Covering severe weather

Last week several tornadoes swept through the county I work in. The damage was dramatic but thankfully, no one was critically injured. Other parts of Texas have not been so lucky. Mostly Wise County saw a large amount of property damaged caused by tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding. Below are some of the photos I took in the Runaway Bay and Decatur areas. More severe damaged was reported near FM 920 in the county, but that was assigned to another photographer.

Covering a natural disaster, even one as small as this, can be pretty daunting. Finding the damage, getting accurate information and getting it back to the copy desk as quickly as possible is a completely different animal than most reporting duties. I’m not sure there is anything to compare it to.

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Covering the news

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Fires are some of the most exciting and heartbreaking things to cover. From a photojournalist’s point of view, it’s a little strange, because a fire is inherently beautiful and terrible all at the same time. You sit around campfires as a kid, staring into the flames and embers as they lick at the night. Orange, red, and yellow giving you warmth and security from the cold black sky. But there’s pain too.

A fire out of control kills and robs us of what we love. A house fire is all of this. A person’s hopes, dreams, and memories become a violent cavalcade of sound and fury. Their story becomes a warning. One that has to be told.

Polaroids from Sunday’s photoshoot

I couldn’t help myself I had to get out my film cameras and shoot some analog. So here are a couple photos shot with my Mamiya RB67 and FP-100c instant film. I also took photos on 120mm and 35mm with my Minolta SRT 202. Those will be developed later, so stay tuned. I’m thinking I’ll have those ready sometime next week.

Photoshoot with DJ

I got to work with a young aspiring model. I’m expanding my studio portrait portfolio and she needed some shots for her portfolio. DJ was pretty cool and overall I’m pleased with the results.

What I am really excited about are the the shots I haven’t developed yet. Aside from the normal digital photos I took, I also shot a few 120mm and 35mm photos which includes some double exposures.

Outdoor concert and instant film

I was shooting a concert in Fort Wort at a bar called the Flaying Saucer (if  you’ve never heard of it, I’d say put it on your list of musts) and I decided it was a great time to pull out my RB67. I know I’ve posted quite a bit about this camera, but damnit I love it. I’ve been shooting digital for nearly a decade and I’ve come to a point in my career where I can slow down a bit. Digital photography is great. I would not be the same photographer without it — not even close.

However, digital cameras feel so clinical — cold, I guess. These machines have no soul, no personality — it’s very “what you see is what you get.” None of this is completely negative. In the pursuit of control, which should occupy all photographers chasing light, a camera should perform in that way. It should be mechanical, reliable, and cold.

What I get from my film camera is something different. It’s heavy, it’s limited and it’s manual focus. On top of all that, I love shooting instant film, so there is another complication. Instant film isn’t as easy to work with and get amazing results, but what you get can be great even if it isn’t perfect. Think about this: all the instagram, VSCO, and other nostalgia filters out there are just trying to artificially recreate what I’m getting right out of the camera.

I’m not in the business of pursuing perfection. I’ll let someone else have that headache. I’m more interested in being satisfied with what I’m producing. Sometimes that means getting in there and pushing work out so I can pay bills. Other times, it means smiling and realizing I’m truly enjoying what I’m doing. Perfection doesn’t really do it for me. First, nothing is ever perfect so there is a major cost benefit ratio when it comes to how much a project is worth vs. how much your time is worth. Second, seeking perfection is mind numbing and not at all satisfying — at least not for me. I’d rather produce work that I love.

Below are some shots taken with an RB67, Fuji’s FP-3000b and and FP-100c instant film. Some are double exposure and others are just straight concert shots.