The back story: In 2005 I traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with six Brooks Institute Visual Journalism students as part of an international documentary class I was teaching. On one particular day five of us went to a rally in the city center (Plaza de Mayo) where I happened to take a picture of a priest walking among the people in the procession. I filed away the picture with some others I shot that day, not really giving it a second look.
Fast forward to today: I was skimming the headlines on my iPhone and saw a picture of the newly elected pope. His face looked familiar. I immediately looked through the pictures I shot while in Argentina and quickly realized that the priest I had photographed eight years earlier was actually the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergolio, who is now known as Pope Francis.
Lesson learned: This was another good reminder for me of why we should always try and hold onto our pictures, even the outtakes. We just don’t know the potential historical value of our images in a given moment. This photo also served as a good reminder of the value of maintaining a good system for archiving work. I was happy to have found the picture I shot so long ago in just a matter of minutes.
Surprisingly, the challenges are not only limited to the recordings made in the early days of audio but those made as recently as 10 years ago due to rapid changes in technology and issues related to ownership of the recordings. And while we often make keywords, descriptions and other metadata entries as part of our workflow as photographers, we often neglect that necessary chore as as part of our audio workflow. Take five minutes and listen to the report and see if it gives you any ideas of why you might want to start adding metadata to your audio files.
I met with Justin Willett of Tyler Winery on a Friday in late February and he gave me an excellent history lesson on how the area became known for pinot noir starting back in the early 1970s at the Sanford and Benedict vineyards. He showed me the La Encantada vineyard, which he uses for his wines, as well as pointed out all of the vineyards in sight along Santa Rosa Road near Buellton.
What I learned is that the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the relatively stable temperature of the region and the composition of the soil all contribute to the unique growing conditions of the area, resulting in some favorable characteristics in the pinot noir and chardonnay grapes.
My lesson on the region continued a couple of days later when I met up with Sashi Moorman, the winemaker for Evening Land Vineyards. Moorman took me to some vineyards on the windswept hills along Sweeney Road in Lompoc.
From the higher vantage point I could clearly see how the appellation populates the valley. After taking in the panoramic scene, Moorman then directed me to the soil around a row of pinot noir vines planted four years earlier. It looked like a bed of white rocks, not the rich sandy soil I am accustomed to seeing in other vineyards. Moorman said that locals call the diatomaceous earth”chalk rock” and pinot noir seems to thrive in this stuff. But in this part of the appellation, the vines don’t grow as rubust as they would in other conditions. Because of this, Moorman was able to plant 7,000 vines per acre.
Moorman doesn’t just limit himself to grapes, he pointed out a plot of land where he grows wheat and has plans to make his own bread in the tasting room of his own wine label, Piedrasassi New Vineland Winery.
I learned a lot about the region during my two recent visits but I learned even more once I read the story Jon Bonné wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle titled, “A Dramatic new chapter for Santa Rita Hills”. The story was published on the SFGate website on March 2, 2012 and it also appeared on the front page of the Food section of the Sunday paper on March 4, 2012. Eight of my pictures ran with the story on SFGate and three photos appeared with the Sunday printed edition.
In late December 2011 I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Gavin Chanin for the San Francisco Chronicle’s annual “Winemakers to Watch” series. After finishing high school, Gavin Chanin began working with Santa Barbara County winemakers at Au Bon Climat and Qupe where he is presently the assistant winemaker. In addition, he started his own wine company, Chanin Wines, making Pino Noir and Chardonnay from the Bien Nacido vineyard in Santa Maria, California. Chanin holds an art degree from UCLA and each of his wine labels features his original art work. The article ran in the Food & Wine section on Sunday, January 15, 2012, and then on its website, SFGate on the 16th. Read about Gavin Chanin’s wines in the San Francisco Chronicle.
In 2011 I began teaching a new kind of web class at Brooks Institute, one that was inspired by all that I have learned from the Photoshelter community over the years. Grover Sanchagrin caught wind of this and interviewed me recently. He posted our conversation on Photoshelter’s blog today, including 5 attitude changes toward photography websites.
I grew up with the sounds and smells of a coffee percolator brewing the morning cup of Joe in our household. I hadn’t thought much about it until I stumbled on to this story on NPR’s website about sounds that have all but disappeared.
The idea for the NPR story was inspired by a blog post on Mental Floss titled “11 Sounds That Your Kids Have Probably Never Heard.” Remember the rotary phone? Our home number took a particularly long time to dial. It had a 9, a 0, a couple of 7′s. It was a laborious and time-consuming phone call to make by today’s standards (as you can see in the video below).
NPR took this idea a little further and grouped the clips to allow viewers to play these sounds to create some natural sounds music, so to speak. And then they modernized it by finding today’s equivalent sounds and grouped them, as well. Have look – and a listen. Brooks Institute visual journalism grads Maggie Starbard and Melissa Forsyth helped out with the project.
On November 23 I was inching along the freeway in pre-holiday traffic when my cell phone rang.
It was an assignment editor from the San Francisco Chronicle asking if I would be available to shoot an assignment on Thanksgiving.
I had to think about it a minute.
I already had plans for the day with my family and friends. Did I really want to work on a holiday?
“The story is about a marine who befriended a stray dog while on a tour of duty in Afghanistan,” the editor said. “He managed to adopt it through an organization and have it flown back to the U.S. They’re going to reunite on Thanksgiving day in Santa Barbara.”
I didn’t have to think a second longer.
“Yes, I’ll do that story!”
Leading up to the August 16 release of his new self-titled album on Blue Note Records, Jeff Bridges recently hit the road backed by Santa Barbara musicians aptly named “The Abiders.” I got the opportunity to see him perform at The Troubadour, in West Hollywood, California. Aside from Jeff’s great performance, on of the highlights of the evening was having Quincy Jones introduce Jeff at the Troubadour show.
Jeff Bridges performed at Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez on June 23, 2011. Great music, great band, great venue.
If you have a spare 45 minutes or so, click on the link below and listen in on our conversation, which is archived on his site.
Urban Playground: Los Angeles from Josh Valcarcel on Vimeo.
Composer R. Murray Schafer challenges us to really stop and listen to everyday sounds in this short film created by David New in 2009. “A soundscape is any collection of sounds, almost like a painting is a collection of visual attractions,” says Schafer. “When you listen carefully to the soundscape it becomes quite miraculous.”
This film is one of many showcased on the National Film Board of Canada website.
If you have six minutes to spare, have a look — and a listen.
Sports photographer Brad Mangin has a new book out this week titled “Worth the Wait“, which features his pictures from the San Francisco Giants 2010 World Series season. Brad teamed up with KNBR radio personality Brian Murphy and the San Francisco Giants to produce the hardcover book in time for the start of the 2011 season.
If you are a Giant’s fan, you will want to proudly display this in your home. If you are a fan of baseball, you will want to read this book because Brad and Brian share your love of the game. If you are into sports photography, add this book to your collection because nobody shoots baseball like Brad.
It is a beautifully designed and engaging book that will appeal to readers well beyond the scope of the Bay Area. It’s a great book. Go buy it!
I should probably disclose that my endorsement this book is not without bias. Brad and I have been friends since 1971. He was a San Francisco Giants junkie back then and still is. I never really understood his dedication to this team but have admired his loyalty to it over the years.
In the 70s Brad was one of those kids who brought his transistor radio to school so he could listen to the play-by-play during recess. In the 80s he would brave the cold and windy night games at Candlestick Park and stay until the last out so he could collect one of those orange buttons for his Giants cap. In the 90s he had a dedicated pager that sent him pitch-by-pitch updates when he didn’t have any other means of connecting to the game. In 2000 when the Giants built a new ball park he became a season ticket holder. Since then, whenever he wasn’t shooting a Giant’s game for Sports Illustrated or MLB Photos, he was attending as a fan.
As a friend, I’ve been watching Brad ride the emotional roller coaster the Giants ball club has taken their fans on throughout the years. Their 2010 season was definitely a high. What a ride it was. Thankfully, “Worth the Wait” will allow Brad and the fans to enjoy the ride for years to come.
Brad and Brian will be signing their book at several events this month. You may have to wait in line to meet them but it will be worth the wait.
Brad Mangin and Brian Murphy book signing events:
• Tuesday, April 5, Noon – 1:30pm, AT&T Park Dugout Store
• Tuesday, April 12, 5:30 – 7:00pm, AT&T Park Dugout Store (pre-game)
• Friday, April 15, 1 – 2pm, Embarcadero Dugout Store in San Francisco
• Friday, April 22, 3 – 4pm, Stanford Shopping Center Dugout Store