Archive for April 2009
Well today we visited Shakedown Street at the Izod Center. Some things never change, well they do a little. We set up a backdrop and shot portraits of people coming to their 300th, and some to their first show. We collected some audio and grabbed some images of the action in the parking lot. We packed up and headed out before the show started, luckily I had been to the show at MSG the other night, so I got a taste. Check HERE to see those strange folk at Shakedown and the multimedia piece we put together.
Well I spent the weekend shooting the Shad Festival out in Lambertville. Nice town, big crowds, events spread throughout town- sampled the shad- pass on it if you have the chance- fishy like bluefish. I met a guy who had a makeshift stage set up on one of the side streets. He and his boys were jamming and were taking a quick break. I thought it might make for a cool image….but I had to get back to Red Bank to take a train up to MSG to catch a Dead show…later. Funny thing is, he wasn’t playing long as he was on his way up there also. Great show. We’re kicking the idea of shooting portraits at Shakedown at the Izod Center on Wednesday…and we both need miracles. Back to Saturday, as I’m making my way back towards Red bank on Route 195 is see that the NJ Turnpike is shut down at Exit 7a southbound. I reach over to the news pagers and there’s nothing on them so I go on my way. Later I learn that 5 people died in a multi vehicle crash in Mount Laurel. A year ago I would have kicked my self in the ass for not knowing, two years ago I would have kicked myself for not going. Now, I just shrug my shoulders. I saw that a couple of Gannett shooters were able to make images of a tarp covered car…nice…glad to see someone was out there. So Monday I get my early morning papers and as I flip through the Record I see that the Associated Press moved an image of the car fully involved in the middle of the Turnpike with the first arriving fire units preparing to extinguish the car. Wow…nice…really nice. Then as I study the frame I see the outline of a car window and realize someone shot it while passing by. Hopefully it was a photographer who was working or on their way to Great Adventure with their family and got a frame off. I know, I know…it’s the way it is..citizen journalist…blah,blah,blah…don’t fight it. I just hope whomever it was GOT PAID! I think of what it would have cost me to try and get some kind of image of the accident…probably 30 bucks…gas, tolls…and plus whatever damage I did to my equipment trying to sneak through the woods to get close enough. Most likely I wouldn’t have made it back…another one for the archives! Maybe, just maybe..one day I’ll get lucky enough to be somewhere and make an image that won’t cost me money or time to make.
Made my way down to the Photo Center in Brick- needed a step down ring for a macro filter. I also got a prize for the NJPPA POY dinner that’s coming up in May. Seems that some new products are on the way- Canon is releasing it’s new Rebel T-1i, a 15 mega-pixel camera, with a 3 inch LCD and full HD video capture at 1920×1080. All that for under $ 800. Also a Canon rep was there and I told him I wanted a Mark III 1Ds- and he said to wait, in the fall, the next generation will be out. Some kind of cross between the Mark III 1Ds and the 5D Mark II, if you can wait. I’m just looking to have two camera bodies that are the same, with one being full frame- so I guess I do need a 1Ds- any out there?
So I guess I am done fighting what everyone else has already been doing. I constantly hear about Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, blogs and the like. I am told I should have friends, join groups, and network and share experiences and ideas. Maybe I feel that whatever I have to say wouldn’t interest or entertain anyone. So here it goes. I work for Agency New Jersey, which I co-founded with Marc Steiner in September 2007, and luckily we are still around. Like other photographers working in New Jersey we are all just trying to figure out what’s next, and earn a living long the way. It isn’t easy. The decline of the newspaper industry, advances in technology that gives all a chance to make, and send, a decent image, and staying true to cover the CDB (cost of doing business) has become a focus and struggle. Unfortunately, the images that make you money, sometimes more then once, become your best images. We would all like to shoot what we would like to shoot. But that doesn’t change if you are staff, freelance, or own your agency. For me, shooting what I would like, hard breaking news- just doesn’t have a consistent positive financial reward. It’s just not worth it. Most times, chasing news costs us money. We used to run all day and night, cover the state from top to bottom. Then the papers pulled back, or stop covering the state, or they just covered it themselves- while it was happening- or the day after. News events had to have certain criteria in order to get an outlet to bite-how many dead, how many buildings, anyone well known, anything juicy. Then maybe- if they didn’t get a provided image, or get something in house-would they give you a call back for an image. So, where our website was an early morning read for editors and shooters to see what happened during day or night, we realized that we were “tipping” or providing content for free, without an image purchase. That hurt, and so did the $4.00 per gallon gas during last summer. Imagine getting in a Suburban and traveling to Atlantic City for breaking news, and then getting home at Exit 109 on the Parkway, only to have the pager chime in about a fourth alarm in Hoboken. Risk vs gain. Pictures for the wall, instead of cash in the wallet. So we’ve been reinventing ourselves of sorts. Shooting more features and portraits and connecting more with the people, events, issues, and destinations from New Jersey. We are constantly learning, what people want (to pay for), what we really enjoy shooting, what we need to do business wise, and how too keep the edge and interest up. So I as I write this I keep my news pagers close at hand- just in case. Enough with that- congrats to some shooters in my area that have done well recently, Damon Winter on his Pulitzer for covering Obama, Aristide Economopoulos for his 2008 NJPPA Photographer of the Year, Ed Murray for his honorable mention in the NPPA 2008 POY, and our own Marc Steiner- who took four third places and two honorable mentions during the 2008 NJPPA POY contest. Now I have to figure out how to post an image on this thing, cheers.