As I was driving back to the newspaper after an assignment today, a cloudburst caught pedestrians in downtown Spokane by surprise. I pulled over and jumped out of my car to get my camera from my trunk. I was soaked by the time I crawled back into my front seat. In my rearview mirror, I spotted this woman as she waited for the light to change. I jumped out and hit the motor drive, shooting a sequence of about thirty images as she raced across the street. People sometimes ask me why I shoot so many picture at a time.  I tell them it about capturing a fleeting moment. This photo’s strength is in the woman’ body language. Her stride, with her legs apart and arm swinging back stood out in my edit. Nikon D4, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review

Soaked

I spotted these cute marmots, or over-sized squirrels as I call them, who were poking their heads out of a drainage hole in a retaining wall. I quickly grabbed my camera and put on a 300mm lens. I thought the critters would quickly fade back into their burrow, but to my delight, they stayed put long enough for me to get down to their level and snap a few frames off.  Marmots live in colonies of up to twenty individuals and spend 80 percent of their life in their burrow, 60 percent of which is spent hibernating.

Yellow belled marmots

Walking in a parking lot today, I spotted this rainbow of colors created from a mixture of leaked car oil and rainwater. It is a photo that most people would step over and not pay much bother. I like to see the beauty in things that are not considered beautiful.

It ‘s funny how many feature pictures I have come across just driving down my block on 22nd Ave. in Spokane, Wash. I just had to stop when I saw my neighbor Theresa Burgess raking out the undercoat of her dog Chester in the middle of her front lawn Sunday. I first started taking photos of the scene with a wide-angle lens, but switched to my 300mm telephoto to see what a compressed, soft background would look like. What sold me on this frame is the fur on Theresa’s legs and her body language.

chestersaf

Looking for a feature photo Tuesday, I spent an hour or so watching four people lazily skate around the Riverfront Park Ice Palace rink. About to give up, a dad with his young daughter showed up. He told me it was the four-year old’s first time on skates. The minute they stepped on the ice, a look of terror flashed across her face. Moment captured. The best part was a email I received from a reader who saw the published snap today: ” Thank you for the cute and hysterically funny picture on the front-page of today’s newspaper…it’s brought a smile to me all during this cloudy day.”

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Today was one of those get in the car and cruise for a feature picture kind of day. I’m burnt out on shooting fall color photos, so when I spotted this flock of House Sparrows attacking a bird feeder in West Central, I knew I  could make decent snap for tomorrow’s paper. I used a high shutter speed –1/4000 of a second, which froze the birds in flight without any blur. Nikon D4, Nikkor 300mm f/4 lens

House Sparrows

I have been shooting a lot of prep football these days. My newspaper has built a new website  called NWprepsnow in collaboration with a local TV station (owned by the same family.) KHQ supplies highlight video of all the games and the newspaper provides the game summaries and still photography. It’s working out swell and the response from high school sports fans has been positive. It used to be when I went to a high school football game, I just needed to produce one or two decent snaps for the newspaper sports section. Now with the Web, I have to come up with eight to ten decent shots for a online gallery. One of the things I try to do is show some of the action that is not on the field. The fans, the sidelines, and cheerleaders. Last night at the Ferris vs. Gonzaga Prep game, I was sitting in the stands waiting for the game to start. In front of me, the Ferris High School cheerleaders were stretching and preparing for the game. Then the glitter hairspray came out.  How they applied to each other is what caught my eye. One  cheerleader would hold the can and spray and the other  would spin around and around to get and even coat of glitter on their hair. This photo is just a small moment from a big game, but it was my favorite picture of the night.

All that glitters

This is an image I took on vacation Friday as I walked with my daughter to the Seattle Space Needle. I immediately saw the contrast of the homeless man on a laptop. To me this  begged so many questions. I will leave it up to the viewer to make assumptions. Nikon D4, 24-120 mm f/4 Nikkor lens

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While composing  a photograph of the jellyfish exhibit  at the Seattle Aquarium, a line of people with their mobile phones and point and shoot cameras competed for the same snap.  I just assumed these ” photographers” had taken the same image as me. Later, after doing a Google Images  search of the jellyfish exhibit at the Seattle aquarium, I found only blurry or poorly composed shots. In a week where many newspaper photojournalists were laid off from their publications, I realize the value of  of what I do as an experienced photojournalist. iPhone-style photography only goes so far. Seeing a photo rather just than just taking a picture is the dividing line between being a photographer and someone who just pushes a button. Nikon D4, Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 lens

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At a public memorial today, I was photographing an honor guard transferring Spokane firefighter John Knighten’s casket from a fire truck to a funeral gurney. Capt. Mike Rose, one of the honor guard firefighters suddenly started to posture in front of the casket then collapsed. I reflexively fired off a burst of about six frames. It looked like the man was having a seizure. Paramedics arrived and quickly transported him to the hospital. The memorial went on without missing a beat. From a photojournalism perspective, this was the best moment I captured today. I’ve shot dozens of memorials in my career, but never witnessed anything like this. This photo did not make the newspaper or online gallery and I am fine with that. The story today was about remembering veteran firefighter John Knighten, 45, who died on June 30, 2013, after a three-year battle with cancer. I think publishing this photo in the newspaper would detract from that. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review, Nikon D4, Nikkor 24-12mm f/4

Update: Read: Terrifying Collapse in the Spokesman-Review. We interviewed Capt. Mike Rose about his firefighting career with the Spokane Fire Department and found out what happened that day when he collapsed during a funeral for a fellow firefighter.

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