Saturday, February 28, 2009

Into the deep end

I don't know why but I like this shot from this morning's Tracy High and West High time trials. I wanted this view although I would have liked the swimmer's reflection closer. Still I sort of got what I was looking for, I think the shot works.

Better one, better two?

This is one of those times where I have to make a happy choice, which picture works better. I was covering the Tracy High baseball game against Golden Valley of Merced when I caught a series of the Bulldog’s Kyle Moses stealing second. I had two shots I really liked but which one to use?

The first shot above has a lot going for it. Nice action, good focus and it tells a story. The ball is not quite to the mitt and Moses hasn’t reached the bag so there is some good movement there. The player in the right sort of detracts from the image but the action is still nicely centered.

The second picture taken probably a second or so later is also a good image. The runner has made the base, colliding with the leg of the player with a good facial expression. The ball is still tight in the frame but you can see the player missed the throw making a more complete storytelling image. It is a little tighter framed in the composition and if need be I could crop in even tighter.

Which image did I choose? The first one. I think it has more action in it with a better visual flow and motion. I would have been happy with either shot making it to the paper but the top shot just has a better feel.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Five seconds

This was one of those assignments where the hype is bigger than the event itself. In a light drizzle, among the hundreds of people gathered on the shoulder of Linne Road a fleeting glance of cycling elite passed by. It took only five seconds for the main body of riders called the peloton to flash by. Fast and furious to be sure, a sporting spectacle had returned to Tracy. Welcome to the Tour of California.

This was the second time the bicycle race had come to Tracy. Back into 2007 they made quick detour through town heading down Corral Hollow for a few blocks giving race fans a frenzied glimpse of their path. This year the race’s third stage heading from San Jose to Modesto would follow the south edge of town as it wound its way from Patterson Pass Road to Highway 132.

Planning is everything in an assignment like this and I mapped out my shooting a couple days in advance. I figured my best bet for a combination of race action and fan action would be somewhere along Linne Road. I thought maybe near the ACE station at Tracy Blvd. but later settled on the intersection of Chrisman Road and Linne Road next to Jefferson School. That put me near the end of a sprint line on a flat stretch of road along with a sizable crowd.

The plan was this. As the bikes approached I would shoot with my 300 mm lens with a 1.4x extender to give me a nice compression shot of the racers. As they got close I would switch to my personal Canon 40D with a 24-70 mm wide angle lens for a tight shot of the pack as they passed. I had previsualized the shots I wanted so it was just a matter of getting the lens in the right spot to make it happen.

I arrived at the intersection about an hour early to find a parking spot before the road was closed. For about a half an hour I waited in my car in the light rain as the fans gathered. Signs, lawn chairs and umbrellas sprouted up along the shoulder as the estimated race arrival time neared. I worked the crowd for feature shots ranging from chalk messages being written on the road between passing cars to sign bearing fans of Lance Armstrong. Eventually the roadway was closed as the racers neared the edge of town

It was easy to tell when the racers were approaching, the procession of CHP and motorcycles worthy of a presidential motorcade signaled their arrival. A breakaway pack leading the main body by five minutes were first to pass by. They were greeted by music from the school’s marching band along with the cheers from hundreds of fans lining the shoulder of the roadway.

Minutes later I spotted a helicopter making it way toward the road. This was the aerial camera platform following the main peloton. Another round of escort cars approached and behind them a pack of racers covered the roadway. I started shooting and when the pack was about 100 feet away I dropped to a knee and switched to the wide-angle camera body. I straddled the white fog line and brought the camera up to find a sea of bicycles flashing by. I held the motor drive down; I don’t even remembering focusing and held the shutter release down until they passed. My camera time stamp recorder the time between the first frame of the racers approaching and last frame as they passed as five seconds between them. In that time I took 26 frames as the pack drove past me at near 40 mph. The distance to the racers was closer than I expected, some of the framing was a little tight. I could have shot with a 16-35mm lens and had more space around the frame but I was happy with the results. In a flash they were gone, five seconds is all it took. A day of planning, an hour waiting and five seconds of action.

I am amazed how many people came out for the fleeting glimpse they get of the racers. Someone one told me it is not so much about the action, it is just that they were there when it happened. I guess it is quality over quantity of action. It had to be one of the quickest assignments I have been on, fast and furious and gone in a flash. We will have to see if they make a return trip next year to Tracy during their tour of California.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bunker dance

I know it's probably wrong of me to do but whenever I cover a golf match I always do the secret and mystical bunker dance to call upon the god of sports photography to make one of the players go into a sand trap. It may sound mean but remember it's all about getting the photo.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Night lights

I was bored waiting for the start of a night soccer match when I decided to try some artsy pictures of airplanes traveling overhead. The squiggly lines are from the wingtip and tail lights while the white dots are the flashes fromt he airplane's anti-collision beacon caught in the hand-held time exposure.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fast and the furious

How do you cram one of the biggest sporting events in California, hundreds of riders and thousands of fans into five seconds? I'll be taking a look at the Amgen Tour Of California's swing through Tracy as they sprinted through town on the way to Modesto, stay tuned.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fear the camera

What dogs are really thinking when I take their picture:

Oh no, not the camera!

Please mom, make him stop!

Have mercy, go away!

And the winner is...

“Trailhead: The Journeys Begin. Photographs by Alice DeLaurier-O'Neil and Glenn Moore”

The gallery show will run from March 7th through April 11th at the Grand Theatre for the Performing Arts gallery.

Opening reception is March 7th 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

A gallery talk with Alice and I will be held March 21st from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The name of the game

A minor snag developed today as Alice and I get the paperwork ready for our photo show at the Grand Theatre gallery. Our show doesn't have a name yet!

It's harder than I thought to come up with one or two words to describe our travels and sights. We have a day to figure it out as the press release is scheduled to come out Friday from the city announcing the show.

Coffee anyone?

I found this while covering the Expressions Art show this morning. This is pretty much what I look like before that first cup of coffee in the morning.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Psycho cat

It’s a bad sign when as you’re walking into the cat kennel room I’m told that I will be taking a picture of the “talking cat”. That was bad sign #1. Bad sign #2 were the anguished screams of a shelter worker as the dug its claws into her flesh. No doubt about it, I was dealing with a psycho cat.

From the editor’s psycho dog to the shelter’s psycho cat I am surrounded by crazed animals. Nobody sits still for the camera anymore. It is spin, bark, hiss, meow and poop, anything to avoid the camera lens.

So this coming week’s pet of the week at the Tracy Animal Shelter had plans on not being photographed. She tried her best to contort, claw and burrow her away into hiding. I shot as fast as I could to try and capture the few fleeting glimpses of her face.

At least I didn’t wind up with a claw embedded in my camera or leave the shelter trailing blood.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Scaredy dog

There is nothing worse than the shrill yelp of the editor's dog as it protests my very existence in the newsroom. I did find it's weakness, a mortal fear of cameras.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


It’s hard to believe but in just over a month I take a magical step and become artist.

It’s true from photojournalist to artist in one bold step. Hiking partner and fellow photographer Alice DeLaurier-O’Neil and I will feature a collection of our photography works in a show at the Grand Theatre’s art gallery in March.

Alice came up with the thought of making the gallery show proposal over a year ago. Dozens of discussions, pouring over pictures and culling them down to a final catalog of images brought me down to 41 images from the thousands of images I shot on the trails of our adventures.

We made a proposal that was accepted and then came the task of getting the work printed. Our work will be presented in a couple of ways. Some will be printed on canvas stretched on frames while others will be printed on metallic paper for unique color sheen.

I am not sure how big the final show layout will be as that is still in the works as we enter the home stretch of show preparation. Stay tuned for details and time of the show opening.