Saturday, January 31, 2009

Furlough Frustrations

This year has shown no better than last year in regards to finances within the newspaper industry. Our company, MediaNews Group, has been giving us less and less to work with because our budgets have decreased and decreased.

We just got word last week that our own publisher Wolf Rosenberg had been let go. It was a shocking loss and a first related to staffing. We have made cuts but no one has lost their job, which was always something to be thankful of.

At the beginning of the year, we were told that we must take off one unpaid day a month. This seemed to be a nusense, but was negotiated from working a 7 1/2 hour day every day. It's not like any journalist is really going to take that 1/2 hour off seriously. We already work past our hours as it is to finish the story or get the news. Now we are being asked to take an additional 3 work days unpaid off by March 31st to get us through the end of March.

These furlough days are frustrating, but I have to be thankful that I am employed. There are so many more larger newspapers that are being effected by the economy. And because the problems are nationalized, it is not like I can move to a larger newspaper. They are probably hit worse than us.

The newspaper industry was put into this situation with a two-hit punch. The first was the internet that tested the advertising of the newspaper, which was the bread and butter for the company. We were tested not by getting the news online, but by having that new medium be profitable. While locally the web hits have been the best way to reach a huge market, it doesn't carry the same impression as the print medium does. The second blow was while trying to market to advertisers with a new source, the economy hit a slump. This was the KO punch to our failing kidneys. We were working well with creating a marketable online news source to advertise, but no business had any money to advertise. We are now relying on a bounce back to the economy to jump start our own business. We are reliant on the communities we serve.

I imagined this hardship had started for the last 3-5 years, but it has actually had its roots settled before I was even born. I came across the archive footage of a newscast from KRON San Francisco in 1981 about the news and the internet.

The most intriguing parts of the broadcast are:
00:23 - This might date me, but using a home phone to dial the internet
00:30 - The newsroom is still referred to as "less than fashionable"
01:05 - S.F. Examiner David Cole refers to the web as an experiment, "We're not in it to make money. We probably not going to lose a lot, but we aren't gonna to make much either." (Isn't that the biggest understated foresighted statement ever.)
01:34 - The man interviewed, Richard Halloran, is referred as "Owns Home Computer", as if this is a title held by few.
01:38 - What Halloran likes and thinks is the future of online newspapers is that he can print out a copy at home. Isn't that home delivery?
01:54 - After newspapers via computers was thought of, engineers thought a few years after we all would get our news via computers.
02:00 - "So for the moment at least, this fellow isn't worried about being out of a job." I bet he is now.
02:06 - It takes over two hours to get the paper online! And hourly use charge of 5 bucks! Wow, we're at rocket speeds now, and it's free!


Friday, January 30, 2009

What a Riot!

Oh Chico youth, when will you disappoint me. Just after I was feeling bad about the first "public disturbance" you bless my heart with another. I knew this week was a little quiet. All I needed to give it was a little time. I am referring to the disturbance that occurred late Thursday night into Friday morning. There were about 300 young individuals who gathered in the middle of Sixth St. near Chestnut starting a bonfire after disbanding from a nearby party. Chico Police came out and cleared the streets shortly after. Not as big as the first riot, but exciting none the less.

A young man kicks a trash bin that was placed in a bonfire near Sixth and Chestnut streets early this morning. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Students gather around a bonfire near Sixth and Chestnut streets early this morning. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A large crowd of at least 200 to 300 people gather around a bonfire near Sixth and Chestnut streets early this morning. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I thought to myself this night that I was happy to be going to bed at a decent time to get much needed rest. Only to find that when I went to grab my phone to place it on the charger, I just missed a call from the office. Getting a call from the office this late a night is never a good sign. Thinking it would be some home on fire or shooting, I was a little shocked to hear a riot had broken out in the west side of Chico. I had just unpacked all of my equipment to organize my gear when I had to pack it all back up to race to the scene.

A few individuals throw a couch into a bonfire near Sixth and Chestnut streets early this morning. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Onlookers take video and pictures with cameras and cellphones as they watch a bonfire near Sixth and Chestnut streets early this morning. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I arrived on scene to hear a large crowd gathering with a good bonfire roaring in the middle of the street. Chico Police had already blocked access to the streets for the public. I showed my press pass and walked into the scene. It was a very calm event considering most of the students weren't violent, just intoxicated. Most were there to have fun and just witness it. Not to cause a disturbance, though it was very much one.

The more risky participants took turns jumping over the large bonfire in the middle of the street near Sixth and Chestnut streets early this morning. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Spark fly into the air as students gather around a bonfire near Sixth and Chestnut streets early this morning. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

People climbed on cars and stairs. I myself climbed up the top of a balcony and was caught in the middle of a cat fight, to which I kindly pushed my way back down the stairs thinking I would be safer below. I took pictures of the flames and the kids jumping and throwing items into the fire. Once the couch was lit, the intensity of the flames pushed a lot of the crowd back.

Chico Police line up to begin dispersing the crowd that gathered around a bonfire near Sixth and Chestnut streets early this morning. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Glass bottles and even a brick were thrown at Chico police officers as they begin a sweep toward a crowd early this morning on Sixth Street.(Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Chico police officers approach the bonfire as they begin a sweep toward a crowd early this morning on Sixth Street.(Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I walked over to the cops who were putting on their riot gear. The rush of adrenaline became the usual "hurry up and wait" as I grew tiresome of the same fire still burning. I talked with some of the officers, but made sure to make my presence known. That way if a confrontation occurred they would hopefully remember that I am with the press.

Chico police officers make a few arrests after dispersing a crowd early this morning on Sixth Street.(Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A young man suspected of throwing a bottle at police was arrested by Chico police early this morning at Sixth and Ivy streets following a disturbance that began late Thursday near Sixth and Chestnut streets. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
I remembered to take a point and shoot camera and capture some video of the disturbance. I recall seeing the video from the first riot and it really made an impact visually of the atmosphere. Because I had a lot of time for coverage, I took short video clips of what was happening. I put the footage into a raw video to watch.

UPDATE: Video and Photos from Chico Enterprise-Record

WATCH video from scene

PHOTO GALLERY of the disturbance

The cops cleared the streets. I was looking for that perfect shot of an arrest, but was unable to come across one. The lighting was dark and I was battling a dead battery. But if they keep the riots up at this rate I am sure we will hit our third riot just in time for St. Patty's Day! Here's to you Chico. You're such a riot!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Beauty Rains Down

Rain can sometimes ruin your fun. You can be excited to get some fresh air, but the rain falling can just leave you drenched and down. And let's remember that when it rains, it generally is cold. Wet and cold is never exciting. Oh sure you get your warm summer sprinkles every 4 or 5 years, but that just isn't enough to keep you happy. Unless on those cold rainy days the sun comes out to bring you a smile. I was given this gift just the other day. While spending some good quality indoor time dry and warm, I could see dark clouds off in the distance. I had to head back to the office to finish up so I left driving along the road. While on the road I received a call from my friend who told me of a magnificent rainbow he saw in the sky. I really wasn't thinking the rainbow would be much and told him, "Eh, well I'm not going to shoot it." Boy was I wrong.

A burst of rain near sunset brought a colorful rainbow in the sky over Hwy32 near Bruce Rd Saturday, January 24, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A car drives along Hwy32 near Bruce Rd under a full rainbow seen across the sky Saturday, January 24, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I was driving along Bruce Road when I noticed the intensity of the rainbow. Most of the time conditions aren't the best for digital cameras to capture the dynamic range in rainbows. But the setting sun beaming on the dark stormy clouds created an intense array of colors in the sky. I couldn't help myself by pulling over on the side of the road and taking a couple of shots. Most rainbows aren't this big or bright. You never know when you are going to get a chance to see one again.

What a Gigaview!

Recently I came across something very incredible. It was the combination of a photographer I have been following and his use of an equipment called Gigapan. It takes a normal compact point and shoot camera and combines a combination of photographs taken over a span of 15 minutes in 20 rows and 11 columns of individual images taken at full zoom. What this means is that it can give an image of 1,474 mega pixels. or 59,783 X 24,658 pixels. I have seen the technology in previous events, but for this photographer to use it at the Presidential Inauguration was truly an astonishing feat. It is the technology savvy "Where's Waldo" of photography.

See the image in fullscreen

Read how the photographer, David Bergman took the image

I have given much thought to a piece of technology like this. But never really seen its true potential till now. Before I had seen it be used in mostly still environments, but using it now during the Presidential Inauguration gives new meaning to its application. I myself am looking forward to investing in this awesome piece of equipment.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Freeking" Pekings

With jugglers, gymnasts, tumblers and cyclists the Peking Acrobats amazed me once again at Chico Performances Laxson Auditorium. Each year these incredible individuals dazzle me with the mystery, artistry and majesticness of what a performance should be. With resounding music and visual theatrics the Peking Acrobats always leave me speechless. This is why this post will have more pictures than text.

A Peking Acrobat flips off a giant ball during the Peking Acrobats show at Laxson Auditorium Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Chico, CA. Chico Performances brought more than 20 gymnasts, jugglers, cyclists, and tumblers that make up the Chinese Acrobats.(Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A Peking Acrobat juggles several hats during the Peking Acrobats show at Laxson Auditorium Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A Peking Acrobat flips through a hoop and over 5 other acrobats on their heads during the Peking Acrobats show at Laxson Auditorium Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A Peking Acrobat stands atop others with spinner during the Peking Acrobats show at Laxson Auditorium Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A Peking Acrobat dressed as a chef spins 33 plates consecutively during the Peking Acrobats show at Laxson Auditorium Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
I am generally only allowed the first 10 minutes of the performance to takes images. With normal events, I usually comply and leave feeling satisfied. Yet every year I find myself enthralled with the performers of the Peking Acrobats. I continue to watch from the back, one show after another. Then I always find myself heading to the upper deck to get a different view point and to be less distracting to the patrons. While up in the balcony I will continue to take a few images here and there. I find that most of the crowd is not even distracted by the loud "clunk" of my camera because of their amazement of the acrobatics of the show.

A Peking Acrobat stand on her tippy toe atop another performers shoulder during the Peking Acrobats show at Laxson Auditorium Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Two Peking Acrobats spin on roller blades in circles during the Peking Acrobats show at Laxson Auditorium Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A Peking Acrobat smashes 4 bricks atop the head of another performer with a sledge hammer during the Peking Acrobats show at Laxson Auditorium Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A Peking Acrobat rests atop 4 sharp spears held up by other performers during the Peking Acrobats show at Laxson Auditorium Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Four Peking Acrobats are bent backwards on a pole during the Peking Acrobats show at Laxson Auditorium Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I stay perched high in the crowd, but the show is always a pleasure. Even from far away I can still get a sense of excitement and anticipation. I always say to myself, "Wow, OK that was good. I should leave now." Yet my feet do not head out the curtain. I continue to stay, feet planted watching the show. As one performance ends another picks up right where it left off. Now I say, "Well maybe after this one I'll leave." The problem with that statement is that I say it about 6 more times. Then at last when my batteries begin to become exhausted the main curtain comes down and I have now realized that I have stayed long enough for intermission to come. At that moment I can finally pry myself away from the awe that is the Peking Acrobats. The "Freeking" Peking Acrobats! If only they weren't so wonderful, I might be able to finish work on time.
Well, I'm not complaining. Never have.

Flight Pattern

On Monday I got the chance to take a C.H.A.M.P.S. mentee from Chico High out to Gray Lodge in Gridley to see if we could hunt down a flock of snow geese to photograph. We drove off in the morning about 8:10am and heading south of Chico toward Gridley. While we came closer to the Gray Lodge turn off, we drove past a huge flock of snow geese in a dried rice field.

A flock of snow geese take flight just beyond Gray Lodge Monday, January 19, 2009 in Gridley, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

The moon is seen as a backdrop for several snow geese that fly just beyond Gray Lodge Monday, January 19, 2009 in Gridley, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

With no real good place to pull off on the side of the road, I decided to continue to Gray Lodge thinking there would be more waterfowl at the reserve. To my disappointment there was little action on the water. Though the drive was nice we decided to head back to the first batch in hope that they were still there. While driving up to the location we didn't notice the group of birds at first. Then we spotted them. They were still there, numbering in the hundreds. I pulled into this driveway and slowly exited the car. We were probably looking at hundreds of snow geese no more than 30 feet away.

Hundreds of snow geese are seen in the air as they take flight just beyond Gray Lodge Monday, January 19, 2009 in Gridley, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I told my mentee to get ready as I knew we would soon spook the group and they would flutter in a frenzy into the air. About 3 seconds later the birds must have overheard us an leaped up like a tsunami. The noise from the birds and the flutter of their wings created an intensity you could feel just feet away. The birds took to the air as we took to our cameras firing as many images as we could. They circled around us several time not knowing if it was safe to land. It was the closest I have ever been to that many birds at one time.

C.H.A.M.P.S mentee Robyn Kodai photographs a flock of snow geese that take flight just beyond Gray Lodge Monday, January 19, 2009 in Gridley, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A flock of snow geese can be seen leaving the ground as they take flight just beyond Gray Lodge Monday, January 19, 2009 in Gridley, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
It was truly an inspiring scene. The best part about it was the impact that so many birds created. They made a pattern of white wings with black tips. It was something that was exciting. I was glad to show someone how exciting it can be to see the beauty of this world up close and personal.

Congratulations Mr. President

This day was a monumental historical occasion that I can say I have some connection to. This is not only historical for America in electing the first African American to the Presidency, but is an event that comes after Barack Obama's acceptance to the Democratic Presidential Nominee that I had the privilege to see in person just 6 months prior.

The Democratic Presidential Nominee Barak Obama greets 85,000 people at the Democratic National Convention in Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium Thursday, August 28, 2008, in Denver, CO. (Jason Halley/Denver Post)

In late August, I was invited to join a group of journalists to help The Denver Post with their coverage of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo. I don't know quite the details of how I was chosen to partake in the events, but I never really wanted to investigate why; fearful of the powers at be learning that I should not be in that position. It was a week of great opportunity. The most memorable part was that of being in a stadium of 85,000 individuals with a dream of achievement. I witnessed not only with my camera, but with my presence. I was there witnessing history. I took the moments and captured the memories for myself. Doing so, I have a part of history that is not recorded. That, is my past. A piece of time that is only remembered in my thoughts. They can only be described through my speech. I keep these memories for the rest of my life. It is a memorable part of history. And so I was given an "ich" for the national news. This doesn't mean I am thinking about joining the AP, Reuters or even Getty. It just means that as I watch the national coverage of the Inauguration of Barack Obama, I congratulate him and thank him for the opportunity for giving me the greatest memories thus far.

The front page of the Chico Enterprise-Record Commemorative Inauguration Edition was released January 20, 2009 in Chico CA.

The Chico Enterprise-Record gave me a huge spread in a Commemorative Inauguration Edition that was in the front page of the newspaper on January 20, 2009. It was nice to be able to get a good use out of the photos from that day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Willie Excites Crowd on Hump Day

Take the headline for what it is. Music legend Willie Nelson adorned the audience at Laxson Auditorium on "Hump Day", better known as Wednesday, January 14, 2009. Chico Performances have continued their streak of bringing in huge names to a small town. The audience was filled with many fans varying from many backgrounds and ages. Everyone with a different past, yet had one thing in common...they were all Willie Fans.

Music legend Willie Nelson performs to a sold out crowd at Laxson Auditorium Wednesday, January 14, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

With an American backdrop, Willie Nelson sings a collection of his greatest hits for fans in Chico. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Willie Nelson coming into town was going to be a big story for The Buzz, but with a slow news day, Mr. Nelson became the big news. I stayed longer and shot more of the musician than normal. I mean, come on, when is the last time you've seen this big of a star?

Willie Nelson has been around long enough to know when to be comfortable as he sports more comfortable shoes and strums on an old beat up guitar. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

During his performance Willie Nelson signs "Whiskey for my men..." and signals for the crowd's response " for my horses." at Laxson Auditorium. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Music legend Willie Nelson greets the crowd with hands raised high Wednesday night. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I only had 10 minutes to shoot of his performance. In total for just Willie Nelson I shot 410 images. That means I was shooting an average of about 1 image every 1.5 seconds for the whole 10 minute performance. I figured I would put those images into a video, so you could see the whole performance I captured through my camera.

The video is a sequence of 410 images compressed into a minute video.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Those Journalist are Crazy

It is nice to see that many journalists can still have a good sense of humor through such troubling times. While the following video captures various emotions the digital journalist is feeling these days, it might be that old reporter itch that will make you laugh and not cry about it. While it might be a serious issue, we love our job to much to be defeated. This video sums up the feeling of this digital era print journalism is facing today.

Night Rescue Challenges Not Only Rescuers

Last week I had a breaking news assignment that brought challenges and excitement. A stranded climber was rescued in the dark on January 10, 2009. I received the call around 6:40pm that Butte County Search and Rescue had traveled up to Diversion Dam above Bear Hole to help rescue a “frequent free climber” who had become trapped on the canyon wall. I was coming from a Butte women’s basketball game when I decided to head to Upper Bidwell Park to see what would be done as a rescue for the man.

Butte County Search and Rescue Dan Newman, Tom Chisholm, and Brett Eagan (left to right) await orders as they work to help a man trapped on the edge of the canyon wall above Diversion Dam in Upper Bidwell Park Friday, January 10, 2009. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

CHP H-2 helicopter flies over Big Chico Creek to assist Rescue Techs in who were deployed to rappel down the canyon wall to help the victim. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Butte County Search and Rescue Dan Newman listens on the radio to CHP H-2 helicopter that transported rescue techs across the canyon. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
The evening sun had disappeared behind the mountains as a full moon shone in the nightfall. With several fire trucks and emergency vehicles, there was plenty of light around the parking lot where they staged. However, I did not know how much light was around the victim. In fact I had no idea where the victim was located. Chico Fire’s Marie Fickert was on scene to give me information as to the condition of the climber. Luckily the man was not injured and was pretty secured on the cliff side. He just felt it unsafe to climb down or continue upward. A friend of his had called police. With the man not in need of a rushing rescue, emergency personnel took their time in order to make sure there was no faulty procedure. They could have worked much faster, but the victim was in communication and was OK waiting, as long as he would be safe.

A team of firefighters carry a ladder in the dark that will be used to help the victim cross the creek after he is rappelled down by rescue personnel. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A slow exposure is illuminated by the full moon that gave little light to the rescue personnel during their operation. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Shae Enrique, 30 from Gridley, is seen more than 100ft below rescue techs. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
The conditions were very cold and dark. I could only count my blessings that the weather was not as cold as it had been and there was a full moon out to give some kind of light into the dark canyon. The low temperature that day was 34 degrees, and it sure felt colder. With little tree coverage, winds roar through the canyon giving a much colder wind chill. The other issue was that a CHP helicopter created a chilling wind as it was used to carry rescue techs across Big Chico Creek to rappel down to help the victim. It was nice that the man was OK, but dealing with low light and low temperatures made for a very different type of rescue. As the rescue techs began their rescue, I was able to see the operation from the other side. I tried to keep very still and not shiver as I was hand-holding the camera at 1 and 2 second exposures. When the spotlights were used I could speed it up to about 1/15 or 1/20 a second. I used my surroundings to give me more support. I leaned against the rocks and trees to brace myself for the slow exposures.

Shae Enrique, 30, is spotlighted by firefighters as he awaits to be rescued Friday night, January 10, 2009. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A team of 8 individuals, which included 3 Company 1 volunteers and 5 Rescue Techs made up from Chico Fire and Butte County Search and Rescue descend down more than 100 ft to help the Shae Enrique. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Shae Enrique, 30 from Gridley, is rescued by firefighter Steve Andrews after spending 4 hours trapped on the cliff side of Upper Park. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Shae Enrique, and firefighter Steve Andrews rappel down the canyon wall to safety after spending 4 hours trapped on the cliff side of Upper Park. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I was able to take my time to take a lot of images. In the end, because the incident came without injury, it was pretty exciting. I managed to stay quite a bit. I wish I could have stayed till the end, but as always, deadline is waiting.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Backyardigans Know How to Make Me Sing

I came across this link through Sportsshooter. I think for anyone who knows me and how much I can be a kid, this video fits well. And for all those with kids, they might have seen it already. I won't give any hints to what it is. I just think it is my new favorite video. In fact I might make it my ring tone.

Ah, the joys of my job. Thank you Backyardigans. I'll see ya Saturday!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Different Sports Game

Yesterday I was back into taking sports photos, but this game was different. At the beginning of the New Year the community was hit with the death of a Chico High student. Chico High's basketball coach Sam Simmons benched 7 players, including 5 starters from playing in games until Feb. 3, as punishment for their presence at a party the student had attended the night he died.

With no back story to the punishment, I had approached sports reporter Leland Gordon about who he felt would be a contender in the game. He informed me that he couldn't decide, being that all the starters were benched. He told me the reason and I checked out for myself. Sure enough, I found the whole starting team in well-dress attire not suitable for ball play.

I decided the to take a picture of the benched players being that it might be necessary for Gordon's blog. It wasn't my intention to have it dominant in the story, but rather a side bar of some sorts. I didn't know how Gordon would address it, if at all in his story. I took a quick snap and focused the rest of my time on the game.

The seven Chico High players who were suspended earlier this week watch during the Panthers' 49-28 home loss to Red Bluff that opened Eastern Athletic League play Tuesday. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

When returning to the office to edit my images, there was a phone call to the sports department. I overheard the dialogue talking about the benched players. I quickly handed the image of the benched players to the sports desk. It was just to illustrate that indeed the starters had been benched. The desk thanked me for snapping a shot of that. They felt it was an important part of the story. From Gordon's story, it did prove to be a major part. It is an impressive image to see 7 key players are to sit out for almost a month of games, which explains a lot into their major loss that night. I am sure that the loss of the game will pale in comparison to the loss of a classmate.

Searching For A Nice Portrait

Today I felt a little creative when I went to take a portrait for the Styles section's InnerView. I never know what to expect from these assignments when most of them occur over an interview with a reporter. Most of the InnerViews are features of individuals who are being recognized for things they did prior to the day of the shoot. There is no re-creation in my job. This generally makes it a time to capture a nice portrait photo so people can see a face that belongs to the story.

Today's InnerView was of a a woman named Jean Phillips who had polio as a young girl. She had make a lifelong commitment to help those with disabilities. Phillips was very nice and welcoming. She was confined to her bed in the living room of her home, but that didn't seem to get her down.

I started to photograph her in her environment with an overall shot, then some medium shots and a couple closeups. The images were nice, but it lacked the creativity of inspiration. When looking around for another shot I turned my back to Phillips, and to my excitement saw a mirror that was framed with pictures of kids. I asked Phillips, "Is this your family?" She responded, "Yes." The idea was set. I spent the next several minutes not even facing Phillips, but looking away from her taking shots of her reflected in the mirror.

Jean Phillips is reflected in a mirror framed with pictures of her family. Phillips had polio as a young woman and has a lifelong commitment to people with disabilities. She looks back at her life while in her home Wednesday January 7, 2009 in Orland, Calif. She has raised three daughters and received an award from Butte County Coordinating Council for making a difference for people with disabilities. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I made sure my aperture was small enough so that the depth of field would pick up detail in the pictures, and have my subject in focus. Low light made it hard to hand hold at 1/20 a second. But a few turned out. I only needed one of her smiling, and I did.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Regular Week with Unregular Work(out)

Back to a regular work week with what was going to be just a regular Tuesday at the office. Students were back in school and I was beginning to look forward to shooting sports in the evening. Early in the shift I was in for a different treat.

The scanner called for a two vehicle accident on eastbound Skyway just above Tuscan Ridge with a vehicle fire. I quickly raced up the hill. The accident was actually just above Lookout Point when traffic began to back up. Normally in accidents, traffic can be a problem; but for most, a steady slow-moving pace is usually on the agenda. For this accident, the traffic was taken to a stand still in both lanes.

A two vehicle accident on the eastbound Skyway just east of Lookout Point caused major traffic jams and delays as CHP and Cal Fire - Butte County attended to the scene Tuesday, January 6, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

After being stopped for about two "ever-seemingly enduring" minutes I decided to pull my car off the side of the road and start running. I luckily consider myself young enough to foot race to many assignments, though, every year that distance seems to get longer and longer. This accident to which I thought was just around the bend ended up being around the bend and then about a half a mile. I was really surprised at the number of cars that had piled up on the collision. At that point I had run too far from my car, so I decided to continue to the wreck and would have to run back after capturing the incident.

Cal Fire - Butte County firefighter Melissa Steele sweeps up debris from a two vehicle accident on the eastbound lanes of Skyway Tuesday, January 6, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Once I got to the wreck, a CHP officer shouted if I had parked in the right lane. Advice to those reading, in any accident on a two lane road, the CHP advices you park off the road on the right hand side. Always good to follow their advice. You never want an accident to happen at an accident.

I took the images the traffic began to move and I figured I should run back to my car to make sure it would be OK. A timeline of the event: Come to work, 17 minutes in I hear the call for the accident, 2 minutes to race to my car, 4 minutes to wait for a light to turn green, 8 minutes driving to Paradise until traffic stopped near Lookout Point, 2 minutes waiting to decide to run, 4 minutes running to the scene, 5 minutes to take pictures before another 5 minutes running back to get my car.

I was overheated and out of breath, but a good way to keep in shape. Luckily the accident wasn't too serious that would require me to stay longer. Just enough time to work on the assignment. Although I did have to wait in the traffic to continue up the road to turn back around. That lasted another 15 minutes, but allowed me to catch my breath. Whew. What a job.