Chief photographer Drew Nash shares 10 of his strongest images from June. Share your favorite photos at Magicvalley.com/submit.
Staff Photojournalist Stephen Reiss picks his best 10 photos from May 2015.
Times-News Chief Photographer Drew Nash shares his strongest images from May.
It was going to be dark, dusty and dingy and I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty doing it. That’s right, I got to go spelunking with the Silver Sage Grotto recently and photograph two marquee caves, the Gypsum and the Jawdropper. Both caves were stunning, posing different challenges (physically and photographically) for me all along the way.
The Approach I did quite a bit of reading the night before the expedition about cave photography. From what I could tell there were mainly two schools of thought on how to do it. One was to set up a tripod for long exposures and paint the cave with light using headlamps and flashlights. The other was to set up remote slaves (flashes) along with existing light from caver’s headlamps. With this being my first time out I decided against trying to lug around my heavy 3221W Bogen legs and a 3030 head. I needed to keep it light and allow myself to be nimble. Plus, I already had two perfectly good slave units along with a set of remote triggers I could use.
Gypsum Cave I was geared up from head to toe. Armed with three head lamps, a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, gloves, caving suit, camera pack and boots. I was about to use every bit of it as I scuttled down some rocks and waited for the guys to unlock a gate leading into the darkness. I left my main camera body and lenses packed securely in my backpack. I wanted to know what I was getting myself into before attempting any photography. I pulled out my Pentax WG-2 (a rugged, waterproof point and shoot) and started making pictures. The plan we had decided on was to get to the end of our route as quickly as possible and then I, as the photographer, would know what options I wanted to shoot on our way back out. We soon encountered break down piles of lava debris. I also found myself inching my way across ledges of rock as we came to a section of the lava tube with multiple levels. It felt like I was climbing parts of Mt. Borah again, only this time it was much, much darker.
I let the dust settle and pulled out my Mark IV body and a 16-35mm f2.8 lens. Also known as the cocaine cave, gypsum is a fine white powder that gets on everything. I was not thrilled about trying to keep my sensor clean but I had a job to do. I turned on the slaves and handed them out to two of the cavers who would be closest to me. The rest would have to light each other up (or silhouette) using their headlamps. I directed the light as best I could and was somewhat impressed with how layered the images were turning out.
Chief photographer Drew Nash shares his thoughts on what he believes to be his strongest images from April 2015.
JoAnne Hollenbeck-Schenk lost two daughters — one a toddler and one a young mother. She then opened her home and adopted three girls, new siblings for her second daughter, Jodie. Susan Koestner, Esther Rogers and Mary Hollenbeck joined the family right after their births. When JoAnne’s daughter Jodie died, she left behind a son, Benjamin, who she is raising.
It was a real pleasure to spend some time with JoAnne and her family one evening last month. Photographing them at dinner, walking in their yard and playing Monopoly together, it was clear the strong bond they have has kept them together through a series of tragedies. (STEPHEN REISS, TIMES-NEWS)
Staff Photojournalist Stephen Reiss picks his best 10 photos from April.
A few months ago Shawn Barigar, president and CEO of the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, approached me about a freelance gig re-creating a few of early Twin Falls photographer Clarence E. Bisbee’s photographs.
I was well aware of Bisbee’s photography and had recently voted to try to get his name on one of our upcoming elementary schools. I have looked over thousands of his images and listened to local historians talk about how he and his wife, Jessie, helped record the history of the fledgling Magic Valley during the early 20th century.
This was my chance to add to what he had started in 1906.
It was 4 p.m. June 1, 2011, when I met a little lady with a booming laugh and a heart of gold. Her name was Dorothy Custer, and she was about to turn 100 years old.
On my way there I remember missing the driveway and having to turn around. I was greeted by a large banner of Dorothy in her younger days doing the splits; it appeared she had been quite the performer. Once inside, I found that Dorothy very much still had that spirit of the performer. She put on a fancy hat and started playing her harmonica.
I attempted to hold my off-camera flash steady as I began chuckling. Here I was, standing before the most adorable little centenarian while she played one helluva harmonica wearing a hat that probably hadn't been in style in more than 70 years. I was beside myself and having the time of my life. You see, that's what Dorothy embodied. The time of your life.
In June 2013, I met up with Dorothy again. It was an absolute circus this time ... seriously, it was a circus. "Idaho's Grandma" was about to check off another item on her bucket list and ride an elephant. I jockeyed for position and began making pictures. She carried a small American flag while she patted an elephant that dwarfed her already tiny frame. Spectators roared with delight as she made a lap around the arena. Just like before, everyone around her was full of joy.
Photographer Stephen Reiss picks his best 10 photos from last month.
Chief Photographer Drew Nash shares his strongest 10 images from his shoots in March.
A look back: Times-News staff photojournalist Stephen Reiss' top 10 images from February.
A look back: Times-News Chief Photographer Drew Nash's strongest photography from February. You'll see some great variety here.
Staff photojournalist Stephen Reiss' selects from the month of January.
Chief Photographer Drew Nash's favorite selects from the month of January.
An announcement was made, emails were sent and questions were raised. The President of the United States of America was coming to Boise, and I had just assigned myself to cover it.
I started thinking about all the things I would need, such as a press credential, parking pass and the location of the media entrance gate. The clock was ticking.
Eventually I found myself starring at a Media RSVP link from the White House for a press credential. Two days later I was approved. I received a timetable of when and where I could be. Set up between 8 and 9 a.m. No access to gear left inside the facility from 9 to 11:30 a.m. (security sweeps). Security entrance opens 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. President speaks at about 2:45 p.m.
Wanting to set up a remote camera with a 14mm lens near the podium, I called up the logistical and planning liaison; she told me no. I wasn't a pool photographer and I'd have to clear it with White House staff.
In my short time in the Magic Valley I've come across some very interesting individuals on a variety of assignments. I'm beginning to see a sort of character study emerge, a mosaic portrait of this community through photographs. So I decided to compile some of these moments into a gallery with two simple criteria: emotion and light.
—Stephen Reiss, Times-News staff photojournalist
Times-News photographer Stephen Reiss shares some of his strongest images from December.
Chief Photographer Drew Nash shares some of his strongest images from December. He can be reached at email@example.com.
I had anticipated this. The humidity of the bubble overcame my Canon Mark IV in seconds. My high school instructor always said the best camera there is, is the one with you. Let me amend that: The best camera out there is the one that's with you and that works. That's where my little "adventure proof" Pentax Optio WG-2 comes in.
Now keep in mind my assignment. It's an action-oriented gig inside a huge bubble with tungsten light. Taking the easy route I placed it on sports action mode and turned off the flash while turning on the motor drive. I prefocused by pressing halfway down, and right before the action came to me I squeezed the trigger and snapped off a few frames. The results were reasonable, so I kept the settings.
The other route I could have gone is to place the camera on program, go to ISO eh, 1600, and change the white balance to tungsten. After looking at the exchangeable image file format or EXIF data when I got back to the office, I noticed the camera used an ISO of 400 and a shutter speed of 1/45 of a second. As you can tell, I blurred the instructor quite a bit. Had I used my setting of ISO 1600, the shutter speed would have been 1/160 (assuming the camera didn't change the aperture instead) and would have given off only a slight blur during her jumping.
Points of this post are 1) know your assignment, 2) take the proper gear to complete it and 3) know the limitations of the gear you have.
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- Drew Nash
Drew Nash started to develop into a photographer the moment he saw his first print come to life in the darkroom as a high school freshman. Since then he has watched the photography industry evolve from film to digital, darkrooms to light rooms.
Arriving in the Magic Valley in 2009, Nash has enjoyed covering topics as diverse as BASE jumping, politics, sports and wildfires. In his free time you'll find him rooting for his beloved Kansas City Chiefs or hiking and camping around this magical valley.
Feel free to ask him photography questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stephen Reiss
Stephen Reiss was born in New York City in 1981. He received his undergraduate degrees in English and Biology from Skidmore College in 2003, and worked in the field of medical communications before turning his attention to photography in 2009.
Stephen graduated from the Documentary Studies and Photojournalism Program at the International Center of Photography in 2009, where he was awarded the John and Annamaria Philips Foundation Scholarship for Photojournalism.
He participated in the Eddie Adams WorkshopXXIII, LOOKbetween, and received a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund Fellowship in 2013 for his long-term work on foster care in the South Bronx. The subsequent body of work has been published by the New York Times and Anthropology Now magazine. His work has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography in New York, Gallery I/D in Miami, The International Photography Awards and LOOKbetween.