Posts Tagged ‘photojournalist



04
Jan
11

fishin’

Leland Rodgers fishes on the Savannah River, Monday, Dec. 27, 2010, in Augusta, Ga. Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff

I guess there’s no better way to start out 2011 than with a left over image from 2010, since I’m constantly in a state of catch up.  You’d think with the new year, 2011 would start fresh but alas that’s not the case.

Motivation is a fickle thing.  It changes depending on an infinite amount of factors; your mood, the weather, subject matter, what you had for breakfast that day, etc.

Around the holidays, there is so little to cover that newspapers start to get desperate.  School’s out, government is out, high school sports are all done for the season – for the most part, people are closed up in their toasty homes enjoying family and friends.  That’s good for them, bad for us (it is a generally accepted fact that reporters and photographers have good days when bad days happen for others – it’s just the reality of things, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

At any rate, one of the Chronicle reporters who is usually pretty good about scaring up a decent story when in a bind, was doing a story on how the Army Corps of Engineers was planning on releasing more water into the Savannah River from the dam upstream.  Well, how do you illustrate something that hasn’t happened yet?  And in a time crunch?  You go to where the end result will be and hope for the best.  This is how I found myself on the 5th Street bridge waiting for something, anything, to happen on the river. 

These things can be agonizing.  An oft used phrase in photojournalism, ‘hurry up and wait,’ definitely had the potential to make for a long day.  But as I walked along the sidewalk and took a peek over the railing, there he was. I hadn’t seen him from the car because he was almost underneath the bridge.   A man bundled up in countless layers floating in a small boat trying his best to fish in nearly freezing conditions.  Because let’s face it, that’s the way we all wish we could spend the afternoon.

Fishing pictures come a dime a dozen, but I’m attached to this one for some reason.  I guess it’s the best fishing moment I’ve caught with my camera (because that’s saying a lot, right?)  But at the end of the day, to me, it’s just pretty light with lots of negative space and reminds me of how I’d feel if I were in that boat.

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

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

24
Nov
10

What are you thankful for?

Sgt. Everett Yeckley, second from right, looks back after escorting a tearful Latonya Holmes before the arrival of her husband, Sgt. David Holmes' body at Sandersville Airport, Wednesday, July 7, 2010, in Tennille, Ga.

As I sit in the Waynesboro McDonald’s trying to waste some time between assignments down here in Burke County, (whoever thinks this is a glamorous job need only spend a week with us out on the road to see that we photogs eat TERRIBLY – on the go and wherever we can, usually fast food), I’m tempted to talk about Thanksgiving a little, this the day before the big turkey day.

Last July, I wrote a quick note on my Facebook group about the work I was doing with fellow writer Adam Folk focusing on the Army’s casualty assistance program.  We covered for the daily paper, and I posted something here about it – and how the widow’s screams were quite haunting during her husband’s arrival on a chartered flight from Dover, Delaware in a casket draped with the American flag.  It finally ran on Veterans Day with photos I had been sitting on since the summer.  I’m glad they found a home in the paper and online, because these were very moving images from a very moving experience for all involved, including me.  As photographers we do our best to illustrate and document what is going on, but there are a few rare occasions where photos, video, nothing can really relate what it was really like.

Sgt. Everett Yeckley, right, and Master Sgt. Vincent Grissom, left, help Latonya Holmes to the funeral service for Sgt. David Holmes at New Birth Christian Ministries, Friday, July 9, 2010, in Tennille, Ga.

Sgt. Everett Yeckley, left, looks on as Latonya Holmes, second from left, is consoled by Master Sgt. Vincent Grissom, as the body of Sgt. David Holmes is prepared to leave New Birth Christian Ministries after funeral services, Friday, July 9, 2010, in Tennille, Ga.

It is stories like these that make me thankful for what I have.  It’s the story of the husband who dedicates his life to the caregiving of his aging wife suffering from Alzheimers as she slowly loses the memories that effectively makes up their 38-year marriage.  It’s the story of a grieving mother who has lost her son in an instant of senseless violence.  Or the man who sits on a curb while his small house and everything he owns burns inside. 

These are the moments that, when I see them, I take a quick pause to realize how lucky I am, and I’m grateful for it.  Yes it’s part of life – that amazing thing we call life – with it’s highs and its lows and the total unpredictable nature of…nature.

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

Sgt. Everett Yeckley, right, holds Latonya Holmes' hand as he tries to comfort her during the arrival of Sgt. David Holmes' body at Sandersville Airport, Wednesday, July 7, 2010, in Tennille, Ga.

12
Nov
10

Veterans Day

Members of the Westside High School marching band perform during the Veterans Day parade, Thursday, November 11, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

The weather was perfect, the light was nice, and the long shadows created by buildings and trees made for some different and exciting photos of an otherwise, and this by no means I don’t like them, completely overshot event in the photojournalism world: parades.

At first glance, anyone with a visual tendency will recognize that parades offer a range of things to shoot, no matter what it’s about – Veterans Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s, whatever.  People are dressed up, there’s usually floats, cars, happy onlookers, etc.  The list is pretty long.  Photojournalists take pictures of people doing things, and there is a lot of that going on at parades. 

So I guess that’s why parades remain probably the single most covered (in terms of photography) community events in the U.S.  And as a result, original images are very hard to come by.  Ask any photographer and he or she can give you a list of parade pictures they’ve shot or seen shot: candy throwing, Shriners doing donuts in go-karts, troops marching, bands playing, onlookers waving, parade walkers waving,  drunk Irishmen waving, floats with people waving and in the case of Christmas, Santa waving.  Done and done.  Such is a pj’s life.

So, I went into yesterday’s Veterans Day parade expecting to find cliches and a mission to avoid them as much as possible.  Luckily, the weather cooperated and the low humidity provided crisp sunlight and very blue skies – two factors that truly improve photos.  This simultaneously energized me to find some new angles or moments, and made those cliche shots bearable to shoot, knowing they were at least well lit and purdy-like.

So there you have it.  Another Veterans Day parade in the books.

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

Children from Curtis Baptist daycare wave small American flags during the Veterans Day parade, Thursday, November 11, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

 

Members of the military march during the Veterans Day parade, Thursday, November 11, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

Patricia Haley holds a photograph of her father, who was a World War II veteran, during the Veterans Day parade, Thursday, November 11, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

Students from Curtis Baptist Elementary watch the Veterans Day parade, Thursday, November 11, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

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

 

20
Oct
10

Tall buildings and high places

From left, Ben Keilholtz, Joe Grabb and Greg James, all from AAA Sign, attach the "G" from Wells Fargo on the old Wachovia building, Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

Let’s be clear about this:  I hate heights.  Not in the sense that you can say you hate carrots, simply because you’re over exaggerating a distaste for them.  It’s more like I loathe heights.

Probably related, I also have a deep fear of them.  An irrational muscle tightening and body paralyzing fear that strikes whenever I get on a ladder any higher than 10 rungs. 

I was reminded of all this when I was escorted to the 17th floor of the old Wachovia building and into the storage/maintenance facility wedged between the top of the building and the Pinnacle Club.  All this to photograph a crew putting up the new Wells Fargo signage on the side of the building.  Then came the worst part – and something I should have remembered from my previous trip to the roof of this building – the two story free climb up a perfectly vertical steel ladder attached to a wall next to the equally tall air conditioning units. Two of the cylinder rungs near the top are bent, as if an elephant had recently tried to use it (how you bend a metal ladder at that height is beyond me.) 

Being on the roof of a tall building, with a wall surrounding me is not the issue.  It’s when there’s open space below that gets me.  And that’s why that two story climb is exponentially worse for my nerves than hanging out on the roof and enjoying the view of sunny Augusta and North Augusta.

And then there’s the very awkward and embarrassing, if anyone’s with you, transitioning between the ladder and flat roof surface – with camera equipment.  It almost always ends up being a mix of falling and rolling oddly onto the flat surface.  No matter how hard you try, you can’t look cool as you take your shaking hands and grab at anything attached to the floor only to imitate Shamu jumping out of the SeaWorld pool.    

But, once on the roof, there’s a small retaining wall all the way around so as long as I keep my eyes looking level, or up, I’m ok…until I have to take pictures of guys attaching a giant G to the building’s side 20 feet below me.  There’s no other way to get a good shot without leaning over the side, thus exposing myself to the open space below.  As I’m taking pictures, the guy on the roof, making sure the hanging scaffolding is secure for the three men below, asks me: “Hey you should get down there with them, and feel how it swings.”

Um. No. Thanks.

This is all topped off with the process of getting down, this time with the equally awkward transition from surface to ladder, in reverse (arguably less dumb looking but probably more dangerous.)

I’m always so happy to return to solid ground after these assignments. 

-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

07
Oct
10

Petit Le Mans leftovers part I

Here are a few extras from Petit Le Mans last weekend.  It’s such a hectic few days between what’s going on in the pits and on the race track, as well as editing and those pesky things called eating and sleeping, there’s barely any time to really get stuff together for a blog update.  It’s go go go, edit and send, go go go, edit and send.  I’m convinced I’d lose a bunch of weight if it weren’t for the Tostitos Eric and I continually munch on in the photo room (trailer really) as we edit.  Some photogs listen to music on their headphones, others develop a case of restless leg syndrome – all in order to focus and do it fast.  We just eat the crunchiest thing we can find.  Hey, whatever works.

Anyway, due to popular demand (ok, two people) here are more photos, with even more to come.

Oct 1, 2010 - Braselton, Georgia, U.S. - Ferrari driver GIANMARIA BRUNI, of Italy, waits for qualifying for the Petit Le Mans auto race in Braselton, Georgia.

Peugeot drivers Anthony Davidson, left, of England, and Alex Wurz, of Austria, speak during practice for the Petit Le Mans auto race, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, in Braselton, Georgia.

#1 Patron Highcroft Racing Honda Performance Development ARX-01c: David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud, Marino Franchitti during night practice for the Petit Le Mans auto race, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, in Braselton, Georgia.

Audi driver Benoit Treluyer, of France, during practice for the Petit Le Mans auto race, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, in Braselton, Georgia.

Oct 1, 2010 - Braselton, Georgia, U.S. - STEPHANE SARRAZIN, of France, waits in his Peugeot 908 race car during practice for the Petit Le Mans auto race in Braselton, Georgia.

Oct 1, 2010 - Braselton, Georgia, U.S. - Audi Sport general director Dr. WOLFGANG ULLRICH, of Germany, during practice for the Petit Le Mans auto race in Braselton, Georgia.

Oct 1, 2010 - Braselton, Georgia, U.S. - Ferrari driver GIANCARLO FISICHELLA, of Italy, during practice for the Petit Le Mans auto race in Braselton, Georgia.

-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

01
Oct
10

Petit Le Mans

 

08 Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDI FAP: Pedro Lamy, Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin during night practice for the Petit Le Mans auto race, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, in Braselton, Georgia.

 

After going on vacation, being busy with breast cancer photo projects, and other bad excuses, I’ve neglected my personal blog a bit.

But a good excuse to update today is my yearly trip to Road Atlanta for the Petit Le Mans endurance sportscar race.  Aside from an opportunity to return to my photographic roots and make great images with motivation, it’s a chance to see old friends – most of whom have crossed the Atlantic for this event.  

This is my first race of the year after missing three or four major races I used to cover religiously.  It’s like riding a bike.  And I’m glad for that.