Throwing Candy

July 28, 2007

American Idols Live

Filed under: Uncategorized — erickayne @ 9:28 pm

Yesterday, I covered “American Idols Live.” I’m not a fan of the show. In fact, unlike the majority of America, I’ve never watched one single episode. I don’t even really own a television. (Okay, my roommate has a television, but we have no cable and she doesn’t watch it that much either except for her Planet Earth DVD set.)

I’m so out of the pop culture loop, I even had to ask for help on the cutlines. I really had no idea who these people were, but apparently, two are from the Seattle area.

Driving on I-5, being the usual nightmare that it can be on a Friday afternoon, slowed down about halfway between Seattle and Tacoma. Just as I was leaving Seattle, my editor called to tell me there had been a diesel spill on the other side of the freeway (“it shouldn’t effect you”), about halfway between Seattle and Tacoma, and “can you pull over and get a quick shot of the backed up traffic?” Of course I can.

I did like I was asked. The thing, though, is unlike Texas where there are easy and frequent exits and overpasses to photograph bad traffic from, I-5 was really messy and frustrating. Plus, I had to be at the Tacoma Dome at a precise time, and although I left early as a contingency, this extra time was now going to make things critical.

I found an overpass just north of Tacoma, drove into a shopping center, hiked through some mud, crossed an entrance ramp and made a photo of cars parked on the freeway (which consequentially never ran). I was now about forty-five minutes away from “showtime” at the Dome and traffic was a nightmare on both sides of the freeway.

I pulled over into a parking lot, found a frame, dropped it into an ftp (file transfer protocol) after getting my network going using a verizon card (this allows me access to the internet from anywhere) and ended up transmitting while I was driving to the dome. Its not as hairy as it sounds. Once I drop the file, the rest is up to the computer to move the file.

Did I mention I was also really low on gas?

I finally made it to the Tacoma Dome with about thirty minutes to spare. While I was waiting, I saw one of the Idol guys out by the fence signing autographs. I figured, what the heck? I’ll go make some pics.

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Blake Lewis, from Bothell, signs autographs for fans before the show at the Tacoma Dome.

After I had made my frame, one of the security people came out to tell me I couldn’t take pictures of anything outside of the approved photo pit I would be in during the first song and a medley later in the evening.

I was fine with that, since I had already made my picture.

Anyway, the event started about forty-five minutes later than what it was supposed to. I had to sign some contract before going in. I struck through every item on the list before signing. They didn’t seem to care or notice. It was ridiculous. Everything I shoot for the paper belongs to the paper, period.

They corralled three of us, the Tacoma Dome shooter, some other guy with nice equipment but no camera straps (kind of a dilettante, especially if you’re shooting with a $4,500.00 Canon Mark III and don’t have the sense or experience to use a camera strap), and me.

We were rushed in, had ten minutes of blitzkrieg shooting, and then we were out. My assignment was to photograph this Blake guy and this Sanjaya guy. The folks back at the paper were pleased after I had rushed out to my car to transmit the images. I have a hard time justifying any kind of performance image. Everything has been done for you. Its like fishing at a trout farm. Basically the lighting has been set up in an interesting way, and the performers are there to do, say, or look interesting. All you have to do is stand there and press your button.

I guess this isn’t necessarily true. As I left, the dilettante turns to me and says, “I didn’t get any of the crowd, it was too dark.” I replied that “You just have to wait for the light.”

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Fans scream as a collection of “American Idol” performers sing a medley during the opening of “American Idols Live” on Friday at the Tacoma Dome. More than 10,000 attended the performance.

I did find I had to move around quite a bit and look for interesting angles and such. Not as easy as I thought, especially with a ten minute time limit. Anyway, enough of my blabbering, here come the “stars.”

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Melinda Doolittle and Federal Way’s Sanjaya Malakar sing an Ike-and-Tina-esque “Proud Mary.”

July 19, 2007

Seattle Mariners verses the Baltimore Orioles.

Filed under: Uncategorized — erickayne @ 6:19 pm

Last night, after I finished up my assignments, I ended up sitting with Seattle Times photojournalist Rod Mar. I’ve been enjoying Rod’s blog on The Seattle Times website (http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/bestseatinthehouse/) for a while. I asked him when he would again be shooting a Mariners game. He said he’d be shooting that evening. I asked if I could tag along and he was more than happy to have me.

After my first attempt at shooting a Mariners game last week, I was a bit disappointed in my performance. I was stationed next to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer photographer and I was impressed by his knowledge of the game and the “storyline.” This means he know he knew which players to look out for as far as what they might do, giving him the advantage of being able to anticipate where the next photo would be. He also had at least 20 years of sports shooting on me. Needless to say, he kicked my butt.

Being the competitive person I am, I thought going out with Rod would give me the opportunity to spend time with him, watch him work and ask him questions. It was a lot of fun, especially since I wasn’t “on the clock” and didn’t feel the pressure of having to necessarily deliver. The only competition was myself. In the end, I actually ended up with a frame I liked. If the Mariners would have lost, it would have run on the sports front. However, they won, but it ran inside the section nonetheless to show how they almost blew it earlier in the game.

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Seattle left fielder Ben Broussard can’t make the catch and commits an error as he nearly collides with shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt on a ball hit by Baltimore’s Corey Patterson during the Orioles’ three-run seventh inning.



July 13, 2007

Ozzy Rules!

Filed under: Uncategorized — erickayne @ 9:00 am

Today I went out to cover Ozzfest, a Lollapalooza-like festival involving massive amounts of heavy metal topped off with a creamy dollop of Ozzy Osbourne, former Black Sabbath front man and personal icon throughout much of my childhood. I etched his name on top of pretty much any mark-able surface until I discovered grunge in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

Now, don’t get all excited thinking you’re going to see any pics of the Metal God himself. I was assigned to cover the feel of the event, not the stages. Plus, I had to be out of there by 4 pm to make a 5 pm deadline. The Oz Man didn’t come on until the sun went down. How fitting.

When I got to the White Rock Amphitheatre, I was told I would have to be escorted by a media representative for the whole time I was there. The media rep I spoke with was under the impression I would be there for a half hour at the most. When I told him I’d be there for about four hours, he realized he’d have to find another rep to follow me around. In the meantime, we strolled around the grounds for about fifteen minutes before we went back to the office to wait for the other liaison to escort me.

He was actually helpful, pointing out a man with an Ozzy tattoo on his arm. I will say the experience of having someone shadow me while I’m trying to make pictures was different to say the least. About half-way through, I asked him why he had to escort me. Apparently, the powers that be are afraid I would do something like take a picture of the empty main stage, (which hadn’t filled out yet because the venue had just opened), and then publish the image and say something like “they put on a show and no one came.” That was certainly not the case. The thing to remember, though, is something I learned a long time ago at one of my alma mater’s, San Antonio College’s Photography and Journalism department. “We are not a PR (public relations) firm,” words uttered by Irene Abrego, my adviser on the word side who said this to me after the teacher of a wrestling school wanted to look at the pictures I made of his students training before we published them. Abrego’s logic, new to me at the time, is that we are professionals and we’re there to tell a story. We wouldn’t tell him how to teach people how to wrestle. His students trust him to do that. In that light, people need to trust journalists as professionals doing their best to tell the stories of their communities.

After we journeyed back, I was introduced to the liaison who would follow me for the remainder of my time at the venue. We took a walk around the perimeter of the main and second stage. When we passed by the office again, he said, “You’re going down that way, right? I’m going to go inside for a few minutes and I’ll catch up with you.” I said fine and went on my way, feeling emancipated to get into my shooting groove.

After I wrapped up my shooting and went back to my car, there were three messages on my phone from the main PR guy. He said something to the effect that I needed to come back to the office, that the promoters would be very upset if they saw me walking around unescorted. I guess I didn’t hear my phone ring amongst all the loud music. Heck, its a work phone. I just got it and I haven’t even figured out how to make it vibrate yet. I’ll have to figure that out.

This was my favorite photo from the event:

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The heavy metal seal of approval greets the band Mondo Generator at Ozzfest 2007.
And the page front:

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