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Photojournalism

From the time my aunt gave me a camera when I was 12, photography has played a major role in my life. It's been a career, a hobby and a passion.

My professional career began when I met Bill Penn, a local photographer, and he lent me a Rolleiflex twin lens camera and a strobe so I could shoot photos at a college football game. I showed the results to Don Blumenshein, the journalism instructor at Antelope Valley Community College, where I was a student. Don immediately put me to work on the campus newspaper and magazine. When he was hired during the summer break to provide PR for the Antelope Valley Fair, he hired me to photograph the events there.

After college I worked as a photographer for both local Antelope Valley newspapers (at different times) and you can see some of my work in the images on this page. Although I resisted at first, both newspapers made it clear that I needed to write about, as well as photograph events.

My main camera was a Nikon F, to which I added a motor drive, being the first photographer in the area to have such equipment. I later added two Hasselblads, which I used to shoot weddings to supplement my income.

The black and white photos here were shot with the Nikon and an 80 - 200 mm zoom lens. Sports lighting on football fields and in gymnasiums in the 70s was not nearly as bright as it is today, so I experimented with pushing Tri-X film to its max and then used recording film for even higher ASA values. The grain (noise) in those photos was very noticeable but it was sharp enough to make for good newspaper reproduction. Those higher speeds allowed me to capture unique (at the time) images from the middle of the field, something no one could do with flash photography.

Looking at the color baseball images here, one can instantly see the difference between the past and the present. I shot the Power Baseball photos at night with a Nikon DSLR at ISO settings as high as 6400 and the results are impressive. I would have killed for this camera back in the day!

Part of my job at both newspapers was to capture local images that would be interesting to our readers so I was constantly on the lookout for something different. The sunsets, snow photos and night time exposures were the result. While the vast majority of my work was discarded decades ago, I did manage to hold on to the examples here. The rest remain in my memory!

Digital photography has opened up a new world for me and one thing I've learned from the past is to save for the future. I now backup all of my files, including originals and edits. From time to time I have a look at the originals and occasionally re-edit them. With new software comes new possibilities.

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