The 101

May 28, 2008

When I first moved to Ukiah, California, in January of 2005, I noticed only the difference in the flora. Lichens and mistletoe hanging from the gloom, and straggled grapevines marching in dormant rows, off into the hills.

So different than the Mississippi valley of my childhood, oak and limestone covered in an Iowa snow. I took comfort in the difference. I found fascination with the differences. I saw nothing else.

By summer I began to notice the rest.

The drive from Ukiah to Eureka is desolate, rising out of the Ukiah valley vinyards, irrigated grapevines green and alive against the brown desert of the hills, towards Willits, and the mountains in the north. The mountains become the redwoods, where the moisture comes back to the air, before the sea materializes among the logging operations, and Eureka appears out of the drizzle.

I drove this stretch of U.S. Highway 101 with more frequency, the longer I lived in Ukiah. I had friends in Eureka, and I found Ukiah dull. I had favorite parts of the trip, the sun-drenched hills of Garberville, the redwood canopy of Humboldt County. I never noticed a plot of land just north of Willits. Most people, I think, never noticed the plot of land, just north of Willits, known as the Schoolhouse property.

To see the rest of the series, click here, or on the image.

Rhonda (last name witheld per subject’s request) greets Jim McLeary, a Mendocino County official, with apprehension. McLeary arrived at the Schoolhouse property Nov. 17, 2005, to second an earlier letter informing the property residents they had 30 days to vacate the premises. The property had been labeled unlivable by the county, due to alleged lack of proper maintenance on the part of the property’s landlord, including unpermitted mobile homes and illegal power line splicings. In all, 14 residents living in the nine rentals on the property were told to leave their homes. Most had no where else to go.

While shooting the Palos Heights half marathon, on May 3, for Runners Ultimate Network on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, I was pulled aside by the producer, Rush.

“If you’ve got time, I’d like you to just grab some portraits after the finish.”

No problem.

The race ended for the best runners at 9:30 a.m. I found a large white tent, the medic tent, and used it’s east-facing wall as a reflector. I would have liked to clean the backgrounds up some, but since I was using a medic tent for my fill, I wasn’t too mobile.

May 3 was also the first day I used a new 2x tele converter. I intended it to lengthen my long glass for baseball and soccer, but since I had it, I figured what the hell. I attached it to my 50mm f/1.4, for the full-body shots. It made a blurry kind of vignette, which was unexpected. I used a 28mm f/2.8 for the close-ups.

To see the rest of the series, click here, or on the image.

Hello world

May 23, 2008

I, too, have a blog.

But, it is not yet fully operational. Be kind enough to add me to your feeds and bookmarks. I will try to have a real post for you later tonight, until then, you can view photo-y goodness here.

For anyone who doesn’t know me, suffice it to say that I am a photojournalist, and this is my blog. I invite you to stop back and have a look around.

More to come . . .