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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I got lucky on this shot. Just as a walked up to the fire engine, the deputy chief started climbing to unwind the large flag that had twisted itself around the ladder in the wind. The firefighter gives the photo scale.  Nikon D4,  Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 lens

Before a public memorial for the three Fairchild Air Force Base personnel, Capt. Mark Tyler Voss, Capt. Victoria Pinckney and Tech. Sgt. Herman “Tre” Mackey III, the patriots who lost their lives onboard a KC-135 that crashed May 3, Spokane Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Bob Hanna unfurls the American flag after it wrapped itself around the fire truck’s ladder it was displayed from, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, near the INB Performing Arts Center in Spokane, Wash. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review

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Ladybugs

March 31st, 2013 Permalink

I spotted this cluster of ladybugs in a friend’s yard today. I went back later with my camera and a 60mm macro lens to make this snap. I also used an off-camera Nikon SB-800 strobe with a small soft box to light the insects, which were in deep shadow under a shrub. Lady bugs are the only insects that don’t creep me out. As I was shooting, they were crawling all over me. I guess they must have thought I was just a big aphid.

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A plot by two fifth graders at Fort Colville Elementary to kill a student was uncovered last week. The boys had brought a knife and a handgun to school and allegedly planned to carry out the murder of a fellow student. The plot was uncovered after a fourth grader, who witnessed one of the boys handling the knife on the morning school bus, told a school official. The small town of Colville, Wash. was unnerved by what could have happened. Six days later, Spokesman-Review reporter Tom Clouse was able the wrangle the court documents, which detailed the boys plans. Clouse posted the story around 4 p.m. Wednesday. As I read it, my jaw dropped at the details. The story also said that a community meeting to talk about school safety would be held at 6:30 p.m. An hour and a half drive later, I settled in for the meeting. At one point the school official told the crowd: “…that some of you have read the court document details on The Spokesman-Review website.”  That’s when smartphones in the audience raised up in unison, and when parent Christy Gorst caught my eye. I knew what she was about to read. I raised my camera just a she reacted to a chilling part in the story.  She told me later that it was this passage that stopped her cold:  “If I find out who told them about our weapons I’m going to kill them,” one of the boys was overheard by a police detective saying to the other as they waited for transport to a juvenile detention facility in Spokane. “I don’t care when I get out of jail I’m going to come back and kill them.” What I find most interesting about this photo is how the power of mobile is showcased in all its full glory here. It is a wake up call to print publications who still think their audience is waiting for the newspaper to hit the porch in the morning.

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I took a Sunday drive with two photographer friends of mine today and these are the snaps I found along the way. In my job as a newspaper photojournalist, I don’t get to experiment with black and white photography much. The day was gray and foggy, so the conversion to B+W seemed natural. I spent the first half of my career shooting Tri-X film and printing my photos in a darkroom. I sometimes miss those days–except for the smell of fixer on my hands and clothes.  All teses photos were shot with my new Nikon D4 and a selection of  Nikkor Lenses (24-120mm f/4, 300mm f/4, and a 60mm macro.)

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Palouse farm road

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