The package was no surprise; the contents were. I'd had e-mails that I was getting the book because two photos of mine were in it. What I didn't know was that (a) one photo would be a full two-page spread on pages 10-11 (b) the other photo would be a full one-page vertical (full bleed) on page 74 and (c) that I would have three other thumbnail photos in the book as well.
About the 24/7 project
Last year, the America 24/7 book was released featuring photos taken during one week in May 2003. More than 25,000 photographers shot over one million digital photos for the project from May 12-18. Anyone with a digital camera could submit photos--professionals and amateurs. The 24/7 people actually hired pros to shoot for them. A limited number of "stringers and students" were allowed to sign up and any amateurs could submit seven photos. I signed up as a stringer/student and was allowed to submit about 40 images.
This fall, the America 24/7 people released the individual books for each of the 50 states using the same images submitted originally for the main America 24/7 book. The state books are expected to be more popular than the America 24/7 book--which went as high as #5 on the New York Times bestseller list. Oprah also featured America 24/7 as did thousands of other articles. For the state books, I'm told that the initial print run of 800,000 copies by the publisher, DK, is the largest simultaneous release ever by a trade book publisher. It's unclear whether that's 800,000 of each state book or 800,000 for all 50 books.
The New York 24/7 book features 164 large images shot by 74 photographers, so I feel like my work is standing on its own. There are hundreds of thumbnail photos throughout the book--858 images total. The 74 main photographers are credited as "Participating Photographers" in the back of the book. Also, the photographers with thumbnails even get mentioned on the credits page. The thumbnail credits include the page number, so it's easy to find a specific photographer's work.
Lest you think I brag too much, let me say that my big photos aren't as impressive as others in the book. I think I've made stronger photos before and since these were made. I definitely have other photos that are more aesthetically pleasing to me. (But these are growing on me...) :-)
See the main photos
The main photos in each book are viewable online at 247states.com. Below are links to my two photos within the New York 24/7 section.
Unfortunately, the thumbnails aren't online. But if they were, you would see Pastor Christopher preaching at Memorial Baptist (2nd from right at top of page 135), a pink dogwood bloom (2nd from left at top of page 140), and a row of soldiers in Continental uniform (6th from left at top of page 148). Pastor doesn't know he's in the book yet. Can't wait to tell him!
I think the NY book did a good job of showing NYC and the rest of the state (although Upstaters might disagree). It's neat to see photos from our parts of Brooklyn as shot by other photographers.
Today our office staff had a first-hand view of how animated the presidential race has become. A guy who has a reputation as being kind of nutty demonstrated his disgust with a pro-Bush insert sponsored by the local Republican party that was in our paper this week. In our building, he succeeded in burning a corner of our current issue and the insert which was in it. If he was trying to burn the whole thing, he did a poor job. Now the souvenir is upstairs as a showpiece for my editor.
All this unfolds in a VERY Republican county. I think that only one elected official--the treasurer--is a Democrat. But the hatred of the world for a Bible-believer and a man of character has landed in our area. I'm surprised by the number of Kerry signs I see here. (Some are in the same yards with signs for a "local" psychotherapist who's running for Congress as an independent on a platform of the truth. Fahrenheit 9/11 gets prominent mention in his version of truth. Spare me.)
Our newspaper has not endorsed any candidate, although we have run some conservative editorials. Nonetheless this wacko had to come make his point by burning a paper in front of our women in the front office. How tactful and inspiringly rational.
Wednesday was a day when supply was short of the demand for our newspaper. That's because of an error at the printing plant. By bundling our papers in stacks of 30 instead of 40, the production people shorted us over 1,000 papers. Instead of counting the papers, they counted the finished bundles to determine when everything was done. So a day of hectic math and phone calls ensued. Our street sales ended abruptly when the sales people ran out of papers.
In the end, people at the plant actually went to the dumpster and dug around to come up with almost 700 papers. Most of them lacked the advertising inserts. The production people brought the papers halfway to us and our delivery men took them to the shorted vendors. In the end, it will be an accounting nightmare (which I will have nothing to do with).
One of the people involved in the mistake actually drove 45 minutes to our office on Thursday to apologize. His gesture was well-received. Why can't more people be like that?
Yesterday morning, I was scanning our area's daily newspaper, which is owned by the same family as our weekly. There on the front of their local section, I found one of my stories that had appeared in our weekly issue the day before. It wasn't the first time I'd seen my work in that paper. (Unfortunately they shortened my story, introducing errors and removing my first references to a source or two...)
In the evening, I turned on our pitiful local TV news station, and lo-and-behold they did a story on the same topic--checking your deer kill over the phone instead of toting it to a game check station. They used a source who was in favor of the new system whereas my sources were against it. Nonetheless, they got the idea from my article in the daily paper; the TV station has a reputation for doing that.
It's rewarding to see other news outlets picking up the story I worked on, but I have to laugh. The funny thing to me is that it's not that new a story; other newspapers have mentioned it, but my so-so story seemed to be the first that these other places had heard of the new phone system.
...No, not of my pretty much out-of-the-box Movable Type blog. (Although I have been slowly adding to my sidebar!)
Our paper is beginning a redesign process. It's been close to 10 years since anything has been done with our paper's look. I'd say a fresh look is overdue, although what we have now is not BAD.
We're looking at re-organizing the paper to make it more reader friendly as well as update the graphic appearance while keeping typefaces the same. Hopefully that way it will make things look fresh and not alienate our readers.
My editor and I want to revert our logo/masthead back to a more historical look. (Our paper has been around since 1867.) That responsibility has been given to me, and I welcome the chance to use my graphic design skills more.
Throughout the early stages of the redesign process, I've enjoyed several online resources. The discussion of journalism issues at Poynter have been helpful. I've frequently drawn on the newspaper front-page samples posted daily on Newseum's website. And I even found a newspaper design blog, which has been quite helpful too. (You'll find a high-speed connection and a discerning eye helpful for the news design blog.)
Once January rolls around, I'll try to post before/after samples.
Four years ago, on this date, I proposed (successfully) to Darla.
So, I guess I'll meet her at a McDonald's/gas station/convenience store for a romantic dinner before I rush off to take pictures of a rainy junior varsity football game.
Yesterday was one of those hectic reporting days. My day involved phoning state officials for a hunting story, tracking down a narrow segment of the local hunting population for that same story, toning photos that I shot over the weekend (for myself and a sister paper), running out to cover a house fire, trying to report and write sports stories, and taking a quick airplane ride for some aerial photos.
The weather hasn't cooperated for my aerial photo essay, so I snagged a few shots from on high to supplement my ground-based photo essay on autumn. (The flight was nice although it was overcast. The clouds made it too dark for most of my shots, but I still had fun. And I enjoyed traipsing around getting photos of pretty fall scenes.)
Yesterday morning was tough because I wasn't reaching the people I needed, so I felt like I was spinning my wheels AND twiddling my thumbs. But at the end of the day, I accomplished most everything I'd hoped to and that was satisfying. Now I've just got to get all my stories written today since I'm done gathering information for them.
Today won't be short, either. I'm covering the local high school volleyball rivalry game in the evening and returning to get it in the week's paper, which goes to press tonight.
This past weekend, we took advantage of Darla's banker's hours. I took Monday off so that we could enjoy a long weekend, thanks to ol' Chris Columbus.
Since we've been married, we have made a tradition of celebrating our October engagement in Pisgah National Forest with an October camping trip. This year we took off to West Virginia. We couldn't have asked for a better weekend to go.
The Lord gave us clear blue skies, nice temperatures, and peak autumnal color. It was perfect for exploring Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Green Bank facility, and the Greenbrier River Trail while camping at Watoga State Park.
I'd been to Cass a couple times when I was a wee little tyke, but Darla had never been. And she's sister to a huge railroad fan. While there, we enjoyed the trains and the aspects of the old logging town that remind me of the western ghost towns I like to explore. I also nabbed a geocache in the town.
The NRAO was a new experience for both of us. I'm not sure I believe all the "science" they're involved in... They use satellite dish-looking antenna to pick up sound waves from space. Using computers, they turn those waves into images of stars and other celestial bodies. And SETI uses them to look for extra-terrestrial life. But because of the interference that modern electronics introduce, the entire valley is a cellular dead zone. (Gas-powered cars aren't even allowed near the telescopes. Their spark plugs cause "static" that interferes with the telescopes. All the vehicles there are ancient diesels.) That lack of cell coverage made for a true get-away for us.
The Greenbrier River Trail was a new rail-trail to us. It's an award-winning, 75-mile trail along the old Chesapeake & Ohio railroad. We biked over 12 miles (6+ miles in and back out) along the river. It was beautiful. In our trip, we encountered only two other people. We rode from a train station in the little burg of Clover Lick to a 555-foot tunnel that curves through a mountain before the trail crosses the Greenbriar on a curved bridge.
Next week I'll be going airborne for a photo essay. I've talked my way into shooting an essay that I hope will be a nice aerial portrayal of our county during the autumn. I've blocked out a week with a local pilot so that we can get up when the color and weather cooperate. Add to that the pressure of a Tuesday, Oct. 19 deadline and things get tense.
I'd appreciate your prayers that everything will work out well.
The nation has a brand-new fire department: the Secret Service fire department. The new unit was formed because of security concerns at the White House and the Naval Observatory. Most Washington DC firefighters don't have security clearance to be on those properties, although they'd be allowed on them in case of an emergency.
Read about it at Firehouse.com.