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I must’ve done something right: 2010 a review of my blog for the year

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Wordpress' Healthy Meter says I did: Wow!

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2010. That’s about 9 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 27 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 35 posts. There were 128 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 36mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 1st with 313 views. The most popular post that day was The 3 I’s of Good Photojournalism- Part 1: What is News?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were linkedin.com, facebook.com, twitter.com, getphotographyjobs.com, and wix.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for snowy scenes, photographing strangers, the 3 i’s of good photojournalism- part 1: what is news?, photos for way to overcome the different barriers, and tips for photographing strangers.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

The 3 I’s of Good Photojournalism- Part 1: What is News? September 2010
4 comments

2

Breaking Barriers: Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Photographing Strangers April 2010
11 comments

3

Photojournalism in not about the photographer’s ego, it’s about the Public’s Trust. March 2010
2 comments

4

Protect Your Copyright: It’s the Only Thing You Have That’s of Real Value May 2010
6 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

5

The 3 I’s of Good Photojournalism, Part 4: Intimacy October 2010

12 months + 12 photos = A Year of Fun

The Space Needle looms over daffodils at the Seattle Center in downtown Seattle, Wash.

Well, another year rolled into the grave of history.

Another year of shooting, editing, traveling, and frustration.

Marcus Fire plays the didjiridoo at Pike's Place Market in downtown Seattle, Wash.

All this and I have to pick 12 of my favorite photos of the year.

Sunsets, chess players, beaches, and a bizarre Christmas eve experience.

So without any further ado, I now share my gems, or lumps of coal, with you.

Floats in Elliot Bay near downtown Seattle.

Rev. Darnell Jenkins performs the Midnight Mass at the Blue Moon Tavern in Seattle, Wash.

A boy runs through the International Fountain at the Seattle Center.

Old refinery structure at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., glow under the cities lights.

Rico Gallegos of Old Colorado City, Colo., ponders his next move while playing chess at Bancroft Park in Old Colorado City.

The Identity Sculpture at the Denver Technology Center in Denver.

Dew drops line a spider's web like pearls on a sting near Tulalip, Wash.

My nephew Frederick takes a break from playing Halo 3.

A starfish suns on a Puget Sound beach south of Carkeek Park in Seattle, Wash.

A homeless man leans against a wall on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver, Colo.

 

Traffic crawls along the northbound lanes on I-5 in Seattle, Wash., as seen from the N. 117th Street bridge near Northgate.

The Smith Tower in downtown Seattle, Wash.

A pair of lovers at a beach on Camano Island during an August sunset.

The Space Needle and St. Spridon Church in Seattle, Wash.

Steel Tigers of Death play at Neumo's on capitol hill in Seattle, Wash.

Boats at the Everett Marina north of Seattle, Wash., are lit by the setting sun.

A man feeds gulls at the Seattle Center in Seattle, Wash.

A brilliant sunset overlooks a herd of sheep at dinner time in the western Washinton county of Snohomish.

Well, I said 12m but it was harder to edit than I anticipated. Oh well, thanks for viewing.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of your Photojournalistic Work

Upon reading the Nashville Tennessean report of the recent death of someone I knew, a photo I had taken of him came to mind. Nashville iconic street musician Elringo De’Angelino died recently. He was known by many as “Velvet Thunder” and played on 2nd Street in downtown and his most famous lyric is titled “Big Legged Woman.”  He was believed to be in his mid-70s.

Nashville street musician Velvet Thunder parked himself on 2nd Street and boomed for a gathering crowd.

Looking at the image, the sounds of his guitar and booming voice emanate from the photo’s old silvery surface. His hands blurred from movement as he plucks the strings, his lips pursed as he sings, the crowd behind in frozen gaze as if mesmerized by his music. I first met him while shooting the above photo for a basic photography class assignment. Being a bit shy, I asked if I could photograph his performance. He simply laughed and said enjoy the show. With my initial intimidation and slight embarrassment gone, I  began shooting.

All that from a simple image on a piece of paper.

Enid city firefighters and EMTs resusitate Jerry Barnes after he was pulled from a burning mobile home.

But his photo also reminds me of the times while covering breaking news that I’ve asked myself “Why the hell am I here.” How during one incident as I watched a fire fighter pulling a lifeless body from a burning Bowling Green, Ky., motel, tears welled in my eyes and I said to myself,  “I’m changing my major, I can’t do this anymore.” Then I drove home, numb from the experience, sat on the couch in deathly silence and cried. I skipped school the next day, trying to figure it out. That was almost 15 years ago.

Ana Weidi of Pearlington, Miss., parys during Sunday Mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

Over the years, I’ve had to deal with onlookers’ abusive comments and physical abuse. While covering the aftermath of a rollover accident in downtown Bowling Green, Ky., an onlooker kneed me in the back while I was squatting to take some photos. Calling me a vulture as he did so. Or when the Kappa Delta Fraternity house on College Street went up in flames, an onlooker made snide remarks as I photographed the structure disintegrate to rubble.  Yet there he was, just standing there watching. I was doing my job.

During a structure fire in Enid, Okla., a good ten minutes after fire fighters arrived on scene, a neighbor came running over and asked the responders if the occupant got out safely. They frantically searched the burning mobile home and discovered resident Jerry Barnes lying on the bed unconscience. They dragged his near lifeless body out to the open to begin life saving measures. As I was shooting the CPR in progress, one of the fire fighters yelled at me “How can you even take photos?” And I repeated the question back to myself: Why was I there?

The worst are the letters to the editors about what was printed. The snide remarks and comments can be somewhat ignored, but when a reader complains and it’s in print, then it can be depressing. It becomes more of a public issue and can make you even more of a target.

Yet I keep going. Something deep down inside keeps me charged and ready to tell the next story. To inform the public of what’s going on. A passion I that sometimes cannot explain.

There are those times while covering breaking news that the writer and I have been thanked for being there. Or the letters and post cards I’ve received over the years from grateful subjects for covering their stories, or from readers thanking me for my work.

Mary Louise Thomas must sit in the dark as bright lights hurt her eyes. She suffers from a multitude of disorders and uses marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Uplifting comments from subjects such as Mary Louise Thomas of Bowling Green who sent me a letter thanking me for the article and photographs. About how the newspaper was fair reporting her need for medicinal marijuana to deal with her fibromyalgia and how the photo really captured her pain and suffering.

The most recent thanks I’ve received is from Pearlington, Miss., residents for covering their town as it recuperated from the devastation Hurricane Katrina created. Residents Cheryl LeSieur, AnaWeidie, and Tim Smith all expressed thanks to Aspen Times writer Scott Condon and myself.

Pearlington, Miss., resident Ana Weidie describes the damage Hurricane Katrina did to her 200-year-old home.

They were thankful for keeping their town in the news so they were able to rebuild with the efforts of a multitude of volunteers. The town of 1500 residents was virtually wiped out by a reported 15 foot storm surge.

One of the most memorable though is Jerry Barnes. Over a month had gone by since being rescued from the rubble of his burned mobile home. He was in a coma for the first two weeks of his hospital stay. He was recently released and staying at The Salvation Army. I returned from an assignment one day and the writer Scott Fitzgerald came to me and said the guy burned in the trailer fire wanted to thank everyone who saved his life. Including the reporter and photographer.

Grateful he was saved from his burning mobile home Nov. 15, Jerry Barnes thinks back to the moment which changed his life. "I laid down to take a nap and woke up two and a half weeks later in the hospital," he says, "I'm grateful to the people who saved my life."

I felt numb as we walked to The Salvation Army in downtown Enid. I didn’t know how I would feel as this was the first time I would meet the victim from a fire or accident. Those fears melted as he came up, shook our hands and hugged us. Thanking us for the news articles that let people know what was going on. It was a simple meeting.

To see a fire victim after the fact reassured me that I was in the right field. My passions were not misplaced.

As we continue through our careers, we must constantly remind ourselves that we do make a difference and our work is appreciated. And the odd thing is, those thanks come at the best possible time- when we need reminding why we do it.

And I thank you Velvet Thunder. Your booming voice and guitar will be missed on 2nd Street.

Thank you for stopping by and reading

Paul Conrad

Pablo Conrad Photography

What oddball equipment do you carry?

One day last year, I was cleaning out my Jeep Cherokee. Yeah, a rare event that caused quite the storm. And made headlines around the world.

Seriously, though. While cleaning it out, I was amazed at the photo stuff I carried. A lot of it regular camera gear as well as odd things that I actually needed to get some interesting images or just to get to the places I need to for those interesting images.

Thousands of rubber ducks flow down the Roaring Fork River on during the annual Rotary Club Ducky Derby. I donned my pair of fly fishing waders to get this shot. The water was about 2 feet deep.

And the whole smack took up a lot of room. Here’s a list:

1.  Fly fishing waders and boots. For when I need to get waist deep in the water to get the shot.

2.  Fire fighter’s bunker gear. In case I got permission to go into the building after the fire was extinguished.

3.  Construction hard hat, safety goggles, and orange vest. To cover constructions sites on roads and at building sites. I did this before the Federal law was implemented. It’s also a lot harder for construction foremen to say no when you have the proper safety gear

4.  Light stands. For a good light set-up.

5.  My NPPA Domke F2 camera bag full of extra strobes (4), cords, and batteries.

6.  Umbrellas (2 white). For both bounced and softbox.

7. Multiple police scanners. Two mounted to scan different bands and a handheld that I carried at all times.

8.  CB Radio. To talk with truckers while on a major highway so I know which roads are clear.

9  Extra jackets. Living in the mountains, you never know when a summer storm will produce snow and plummet temperatures.

10. Extra boots and socks. For when I get bold and get into a river or stream without my fly fishing gear.

11.  A set of hand tools in case I break down.

12.  Spare parts such as u-joints, oil, transmission fluids, coolant, gasket sealer and a tie rod end. You never know what can happen when off-roading and chasing news.

Taking some time away from the gas rigs, Ray Dale of Eagle Point, Ore., tries his luck on a quiet part of the Roaring Fork River downstream from Basalt, Colo.

13.  A ton of maps. A Colorado Gazetteer, local maps, city, etc.

14.  A phone book. To look up names and numbers and cell phone service was spotty and I was too cheap to pay for 411 service.

15,  Extra notebook pads and pens. I take a lot of notes, and have also lost a lot of notepads.

16.  First Aid Kit. I am a klutz. Ask my former editors Bob and Rick.

17. Snowboard and gear. You never know when you get a last-minute assignment to cover the on-mountain activity. Or it happens to be a powder day. Oh the bane of being a ski town photographer.

18. Tripod. A nice heavy-duty one.

19.  Laptop and satchel.

20. And last, but not least, all my cameras and gear nicely packed into a backpack.  What’s the point of all the other stuff when you don’t have this?

All this just to do my job in the mountains of Colorado. I really didn’t like to take chances.

Now what odd things do you carry in your vehicle for you to do your job?

My Jeep at the beginning of the Crazy T'Rain Park on Buttermilk Mountain, the site for the Winter X-Games.

Paul Conrad

Sky Fire Photography

Patience Grasshopper

After spending some times photographing the monks performing for the crowd, I wanted something different. I followed this monk as he walk through the park. I liked the lighting and serenity, but needed some interaction with the locals. about 45 minutes later, this little cowboy showed up.

After spending some time photographing the monks performing for the crowd, I wanted something different. I followed this monk as he walked through the park. I liked the lighting and serenity, but needed some interaction with the locals. About 45 minutes later, this little cowboy showed up.

Ever wonder how some photographers always seem to capture intimate spontaneous moments?

It’s simple. They use the most important tool they have in their photographic toolbox: Patience.

There are a lot of photographers that rush in and start banging away on the shutter button without really thinking.

I’ve done it myself  a lot, usually when I don’t have the time as I have less than an hour to be at my next assignment or working a tight deadline.

Rushing just causes you frustration in the long run. Not just the feeling that you did a poor job, but also when your back at base editing your images.

You’ll be frustrated at the poor selection of images you have causing your final edit to be difficult. And you’ll usually say “Why didn’t I wait a few more minutes.”

Landscape photographers know you can’t just drive to a lake and photograph the scene. You have to know what the weather will be like, have an idea of which direction and time the sun will rise or set, and know it may take several visits to capture the image they want.

Wildlife photographers must know the habits of the animal. Their migration patterns, eating habits, and any other information required in order to photograph it in all its glory. Then it may take multiple trips. Study the work of Thomas D. Mangelson. His famous “Catch of the Day” photograph took quite awhile and quite a few trips to capture it. His other work also shows the patience he has for documenting wildlife.

While covering a Veteran's Day event, I knew the Blackhawk had to take off. As the time got close, I sought out a good composition and waited. I did not expect the girl's reaction.

While covering a Veteran's Day event, I knew the Blackhawk had to take off. As the time got close, I sought out a good composition and waited. I did not expect the girl's reaction.

Photographing people are no different. Humans, too, are creatures of habit. Knowing and understanding their habits will help you capture moments that tell the story and be natural. It’s just a matter of time.

The really good photojournalists understand this. They don’t just run in and begin shooting everything. They find out what is going on. They find out what the story is. They watch and observe in order to find where the moments are and they begin working the scene.

Resort town in Colorado morph into resort towns. As a result, one was forced to walk all over and look for daily features. I found a group of locals bowling in the street. I captured this after precomposing and waiting about 20 minutes.

Resort towns in Colorado morph into ghost towns during off season. As a result, one was forced to walk all over and look for daily features. I found a group of locals bowling in the street. I captured this after pre-composing and waiting about 20 minutes.

Rather than be frustrated for missing a moment, the  good photographer will seek and find the composition as they work the scene with a variety of lenses: wide, medium and tight. Or another way to put it, from an overall scene setter to close-ups while working a lot of angles.

As they work, compositions begin unfolding. They find the composition they feel best tells the story and then wait for all the elements to come together. It may be a few minutes or it may be a few hours. You just don’t know.

Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. But they’re not discouraged. Water off a duck’s back. Just go out and keep trying. It’s part of photojournalism.

They key is not to give up. Yes it can get quite frustrating as you wait. Yes, you may get bored. However, if you know that by waiting you will get the best photo, then the wait will be worth it.

And as Louis Pasteur once said, “Luck favors the prepared mind”

Prepare by seeking the best composition (pre-composing) and then wait for the perfect moment to happen.

You’ll be glad you did.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Pablo Conrad Photography