Iwamoto's Photos

Painting with light.

Brandon Iwamoto is a freelance photographer based in Aurora, Colorado, USA

I Want This One

Kids and ice cream. Not the most exciting assignment, but you never really can go wrong with kids. Or with ice cream. For the record, I love the reporter’s comparison of the ice cream truck’s annoying, repetitive music to a pied piper for children. So genius.

Quick athlete portrait of a softball pitcher from Piedra Vista. I dig that smirk half-hidden behind the glove, it gives her attitude I think. Just wish I would have backed off of the glove a bit, it looks distorted and large… But overall I was happy with it.

/Brandon

Ethical Dilemmas

One of my assignments this afternoon, a charity softball match between the local police and fire departments, is a bit of an unusual case of feeling ethically dirty… not because of anything I did, not that I didn’t think the event was fun to cover, but it felt tainted by almost blatant conflict of interest, in my opinion, of coverage.

I’d prefer not to openly air all of my grievances here on this blog, however if you want to speak to me personally, I’d love to know if I’m riding a high horse here, or if it really is something to be concerned about in some way.

The event itself was fairly interesting to cover. Along with the fire and police departments, they had Special Olympic athletes play a couple of innings as well. Needless to say, good times to be had.

In case you’re wondering why the police (who won 22-3) in the first picture are holding a Dunkin’ Donuts box, and why this fella here is rounding third base with a chocolate donut in hand….

It was the result of a rather hilarious prank played by the fire fighters (sadly, their only “victory” of the day) where they ran a box of donuts to each of the bases and home plate in an attempt to bait them. All it did was make the police want to be on base more, hence the 22-3 score.

Quick shot from the bike race this morning. Had my secondary camera (this one) on the ground with a rock taped to the bottom and a cable release in my left hand while I shot basic, safe stuff with a telephoto on my other camera.

And a random picture of a horse from after the bike race assignment. Some dude on a horse came up and started talking with myself and Jenny, a reporter who happened to be at the race watching, and her boyfriend. I wasn’t about to complain.

/Brandon

Crossing Bridges

Or so I wish… progress hasn’t been quite that smooth lately. This shot was basically all about patience. Basically, sitting in the sun for over half an hour waiting for one person to walk across the bridge toward me. Just one. In over 30 min of waiting not a single one came my direction, but 22 went the other way. Go figure. At least I got a shot.

Keeping it short tonight, not really in a mood to talk or type. Just another one of those days. Exactly two weeks worth in a row now. It’ll get better eventually, I’m sure. But for now…

That’s all for tonight. Goodnight and thanks for looking.

/Brandon

Juuust a Bit Outside

Leading off tonight with just a few shots from today’s softball and baseball games, mercifully a short walking distance apart from each other, not so mercifully played in hurricane-like winds.

I got the opportunity to take the Daily Times’ camera, an older 4mp Canon 1D body, and hook it up as a remote facing home plate during the softball game. Unfortunately, the thing sucks battery like mad so I was unable to use it for the baseball game in that capacity.

Winds wreaked havoc with the pitchers all day, even managed to see one batter get nailed in the head by a ball carried by a rogue gust. Catchers were reluctant to throw the ball to second to stop attempted steals because of it (I counted 6 stolen bases in the third inning alone).

Now a little more random. Apparently, while it didn’t happen today, usually on Saturdays the photographers have to go out and do what is basically a “man-on-the-street poll.”

Now for those of you who don’t know, “man-on-the-street” polls are basically send some chump out with a camera, ask a number of random people to answer a given poll question and take their mugshot. It is, in short, the most asinine thing to ever happen to newspapers.

However, I got to thinking. I have an idea I want to pitch to my editor when he gets back, see if it’s worth looking in to. The premise of the whole thing is to “get more faces in the paper.” However even the best mugshots (which are tough to do with no lighting gear) are just that: mugshots. There’s nothing pretty about them, there’s nothing that would make the subject, much less other readers, stop and go “ooooooh.”

So my idea: instead of doing half a dozen folks each week, do one or two, but really spend the time to make good pictures. Take their portrait. Ask them to give us a little peek into what makes them [insert name here] instead of just another man on the street.

Then, get their email address and send them the picture. Sure, you lose the potential opportunity to make $10 on a reprint down the road, however think about what you gain. One, the subject not only gets to open the paper and see themselves looking good and having their voice heard, they get to have a picture of them to show their friends, put on facebook, cut out and stick on the fridge.

Secondly, other readers start seeing that people are being treated with a little more interest and instead of having stuffy looking mugshots lined up in a row with a quote, they get something that makes them look human. People are narcissists, it will get people to be like “damn, I want to be the next man on the street.”

Third, when you get the chance to step into someone’s life, even briefly, it can open up new story ideas, new avenues and new sources that were not there before. Imagine the kinds of history, the stories, the features you will find along the way. Imagine the opportunities that will open up.

Lastly, us photographers get to fully utilize and hone the skills for which we were hired for. Again, most places I know who do these polls give their reporters a point and shoot camera and let them have at it. At least this way, we make the paper look nicer, we get to hone our portraiture skills a little more and we get to be creative and do the things we were hired to do.

Thoughts?

/Brandon

Peak Performers Final

As promised, here they are. The special section runs tomorrow, so I can post tonight, finally! Without further ado, the 2010 Fall Peak Performers:

Big School Football: Dominic Rufran (Palmer)

Small School Football: Tyree Walker (Vista Ridge)

Big School Volleyball (co-winner): Nikki Glass (Pine Creek)

Big School Volleyball (co-winner): Taylor Simpson (Doherty)

Small School Volleyball: Claire Felix (TCA)

Boys Cross Country: Spencer Wenck (Palmer Ridge)

Girls Cross Country: Hannah Everson (Liberty)

Field Hockey: Kaili Simmons (Palmer Ridge)

Golf: Cam Harrell (Air Academy)

Gymnastics: Kiersten Clowes (Palmer Ridge)

Boys Soccer: Ryan Dozier (Air Academy)

Softball: Mariah Peterson (Lewis-Palmer)

Boys Tennis: Jon Moore (Cheyenne Mountain)

That’s all of them. Two weeks of tight scheduling, lighting issues, drama and working days off’s worth of work. Enjoy, I’m certainly glad it’s over now. Ironically enough too, this is post number 100 in this blog. Cheers!

/Brandon

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P.S. For detailed lighting information, please view one of the photos on my Flickr page.

One of “Those” Days: Take Two

Apparently I lose perspective on things I’m covering, start taking it way too seriously. Thanks for the FB comment last night Justin, I think it was exactly what I needed to help relax and just shoot.

Early morning in Aurora was a beautiful thing today, with low, steely clouds that gave way to great autumn light as the day, and the tournament, progressed. A bit chilly too, my lens started fogging up when I first showed up and started shooting, which is actually why I like this photo, the almost ghostly fuzziness to the players in the low-center giving it a nice hazy look that matched how it all felt.

Second day was a charm…. at least for me. Lewis-Palmer, the only Colorado Spring-area high school to make it past the first day, faltered in a very dramatic game against D’Evelyn, going into extra innings only to lose on a walk-off home run, 1-0.

After editing and sending a few photos, uploading a gallery and having myself a delicious chai creme frappuccino at Starbucks, I decided to head back to the park to shoot the finals, since there was nothing left for me to shoot for the day and Stuart told me to have at it.

And, because I had no teams to focus on, no pressure to make a gallery and no real other reason to be there, I let my eye guide me. I couldn’t have spent my day any better.

Of course, there’s always the one shot you wish you could have back…. Darn that D2H and it’s slow ass focus, every shot from this series was way out of focus, but the one that mattered was just off by a little bit. Ahh well, you win some you lose some.

Anyway, with that I end the bombardment of photos. I had a great day out shooting today, I just wish I could get it to translate into great days shooting assignments instead of extra games “for the hell of it,” as I told Greeley Trib photog Eric Bellamy.

That’s all folks. Thanks for reading!

/Brandon

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One of “Those” Days

Got done with the first day of shooting the state softball tournament in Aurora… Ups and downs, frustrations and surprises, on and off the field. It was kind of one of those days where everything… didn’t necessarily go wrong per se, but absolutely nothing went right, so the result was the same.

3 of the 4 teams I was sent to cover lost in their first games. The one that didn’t, Lewis Palmer, won both games and move on to tomorrow’s semi-finals and, if they win that game, finals rounds. I love shooting sports and all, but part of me is starting to get a little overwhelmed with them.

Forgot the actual cables for my Canon, which I was going to set up as a remote at some of the games, and had to resort to using the camera, attached to a fence with a Magic Arm, as a pseudo remote triggered by a cable release and aimed at home plate. Needless to say I didn’t anticipate any jumping, hence why her hand is cut off. However, I guess Stuart liked the shot, for he added it to the Gazette’s photo blog this evening, only my second shot to make it there.

So it wasn’t an unproductive day at all, but I definitely struggled more than I expected to… it was very frustrating. Maybe my standards are higher, or maybe I really did have trouble, but I’m hoping tomorrow goes much more smoothly, both shooting and transmitting (Starbucks wifi was soooo slow tonight).

Even my “remote” had trouble… after setting it, the thing apparently slipped a little, causing me to miss this great (and only) play at home base mere minutes after I had set the remote. Just one of those days.

Keeping it short tonight, not really in the greatest mood to talk work today. Happy one year anniversary shout-out to Danielle! Umm… yea, that’s about it. Goodnight and thanks for reading!

/Brandon

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