Remembering Wally McNamee

Wally McNamee, the longtime photojournalist at the Washington Post and Newsweek Magazine died recently. He was 84 years old.  I remember my first encounter with Wally quite well.  It was the spring of 1967. The cherry blossoms were in all their glory in Washingon and I was trying to compose a shot of them with the Jefferson Memorial in the near background.  Wally had seen me searching for a decent vantage point.  He came up to me, and wearing a broad smile,  introduced himself.   I quickly volunteered that I was a student at American University and was doing some field shooting for the photography course I was taking.  “Well,” he said, “this scene with the cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial is a classic this time of the year.  You’ll do well with it. ”   He then suggested a vantage point on the path along the Tidal Basin about  50 yards closer to the Memorial.  He offered a few tips for camera settings, shook my hand and said, “See you around John.”   I ran into him several more times during my time in the District: at the DC riots after Doctor King was assassinated in Memphis, the Washington anti-Vietnam War March and several other occasions.  He always had a friendly word.  Wally McNamee was a good person in a tough town.  I invite you to read Dee Swann’s remembrance of Wally on the Washington Post’s Photography Blog, “Insight.”  Here’s the link:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-sight/

 

Thanks for the visit.  See you next time.

Back To the Future

Several years ago, I sold my Nikon D 700 camera to buy its successor, the D 750. I was caught up in the megapixel race in those days. The 700 had just over 12, the 750 doubled that to just over 24. It is a wonderful camera. Overall, one of the best I’ve ever owned but I missed the 700. It was a tank, like Nikon’s legendary film cameras: magnesium body, water resistant, dust resistant, and it was fast: 8 frames per second. But what I missed most was its ability to capture the subtle phasing of tones in low light capabilities.  Those megapixels are like little stars. It’s the space around them that makes them beautiful. The full frame D 700 had lots of space around its pixels.  It’s what gave it those marvelous low light capabilities.  I went through my archives like someone flipping through the family scrapbook, looking at the thousands of shots I had taken with the D700. Landscapes, birds, flowers. I missed its subtlety.

I’d think of those every time I scrolled through the used camera offerings at B and H in New York, or MPB or Adorama or the other big dealers. Every now and then one would pop up and tug at my sleeve. Nah, I would think; I’m camera poor and why buy someone elses problem. Then yesterday afternoon, I was scrolling through the used digital camera offerings at B and H and there it was, a D 700 in like new condition with only 8 thousand shutter snaps. And the price was right. I pulled the trigger. It will arrive this coming Wednesday. I hope the weather clears by then because we are going to have a grand reunion. Thanks for the visit. See you next time.

Chasing the Spanish Macarel

I hooked up with these guys before dawn  “On The Point”  at Emerald Isle, North Carolina a week ago. Most live either on the Bogue Banks or nearby on the mainland. All buy  yearly permits from the City of Emerald Isle which allows them to drive on the beach in restricted areas from the late fall through early spring  on the Western end of the island.  Emerald Isle is situated  East/ West rather than North/ South. As the dawn broke around 6:40 AM, the beach was dotted with pickup trucks, their occupants ready to start casting for the  Spanish Mackerel and Albacore that were running in close to feed.

At daybreak, the fishermen were joined by some surfers, anxious to take advantage of the large breakers spawned by an overnight storm. Somehow, all managed to co-exist without getting in each other’s way.

I left them at sunrise to head up the beach to grab some sunrise shots. They were still at it when I came back on the way to my truck.  Their coolers were filled. So were my memory cards.  It had been a good day.  Thanks for the look-in and have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

The Soybean Field II

I spent several more days in the soybean field this past week, drawn by the pre-dawn sky which provides  a rather spectacular backdrop for, lets face it, a rather boring crop in the field.

The above shot was an afterthought.  I was heading back to the house when I happened to turn around and saw the rising sun’s reflection on the cloud bank rolling in from the north.  A reminder of the old photography tip to always turn around.

Taken early that morning from the southwest near the wetlands on the farm.  The rows of soybeans take your eye straight to the pre-sunrise sky.

I don’t usually venture out on overcast days but I made an exception because of the quilted clouds which I could see from my kitchen window.  I’m blessed by living near our farm fields and the beach, which I plan to return to next week.  Thanks for the look. See you next time.