Category: Peak action

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.


Chasing the action up and down the length of the football field for four quarters is exhausting. I was relieved after nailing this shot of EWU wide receiver Greg Herd making a one-handed touchdown reception just a few minutes into the first quarter. Getting one decent snap early in the game helps settle my nerves down. After 25-years of shooting sports, you’d thing I be over having performance anxiety issues. In the old days (the ’80s) If you had a few (manually focused) shots that were decent (sharp) from a half-dozen rolls of  exposed film, you were golden. Now photojournalists are expected to produce images for not only their print newspaper, but a gallery of storytelling images for the website as well. It makes the tempo of how you shoot a game different. You shoot it more like a story instead of just thinking of peak action moments. I shot this snap with a big honkin’ 400mm f/2.8 lens, which weighs more than a M1 Abrams tank. This is the standard pro lens for shooting football. Notice the nice clean background without any distractions? That happens when you shoot the lens wide open at an aperture of 2.8. The camera’s autofocus snapped in just as the ball landed in Herd’s hand. I shot a burst of 5 or 6 frames and this one was the best. You can see a large-format gallery of my other game photos on my newspaper’s website here. Colin Mulvany photo/©The Spokesman-Review


Andrew LaVoie with Jung Kim’s Martial Arts, breaks two boards with a double split kick during a tae kwon do exhibition at Valleyfest Saturday in Mirabeau Point Park. This is one of those snaps you just have to spray and pray. In other words, hit the shutter and fire off a blast of frames hoping you’ve captured the moment. I like the sawdust coming off the board on the right. I used my 85 mm  f/1.4  lens wide open to soften the background up and make the subject pop. With  only a few inches in focus, I caught the moment just as Andrew passed through the plane of focus. With many DSLR cameras having fast motor drives these days, it is much easier to shoot a burst of frames while letting your subject pass through a point of focus. You should get a least one useable image sharp like I did. Whew! Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review Nikon D700 Nikkor 85mm f/1.4