Category: Nice light

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.)




Palouse farm road



Before their woman’s basketball game against Gonzaga, Stanford  gathers for a team cheer before taking the court, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in Spokane, Wash. Colin Mulvany/© The Spokesman-Review

Even though I wasn’t too interesting in shooting the opposing Stanford team before their game with Gonzaga, I shot this snap because the moment happened in front of me. Later, I realized that I had under-exposed all my snaps of the scene. Sometimes in failure, an interesting photo can materialize. In this case, the darkened shadows helped highlight the women’s red sweats. I like how the  ball draws my eye into the picture. Out of all the peak-action photos I shot during the  game, this one creative shot is my favorite. See more of my game snaps in this large-format gallery at

I was invited by three of my friends to take a photo excursion into the Palouse Country Sunday. In my five day a week job as a newspaper photojournalist, I usually take snaps of moments, but today I just enjoyed shooting static subjects. My creative energy  was focused on looking for light and composition. My hunt was fruitful– from a 10-year-old farm girl’s ripped  jeans, to some cool old car relics that seemed to be in every farm yard we passed. I like to tell my students: There are photographs to take all around you; you just have to see them. Today was a good visual exercise and a reminder  that good snaps can be just a round the corner of a country road or in my own back yard.

                                      Farm girl, Rosalia Washington

                Volvo Duett, Malden Washington

                            Volvo Duett interior, Malden, Washington

                               Corn, Rosalia, Washington

                              GMC late ’30s panel truck shell, Malden, Washington

                               GMC late ’30s panel truck shell 2, Malden, Washington

                               Broken car  window, Malden, Washington

                               Palouse field , Steptoe Butte, Washington

I was in the Japanese Gardens in Manito Park today looking for a fall color feature. I spotted some cool wild mushrooms popping up from the grass and I went down on all fours to make a macro shot. Suddenly all the sprinklers in the garden blasted on. I quickly scuttled my shoot and ran out the gardens a bit wet and kind of confused. It turns out the park maintenance guys were venting the sprinklers for winter using air pressure in the pipes. Several other people with cameras ran out right behind me. Looking for through the doorway, I realized a fine mist instead of water was now coming from the sprinkler heads. I rushed back in and made some backlit mist shots. Just when you think there is nothing much to photograph, something cool will present itself. Nikon D3s Nikkor 24-120 mm f/4 Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review

As a wind storm arrives on campus, Whitworth University students Eli Deitz, 19, left, and Elisabeth Spencer, 20, watch the pine needles fly from the window ledge of Deitz’s McMillan Hall dorm room Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012.  Today I was trying to shoot a feature photo of students walking through a cascade of pine needles during a wind storm when I spotted these two perched up high in dorm room window. What caught my eye was the light and shadows. I fired one frame and reviewing the image. At first I thought it was under-exposed. Looking closer I decided that it looked more dramatic just exposing for the highlights while letting the shadow go dark. When the woman turned her headI know  that would be my best snap. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review Nikon D3s, Nikkor 300mm f/4 lens


April 23rd, 2012 Permalink

Tonight my assignment was to photograph deserving high school students receiving scholarships at a large banquet. I know the routine well. I watch 300 people eat rubber chicken, while said photog kicks back in the shadows waiting for the perfect time to jump up and capture the moment. One thing I find at these type of events is that the mathletes are seldom showboaters. Tough gig, which is why upon my early arrival, I tuned and walked out for some fresh air. Crowds with roving fiddlers sometimes put me on edge. That is when I spotted these two ladies, who after eating a dinner of Pita Pit wraps by the river, were getting ready to hop their vintage tandem bicycle for a spin through Riverfront Park. The light was just right, and the white wall the Spokane Convention Center made the cyclists stand out. I just picked my spot and waited for them to pass.

With temperatures in the 80's, Jenny Smith, left, and Calli Martin ride their tandem bike through Riverfront Park Monday evening. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review

At a street memorial for Tracy Ader and her two sons murdered in their home last Friday, I spotted this flow of candle wax that was cascading over the curb. I thought it was beautiful, but it conflicted with my emotions about what it represented. For a community shaken by this horrible tragedy, I’m sure there is some metaphor in this photo that, for now, escapes me.

Melted and lit candles mix on the curb at the Ader family memorial at Heroy Avenue and Whitehouse Street Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review

When I stopped at home today for a quick lunch, I spotted my neighbor’s bush covered in melting icicles. I shot a few snaps with my 60mm macro lens then downloaded the files as I ate my sandwich. I kind of shrugged my shoulders at the results, wishing the icicles had more sparkle. Returning to the bush, this time with my flash tethered to a cord, I positioned the strobe directly underneath the icicles and blasted away. Much better contrast and color–and I got my sparkles:) Nikon D700 Nikkor 60mm 2.8 lens, Nikon SB800 flash.

As the temperature rises above freezing, an evergreen bush on Spokane's South Hill sheds its icicles Monday afternoon, Jan. 23, 2011. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review



House fire

October 28th, 2011 Permalink

All my photos this week in Snaps and Frames have been about using light and exposure to craft a visually interesting image. This photo of a house fire continues my streak. It didn’t  reproduce as well as I would have liked in this morning’s newspaper–subtleties in tone and color sometimes get lost when the ink hit low-quality newsprint. Nikon D3s, Nikkor 24-120mm

Spokane firefighters vent the roof of a rental house that was severely damaged by an interior blaze Thursday afternoon Oct. 27, 2011. The house at 1711 N. Adams, was fully involved as firefighters arrived on the scene. No one was home at the time of the fire. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review