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Headed on a trip Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'm headed out of town for the next week or so, so I thought I'd make one last posting before I go. (I might get a chance to post something while I'm away, but who knows.)

Anyhow, I'm heading back to Ontario for some family visiting. I will be heading up to Matheson to see my dad's parents, but the main event is my maternal grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. Pretty much everyone from that side of my family will be there, I gather, some of whom I haven't seen in a long time. It should be a good time.

Instead of presents, my grandparents have asked everyone to bring a photo of themselves. The last decent picture I took of myself was a mug shot I made back in February for a media pass. It's alright, but just a head shot and I had just shaved my head back then. It was due for an update.

Yesterday I took some of my gear down into the basement of my apartment (there isn't enough space in my living room). Thankfully the elevator was working then. It has been out of commission since last night. Here (right) is the result.

Well, having gone to the trouble of setting up all the gear, I made several different images that I can use for different things. But this is the one I'm giving to my grandparents for their album.

Making a self portrait is a bit more difficult than making a portrait of someone else. Sure, there's no miscommunication about which way to turn your shoulders or whatever, but you can't see exactly what the camera's looking at. Focusing was a bit of a guess, as was composition. I spent a fair bit of time running back to the camera to look at the shots I had just made.

And I was going to do a two light setup, but I realized that I don't have enough PocketWizards for that—one for the camera, two for the lights ... oh wait, I'm not holding the camera, so I need another to trigger it. I only have three. So it was a nice, simple, one-light session. Anyway, I'm pretty happy with the result.

Now, it's time to pack ...

Bent out of shape Saturday, September 29, 2007

The owners of Le Bouchon are reportedly miffed at a new sign hanging over the French bistro on NW 14th Ave. in Portland.

Get Bento opened in a former gas station next door to Le Bouchon in April. Though the sign is on the Get Bento lot, it is much closer to the French restaurant's building than its own.

Le Bouchon has been serving $10-$20 authentic French entrees like coq au vin, salade Nicoise and confit de canard at the location since 1998.

Get Bento serves $5-$10 bowls of rice with chicken, beef or tempeh.

Volleyball: (1)Jesuit def. (10)Southridge Friday, September 28, 2007

(1) Jesuit celebrates a point in game 3 of their 25-13, 25-15, 25-19 win over (10)Southridge Thursday night in Beaverton.

The Crusaders made short work of Southridge, their Metro League rivals, Thursday night in Beaverton in a battle of top-ten volleyball teams. Top-ranked Jesuit beat the Skyhawks 25-13, 25-15, 25-19 at Jesuit High School.

I'll have more on this game later, and you should see a story in the next edition of the Beaverton Valley Times.

Barlow 52, Sandy 18 Thursday, September 27, 2007

Barlow's Malcolm Johnson breaks away from the defense Sept. 21 in the Bruins' 52-18 win over Sandy. Johnson racked up 379 yards rushing to set a new school record.

Barlow running back Malcolm Johnson put on quite a show last Friday in Sandy. The junior ran the ball 29 times for 379 yards and scored six touchdowns as the Bruins crushed Sandy 52-18.

With the total, Johnson broke his own school record for rushing yards in a game. Last year he ran for 355 yards in one game.

The running game was working so well for Barlow, in fact, that they didn't even attempt a pass in the game.

Johnson now leads all 6A schools with 982 yards in four games. With six games remaining in the regular season, he has a long way to go to get in the state record books. The state record for rushing in a single season is 3,335 yards.

You can read the full game story and see another of my photos in the Sandy Post. The Outlook also has a brief game summary.

(right) Mike Seifert's block (no. 12) helps Malcolm Johnson (no. 5) run for another big gain last Friday against Sandy.

Street Talk 001: Government pay raises Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Introducing: Street Talk

Today I'm launching "Street Talk," a ground-level survey of people's views on recent news. Click on the "play" button (little triangle) on the strip above to hear today's

In today's program, I ask Portlanders what they think of Governor Kulongoski's recent announcement that the directors of state agencies will be getting raises of 21 to 24 percent over the next two years. You can read more on the story in The Oregonian.

I may be biting off more than I can chew, but I'm going to try to produce one of these per week. We'll see how that goes. Tuesday worked well this week, but I can't promise that it will be consistent. It will probably be a bit too local for my international audience, but that's what the people around here care about.

And yeah, the name's not very original, but I had to come up with something in a hurry. If you have a better idea, leave a comment.

Today's program is a little over three minutes long, just because that's the amount of material I had. Let me know if it's too long, too short, or just boring.

(below) The lot at SW Alder and 9th is a favorite source of quick food for workers in downtown Portland.

Tools for Schools (part 2)

Wells Fargo employees distribute bags of school supplies to students Sept. 5 at Whitman Elementary School in Portland. With the help of their sponsors, Schoolhouse Supplies gave out 9,200 backpacks to kids in Portland this year.

I meant to post these images a while ago, but they slipped under the radar. These are the follow-up to my earlier post about packing the bags.

Compared to the packing assignment, where a group of adults are bent over a table in a dark room, I figured that this assignment would be a piece of cake—I think "shooting fish in a barrel" was the phrase I used at the time. Kids getting presents ... how hard can that be?

Boy, was I wrong. The kids were great, it was everything else. First of all, it was darker than hell in there. I think I've been in mine shafts with more light.* Then, after a short "welcome back to school" assembly, they had the kids leave the cafeteria through twin lines at two different exits ... so I had to shoot in two different places. Which wouldn't be bad if the whole process lasted more than 4 minutes, 43 seconds.

The real challenge, though, was getting a shot of the actual handover of the bags. The kids had great expressions on their faces. But naturally the exit area got kind of backed up, so those that had just received their pack were directly in front of those about to receive it. The volunteers, trying to distribute the bags, kept reaching farther and farther back in the line. Worse were the teachers, who seemed to get directly in between me and the distribution point (e.g. at right—the pink hand is a Wells Fargo volunteer, the blue shirt is a teacher).

I got exactly one good handover shot, where you can see the kid's smiling face, the giver's smiling face, and the backpack ... but it turned out to be a teacher giving the pack, which doesn't tell the story of Wells Fargo employees volunteering!

I think this (left) is my favorite shot from the day. I overexposed it a bit, but it is a good, generic image that Schoolhouse Supplies can use.

*Yes, I have actually been in several mine shafts.

Coach! Monday, September 24, 2007

A while back I put together a show of pictures I took of coaches during the girls' high school state basketball championships in March. At the time I didn't have the tools to do the job the way I wanted to.

But now I do. So I reformatted the slide show and posted it on the web again. You can find it on the site right here if you have a fast internet connection, or here if you don't.

Green Lake

Kim Sinclair soaks up the early autumn sunshine Sept. 23 on the shore of Green Lake in Seattle.

Green Lake is a small lake in north-central Seattle, completely surrounded by park. The 2.8-mile (4.5 km) paved loop around the lake is popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists.

(below) It seems that even the mallards are bound to follow the rules at the Green Lake Small Craft Center, a public rowing and boating club on the lake.

Bowling in St. Helens

We couldn't wait for the curling season to start, so last Wednesday we got the team (Pierce Henley, Erin Eide, Christian Hammer and me) together for a night of bowling at Oregon Trail Lanes in St. Helens, Ore. (St. Helens is about 25 miles north of Portland). It was a fun night. The three games we played were 10-pin games number 2, 3, and 4 of my illustrious career. (I did play a few 5-pin games in Canada when I was a kid, but that's a much different game.)

I think I did alright considering the extent of my previous experience ... 71, 79, and 92 over the three games.

Of course, I brought my camera along. Here are some of the images.

Volleyball multimedia presentation Friday, September 21, 2007

Last Tuesday evening I went to the volleyball game between Gresham High School and Centennial High School. I brought my audio gathering gear along as well as my cameras. I wasn't especially optimistic about how the sound would turn out, but I had to try it to know for sure.

So here is my first ever attempt at a multimedia presentation. It isn't perfect by any means, but it is a lot better than I expected.

It is really tricky, I must say, trying to manage both a camera and a microphone. I didn't try to do both at once, but that meant some compromises. For example, I recorded the singing of the national anthem ... but I don't have any photos to go with that, so it doesn't show up in the slide show. And needless to say, the sound you hear didn't happen at the time the pictures were taken, the pictures aren't in chronological order, and neither are the sound clips.

Indeed, this experiment has taught me a lot about just how different it is trying to make an audio-visual presentation than simply photograph the game. Putting together the show, I wish I had made some crowd pictures. Even though I was concentrating on Gresham, I wish I had more shots of Centennial. And, and, and ...

Still, I'm pretty happy with the results ... for a first attempt.

For the record, the players pictured include: Gresham—Kyra Speer, Jane Moesche, Chandra Baskoro, Amiee Frutchey, Kelsey Franklin, Courtney Pattock, Olivia Shropshire, Amy Wooten, Britani Hathorn, Hannah Leithem, Taylor Richardson and Lori Anderson (coach); Centennial—Lindsey Boren, Alyssa Hall, Brynn Taylor, Vanity Massey, Calisa Yun, Andrea Jones, and Amanda Rangal.

Splat! Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Here's a little web game I stumbled across that seems to go well with Podcast 001. Bon apetit!

Podcast 001: Fruit Fly Wars Monday, September 17, 2007

As of Sept. 17, Trillium Media Services has jumped into the world of multimedia! Our first podcast is mostly a practice run to see how things work, but I digress into an epic tale I call "Fruit Fly Wars."

As it turns out, we're having some technical issues: I want to set it up so that you can click on a button and hear the podcast here, but I can't get it to upload, so for now you'll have to find it here instead. (It's a 1.5MB MP3 file. You probably have the right player for that installed already.) The audio has some technical issues, and obviously I need some practice speaking into a microphone and/or writing a script, but I'm reasonably satisfied with the results. It is my first attempt, after all.

I'm not sure how often I'll produce an audio piece, or what the subject will be. The idea, though, is to add another dimension to my storytelling options. I expect that the audio will accompany slide shows most of the time, but who knows. I have several ideas to work on, but there is a bit of a learning curve to navigate before I commit to anything too big.

For the technical folks out there, here's a list of the equipment I'm using (see photo below):

  • Marantz PMD-660 solid state audio recorder
  • Beyerdynamic M58 dynamic, omnidirectional microphone
  • Sony MDR-V300 headphones
I want to get a shotgun mic as well, but they're pretty expensive, relatively fragile, and maybe I won't need it. We'll see.

The cool thing about the PMD-660, apart from its small size, XLR plugs, and reasonable price, is that it saves the recordings on the same compact flash cards I use in my camera. I bought another 2GB card with the audio gear, because I'll leave one in the recorder all the time, but they're all interchangeable.

Over the past week or so, I've been reading up on audio production, basically giving myself a crash-course in radio.

Here are some of the better links I've found:

Anyhow, that's what I have for this edition. If you have any requests for future topics, send me an email or leave a comment. And, as always, constructive feedback is appreciated. Is the volume good? Does it download fast enough? Any technical issues?

Grant 58, Newberg 0 Saturday, September 15, 2007

Grant's Paul McCoy braces for Taylor Burrows' tackle in the second quarter of the Generals' 58-0 victory over the Newberg. McCoy scored the opening touchdown on a 67-yard pass from Andre Broadous on the Generals' first snap of the game.

After last week's narrow, sloppy victory over Beaverton, Grant got back on track Sept. 14 against a weaker
opponent from Newberg.

The Tigers received the ball on the opening kickoff, but Grant's defense held them to nil on that possession. That was as close as Newberg (0-3) ever got.

Grant (2-0) went with their dangerous Broadous-to-McCoy combination on the first snap, and just like that the Generals were up 7-0.

Grant's Kenneth Acker (right) turns as he catches a pass at the end of the first quarter. The play was called back on a penalty.

Grant's defense didn't allow Newberg so much as a first down until midway through the second quarter. Meanwhile, the offense didn't miss a play, finding the end zone on their first or second snap on all but one possession in the first half. (They needed three plays to find the end zone for their sixth touchdown.)

Bryan "B.J." Butcher (left) scored two touchdowns for the Generals in the first quarter.

The Generals were up 21-0 after the first quarter, and 42-0 at half. A safety and two more touchdowns added up to a convincing 58-0 win for the third-ranked team in the state.

For a full report on the game, check The Tribune.

(below) Brandon Brown, 10, stands with the Grant team on the sidelines as the Generals stomp on the Newberg Tigers. Brandon's brother plays on Grant's freshman squad.

HS Volleyball: Jesuit crushes Beaverton Friday, September 14, 2007

Action, reaction: Jesuit senior Erin Kilroy makes a kill (left) and celebrates (right) Sept. 13 as the Crusaders dominated Beaverton 25-4, 25-8, 25-10 in OSAA volleyball action.

I went out to Beaverton last night to shoot the girls volleyball game between Beaverton High School and the no. 1-ranked Jesuit Crusaders.

I knew the Crusaders would be good, but I didn't know what to expect from the Beavers.

It had been a long time since I watched a high school volleyball game, but I remembered a fairly high level of play. So as I watched the Beavers go through their spiking drill before the game, I was a bit disappointed: the sets were hit-and-miss and most of the girls couldn't jump over the net, so the attacks were more
like passes than kills.

Then Jesuit took the floor.

I could tell right away that the contest would be rather one-sided. These girls were taller, more athletic, and more confident. Pretty much all of them could get their shoulders over the net. The sets were consistently accurate. And they moved as a team.

It was all over in 55 minutes. The score at the end of the game: Jesuit def. Beaverton, 25-4*, 25-8, 25-10.

Jesuit did show a bit of weakness late in the third game. With all of their starters on the bench, the Crusaders gave up half a dozen mad, scrambling points to the Beavers. But in the end, even Jesuit's second line was more than Beaverton could handle.

Beaverton's Nicole Sugihara (left) and Eunice Ahn both go for the ball without success Thursday against Jesuit. The Beavers spent most of the match chasing deadly kills from the Crusaders' front line.

*The Oregonian is reporting a score of 25-6 in this game. My photo of the scoreboard showed 25-4.

Pike Place Market Thursday, September 13, 2007

Seattle's famous Pike Place Market celebrated its 100th anniversary in August.

Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. It was opened in 1907 by the city as a place where consumers could "meet the producer" directly, with no middlemen involved.

Today, more than 170 stores and 50 restaurants fill the 9 acre market, and that doesn't count the dozens of vendors that rent day-stalls.

(left) In a lot of ways, the market is just like any other: seasonal fruits and vegetables, and lots of crafts, knickknacks, and trinkets. (below) The market is particularly well-known for its fish, which makes sense since it overlooks Elliott Bay.

Space Needle Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Space Needle has been the defining mark of the Seattle skyline since it was built for the 1962 World's Fair.

If you see a picture of the Space Needle, you instantly think of Seattle. There are numerous gorgeous photos of the iconic structure floating around the internet. I'm led to believe that these are typically taken from Kerry Park, which puts the observation deck of the Needle above, and just to the left of, the Columbia Center, the tall black building in the middle of the group at left. It also puts Mt. Rainier in the background.
Check the opening credits for Grey's Anatomy or Frasier, or anything else set in the Emerald City, and you can bet you'll see the famous spire from basically this position.

I wasn't in Kerry Park for this shot (I didn't know about that location until later) but I was pretty close.

I went to Seattle for the first time a little less than a year ago for a curling bonspiel. We didn't go downtown, but I got a glimpse of the Space Needle as we drove past on the freeway. So what was my first impression? "It's awfully small, isn't it?"

That's right, the Space Needle is nowhere near as large as you would think by looking at the pictures of it. Sure, at 520 feet (605 feet to the tip of the warning beacon) it's no mere smial. But it would look pretty puny next to the Columbia Center (937 feet), Washington Mutual Tower (771), Two Union Square (741), Seattle Municipal Tower (722), and 1001 Fourth Avenue Place (630). Heck, even Portland's Wells Fargo Center (544) and US Bancorp Tower (535) top out above the observation deck of the Space Needle.

(As a reference for Canadian readers, First Canadian Place in Toronto is 978 feet tall. The CN Tower is 1815 feet tall, exactly 3 times the height of the Space Needle.)

So why does Seattle's icon look so big? Because it's only about a mile away from Kerry Park, half the distance of the high-rises downtown. The closer something is, the bigger it appears.

Building information source:

Grant 27, Beaverton 20 Monday, September 10, 2007

Grant running back Karl Acker (no. 20) gets by Beaverton's Ryan Walker Sept. 7 on his way to the end zone in the first quarter of the Generals' 27-20 win over the Beavers. Acker's 35-yard run came less than five minutes into the game.

Grant's home field doesn't have any lights, and that's a good thing for the photographers as they play all of their games in the afternoon when the sun is out.

Depending which poll you read, Grant was ranked second in the state going into last Friday's game vs. unranked Beaverton. They beat the Beavers, 27-20, but it wasn't pretty. A botched field goal allowed Beaverton to tie the score at 13 just before half time. Penalties, fumbles, and an interception in the end zone contributed to Grant's problems.

Down 14 points with less than two minutes to go, Beaverton put together a drive deep into Generals territory, but Andre Broadous intercepted a pass in the end zone to end the game.

After last week's games, Grant (1-0) is ranked 3rd in the Coaches poll and 5th in the AP poll. Beaverton (1-1) remains unranked.

(left) Beaverton wide receiver Joel Gross celebrates after catching a touchdown pass to tie the game 13-13 in the second quarter.

This is my favorite shot from the game. I put it, and some of my other favorite football images on the Trillium website (here).

(right) Beaverton quarterback Michael DeHaan looks for a pass Sept. 6 in the first quarter.

Lake Washington

The Seattle skyline seems a million miles away on a sunny summer day on the shore of Lake Washington in Renton.

I'll write more about this weekend's trip to Seattle. Suffice to say it was a beautiful weekend. This picture was from Saturday afternoon, roughly here.

Soccer: Centennial 4, Barlow 2 Thursday, September 06, 2007

Shadows chase the ball in Barlow High School's soccer game at Centennial Sept. 6 in Gresham. Centennial won the game 4-2.

I had my first opportunity to shoot a soccer game tonight. Not surprisingly, I had less-than-stellar results.

As well as the same lighting challenges I faced in last week's football game, I had to deal with a sport that moves much less predictably than football. And, as with the football game, I had about half of the telephoto reach that I would have liked.

I'll post another photo after the paper runs something on Saturday, but here's a fortuitous accident that I kind of like. The un-cropped version of the photo includes the players, but that was a nothing photo. Cropping them out, though, revealed this little gem.

Football season—week 0 Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tylin Lutz (left) brings down Newberg's Ryan Wilson in the Pioneers' 37-18 win Aug. 31 in Sandy.

The OSAA football season opened last week with "week 0," a pre-season round of non-conference matchups. The Sandy Pioneers, who finished 2-7 last year, hosted the Newberg Tigers (1-9 in 2006).

I knew that the first quarter would be key to my coverage of the 7 p.m. game, because after that the light would get sketchy.

It was worse than I had expected: the sun was lower than I had hoped for, and there was a line of trees west of the field that created long shadows. The sunny spots on the field had really nice light (see photo at left), but the play kept switching back and forth between the sun and the shade. (The photo that ran in the paper was shot in the shady part of the field.)

By the second quarter, the sun was basically gone, and I had to bring out the flash. I need more practice shooting that way, but at its best, it sucks. You can see an example below.

I left after the beginning of the fourth quarter, but Sandy went on to win 37-18. You can read the complete game story here.

(right) Newberg's Andrew Carlson grabs Chris Brooks' facemask Aug. 31 as Jordan Howell (left) races in for the tackle. The 15-yard penalty continued a Sandy drive in the third quarter.

Proyecto Las Tolas Tuesday, September 04, 2007

OK, it's time to ask for your input. I'm putting together a slide show from my days in Las Tolas, Ecuador, to go on the Trillium Media Services website. (Yeah, I've been promising to put something up there for a while.) So I put together a splash page for the show, but can't decide which of the above I prefer.

What do you think? Is the first one too busy? In the second one, can you see enough of the picture to make sense of it? Maybe you don't like either one. Let me know ... leave a comment, or email me.