If you're going to piss off a tiger, I guess its best to do it at a zoo and from the other side of the enclosure. We went to the Erie zoo today and we got to see the tiger up pretty close. He was just sitting their in some cool mud right near the glass. I took a few shots and then decided to get as close as I could to the glass and got down at eye level. The tiger didn't seem to care much for my shenanigans. I was wearing a pretty bright orange shirt too and wasn't sure if that didn't please him. I sorta felt bad that I disturbed him(and at this point I should say--I'm not sure it is a him or a her. In any event, i think if I were not protected by the good zoo enclosure that I would be in the form of tiger burps tonight. Below is a Jaguar, I saw the cat pacing back and forth and the sign and thought i might be able to make the picture below, a sort of optical illusion. Photographs by Richard Sayer.
A couple years ago when we were thinking about starting our photography business I began shooting a lot of pictures for practice. I had met some local folks who wanted to have their photos taken and build portfolios. I asked them a lot of questions and they showed me the work that already had in their portfolios. One of the models, Janae, had these photos from inside her apartment where she hung some records on the wall. I really liked the look. Last night I photographed Janae in front of a wall of records I put together in our studio. I joked with her that I stole her idea. Though it is quite different than the wall she had(I've been putting these up and taking them down and rearranging them now for two weeks looking for the right design) I really like the shapes it makes and I'm working out how to affectively light them--they are quite reflective and that can be problematic. In shooting tonight I decided to try a zooming affect and this ultimately produced some of the most interesting images. I tried several long exposures--some zooming some not --some with a flash--some without. I think this might work really well to give some seniors something a little different in their book to choose from. We'll see--it will at least be something to offer. SayerMotter Photographs by Richard Sayer.
A grizzled old man sys behind a desk, a stub of a cigar clenched between his teeth. He is going over the wires, the daily newspapers, his reporters daily assignment lists. His eyes deepen in his head. Its a slow news day! He bellows out into the newsroom, his voice echoes off the shoulder height dividers in which the desks and 'offices' of the reporters are contained, the voice meanders all the way across the room to the far side where all the lights are turned off and the windows are covered up to the photographer on duty. "I need a weather feature for A1!' Weather features used to be a staple in newspapers. It was a chance for photographers to go out and find a photograph, find some little slice of life moment or story of people going about their lives in whatever the weather was during the day. Not always 'news' - yet it did document the day, so it was, in a sense news. Of course extreme weather does become more news worthy. And today, not many editors are clenching cigars between their teeth, corporate structures and harassment lawsuits have made them slightly less grizzled and we're seldom ever sent out looking for weather features anymore. (though we're still on the other side of the room with the lights off and windows covered up!) This spring has been wet, very wet. So if I'm sent to cover a ball game and it gets called or delayed because of rain or lightning, it is news. I took this picture last week when the umpires called the game due to a flash of lightning spotted in the sky. The rule is they have to allow a certain amount of time to pass from the last strike noticed before they can allow the players back on the field. I liked this shot because it showed the umpire looking up and the athletic director checking his phone for a forecast. The funny thing was, I was on a limited schedule this particular day and when they did decide to start up again I had to go. And the real funny thing was, when lightning was spotted it wasn't raining, but when they began playing again it was raining pretty steady. I didn't mind having to leave early, but my action shots weren't what I would normally hope for. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer.
Oh and yesterday's post, thanks for all the thoughts...yes it was that the girl's belly was showing and at least two people told me that I need to be more sensitive to the way I depict a young girl's body and that, according to the folks who came to me with this, that that is all the girl would see, she wouldn't see her determination or spirit. I'm listening....
This picture, strangely enough became a somewhat controversial picture recently after it appeared in the newspaper. Without going into details at this point--what do you see in this picture? The headline explained that the team won the game. So....what does this picture represent? Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer.
Yesterday I photographed a dress rehearsal for Kristine's School of Dance's upcoming annual dance recital. These little ballerinas are from the the pre-school ballet class and I just thought that they were so darn cute. I always enjoy having assignments like this one, because I took 11 years of tap and ballet classes when I was younger. So I will give you this! Below is a photo of me as a tiny dancer, circa 1984. I was in first grade and just loved to tap dance.
Meadville Tribune Photo By: Harmony Motter
Ever wonder what your reflection does once you move away from the mirror? It can make for good stories if you let your mind go there...but the physics of it all is that your reflection simply ceases to exist. I like reflections(if you couldn't tell from my countless posts using them) and I find them useful to me to see angles for photos that I couldn't get with out the mirrored image. Last Friday I had to photograph a graduation/dinner at a country club style restaurant. And I had limited time. So as I was trying to find pictures to tell the story with difficult lighting and separation between presenters and audience I began to look at the possibility of silhouettes. This wasn't working as a story telling way, but I found myself making several frames. This is a picture of the main guest speaker John Stansfield as he gave his speech. He is reflected in a mirror that was behind hime. Why I chose the mirror instead of just his silhouette was simply based on the angle of the background, the mirrored image was a brighter background. My vantage point placed the outside trees behind him, the angle in the mirror went more into the sky and waters of the lake. Again, this wasn't the picture for the story, but it was fun to make. And its a little more visually interesting than a standard podium shot Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer.
Back in 1997(my friend Harmony loves it when I begin my stories this way) we were responsible for taking a picture each day that would be the lead photo on the front page of the Meadville Tribune. The policy was simple. We put the most important and best photo taken that day above the fold of the paper so that we gave our readers the best that we had to offer locally. Sometimes, when there wasn't anything really newsworthy we were tasked with finding what they called 'Wild Art'--something picturesque that we would then tie into some tidbit of information useful to our readers. Sometimes this came from a construction project, but mostly it was a 'weather feature.' Weather features allowed us to make a picture of the weather today and then explain what the forecast says for the day the paper came out--and perhaps an extended forecast. Now this was sometimes difficult. In a small community sometimes you can go days and days without much going on that is front page newsworthy. So out of 365 days in Crawford County we probably had to come up with 200 or more 'Wild art' features each year. Since I was new at it in 1997 I really enjoyed this. I hadn't photographed everything yet so it was always fresh for me. I remember driving around on a Sunday(now Sundays were tough in Meadville because no one ever comes out on Sunday in downtown). I saw all this flower petals had fallen off the trees in front of the parking garage on Water street. It was quite beautiful. But I find pictures are 1,000 times better with people in them so I found my composition and then waited for someone to walk by. And I waited. And I waited. I kept remembering all the lessons about patience and waiting for the right moment. So I stuck it out. Over an hour passed and not a single person walked into my frame. Two people had walked nearby only to turn off just before or they crossed the road before they got into my composition. Then finally it worked out and I got my picture. It was film then so I had to go back and develop it and when I did I discovered I didn't have enough depth of field to have everything I wanted in focus. Since then I keep my eyes open for these petals to fall and did try a couple years ago again and again wait wait wait. Yesterday was my third try at it and this time I waited about 40 minutes. Its a little different from the original, the trees have grown up quite a bit and the original angle just doesn't exist any more, but I was glad to revisit this idea again, its old school stuff--like the 20th century masters we studied who found there way up on things to document the world below as if it were all so new! Thats a nice approach--feeling like it is all brand new. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer.
I've been working for the paper long enough now that I am photographing the kids of kids I photographed when they were in high school. And I get to see people years later in completely different worlds it seems. Yesterday I photographed this young woman dancing during Second Saturdays at the Market House. When I went to get her name for the caption info she said a name that was familiar to me me. I had photographed Annie Colgrove many times when she played sports in high school. She was an active player so she was around the ball alot and thus, got in front of my lens alot(we try to follow the ball--the rule in sports photography is -- you gotta have the ball in the frame). This was one of the first frames I took and Annie didn't know I was there and I nearly got hit by the hoop. I think she saw me and backed away a little, but it was being close that made this and the other 2 or three better than the ones I shot afterwards. It was raining so many of the later shots were also too riddled with drops on the lens. This wasn't the best 'event shot' that I got because it did lack other elements of the story that I was able to get from different angles, but I did like her red hair and red bricks and overall saturation of color and that the three primary colors are almost the only colors in the photo. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer. Below--I saw this on the way out of the Second Saturday assignment.
In the news business we don't like fake. We especially don't like faked. The recent stories about Obama re-enacting his speech for still photographers after he had already given the speech live on television puts a very bad taste in my mouth. It is simply wrong to put out something as real--when it is not. Even if it can be argued that no harm is done, or it really doesn't change the content or context really--if it isn't real--it should not be presented as such. Today I had to photograph a mock car accident...so what is the difference? Is this ok to do and present it as real. Well if I used this picture to illustrate an actually accident then yes. But this is 'play' put on so that high school students can get a little bit of knowledge about what an accident scene looks like. I'll admit, when I was young this sort of thing seemed ridiculous to me--especially because I knew the 'actors' and knew what they were doing. It really had no impact on me...though I guess it did remind me once again to be careful behind the wheel and not do anything stupid. Well we all do stupid things and sometimes--probably most times-- we get away with it. But today I was at this mock accident scene and it affected me a lot more...maybe because I've been to dozens of actual accident scenes covering them for stories for the paper. I could see where if this was real--just how real it is. Now I took this picture today, but would never take a picture like this at an actual accident scene. As journalist I need to tell a story, but I don't need to be interfering with or getting in the way of the emergency personnel doing important work. I shot this with a wide angle lens to get the 'victim' in the foreground, the crowd watching and the helicopter coming in for a landing. I was nearly in the car myself. The emergency folks wouldn't let me get this close normally and frankly I wouldn't even try. I can tell the story from a distance without being intrusive. The only way I would take a picture like this is if the story somehow demanded it be done this way and I was given access, but if we're ever to that point in this country where pictures like this need to be taken, we're going to be in a pretty bad place in our history. So I hope I'm never in that situation. I'd much rather photograph a nice happy afternoon little league game with a faint scent of apple pie in the air. Meadville Tribune photograph by Richard Sayer.
This is a photo that I snapped yesterday of a vintage ceramic purple cow breakfast set, which includes a creamer and sugar bowl and a salt & pepper shaker. It is a super neat set from the 1960’s. It was made in Japan. I have always been a sucker for these kinds of things. In some sort of odd kinda way, they bring me comfort.
Photo By: Harmony Motter