Category: News photo

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.


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


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.



December 22nd, 2012 Permalink

I was assigned to illustrate a story on a proposed homeless tent city in Spokane. The reporter’s suggestion was to photograph a holiday dinner for homeless at a local church. I skipped shooting that event after seeing this group gathered in an alley behind the church. I just walked up to them and introduced myself and asked them if I could take their picture. In most cases this could go either way, but I was surprised when the all agreed. At that point they just ignored me as I slowly snapped away. There were technical challenges to overcome with this image. This photograph looks like it was taken during the day. In fact, it was nighttime in a dark alley lit only by an overhead streetlight. I jack my ISO to 3200 and turned on vibration reduction in my lens. I think I was shooting at around a 1/15 of a second. I like this frame because of how authentic it feels. Each expression is different and the guy holding the Elmo doll adds to the mystery of the image.  Nikon D3s, Nikkor 24-120 mm f/4 lens


After displaying a large knife at the STA Plaza, Tedzo C. Baker was tasered by a Spokane Police officer after a short chase that ended on the 100 block of  N. Wall Street in downtown Spokane, Monday Evening. He was arrested on suspicion of felony assault. Spokane Fire Department paramedics checked him out before placing him in a squad car. Colin Mulvany/© The Spokesman-Review

Just as I was leaving work, a call came over the scanner of a police officer chasing a man armed with a knife just a few blocks from the newspaper. I hoofed it over just in time to see paramedics checking the guy out after he’d been tasered by police.  I like the rainbow of colors mixed with the stark flashlight beam on the subject’s face. I’m not totally sure, but I think the paramedics  were taking the Taser prongs out of his chest.  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8

The family of Staff Sgt. Matthew H. Stiltz, 26, who was killed last week in Afghanistan, watch as his casket is placed into an awaiting hearse by the Washington Army National Guard Honor Guard, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, at XN Air at the Spokane International Airport. Stiltz was about six months into a tour of duty in Afghanistan after serving two tours in Iraq, for the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan. He died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with artillery fire in Zerok, a town in eastern Afghanistan about 12 miles from the border with Pakistan.

This was a hard photo to take. Even with the invite of the family, shooting someone else’s grief was hard for me. As the casket made its way to the hearse, I keep trying imagine the pain this family was going through. After years of doing this type of photojournalism, some say you can get jaded. I try not to be. By forcing myself to connect to the pain of my subjects, I feel my photography is more honest. I shot this image not because it is a good photo, but because it was a moment when I connected with what I was feeling. After the Transfer Ceremony, I headed off to shoot four more photo assignments. The thoughts of Army Staff Sgt. Stiltz and his family stayed ever-present in my mind. 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 looked in my rearview mirror and quickly pulled over. The Sugerland Express blasted past me as I was headed home for the day. I gave chase and ended up at the intersection of Maple Street and Second Avenue where paramedics were attending to a man sprawled out on the ground bleeding profusely from a head wound. A police officer ( who it turns out I went to high school with) told me the man was either pushed  or possibly jumped from a moving car . The man struck his head on the pavement as the car he was in left the scene. A knife and tablets of  the drug Oxycontin, littered the ground around the subject leading police to suspect a drug deal gone bad. Just another night in the naked (shirtless) city.  Nikon D700 Nikkor 135 mm f/2 lens Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review


Members of the Spokane Valley Fire Department honor guard, front to back, Bill Clifford, assistant fire marshal, Greg Bennett, fire Inspector, Dave Vegele, engineer/paramedic, Michael Fields, firefighter, Tag Baugh, Capt./paramedic, wait in the engine bay of the under construction Spokane Valley Fire Station 6 for a flag raising ceremony to start Tuesday morning. The Spokane Valley Fire Department has a tradition that whenever they have a building or new station under construction, they hold a dedication and flag raising ceremony on 9/11. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review Nikon D3s Nikkor 24-120mm f/4

I was eating dinner  tonight at my house when I began to hear sirens a few blocks a way.  I checked my phone’s twitter feed and found that the Spokane Fire Dept had posted a tweet that a “Major Incident” had happened close by. When I arrived on the scene,  a crushed upside down motorcycle was in the intersection and paramedics were helping the rider who had been hit by a car. I shot the scene and was about to head home when I spotted these two officers looking at the wreck. I love the body language, which makes the picture far more interesting than the dozens of other accident photos I’ve taken in my career.

Spokane Police Department officers Chris Conrath, left and Micah Prim investigate a car verses motorcycle accident in the intersection of 21st Avenue and Lincoln Street Monday evening. A car driven by a man heading westbound on 21st struck the motorcycle that was headed southbound on Lincoln. The motorcyclist was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review