, it often may seem like it. Through the course of a year John Cross and I cover a lot of the same events in our area: fairs, parades and festivals, snow making at Mt. Kato, blizzards, hot days, kids swimming in the local pool. All are annual photos we shoot, and all are events where we have to work to find a fresh look to things, which we frequently do. Part of the challenge of shooting for a newspaper is to constantly come up with something new from an event we've seen many times before.

That repetition can work in our favor, though. Having seen something before can help us to plan a unique photo, or gain access we normally wouldn't have.

Scott Andrews probably knows this better than anyone. For nearly 40 years he's been shooting shuttle launches and landings, setting up remote cameras in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable. MSNBC's Photoblog has an interesting story about Andrews and how he managed to gain access to shoot the time lapse video below of preparations for the shuttle Atlantis' final flight.

The end results are impressive, as is his determination and thoughtfulness in using the knowledge he's gained over the years of shooting launch after launch after launch.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gone fishin'

I shot exactly four frames during my Fourth of July camping trip.

That's almost unheard of. Five days, and I shot only four frames.

I don't know why I only shot four frames. I didn't even get out my SLR gear during our camping trip up to Crosslake, Minn. over the Fourth of July weekend. Usually, spending time with my friends camping and fishing at the Cuyuna Boy Scout Camp inspires me to shoot some nice pictures. It's definitely a picturesque spot. For some reason, call it laziness or apathy or fatigue, I chose not to do any purposeful photography.

There was one exception: The photo above.

When we camp at Cuyuna, we frequently get up as early as possible to do some fishing. This is tough for me, as mornings and I don't get along very well. Actually, mornings and I don't get along at all. It's a shame, since early morning light is great photo-taking light.

I'm usually the one that has to be rousted from my bunk at 6 a.m. while everyone waits for me to get my stuff together so we can try to catch the evening's dinner. By some freak of nature, I was the first one up on Sunday morning. I don't know why. It just worked out that way. As I took my fishing pole and tackle box to the lake so I wasn't the one everyone had to wait for (for a change), I ran across another camper with the same idea we had. We chatted for a bit before he made his way to the end of the dock to try his luck from the shore.

While I waited for my buddies to walk down the hill, I couldn't resist pulling out a digital point-and-shoot I keep in my tackle box in case I catch that lunker Northern and shot two frames of the man fishing. They captured the peace of an early morning I rarely experience, but have come to enjoy on the days I manage to get out of bed early.

The other two frames I shot this weekend? One was of a friend's 4 1/2-pound Northern. The other was another friend's Northern that didn't even qualify as a hammer handle. Brave little fish!

Sorry for my extended absence. Sometimes it seems summer is even more busy for me than winter! Do check out the new Week in Pictures, though. This one is a bonus! It's actually the Month in Pictures. I didn't want you to miss some of the great pictures that have come through in the past month, so I included them in this week's slideshow. More than 50 pictures for you to enjoy this week!