This is a great time of the year here in South Florida because we have these beautiful and graceful trees called “Yellow Poinciana” blooming their bright yellow flowers. They are named Poinciana because they look just like a royal poinciana but with very showy yellow blossoms.
I’ve been waking up early this week so i figured i might as well put it good use and go see what i could find. What better place than my local beach. I shot all of these with my FujiFilm x30 on a tripod firing it with the wifi remote on my Iphone.
Got up early to meet some dear old high school friends for breakfast at Sunset Beach in California and decided to turn it into a shooting day, making my way south to my old stomping grounds; Huntington Beach. The morning was very overcast so i tried to find a way to capture that with my FujiFilmX30. I use it mostly for working close with subjects but i tried out the zoom and thought some held up pretty well.
Along Sunset there are some pretty cool “cliffs” not Torrey Pines huge but high enough to get some cool overheads. I then called up long time HB resident and US Soccer shooter/editor Michael Janosz, and my soccer teammate with the 1973 AYSO Rhinos, and we met at the pier where there were some decent size waves and plenty of surfers. The fog started to burn off and as the sun beamed overhead it helped create some nice lines which contrasted well off the ocean water.
I thought the early foggy pictures were more affective in black and white so i went with that. The way the sun was coming in from above and with my high angle i really like the way those looked in color.
This day was the day i needed. NPPA was coming to my backyard with all the great images that reminded me why i followed this path as a career. The ultimate storytellers where coming to West Palm Beach and i needed to be there. For someone who has eaten, drank and slept photography for most of his life but has gotten “distracted”, i needed to get that jolt to remind me it still matters. No matter how bad it may seem that others “don’t get it”, i needed to get it and thanks to all the folks at National Press Photographers Association i was re-energized with a sense of mission.
My challenge now is to really work on finding ways to keep that mission alive in my daily routine, but i love challenges. I wanted to share some quotes from Saturday’s speakers i hope you find as inspiring as i have.
Sean Proctor of the Midland (MI) Daily News, the NPPA Small Markets Photojournalist of the Year
On his philosophy of covering his community;
“It’s a matter of trust,” on working with people. He feels you must be coming from a place of “pure intentions” in telling their stories or they will see right through you.
His goal is to try and have the viewer connect with what he saw.
Niko Koppel of The New York Times, the Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year
On his responsibility and approach as a photo editor;
“Let unexpected things creep into the images you work with.”
As an advocate for photographer’s work we must not let “the compelling work get lost.”
Jim Colton added that photo editors have to sometimes wear kevlar.
Nicole Fruge of the San Francisco Chronicle, a member of the Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year (Team) winners
On managing her team of photojournalist;
“Photographers are the heart and soul of telling the story of their community.”
On the Chronicle’s philosophy on importance of photography;
“It’s an immediate buying in on any big events for telling our readers this is something special. It’s in the DNA of the Chronicle.”
Content rules the day at the Chronicle, “If the pictures are better than the words, we’ll cut the words, and vice versa.”
Chang W. Lee of The New York Times, winner of Best Use of Multimedia for “The Jockey”
On his shooting philosophy:
Chang wanted to get us to experiment with the way we “see” by closing our eyes and imagining what we have seen, what we expected to see and what we would see.”You can see you with your eyes but it’s too late.” I think he really wants to understand the story before he goes out so when the right image that will tell the story appears, he knows it. He talked about The Jockey, a profile of horse racing legend Russell Baze, that took months to produce. “I didn’t know what it was, but i knew i didn’t have it,” referring to the “The shot”. It finally came late into the project when he saw the love Russell had for his horses. “I knew that was the moment, the story wasn’t the breaking of the record, it was his love for horses.”
Al Diaz with the Miami Herald and winner of NPPA’s Humanitarian Award
On getting “the moment” day in and day out working for a newspaper
“The decisive moment is fleeting, so be ready.”
“I want to capture the emotion and bring it home to you all.”
“If you’re distracted by being upset for something like a person getting in your shot you’ll miss the moment.”
Michael Laughlin with the South Florida Sun Sentinel
On his life changing assignment in Haiti:
Michael has spent over a decade covering Haiti from elections, hurricanes and earthquakes since being shot while working for the Sun Sentinel.
“While most photographers bring back trinkets from assignments, i brought back Natalie,” referring to a young girl he met during one of those assignments. Nathalie Jean needed medical treatment after being shot in the face and blinded so he found a hospital to help her and had her flown to South Florida, he would eventually adopted her.
“This day changed my life,” he said of the day he took three bullets in the shoulder, neck and ear.
NPPA Best of Photojournalism exhibit
If you did not get a chance to visit the exhibit this weekend you still have some time as the winning entries will be on display at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre until August 30.
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