Friday, January 30, 2009


The Detroit News writer Charlie LeDuff got a phone call about a man frozen to death in a block of ice in an abandoned building in Detroit and wrote about it in Thursday's paper, read here. Today he found out who the man was and tracked down his brother, read update here.
This is how it relates to me.

I was at McDonalds for dinner with my son Max watching him in the play area while I flipped through the most recent issue of News photographer Magazine. I got a call from the photo desk at the News asking, "What are you doing right now?" So I told them and asked what was up. They said they tracked down a family member of that man that died in the ice and could I go get a photo of a photo he had and a portrait of the brother. BTW the man that died, his name is Johnnie. So I told them I could possibly make it to his house by 7:00 but probably more like 7:30. So I dropped my son off at home just as my wife got home with my daughter. Mapped out where I was going. Mapped out the closest place to transmit like Starbucks, McDonalds or anywhere with Wi-Fi and started to drive.

On the way there I was wondering how I would shoot this sensitive situation. Available light, strobes (off camera of course), take in a light stand and umbrella, just use a small reflector, what? I didn't want to be a pain in the ass depending on the mood of Johnnie's brother Homer Redding. So I wanted to keep things simple. I wanted a nice looking portrait but this wasn't about how cool of a photo I could shoot but how fast I could get a nicely lit portrait and be on my way.
I had to call when I got to his street because I couldn't find his house and it turns out the wrong address was written on my assignment sheet. I was worried he was going to say he changed his mind about being photographed which would be understandable.

Mr. Redding welcomed me in and he had been painting so his furniture was all in the middle of the rooms and not in their normal places. So simple would definitely be best. I did take in a light stand and umbrella, set it up while he looked for a couple of photographs of Johnnie for me to shoot. I shot a few simple images of some old photographs and then ask Mr.' Redding if he would mind holding one of the photos so I could take a shot of that. I already had the lights where I wanted them and did two test shots on my hand so I was ready to go. I used a 285 in a shoot through umbrella camera right and an SB800 in slave mode for a back light camera right and behind Mr. Redding.

Then I asked him to set the photo down so I could get a portrait of him, I told him he could look into the camera if he wanted but didn't have to so he would feel more comfortable.
I shot a few wide shots with one camera body and lens and then had another camera body with a long lens for a couple other shots.
I did have a problem with the lights though, that batteries were weak. But instead of taking up more of his time to change them I just worked through it and shot slow. Sometimes they didn't fire but he was very gracious and put up with me for a few extra minutes.

I joked with him and his nephew about goofy old photographs as I quickly packed up my things. I the told him thank you for allowing me and the paper in. I also told him that I get to meet many people in my job and I was sorry for his loss and we had to meet under these circumstances. I shook his hand and said maybe we would meet again someday under happier conditions.

One more thing. As I was driving my son home he heard me talking on the phone to my wife about what I was shooting. When I hung up he asked my, "dad, why did the man freeze?" I have talked to him in the past about how some people don't have much money, many things and some are homeless. So I reminded him this is why we should always be grateful for what we have and that we have people who love us.
"Didn't anyone love him?" he asked.
If you went to the link above and read the story you might think no one did. I had a tear in my eye and told my 4 year old, "I'm positive some people loved him and I'm going to take their picture so everyone else knows there were people who loved him but sometimes some people just have some bad luck." Thanks Mr. Redding, Thanks Max.

Monday, January 26, 2009


What else can you say when this happens. We'll I had a couple other words but had to keep those in my head because there were kids around.
I was shooting hockey and features of people watching hockey. The lens fell off one of my camera bodies. I almost caught it but then "crash" on the cement steps. I had changed lenses about 10-15 minutes earlier but it must not have clicked all the way on.
So off to Nikon it will go to find out the cost on repair and if its worth it because the lens is getting old. I am in need of a new 17-35 and would love a 12-24 I just don't have the extra cash right now. But the repair cost might not be worth fixing it.
I do have camera insurance but have had 2 claims in the last5-6 years and they keep increasing my fee. Insurance is such a scam unless you "really" need it. And then the problems that caused you needing it are usually big problems you would have much rather not had. Ok I better stop now before both feet or on my soapbox!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I was sent by the Associated Press to photograph people gathering to watch and listen to the swearing-in and inauguration speech of President Barack Obama on large screen televisions at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan today. It was just one of many places all of the country and world people paused to watch. Despite your politics it was historical. And even though I wasn't in Washington, which I would have not wanted to be, I felt I was a small part of history. That is one of the coolest things about being a photojournalist in that no matter how big or small most all of the moments we shoot are history. I didn't get any earth shattering images but I noticed the image below of people watching in a mock drive-in theater at the museum was used a part of an online story AP sent out to members. Example HERE and HERE. Cool to record a tine part of history. Then I shot basketball tonight for the Detroit News, see below. Oh and CLICK HERE to see the best photo of the swearing in. It took a ton of work and negotiating to get this photo but it was worth it.

Monday, January 19, 2009


A horror show? No, well maybe for some. Yes it was screaming girls but for the boy band The Jonas Brothers. I shot the show last night for the Detroit News, (gallery, write up), and I'm glad I wear ear plugs to shows now. And this time it wasn't for the loud music but the ear piercing, VERY high pitched screaming girls. Is this what it was like for Elvis? Last January Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus was in town. I didn't shoot that show but remember talking with another photographer who did and he was telling me how it was the loudest concert hey had ever been to. Come on, louder then AC-DC, Metallica, Dio? "Yes", he said. "The screaming!" So I popped one of my ear plugs out for a few seconds and I couldn't believe how loud and high pitched it was, insane! How could these guys not have a huge ego?
Anyway the light wasn't the best and I would have liked a better shot of all three of them. Also I wish I would have focused more on the fans and came away with better shots of them. I would have liked those better as well as the editors. But I also know fans want to see the boys in the paper not other fans. I didn't feel like I was getting enough good shots for a photo gallery so I had to change my original plan of shooting photos of fans during the third song. Yes those who want to be in the pit shooting photos up close you get 3 songs and then you are escorted out. I hope I don't have to take my daughter to see her favorite boy band but I'm sure I will. Except she doesn't like loud noise! (Please remember all photos are copyrighted and may not be used without permission from me and the band. PLEASE do not post them anywhere else on the web. I do check on this.)

I don't know if this was a dad or arena security but I liked the shot.

Probably my favorite shot of the night.

The best I got of all three.

This one was just for the Joe Jonas fans.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Yes they are getting older but Metallica still rocks. The put on a big show, they look like they are having a blast and they look like rock stars. How they look on stage is why every guy out their has wanted to be a rock star at some point in his life. It was challenging to shoot because the stage was in the round and they moved all over the place with constantly changing light. The whole first song was lit by lasers, which I was able to make one cool shoot. And we only got our usual 3 songs. I was real concerned with what I was getting and I way overshot. But it paid off and I was real happy with my take. It was a good night. The only bummer was I had to leave after the 3 songs because of the cameras and I was on deadline. This is the one show I would have liked to watched the rest of as a music fan.Go HERE for bigger images. (Please remember all photos are copyrighted and may not be used without permission.) Adam Graham's, of the Detroit News who I shot the show for, review of the show is HERE, and a gallery of my photos. Same photos that are on my gallery, actually mine has a few more.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Monday, January 12, 2009


Ok I'm real tired and not writing much. Shot the auto show all day for Getty then a basketball game tonight for the News. I have a noon assignment for the News on Tuesday and then the Metallica concert Tuesday night and I might go shoot some more images or even video practice, yes video, of the cars. Good night. Above is a Jaguar.

Press Room.

Waiting for a press conference.

Rick Wagoner, Chairman and CEO of General Motors with photogs and reporters.

And what are cars without girls!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Its auto show time again. I've lost track of how many years I've covered the Detroit Auto Show, at least 16 or 17. I tell people its like the movie Groundhog Day because its like I was just there even though its been a year. The glitz is definitely low this year, which was expected with the tough times the car makers are having. Reporters definitely want to talk with Bill Ford, he is in the middle of the scrum in the above photo. I didn't really have time for any behind-the-scenes shots or more artsy shots today. I will try Monday though since I only have 3 press conferences to do. I'll try to show you the media room and a couple overall shots. Maybe the Lamborghini girls if you're lucky! :) If you are an editor you can license images I shoot at Getty Images, click here.

I often wonder what Bill Ford is really thinking at a time like this.

Lots of photogs, but not as many as the last couple of years.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


So I went out to get some snow weather feature shots for the Detroit News today. I like doing this but I'm never really happy with what I get. I'm always looking for something different, that real killer shot! Maybe its because I've shot so many snow features over 20 years I'm just real picky now, actually I am. I drive on by things I maybe should shoot looking for better and then before you know it I've been our for an hour and have not a thing to show for it. Then I feel like I "have" to get something soon to meet deadline and have to rush. Same today but I had to shoot something to send and they are not awful, just average and not real exciting. And I always end up shooting a few images while driving. I do it way to much but I like the point of view look they give of driving in the snow. Oh, I did meet this real cool old guy I think I would like to go back and shoot a cool portrait of someday when I have time. Oh well, you can't hit a home run every time but I really want to. Especially when my creative mind had been real tired as of late. Oh ya, thats me above waiting for a xc skier to go by.

Driving in the snow.

The freeways were snow covered and slow.

Cool dog. Would have liked to try for more but needed to send photos. This isn't the one I sent them.

The skier I was waiting for.

The old guy.

Have to get kids sledding! :)

More driving.