Saturday, February 14, 2009

Snow in the Foothills

Today I got a chance to take a drive up to Paradise and Magalia to find some wild art of the weather. I was treated with a beautiful white snowfall that came into the foothills. It's not everyday that I get to take my 4-cylinder car up the Skyway into snow paths and flurries, but it is always something that I enjoy to do. With proper safety that is.

Snow fell near into the trees at the Magalia Reservoir Friday, February 13, 2009 in Magalia, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I do enjoy the mountains, but that doesn't mean I want to be stuck up there. I drove up the Skyway and after getting past mid Paradise I began to see snow on the side of the road. Further up the snow began to pack up and I stopped just above the Magalia Reservoir on Dogtown Rd. I got out to take some pictures as the snow began to fall. I looked up to Sawmill Peak, but it was covered in the thick clouds and snowfall. There was a good amount of powder coming down.

Heavy snow falls as a vehicle waits for a clearing to pull onto the Skyway from Dogtown Rd. Friday. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

A car drives along the Skyway above DeSabla Reservoir as a fresh blanket of snow fills the trees. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I continued to drive past Paradise and into Magalia. The snow began to fall but the roads stayed relatively clear. I kept going all the way up to DeSabla Reservoir. I saw a family sliding down one of the slopes off the reservoir. I stopped and took pictures of them for a while. They were really nice. I had spent a good hour searching for snowy pictures and found quite a bit. My favorites were all the fresh powder that had been dumped.

Ty Brown, 13, of Magalia, (left) laughs with his mom Gina Brown (right) as they play in the fresh snow near the DeSabla Reservoir. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

It was nice to get out of Chico for the day. The weather in Chico was much more dreary and wet. I would have been cold and soaked with gray skies overhead. By heading up the hill I was met with a wintry wonderland. This was a nice change of pace. We need the snow pack to help with our drought that should be coming in Summer. I am sure to post more pictures of the lack of water soon. The trip was just right, snort and sweet.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Gas Smash!

I had just finished work when I received a call about a accident into a gas station. I raced to the scene to find the roads being closed down several feet away from the accident. An Oldsmobile 88 had collided into the Valero gas station pumping islands tearing it clear off from its foundation. The pumping station was through into pieces and the car was smashed up on a telephone pole. When I arrived the fire was already put out by firefighters.

An attempted traffic stop Thursday evening ended with this Oldsmobile crashing into a Valero Gas Station on Longfellow Avenue after it failed to negotiate a turn from East First Avenue. (Jason Halley/Staff Photo)

Even though the scene was a mess, it could have been a lot worse. All the safety mechanisms worked how they were suppose to. There are two concrete blocks on either side of the pumping station that are attached to sensors. They are strong enough to hold back "soft" bumps from cars pulling in to pump gas. They are also designed to break away and shut off the gas pumps when a car crashes into them.

The right side of the vehicle struck one of the pumping stations.(Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

The remains of the pumping station that was torn off from its foundation.(Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
I was told that safety crews don't get to test these shut off procedures often, well... because accidents like this don't happen often. The real unfortunate thing from this event is that the driver was originally going to stopped for a traffic violation and ended up causing a lot more damage and problems for him. It makes you think...what was he thinking?!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Duck, Duck, Duck, Goose...Kid

The other day I came across a grandmother walking with her two grandchildren in the park. They were feeding the ducks and geese off the lake nearby. I approached them from across the lake and took a couple shots from far away. The first images were very boring and didn't carry much weight in regards to interest. It worked for a simple photo, but the biggest problem was the green trash can in the background. I tried to walk around the bank but couldn't get the birds and the kids in the same photo.

Connie Higgins, Ethan Higgins, 6, and Derek Higgins, 3, (left to right) feeds the ducks and geese at the lake in California Park as people get outside to enjoy a break in the rain Friday, February 6, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

They stayed there awhile as I began to walk closer to them. At that time of day the sun was getting lower to the horizon. At my first position it was casting a nice yellow glow, but after moving I was staring directly into the sunlight. I really couldn't see anything but the glare off the water.

Ethan Higgins, 6, feeds the ducks and geese at the lake in California Park as people get outside to enjoy a break in the rain Friday, February 6, 2009 in Chico, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Fortunately, this is exactly what I needed to spice the photo up. The bright reflection of the sunlight off the water made the subjects be silhouettes, creating a very simple image. It brought the focus onto the kid and the geese taking away all the distractions (i.e. a trash can). It was a simple event, but the extra searching turned it into a better image. It just goes to show that taking that extra few minutes can really pay off.

Monday, February 9, 2009

What a Zingger

The day after the riot in Downtown Chico, I got a chance to see the character of a University official shine. Chico State's President Paul Zingg is well known for he adoring character. He has expressed his passion for baseball and can be seen regularly at CSUC baseball games. But he also knows when to be a leader. He has continued to push the education of the campus to higher standards not giving in to the party image that the campus is known for.

This character truly makes him an appealing individual. There is always a particular detachment from school officials and thier students. The students are always looking to be cool and hip, while the officials are trying to be stearn and controlled. It is a stereotype for a reason. That is why I appreciate CSUC President Paul Zingg; he breaks the stereotype.

After the riot he called for a press conference with other university, city, county, and community officials to respond to the events. "This is not how we are going to be defined," Zingg said, not by "bonfires in the middle of the street ... that puts our city servants at risk." He took action to stand for something he felt needed to be addressed.

Paul Zingg, president of Chico State University, speaks to members of the press during a press conference Friday outside the City Council chambers to talk about Thursday's night riot at Sixth and Chestnut streets. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

What makes him more special than other administrators was his actions later that night at the Chico State men's basketball game. I saw Zingg enter the stands enjoying the school's activities. Later in the first half I saw Zingg leave the community side of the stands and head over to the students side of the stands. He took off his sports coat as he hopped up with the fans and cheered them on as any fan would do.

Chico State President Paul Zingg (center) cheers with the Rowdy Red group against San Francisco State in the first half Friday at Acker Gym. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

Some people might look at this behavior as fueling the party image, but I do not. I appreciate a University President who can show leadership in the morning by denouncing hostile actions from partying, yet still show the community how to have a safe and fun good time with the activities the University provides. Good job Zingg, I applaud you and your fanatic personality. It tells students it is ok to have a good time. Do it safe, do it fun.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


When a journalist calls "corruption" it can mean they stumbled on a huge break in a story that will launch their career. When a photojournalist calls "corruption" it can mean something entirely different. Unfortunately this last week I have been dealing with the latter.

This is what the corrupted images looked like on the back of the Canon EOS-1D LCD screen. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

This last week I took pictures of the CSUC women's basketball game Friday night and headed back to the office. I put my card in the reader and acquired through to our editing program like normal. I walked away from the computer to get a drink. I came back to the computer to see that the acquire hadn't acquired any pictures.

I was confused and opened the card on the desktop. The title of the card which normally reads "EOS_DIGITAL" read "EOS_DIGITAD". The name was renamed. The files were also corrupted. I attempted to drag the files from the desktop to a new folder and only a few (10 out of 180) were able to be copied. I was frustrated because I lost all the files from the game. I didn't know what happened. I saw the pictures at the game on the LCD. They were fine. Then they weren't.

The corrupted CF card had a folder structure with endless repetition of folders that contained the same content repeating itself with no end in site. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
My initial thought was sometime in the last couple frames of the night the battery might have popped loose cutting the file writing off in the middle of its process causing the card to go corrupt. My battery doesn't last long and isn't the most secure item. I was mad, but went back the men's game to get something for sports. Good thing we got those 10D's in.

I tried to see if anything was recoverable, but even the files that copied, some were blocked out and scrambled. The next day I figured things wouldn't happen again because I thought the problem was with the battery and I just would keep an eye on it. But it did happen again.

Contained in the corrupted CF card, there were little salvageable. Most were unreadable. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
I came back from an assignment and after putting the card in wouldn't acquire. The same problem of corrupted images occurred. The second time the corruption didn't look the same. I was able to recover about half of the images, but most of those were blotched or discolored. There were differences in the types of corruption that occurred, but the fact remained the corruption occurred again. This time I don't remember the battery slipping out and shutting the camera off.The problem is that I don't know where the problem is coming from. It could come from the memory card, card reader, camera hardware or computer software. After the second time I decided to test each item to see what the problem might originate. The problem with the test is that when I actually tested all the items, it WORKED! ARRGH! It isn't suppose to work. Well it is suppose to work, but not work when I want it to not work, but work when I want it to work, just not when I tell it not to work.

The corrupted images were only represented by scrambled colors and patterns, nothing of which contained an image that I had shot. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

This is why it is frustrating. This is the conclusions that I have come to from this failed weekend.

- I don't think it is the reader, because the pictures from the other camera (10D) loaded fine, no corruption.

- I don't think it is the card, because I used another card in the same problematic 1D camera that worked and loaded fine.
- I don't think it is the card reader since it has worked after the cards were corrupted fine.

- I don't think it is the software because it has loaded the cards fine since the incident first occurred.

- It might not be the battery because during the test I pulled the battery out when the images were writing to the both cards and that had no effect. But that seems like a valid answer because the battery keeps glitching.

- My guess is something with the camera because all my other cameras work, and this one is 7 years old. So what does this mean? Something is broken.

Thankfully this didn't happen during the riot, otherwise the tone of this email would have been very different, but it did happen. And it happened during assignments. I can't afford to loose a major shoot.