A daily collection of staff photographs, videos, photo essays, as well as sharing our experiences, technical information, links and other information concerning news photography and the best of photojournalism. You can see more of our photography at columbian.com.
Eric Ahlvin,”the boat papa,” works on unfurling the sails on the Hawaiian Chieftain’s bow while approaching the Railroad Bridge during a cruise on the Columbia River on Saturday May 25, 2013. (Zachary Kaufman/The Columbian)
I’ve shot this assignment several times before, but always from the shore. When we were given the opportunity to go along on the cruise we jumped at the chance. It was a four hour commitment, but I couldn’t have made this image from dock. -ZK
Peace Health Coordinator of Volunteers Carol Thompson, second from left, volunteer and licensed massage practitioner Debbie Switzer, left, and patient care volunteer Beth Kellett, background right, visit with patient Phyllis White, 86, at the Ray Hickey Hospice House on Thursday April 18, 2013. White entertained the group with stories about her careers as a nurse and school bus driver. (Zachary Kaufman/The Columbian)
My friend and Columbian alumni reporter Kathie Durbin passed away today. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit her yesterday and drop off this photo of her while we were working together on a story in the Columbia River Gorge in June 2011. She loved the Gorge. Kathie was one of the most formidable, fierce and talented reporters I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Peace be with you Kathie. You will be missed. -ZK
A walk through Crestline Elementary School, which burned to the ground in the early morning hours of February 3, 2013. The fire displaced nearly 500 students. -ZK
John Reagle was the drummer for ‘Trip,’ a local band touring with ‘Great White’ in February 2003, when a fire killed 100 people at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island. Reagle says that the sights and sounds of that night will always stay with him. (Zachary Kaufman/The Columbian)
Listening to Reagle’s first-hand account of the tragic events at The Station was incredible. Locking eyes with people who were burning alive, and not being able to help them, has haunted him for the past 10 years. When Reagle spoke to us about the tragedy, it was as if he was transported back to that night, with the scene replaying over and over somewhere just behind his eyes. I’m grateful he shared his story and hope he can find peace someday.
I had a great time working with Columbia River High School swimmer David Snuffin at Propstra Aquatic Center. Making an underwater portrait of David for a sports feature story was relatively easy once I figured out what equipment I needed to make the portrait come to life.
I knew I wanted to use a couple of strobes to control the lighting and mood of the portrait rather than using existing light at the center, and I knew I needed something that would allow me to keep my Nikon DSLR dry but give me a clear view underneath the surface of the water without an expensive housing. My son’s old fish tank and a little weight, along with assistance from another swimmer, did the trick.
Once we got started I gave David some general instructions about what I wanted him to do and how close I needed him to be to the camera. During the shoot I wasn’t able to look through the finder of the camera, so after shooting a series of pictures I would review how the photos looked as David got a chance to catch his breath.
I made changes once to my lighting setup and continued to suggest various poses for David to try as I made minute adjustments to the angle of the fish tank. Of the pictures I shot I enjoyed this frame the most. I really liked the reflection above David’s head as a cluster of bubbles ascended from his nose to the surface.
Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4.0 lens and two Nikon SB-800 strobes.
Often I will pass up opportunities to photograph sunrises in part because I have photographed so many of them over the years. At this point in my career the ensuing photographs are just a cliché to me. So it came as a surprise when I received multiple phone calls from readers this morning complimenting me on a sunrise photograph I had made which they had seen published in The Columbian newspaper. The readers who called wished to thank me and express how much they enjoyed seeing the picture. All of this interest provided me an opportunity to pause and reflect about the value of certain kinds of pictures I have less interest in making but are meaningful to our readers. I discovered readers simply enjoy and appreciate seeing beautiful landscape photography and sunrises are no exception.
But the story doesn’t end there. One phone call went beyond a compliment and tugged at my heartstrings. The call was from Columbian reader Carrie Light. You see Carrie’s father passed away yesterday at a local hospital. She explained on the phone that my sunrise picture, her voice beginning to crack with emotion, was the last thing her father saw before he died. My sunrise picture had become significant in a way I could never have imagined.
I really don’t know why I stopped yesterday morning to make another sunrise photograph. After what happened today, though, whatever it was I am thankful I did. Because of Carrie’s phone call, yesterday’s sunrise picture of Mount Hood and beautiful Salmon Creek will always hold a special place in my heart and I don’t think I will ever take a sunrise for granted again. I have a new appreciation for sunrises, and the ensuing photographs, and I have Carrie Light and others to thank for reminding me of their significance. Sunrises should be viewed with awe and inspire us to be the best we can at the start of a new day.
Once in a while a story comes along that reminds me why I love being a news photographer so much. But even more importantly why newspapers are still very relevant to the communities we serve. Such a story occurred yesterday when I introduced myself to Kim Turner, Harly and Courtney Forbes. You see Harly and his wife Courtney are both developmentally delayed and don’t have the ability to drive a car. And since Courtney had anxiety riding a bike on her own Harly purchased a tandem bike a couple of months ago so the couple could ride together.
Yesterday morning their main mode of transportation and recreation came to an end when someone stole the locked bike from the porch of their Vancouver home. We published their story on the front page of The Columbian today and one reader, Richard Riordan, responded by placing a call to reporter Emily Gillespie who helped connect everyone. Richard, a retired businessman who lives with his wife Jackie in the Salmon Creek area, had a tandem bicycle he wanted to give to the couple after reading about the theft.
This afternoon I met up with Richard and Jackie at their home while we waited for Harly and Courtney to arrive. We shared a cup of tea as I got a chance to get to know the couple a little more.
Finally the moment arrived as Harly and Courtney knocked on the door and made their way to the garage to see their new bike. Courtney and Harly lit up as Kim worked hard to hold back tears.
Telling an unfortunate story of a needless theft wasn’t a lot of fun. It’s sad and depressing, but it’s the kind of story that is important because our community and the people who live here matter. This story, though, touched the heart of another and in so doing spurred a generous spirit within him to help. Suddenly sadness and loss was turned into joy. It is the small things people do for each other that make a great community.