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Does the public care about ethics? PT.1

April 29, 2007 by Mark Cornelison  
Filed under Mark Cornelison

The subject of ethics comes up all the time in our business.  The rules are clear to the photo staff at the Herald-Leader. Don’t set up photos, and don’t manipulate photos in photoshop. When I say manipulate I mean changing the content of the photo, or removing content making the photo inaccurate. Plain and simple committing these offenses can mean your job. My question today is, does the public care one way or the other? When you read the Herald-Leader or look at photos does the question ever come up in your mind as to whether they are real or not? Do you assume that everything is set up for the good of a photo? I am starting to think that the public just wants to see nice photos period. This is frustrating on many levels with the first being that a big part of my job is depicting an event as accurately as possible. MANY MANY times this means being very patient and waiting for the key moment of an event to happen and be ready to nail it when it does. It does not mean creating the key moment right then for your benefit so you can get the shot and move on. Sometimes the "moment’ does not make the best photo. That is where the skill comes into play. We have to try to anticipate the moment from where it is going to be, what angle would be best, which way are the heads going to turn (in the event the moment has people in it), and the photographic part of the equation, focus, exposure etc, should not even be a factor because we are trained to get that done without even thinking about it. It is expected. We can’t have the moment redone because we blew the exposure. We have to go back to work and let everyone know we missed it and it was our fault in that case. It is tough sometimes to have to admit you missed it but it happens to all of us. Do people think that the perfect game winning touchdown catch is set up? Do we have them re-do the play so we can get a better angle? No we don’t. We get it when it happens and that is what separates professionals from the rest of the pack. The pack being all those who now own digital cameras and digital video recorders who get credentials and are suddenly involved in events from a media perspective but with no training on how to handle it, both professionally and ethically. I don’t blame people for wanting to be where we can be. It is a great job and we see a lot of cool stuff. But people need to understand the whole job and how it is done. Once you have a credential on your neck most subjects don’t know that you don’t work for a legitimate media outlet and when you set up photos and manipulate situations it kills the credibility of those of us who play it straight. I was at Keeneland racetrack this morning shooting horse workouts. After the horses leave the track it is common to follow it to the barn to get shots of it getting bathed and eating in the stalls. It helps break up the monotony of shot after shot of horses running on the track. Today I was shooting a Derby favorite named "Circular Quay". He was in his stall eating and his exercise jockey Angel Cordero Jr. came up and gave the horse a piece of candy. I got the shot. Not a perfect shot because of the angle and some harsh shadows from the early sun but I still got it. An amateur videographer was nearby and asked me if I got it and I said yes. He said he got it too but the light was just horrible. He suggested we get them to bring the horse out in the light so we can get a better shot. I kind of thought he was joking at first but he wasn’t. I told him we don’t do set up shots and he kind of laughed like I was the one joking. I wasn’t. I explained that setting up photos was a potential job-losing situation. He questioned me as to what was wrong with it. It is not reality I said. You are making a situation happen that would not be happening if you didn’t ask for it. Some other people were nearby and seemed surprised too that we don’t set stuff up. That really bothered me. The video guy persisted to talk about it being all right and I told him I didn’t want to argue about it. I asked him whom he was shooting for and he said he was doing a documentary and I said he was already way off track if he is setting up photos for a documentary. The whole point of a documentary is to tell the true story. Otherwise it is just a movie.  The situation did not end pretty and I left. As I left I heard someone ask Angel to go over and hug Circular Quay. I looked back and saw Angel with the horse as people shot photos so I turned and shot one too. See below.

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This photo was not one I turned in to the paper today because it is not real. Sure no one told Angel to put the hat on the horse and it made a nice photo but I still new it was not real, but does the public care. Would you rather see the fun photo of the horse in that hat, or a "true" photo? Had I been at the other end of the barn and seen this and shot it would that have been wrong? If I didn’t hear the people ask for it would that make it right? I’m sure we have all shot stuff that was set up and we didn’t know it, but we sure try not too. It’s the way it is supposed to be.

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Trip to Walter Reed with Mellencamp

April 28, 2007 by Mark Cornelison  
Filed under Mark Cornelison

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I took a trip to Walter Reed Hospital in Silver Springs, MD this weekend with John Mellencamp and company. John performed a really cool show last night at the hospital for the injured troops there in a nice intimate hall for about 200 people. My battery is currently dying as we speak so I am just going to throw up a quick photo and add more later!

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Enjoy.

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My Longest Game

April 16, 2007 by David Perry  
Filed under David Perry

Well, it took only 39 years at the Herald-Leader for me to experience my longest baseball game in my career: about 5 hours and 10 minutes on April 13 at Hagan Stadium at the UK vs. Vanderbilt series opener.  The game started about 6:40pm.  The worst luck (April 13th, get it?) was that UK didn’t win in this twelve-inning game, so the photo below wasn’t used.                                                                                                                          070413ukbasesdp310_4

 
(UK’s Ryan Wilkes was greeted enthusiastically by team mates after he scored one of the seventh inning’s five UK runs.  1/400th, f2.8, 80-200mm zoom, ISO 1000)
The wind-chill caused me to go to the car to get a couple of chemical hand warmers around the 7th inning.  As was said in Young Frankenstein, “It could be worse, it could be raining.”  Yep, it started raining in the 12th inning, so back to the car I went to get a raincoat in case UK tied it up in the 12th.  They didn’t, so we ran a photo of Vandy celebrating their go-ahead run (below), which I transmitted around midnight from my car.            
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If Aprils continue to be this cold, I’m going to have to gear up on the cold weather wear, including buying a pair of insulated boots.  The scoreboard clock tells it all.  Well almost.  They ran out of spaces for innings. 
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Strikes at the ball game

April 11, 2007 by David Stephenson  
Filed under Behind the Photo, David Stephenson

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Handheld Canon EOS-1D Mark II, Lens (mm): 300
ISO: 1250, Aperture: 2.8, Shutter: 1/20

What’s a photographer to do during a Lexington Legends rain delay? How ’bout try his luck at catching a bolt of lightning over the Lexington skyline.

I use the word luck because there is an awful lot of that involved here. But it also took a little patience. I spent about 15 minutes on the balcony at Applebee’s Park with the Canon 1D Mark II and 300 f2.8 glued to my face waiting for lighting strikes to hit near or behind the Lexington skyline. I caught a couple of other flashes, but they didn’t line up nearly as nice as the one above.

One problem I made for myself was using the 300mm lens. I didn’t give myself any latitude for cropping. Lightning was everywhere but I took a gamble and stayed on the skyline. The image above is nearly full frame (probably 95% of the original frame).

Here are a couple of other strikes. The difference in color is accurate – the fast moving storm darkened the sky quickly. The image above was taken about 12 minutes after these below.

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– David Stephenson

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Coach Billy G.

April 7, 2007 by Charles Bertram  
Filed under Charles Bertram

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Somewhere in the country, nearly every day a coach is either fired or hired. But when UK hires a new coach, it is BIG news. Yesterday, Billy Gillispie became only the 21st head coach in the 104 years of UK basketball. A hastily scheduled pep rally was set for 12:15 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum to officially introduce Billy G. to students and fans. Arriving about an hour early, I checked the various locations that I thought would make the best photograph of Gillispie when he walked onto the court for the first time. Myself and several other photographers decided the upper level balcony would provide the best view of both the new coach and the 5000 fans. We all had our exposures set for the bright light in the gym, but as soon as Gillispie stepped on the floor, to our surprise, the overheads lights were turned off and only a misplaced spotlight was used to illuminate the coach. Not having time to adjust the ISO setting on my camera, I tried a long exposure in an automatic mode. In the middle of that exposure I decided it wasn’t going to work so I pulled the camera down and went quickly to the stage. Later, when editing my images, I discovered I had made an interesting image of Gillispie waving to the crowd just as I pulled my camera down. The Herald-Leader chose not to use that image in the print paper but it is one of the images in our slide show at heraldleaderphoto.com

Canon EOS-1D with 16mm lens
ISO 640, 1/4 at f2.8 in aperture priority mode

Charles Bertram/Staff

——————-

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