Category: Creative photo

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.

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


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



Rarely does my daily newspaper photography stray from the reality of photojournalism. But then there are those accidental times when I bump my camera and it fires randomly. I love these snaps because they are happy accidents that usually produce a blurry frame of abstract colors. I keep a folder of these mistakes and use them as background frames for titles in my video stories. This one snap feels different to me. Because there is a face in the frame, it creates a different mood for the viewer. It’s mysterious in a vague sort of way. It is not a great photo, but I like it for how it makes me feel.

Accidental Snap

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

Members of the Mead High School marching band’s clarinet section take a few minutes to run through their program before taking the field in the Sounds of Thunder marching band competition held Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, at Joe Albi Stadium.

Here is a photo I like, but it really doesn’t say much. I passed over it initially during my edit, but I came back to it because spoke to me in a way I can’t really articulate. Maybe it was the blue color, or maybe the pattern of the hats and clarinets. It was just kind of an odd scene. This is an image that would probably never run in the newspaper, but I’m glad I can share this snap with you. Nikon d700 Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 lens Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review

I heard the first-alarm fire call from the my office police scanner sending units to an apartment fire on the South Hill. Looking out the photo department window I could see a column of smoke. I ran to my car and arrived on scene just after the Spokane Fire Department vented the roof. Within minutes, the entire top of the building was a roaring inferno. I quickly made  snaps of the flames. Then I stopped. I took a deep breath and told myself to start looking around the scene at everything that was not in flames. At every spot news event I go to, there are lots of mini stories taking place. The emotional apartment renters who have lost everything, the crowed gathered to watch the action. Re-tuning myself to look for these moments, I found this photo of a child and mother watching the fire with the flames reflected in their window.  We ran the big flames on the front page, but this photo means more to me. An image like this is subtle, it doesn’t  scream: ” Look at me!” Instead it has layers, mystery and makes the viewer ask questions. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review Nikon D3s Nikkor 24-120 mm f/4 lens

I just shot one frame of this vendor at Valleyfest Saturday, but during my edit I was struck by saturation of all the rainbow of colors. It is a photograph that doesn’t have movement or moment, but it does grab me in other ways. Color can be such a powerful influence on the mind. For me it stimulates my creativity leading me to other photographic possibilities. Nikon D700 Nikkor 24-120 mm f/4 Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review