So much from which to choose

So much from which to choose

Woman walking past bikes outside bar patio is my Final Photo for May 17, 2013

Woman walking past bikes outside bar patio is my Final Photo for May 17, 2013

Today’s My Final Photo was tough to choose because so much happened  in so little time in the afternoon that it was difficult to digest.

I had to choose from a collection of moments that created am interesting evening of contacts.

One choice was the 72-year-old married couple who met on

Another was the young couple who were shooting self portraits with a camera sitting on the hood of their car. I volunteered to shoot their photo and then shot one for myself.

The triplets from Wooster who were celebrating their first birthday at Jimmy V’s after visiting the St. Paul School class that created a prayer chain while mom was in the hospital waiting for their birth. Abigail, Brandon, and Claire are doing fine after being born at 27 weeks weighing a total of six pounds.

Then there’s the son who drove his 93-year-old mother to Graeters for ice cream in the family’s 1959 Silver Cloud Rolls Royce.

All this reminded me of the video I’d watched earlier in the day.

Wonder why I’m a photographer? Because these stories surround us. I have a camera and ask others to talk with me. Photographs and stories are one result. You don’t need a camera to ask others to talk with you. Everyone has a story. Learn to ask. Learn to listen.

The Difficult Moments Now Decorating Walls

The Difficult Moments Now Decorating Walls

Families bury six children

Families bury six children killed in house fire. Photo copyright The AP

Earlier today one of my Facebook friends pointed me towards a New York Times story with a remarkable photo of a lone person walking through dust and debris in a canyon of buildings destroyed by the war in Syria.

I always enjoy our online conversations because each of us have strong opinions, don’t always agree, respect each other, and love photography.

Today we agreed that it’s very difficult for a photographer to express pride or contentment having to shoot photos like the one he pointed me to. It’s not an enjoyable task, shooting disasters and deaths.

I spent almost all of my photojournalism career shooting moments that weren’t necessarily very enjoyable. There’s plane crashes and auto wrecks. Funerals for police, firefighters, children, military, the famous and infamous.

The photo at right is one of those moments where journalism overcame emotion and fear in an attempt to communicate to newspaper readers the gravity of burying six children at the same time.

There were only three frames of film from this viewpoint. I’d left my other cameras with telephoto lenses in the car and walked up to the crowd of mourners carrying one camera with a wide-angle lens. I stood quietly at the edge of the crowd gathered tightly against the edge of the tent covering the families and the caskets. I stayed quiet, my camera concealed under my winter coat, until I could see through the space between the heads of several mourners that emotion had reached its zenith.

As the parents hugged and the pastors said the final prayers I reached over the crowd positioned my camera in where I hoped it would be a good angle and fired three frames. No motor drive. This was film days and cameras still had a thumb drive for moments just like this.

As soon as I shot the three frames I returned to my car and left.

I knew I had photos to help tell the anguish of a funeral for six children. Also, I didn’t want to explain my actions to anyone who was offended.

My actions were cold and calculated. I anticipated one of the reactions would be anger at me. Still, the story needed to be told. I am a photographer. I did what was needed to tell the story.

No one chased after me. No one complained. There were no nasty letters from readers.

I did receive congratulations for succeeding with a good photo in such a tough situation.

I thought of this photo when I had my Facebook conversation this morning. Especially after what had happened the night before.

Young couple psoe for iPhone portrat - My Final Photo

Young couple pose for iPhone portrait – My Final Photo

One of my granddaughters visited last night wanting me to give her a bunch of black and white prints from my archive so she could decorate the walls of her room. Among her choices, in addition to the dogs, cats, and skunk photos, were photos of Jerry Rubin, Jane Fonda, Stokely Carmichael, a couple of presidents before Clinton, andassorted spot news photos. Sandwiched in the collection now covering her walls are old news photos showing disasters, insurrection, injury, and recovery.

All are now decoration for a teenager’s room. They are not even the poignant records of events forgotten in time except for the participants, and the photographers who were the observers.

They are decoration, wallpaper in black and white blurred to the grays of history.

At right is My Final Photo for Monday, April 8, 2013.

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Perhaps a last Spring at the Cooper Road farm

Perhaps a last Spring at the Cooper Road farm

Cooper Road Farm implements It’s been some time since I spent time at the Cooper Road farm. With today’s weather being relatively pleasant, sunny, and clear, I thought it time to add to the photo collection. Also, it might work out that Sunday will offer a contrasting photo as the weather forecast has the possibility of several inches of snow.

Development plans for most of the farmland behind the barn also means this may be the last year the acreage is farmed. Next use may be a senior retirement facility and other businesses. I’ve always known that was a possibility but the development company has made several proposals to the planning commission and I’m sure one will be approved.

Otterbein University purchased most of the remaining land on the other side of Cooper Road although it has not yet announced what the fields may be used for.

Spent about 30 minutes wandering the fields, especially the bee hives along the front of the property and the farm implements lying still in an open field.

Shot with several lenses but chose this iPhone photo shot with the 6×6 app and processed with TiltShiftGen, and Camera+.