Posts Tagged ‘photo



07
Dec
10

Cam the ham…

…but I like the guy.  Some see his post-game over enthusiasm as cocky and pretentious, while others think he’s just an emotive kind of guy who loves his fans.  Maybe it’s a little of both, but all I know is I like the photo moments he gives up.  Who cares if he hams it up, the man knows how to give it up for the camera.  He’s expressive and smiling, and he does things that make our jobs easier – like run around the stadium high-fiving fans or spinning a towel around to acknowledge the crowd, on in the case of the SEC championship game, get carried off the field by his teammates like a scene from a movie.  These are all things photojournalists WISH would happen at every game, but they rarely do.  But then again, if they happened so often, they wouldn’t be so special and photographable (is that a word?).  So therein lies our quandary.

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is carried onto the field after defeating South Carolina in the SEC championship football game at the Georgia Dome, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, in Atlanta, Ga. Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff

I don’t know what it looked like on TV, but that’s one helluva scrum we were in.  I’ve never seen anything that pushy and I’ve covered my fair share of big games and star drivers that attract hoards of photographers and television cameramen.  I’m always surprised there’s not a photographer who gets trampled or loses an eye in these things.  The attitude you have to adopt is one of ‘go all in or don’t go at all.’  Total cluster.

But it’s fun.

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is carried onto the field after defeating South Carolina in the SEC championship football game at the Georgia Dome, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, in Atlanta, Ga. Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff

-RAE
30
Nov
10

a found photo

When I’m driving around and see something that could be fun to shoot, I admit I don’t stop nearly as often as I should.  Sometimes the warmth (or coolness if it is summer) of your car forces you to tell yourself that whatever you just glimpsed back there isn’t worth turning around for.  Sometimes it’s on a busy road and you don’t feel like risking your life for something so trivial.  Sometimes you’re reminded of all the other times you’ve taken the time to stop and it turned out to be nothing.  But then sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised by what you happen upon.  In any case, some days are better than others.

When I passed this scene while circling a block in downtown Augusta, I knew I had to stop.  A 1964 Ford Falcon Futura for sale.  It was kind of hidden in a wide alley on Ellis Street – a street rarely travelled, to the point that we had a city commissioner who wanted to flood the whole thing to make it a navigable canal a la San Antonio.  I felt that this was a find worthy of a 2 minute stop. 

It’s not that I’m some Ford Falcon superfan or anything, but I am a car guy.  And I’ve always been attracted to the lines of this car, one that pretty much represents the 60s in my mind (when you take out the gas guzzling Buicks and Cadillacs of the era.)  It kind of reminds me of a predecessor to the Ford Cortina, a British (don’t think they sold them in the States) car built by Ford Europe and pretty much started the company’s rallying success.  Anyone who has ever seen the car I drive (Subaru WRX) knows I’m a rallying nut.  And to a larger extent, I much more admire a smaller car that has a smaller engine but can pull the most from that engine to be quick, giving other cars with lots more weight and larger engines a run for their money so to speak. This is the reason I’d never buy a Mustang or Camaro, but prefer lightweight, turbo-charged and nimble cars. 

Not that this thing is light by any stretch of the imagination.  It’s probably made of steel throughout.  And look at the trunk lid for crying out loud, it’s bigger than my dinner table.  But these things are relative.

You know, the more I write about this, the more I can see myself cruising around in this thing with sunglasses on and the windows down.  And I’m curious what the price might be.  Hell, maybe I’ll give that number a ring.  For fun.

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

10
Nov
10

election night

America Decides 2010.  America Votes 2010.  Indecision 2010. Whatever you called it last week, it was exciting in an election kind of way.  For photographers and reporters around the country, that meant gathering mounds and mounds of results information or running around town going to election parties photographing candidates, who, depending on whether they are winning or losing, can be great or horrible to shoot.  Lets just say the loser tends to run late to their own party, making it hard on a reporter or photographer working on a tight deadline.

And because of these deadlines, the night ends up being an exercise in grabbing what you can, until something better comes along – a ‘hurry up and wait’ sort of situation.   As a result, election nights tend to rise in excitement until the very end, when everything happens at once and the desk wants photos five minutes ago.  I remember my first election night, I was stressing out because I wanted to get THE shot, but I was running up against deadline.  It was a crash course in learning to make as many pictures as you can, as safety shots, and transmit as fast as possible.  This way the desk has at least something of the candidate.  Then you wait for the decisive moment, when the election is called.  Of course, there’s always a small chance you’re busy at your computer when the candidate fist pumps after winning – at which point you’re screwed, but that hasn’t happened yet, thanks in part to the ability to keep track of results online as I’m toning photos.  Hopefully that will never happen. 

So, in many ways, shooting election night is like shooting night sports.  Decisive moments, safe shots, looming deadlines, horrible lighting conditions – I’m sure there are more similarities.  And I guess that’s why I like the two so much.  The photo conditions are some of the hardest we face in daily work, so it’s that much more rewarding when you’re able to get a nice picture from it.

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

Deke Copenhaver, left, and his wife Malisa, campaign as they wait at a traffic light on Walton Way, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

Sheila Stahl, right, looks on as Katelyn Gibbs, left, and Gabby Benton use campaign signs to pretend fight as they show their support for candidates at the intersection of Milledge Road and Walton Way, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver, right, and supporters cheer as they hear election results at Polka Dot Pig restaurant, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver uses a laptop to watch election results at Polka Dot Pig restaurant, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver acknowledges his supporters after he was declared the winner in the mayoral race, at Polka Dot Pig restaurant, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

27
Oct
10

My run in with Jennifer Keeton

First a little background for those unfamiliar with local Augusta news (although this did make the national news for a millisecond a few weeks back.) 

Jennifer Keeton is a graduate student at Augusta State University studying education counseling.  Apparently she told a group of students something along the lines of homosexuality is wrong and she believes this because of her religion and wants to convert them.  ASU told her to stop and now she’s suing for infringement of her rights.  That’s the really really basic gist of it. 

When the news broke, a photo of her on a balcony was provided to the media (from whom I don’t know) which has pretty much circled the globe 63 times by now.  At my paper, The Augusta Chronicle, everytime we wrote an update story to how the case was going (it’s still going by the way), we’d use that same picture over and over again.  Sometimes cropped into a mug (journalism speak for headshot) or the full picture. 

I don’t know a single newspaper editor that doesn’t start having a nervous twitch when a mug has been run more than three times.  It’s just stale as last week’s bread, and a fresh picture becomes a priority.  Of course, Keeton was ordered by the court to stop attending class for the time being and although we have her address, we aren’t going to go paparazzi her house.   So as the news calmed and no new developments with the case were in sight, the urgency for a fresh picture died down and it became the general consensus around the newroom that it was now a waiting game. A waiting game to see when she’d show up at a public event. 

Now on to last Tuesday.  I was assigned to cover a meet and greet with Pam Tebow, mother of ex-quarterback for the Florida Gators Tim Tebow, who garnered fame because of the pro-life commercial she made for this year’s Superbowl.  At any rate, she tours the country speaking to groups about abortion.

I was a little early so I casually walked up the center stair case at the downtown Marriott that leads to the various ballrooms and conference rooms.  And as I got to the top, I stopped dead in my tracks when I instantly recognized Jennifer Keeton.  Of course, she instantly looked at me too, what with all the photo gear on me I was less than inconspicuous.  We both shared an instant moment of heart sinkage.  But to her credit she kept it cool.  And I hope I did as well while nonchalantly walking past as I looked for the Lamar room. 

I knew Pam Tebow would arrive shortly and that THE shot would be the two shaking hands or talking to one another.  After a few feable attempts to get something from far away – just in case – Tebow arrived and that’s when I let discreteness take a backseat.  I got close and fired like a mad man (of course seconds earlier the autofocus on my camera stopped working, so I had to revert to manually focusing in a dark hallway where I couldn’t actually see if things were sharp or not — I’d later discover that a switch had been flipped to manual focus by accident.)  Pam Tebow had no idea who she was and continued to ham it up for the camera, over facial expressing and over exhuberantly shaking hands.  No matter, because in this picture, it makes Tebow look like even she’s surprised to see Keeton for the first time in months.  There’s nothing really remarkable about the photo, except for its news value.

Anyway, I ran back to the paper and got a few pat on the backs for being at the right place at the right time.  News-wise I’d say I’ve had a pretty good week so far.

Pam Tebow, right, speaks with Jennifer Keeton, left, at the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center banquet, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010, in Augusta, Ga. Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

23
Oct
10

KKK cross lighting

It’s not everyday the KKK conducts a rally three blocks from your house.  It’s also not everyday the KKK decides to hold the first public cross lighting ceremony in 50 years the same day a few miles away.

And yet that’s what happened today.  On my day off.  But I wasn’t going to miss this.

A member of the Ku Klux Klan holds a swastika flag during a rally in front of Augusta State University, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

The local Klan announced a few weeks ago that they would rally in front of Augusta State University to support Jennifer Keeton, who is suing the school for requiring her to learn about the homosexual community or be expelled.  To be honest, it was a rather unsuccessful rally.  It was highly contolled by the police, and there were more counter-protesters than actual KKK members present.  The whole thing turned into a shouting match and even though the Klan had a permit to demonstrate from 1pm to 4pm, they called the whole thing off after about 20 minutes and left.  All in all pretty lame.

Then I get home to find out they would be burning a cross, and that it would be open to the public.  Now it’s getting simultaneously better and weirder.  I drop dinner with my wife (sorry honey) and haul out to Warrenville, S.C., hoping it won’t be another dud like earlier.  It’s not.

After a couple of hours listening to the Imperial Wizard talk about the KKK’s views and why they are misunderstood, and reporters try to ask questions that don’t immediately reflect their political and cultural views (lots of dancing around the real questions, really), the ceremony finally started.  We learned that they don’t actually burn the cross, but the fabric that surrounds it, and that the ceremony wouldn’t take long (the cross was aflame for 2 minutes, almost exactly, according to the time stamps on my pictures.)  And to make things even more photo friendly, more than half the members were in robes and hoods.

And even though it was a public ceremony, noone from the public showed.  Local television news didn’t show either.  It was only me and the other staff photographers at the Chronicle, who were all present whether or not they were on duty.  And two staff writers.  That’s about it really.  I guess I can’t blame the public for not showing.  Who would want to be in the vicinity when the cross is lit?  As media we have an excuse to satisfy our curiousity.

As it was my day off, I’m free to do what I want with the images, so I immediately shopped them around and after the AP passed up the chance, Reuters took three photos of mine.  I think it’s one of Yahoo!’s top photos tonight, but that could be changed by the time you read this.  In any case, it’s great fun shopping around a photo when you’ve got nothing to lose and nothing to prove – and you know the image has great news value.

As a side note, the Imperial Wizard warned us that it was likely that the police would probably show up just after the start of the ceremony.  Sure enough, as each Klansman was lighting his torch, a cruiser drove by on the narrow dead end gravel road.  I though surely he’d get out and break up the party, but he just drove on by.  I was surprised.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan wrap a cross with fabric before a lighting ceremony, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, in Warrenville, S.C.

Imperial Klaliff David Webster begins a Ku Klux Klan cross lighting ceremony at a home, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, in Warrenville, S.C. KKK Imperial Wizard Duwayne Johnson said it was the first public cross lighting in 50 years.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in a cross lighting ceremony at a klansman's home, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, in Warrenville, S.C. KKK Imperial Wizard Duwayne Johnson said it was the first public cross lighting in 50 years. REUTERS/Rainier Ehrhardt

Members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in a cross lighting ceremony at a klansman's home, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, in Warrenville, S.C. KKK Imperial Wizard Duwayne Johnson said it was the first public cross lighting in 50 years. REUTERS/Rainier Ehrhardt

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

 

10
Oct
10

Georgia vs. Tennessee

Shooting college football is a lot of fun.  There’s action every play so there’s no excuse not to get a decent selection of images during an entire game.  The fans are rabid and as a result there is a lot more emotion involved in winning or losing a game, whether from the players or student section of even the diehard fans way up in section ZZ on the top deck.  It’s more convivial, something the NFL fails at for the most part, save for a few teams like the Packers or Saints.  I don’t know, there’s just something about college ball. 
So the Georgia Bulldogs kind of suck this year, I mean lets be honest.  But after beating major rival Tennessee with a convincing 41-14 score, the student section was celebrating like they’d just won the national championship.  It’s because every game is a party.  Here are a few images from Saturday. 

Georgia head coach Mark Richt acknowledges the student section after defeating Tennessee 41-14 at Sanford Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, in Athens, Ga.

Georgia's Washaun Ealey goes airborne against Tennessee during the first half of their football game at Sanford Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, in Athens, Ga.

Georgia's A.J. Green scores a touchdown during the first half of their football game against Tennessee at Sanford Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, in Athens, Ga.

Georgia's Caleb King is tackled by several Tennessee players during the second half of their football game at Sanford Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, in Athens, Ga.

Georgia's Justin Houston celebrates after sacking Tennessee's quarterback during the second half of their football game at Sanford Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, in Athens, Ga.

 

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

04
Oct
10

Dindo Capello B&W

I’m not usually one to convert my images to black and white.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t find a good B&W photograph striking in its own way.

When you get right down to it, I just don’t think about it.  I see the world in color, my camera sees the world in color, so my images are in color.  It was different when you loaded B&W film.  You were locked in with no choice.  That’s what the film saw – shades of gray.

Of course, nowadays, with the ability to go back and forth, there is a tendency to turn color images  into B&W to make up for the fact that it’s not a strong picture to begin with.  The photographer hoping the grayscale will add another dimension to an otherwise mediocre photo.  The way I see things, turning an image to B&W actually removes something from the picture.  The eye is no longer distracted by splotches of color in the background or the pink in a person’s skin tone.  In this respect, I believe a photo has to be good enough to start with in order to withstand this stripping away effect.

All that to say, there’s something special about a veteran racing driver from Italy waiting to take the wheel and the look on his face as he focuses.  I hope you agree that this deserved to be converted.

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

18
Aug
10

the gospel warriors

Gospel Warrior Kadarius Thomas performs at Aiken High School, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009, in Aiken, S.C. RAINIER EHRHARDT/STAFF

Last year I followed two high school boys who had a real passion for gospel dance/mime.  They went the whole nine yards with face paint, white gloves and costumes designed by their grand mother.  They spent hours memorizing the moves and somehow found time to be on the football team and study for class.

I also shot video of their performances and interviewed them.  This was by far the most fun I’ve had while shooting video.

Here’s the link to the vid:  Gospel Warriors

Oh, and I absolutely love how many high school students in the background of this picture are resting their heads on their hands.  Can you count how many?   The juxtaposition of Kadarius’ joy and their boredom is pretty funny.

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

10
Aug
10

Scrubs

Part of what makes this job so appealing is its unpredictable nature.  One day I’m taking pictures of back to school activities, the next I’m in scrubs and documenting a full on surgery. 

And when the location, or event is so off the charts cool, or fun, or unique, you gotta take a second to take a picture of yourself — if only to say that you were there, a little like a badge of honor (some sports shooters collect credentials, like Olympic, Super Bowl or Masters passes).

I have a collection of work related self-portraits (and they’re always the same: me making a face holding the camera an arm’s length away with something cool in the background.)  Me at the Masters. Me on the roof of Curtis Baptist Church. Me in Ushuaia, Argentina.  Me in full scrubs in an OR. 

This morning at University Hospital, I joined the subject of one of the stories we are doing for breast cancer awareness month in October.  She has been a very willing and easy going subject through out the whole thing and allowed me and a writer to be present during her double mastectomy.  And as things were winding down, I had to take a moment to turn the camera and document myself as being present. 

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

23
Jul
10

makes you wonder

My job takes me to a lot of different places.  Most of the time, those places are interesting, fun, or in some form or fashion, meaningful.  And some times, I’d rather not have seen that place to begin with as was the case with the old Castleberry’s food plant on the edge of Augusta’s ghetto. 

For a little background, Castleberry’s (owned by Bumble Bee) canned chilis and stews at a plant that, from the outside, looked old and dirty and honestly didn’t give the impression that the inside was any cleaner.  A couple of years ago, they had a massive recall of their chilis due to botulism.  The bad press mixed with the downturn in the economy meant that Castleberry’s closed the plant and abandoned it soon after. 

Fast forward to this past week, when it was announced that Mercy Ministries, a controversial homeless shelter in the middle of a residential area across town, would be moving its thrift store to the old Castleberry’s plant after buying it for a dollar.  This was good news and meant an old building would be used again and Mercy Ministries would be able to expand on the cheap. 

To illustrate their “moving in,” I was charged with the task of finding the electrician who was trying to find all the switch points and fuse boxes to shut off electricity to unused areas and restore it to the rooms to be filled with people’s used stuff for sale.  This task proved time consuming and while I waited on him to do something interesting enough to photograph for the paper, I roamed around this completely abandoned warehouse and food factory. 

Nearly everything that was metal was rusted out, fluorescent lights dangled from the ceiling and piping was bent, cracked or just plain missing.  The only thing not somewhat attached was this bucket, which looked like it was being used to catch leaking oil or hydraulic fluid of some kind.  Coming from what, I don’t know.  It was all a little creepy.

A lone bucket sits in the old Castleberry's food plant, soon to be taken over by Mercy Ministries and their thrift store operation. Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff

Makes you wonder what this place looked like two years ago.

I shoot a self-portrait of myself in a curve mirror as I stand next to piles of used clothing to be sold at the new Mercy Ministries thrift store, housed in the old Castleberry's food plant. Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff

I still had time to take a picture of myself in one of those curved mirror you see at particularly dangerous or blind corners.

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com