Posts Tagged ‘photo



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

12
Jul
10

got to ride in a helicopter!

Being stuck in row 44 of 45 on a commercial airliner flying through thunderstorms complete with screaming  babies and bad airplane food = clearly sucks.

Having your own helicopter for 15 minutes to shoot exclusive pictures of major breaking news = clearly awesome.

A gas line near Stagecoach Road burns after a rupture, Monday, July 5, 2010, in Thomson, Ga. McDuffie County Commissioner Paul McCorkle was injured and his son Jason killed during a gas explosion and fire. Following a preliminary investigation, it was determined that Paul McCorkle was operating a bulldozer on the property and accidentally struck a Dixie Pipelines liquid propane gas line. RAINIER EHRHARDT/STAFF

Because we are a newspaper, reporters and photographers have to be on call at all times, including holidays.  The photo department deals with this by having one photographer assigned to be on call that day in case news happens.  Of the four holidays I’ve been assigned since 2006, two of them have involved major breaking news in a town not really known for its breaking news.  I’m apparently a magnet for holiday michief and disaster.
The Fourth of July (observed) holiday is never a very exciting day.  The assigned photographer usually finds a standalone to fill out the paper and maybe catches kids playing in a pool or something.  That was supposed to be my day until I got two calls and an email almost simultaneously that a gas main had exploded and was still on fire.  The smoke is visible for miles, all three people said in their messages.  So I grabbed the 500mm and headed out to Thomson, normally a 30 minute drive.
Twenty minutes, later, I arrived at Stagecoach Road, where it was blocked off by state troopers.  As I gathered my gear, I could hear the roar of the giant fire only a few hundred yards away through the forest.  I went over to the nearest grouping of officials and asked what was the status and how far could I go up the access road to take pictures.  One of the firefighters said right where I was standing was perfect and not to go any further.  I could see the flames through the trees, but it wouldn’t have made a good image.  So I turned and mentioned to a guy in a flight suit (I’d realize what he was wearing a bit later) that it’s useless for me to be standing here, I need flames.  Little did I know,  I was talking to Todd Hatfield, director of operations at Air Med, who also flies the helicopter.

As luck would have it, he immediately offered to take me up to take photos.  Before I could remember that I absolutely hate flying, I said “you betcha!” and off we went toward the chopper.  What had I done.  I was committed now.  This guy was doing a nice thing for me and it would almost be rude for me to back out now.  Not to mention, I needed to get photos, and this was by far my best chance to get something good.

So I got in the back of the helicopter, strapped myself in and made sure my cameras were wrapped around me and my neck because Todd was leaving the door open for me to get a better view.  The flight was uneventful, and I honestly didn’t have time to think about how much normally I would be hating it because I was so focused on making pictures.

So to recap: At 11:o0 a.m., I was sitting quietly at my desk in the air conditioning.  By noon, I was 700 feet in the air over a roaring gas pipeline fire.  Nice.

-RAE

http://www.rainier-ehrhardt.com