Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Central air conditioning

Central's Mario Riley (No. 34) goes to the net over Lamar Consolidated defenders during a high school basketball playoff game at Lee College in Baytown on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007. Lamar Consolidated won the game and advanced.

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Trying to be purrrr-fect

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Owner Brenda Fest of Pipe Creek, Texas (left) and Debbi Sochia Eyfells (right) groom Princeton, an 18-month-old Norwegian Forest Cat, (center) during the Cat Fancier's Association Cat Show at the Beaumont Civic Center in Beaumont on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007.

Lucain, a 9-month-old Maine Coon cat, (left) checks out Silverlina, 2, (right) during the cat show.

Cat show judge Rachel Anger of Ann Arbor, Mich. (center) pronounces Peanut, an 8-year-old cat owned by Carolyn Edwards of San Antonio, as the winner of the cat costume contest during the Cat Fancier's Association Cat Show.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Free throw goal

Ozen's Willie Jefferson (No. 33) sinks a free throw against Friendswood during an area playoff basketball game at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu on Friday, Feb. 23, 2007.

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hitter of the week

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Brian Lloyd fields a ball during practice at Lamar University's Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2007. Brian Lloyd was named Southland Conference hitter of the week.

The sophomore from Knightsen, Calif., hit .692 (9-for-13) with a home run and seven RBI against Holy Cross in the three-game series. For the season, Lloyd leads the team in hitting with a .500 average.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lamar has hope

Lamar's Brandon Chappell (No. 1, left) tries to get the ball past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Scooby Johnson (No. 21, right) during a college basketball game at Lamar University in Beaumont on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007. Lamar won the game 78-77 in overtime and stays alive for the playoffs.
Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Please read, "Lamar defeats SLC's top team" by Perryn Keys.

Friday, February 23, 2007

West Brook goes over North Shore

West Brook's Sage Malone (No. 14, left) smashes into North Shore's Ryan Rodgers (No. 35, right) during a 5A bi-district high school playoff basketball game at Phillips Field House in Pasadena on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007. West Brook won the game 68-49 and advances in the playoffs.

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Party Gras

Theresa Guidry of LaFayette, La. (left) dances with Rocky Howe of Groves (right) near the Valero float before the Krewe of Aurora Grand Parade in Port Arthur on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007.

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Yvonne Jenkins with Cummulus Broadcasting prepares a float before the Krewe of Aurora Grand Parade.

Janet Wehner of Port Arthur prepares a Krewe of Aurora float before the Krewe of Aurora Grand Parade.

Ray Ybarra (left) plays guitar while Paul Orta of the band Paul Orta and the Kingpins (right) plays a harmonica during the Southeast Texas Mardi Gras in Port Arthur.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Less than expected

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Two couples ride the a midway ride during Mardi Gras on the Neches daytime activities in Beaumont on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007. Turn out for the first-ever Beaumont event was much lighter than expected.

Turn out was not heavy for daytime activities at the Mardi Gras on the Neches in Beaumont on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mardi Gras on the Neches

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Beverly Allen of Nederland (center) shows her beads to friends Charlotte Davis of Beaumont (left) and Lisa Harper of Port Neches (right) during the first-ever Mardi Gras on the Neches parade in Beaumont on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2007.

Members of the Krewe Lagniappe throw beads during the first-ever Mardi Gras on the Neches parade near the Crockett Street Entertainment District in Beaumont.

CJ likes TV too

While Citizen Journalism (CJ) is having fun with print PJ lately, Justin DeYoung found a story in our sister paper to make the TVPJs consider their options as well.

The TVCJ idea sounds about as promising as the newspaper CJ movement. However, Clear Channel must also deal with FCC regulations as well as TVCJ's lack of training. At least there's network programming if the local option doesn't work. If it does work, I'm sure the poor executives at Clear Channel would be happy to lay off more TVPJs and make more money.

Please read The San Francisco Chronicle story by Joe Garofoli.
FYI, copy editors commonly write headlines. Since this story's headline isn't accurate, I doubt the reporter wrote it.

Enough for now,

Monday, February 19, 2007

Courir Parade

Groves residents Debi Tamez (left) and Jojo James (right) talk with parade attendees during the annual Southeast Texas Mardi Gras Courir Parade in Port Arthur on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007.

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Pat Jackson of Nederland throws stuffed toys to children as her grandson Ian Gibson, 13, of Nederland (right) drives a cart down Lakeshore Drive during the annual Courir Parade.

Parade interim captain Joey Villemez of Port Arthur rides Red, a 13-year-old horse, in the lead of the annual Southeast Texas Mardi Gras Courir Parade.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Still shoveling away at Rita

Ben Verde, son of the owner of Creative Impressions, shovels parts of the destroyed building into a trash bin at the business on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2007. The former printing company and all of its equipment were destroyed by Hurricane Rita.
The City of Beaumont is working with the owners of more than 600 structures tagged for demolition. Most of the structures were damaged or destroyed during the hurricane and owners are still haggling with insurance companies and FEMA.

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Boomer wheels

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Sales agent John "Pinky" Reynolds poses for a portrait with his personal Scion xB at Kinsel Toyota Superstore in Beaumont on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2007. Although the Scion and similar autos were intended for Generation Y drivers, the Baby Boomers are buying them for their lower price, fuel efficiency, larger doors and hauling capacity.

Please read, "Baby Boomers buying up vehicles intended for Generation Y" by Becky Bowman.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Let the Gras begin

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Carmen Blanton, wife of Port Arthur's chief of police, releases a rooster before the annual Southeast Texas Mardi Gras Courir Parade in Port Arthur on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007. During the parade, celebrants stop at various points to gather gumbo ingredients. Roosters are released for children to catch for prizes at these points.

Please read, "Chicken chase kicks off Mardi Gras" by Rolando Garcia.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

1st Habitat Home of 2007

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Beaumont Habitat for Humanity president Josh Allen (left) laughs with volunteers Wayne and Dawn Boeve of Holland, Mich. before the dedication of the first home completed this year on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2007. The Boeves have worked on this home and others in Southeast Texas since the beginning of 2007.

The door of the first Beaumont Habitat for Humanity home completed in 2007 is open for visitors during the dedication.

Phyllis Geans, chair of the family selection committee, (left) gives house keys to Letitia Kennedy during the dedication of the first Beaumont Habitat for Humanity home completed this year.

Letitia Kennedy presents a rose to Geraldine Warner of Beaumont during the dedication of her home. Warner helped build the home, which was part of the Rita Recovery program to help hurricane-affected areas along the Gulf Coast in 2005.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

© Mark M. Hancock / NewsEagles

A neon heart glows around a diamond-shaped sign at Robson's Jewelers in Baytown on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2007.

I saw this sign on my way home from a basketball playoff game in Baytown and knew I had to post it today or wait an entire year.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bonding with laughter

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Bishop Terry Goodlow, Rhonda Schell and Barbara White have a laugh before the final BISD community bond committee meeting at Roy Guess Elementary School in Beaumont on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Natural facial treatments

Christine Balentine poses for a portrait about natural Valentine's Day facial treatments in Beaumont on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007.

Photo illustrations by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise for BE magazine

Christine Balentine prepares a salt and olive oil facial treatment for an illustration in Beaumont.

What's "replacing" PJs? ran a press release from The Associated Press yesterday announcing the wire service's partnership with, a "citizen journalist" site.

In the release, AP states,
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information...

I'm confused. Is AP wanting to remove the words "unbiased" and "trusted" from their self description? As we found in Lebanon, even paid stringers have agendas. Does anyone believe an unpaid, untrained citizen journalist (CJ) is going to also be unbiased?

I don't.

However, I wanted to see what is being produced by CJs that should intimidate the pro PJs. So I looked through their Most Recent Photo section. I understand it'll be different each time someone looks at it so there's no point in discussing specific sets of images (when I looked it was mostly dogs in costumes). But, I can immediately see a trend, which creates some problems for AP.

Let's assume some poor AP editor is tasked with digging through the mud to find the diamonds. Once one is located, the editor reads the cutline. There's the first problem. Most turned-in images don't have cutlines. However, some photographers expressed why they made the images or what they were thinking or feeling when the image was made. That's nice.

The site's developers thought this through and provide an e-mail address to contact the photographer. Cool, one e-mail and AP has a cutline.

Gosh, there might be the second problem. What if the person who made the image doesn't check their e-mail very often? What if the image was actually shot last week or last year?

Let's have a happy day and let the CJ answer the e-mail and call the local bureau. All is cool now. Unfortunately, the photographer was snapping pictures and didn't write down any names. BUT, they do know the name of the person that's pretending to be arrested.

We need a clean up at editing desk four please.

However, let's be honest. There are times when any image is better than none. There are even some CJs who can hold their own against PJs. I have no problem with (semi-trained) CJs. But, I don't approve of anyone giving content away for free. I'm happy to compete against cheap and inexperienced.

Nobody can compete against free.

The worst part is CJs are paying to provide content. They pay for the equipment, they pay for fuel, they may purchase access to an event, they pay an Internet Service Provider to transmit images. Any way we look at it, the CJs are paying to have their images taken from them.

If someone has a desire to "let their name be known" for cheap, at least go to a micro-stock agency like and get your quarter-per-download. It'll start to pay for the cost of acquiring images. If a CJ is really good, s/he may make a profit. Good for them.

Until this happens my dear pro PJs, list your dits and 400mm lenses on Ebay. Forget all that rubbish about f-stops and accuracy. AP replaced us all with "trusted and unbiased" (free) CJs. They'll soon be taking us inside prisons and riding out hurricanes to let us know which pet fashions are hot this season.

Enough for now,

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Lamar's first goaltender

Lumberton High School soccer goaltender Kelsie Ginetti poses for a portrait at the high school in Lumberton on Monday, Feb. 5, 2007. She plans to sign a letter of intent to play on Lamar University's first women's soccer team.

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tres vistas del Nina

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Visitors tour the Nina, a hand-made replica of Christopher Columbus' favorite ship, at Riverfront Park near the Entergy Building in Beaumont on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2007. The educational ship is touring Texas coastal cities.

Visitors tour the Nina, which is moored by the ampitheater at Riverfront Park. Tours will be given until Feb. 12, when it sails to Galveston.

Visitors tour the Nina at Riverfront Park near the Port of Beaumont. The ship is crewed by a volunteer staff of six people. Columbus' ship had a crew of 30. The majority of Columbus' crew were boys.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Texas-sized hydrant

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Fire Museum of Texas executive director Susan Lanning plants flowers around an antique fire hydrant at the museum in Beaumont on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007. The large fire hydrant in the background is the centerpiece of the Texas Firefighter Memorial in the C. A. "Pete" Shelton Plaza. The hydrant was originally constructed as the world's largest hydrant to introduce the release of Disney's 101 Dalmations. It is now the second tallest fire hydrant.

I've been trying almost two years to work the hydrant into a shot. It's across the street from our office, so I kept working it. However, because it's centered in a plaza, it's hard to show the scale of this critter. The rockin' light and a person in the right place finally made it work.

Unfortunately, I had to run to an assigned shoot or I would have worked it more.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Janis Joplin tribute

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Janis Joplin tribute singer Myrna Sanders with the Houston-based band Kozmic Pearl performs during the 20th Annual Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame Show at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center in Port Arthur on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007. Roy Head was inducted into the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pumping iron

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Cathedral Christian High School football player Rob Ashabranner works out at the school in Beaumont on Friday, Feb. 2, 2007. He will be the first football player in the school's history to play for a college football team.

Please see him practice football in 2005. He's light in 2005 compared to now, he's become a 260-pounder since he's turned 18. He'll be signing his letter of intent to Vanderbilt University valued at $250,000 this morning (Wednesday).

Please read "Inking one Vandy deal" by Chris Dabe.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Riverfront tourists

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Tourists watch and take photos as Beaumont residents and Society for Creative Anachronism members Richard Parrish (left) and Ben Lee (right) fence at Riverfront Park in Beaumont on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2007.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Dense fog

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Motorist slow before entering a dense fog area on Texas 73 near the BASF plant in Port Arthur on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. Lower temperatures and high humidity have caused additional moisture to condense onto the steam released by the plant. The condensation makes the fog more opaque. A north wind has blown the fog over the road and resulted in some accidents in the area. Port Arthur police are warning motorists about the driving condition.

How (some) NPPA clip contests are judged

When I get my copy of News Photographer magazine, I always turn to the back section to see the monthly winning images. This month, all the images looked very familiar because the winners were chosen by The Beaumont Enterprise staff.

The following month, we chose the September winners of NPPA Region 4.

Consequently, it would be fitting to discuss the competition and give some folks some insight into how these are judged. Additionally, anyone entering the contest might take a serious look at the judges comments to understand expectations.

How photo contests are judged is often shrouded in mystery and confusion. They say newspaper editing is like making sausage, so is contest judging. So, let's clear up the judging process and learn how this sausage is made (hint, it's messy).

First, I'll vent about the judges comments I've seen in the past. I really dislike when judges try to make themselves look somehow more important with unnecessary comments such as, "The entire field was weak," or "None of these photographers are worthy of wiping my sweat."

That's garbage. It's an honor and privilege to judge the images submitted by these hard-working folks. Pick the best images from those presented and let the shooters enjoy their well-earned accolades. Say something nice and/or constructive or say nothing.

End rant.

When judging both contests, we used the same judging criteria. We spread all the entries on the floor by category, judged and moved to the next category. We gave plenty of time for everyone to look at every image and read each cutline.

Then, each staffer took turns selecting what they thought were the best submissions. These were set aside for second-round judging. The first PJ would typically choose about four images, sets or stories. The next PJ picked any additional images they thought should advance. After everyone was satisfied that their top three-to-five images were in the final set, the rest were collected and placed back in the envelope.

Next, we each said a positive sentence or two about why we thought an image should win or place.

Then, we voted on our top three choices. We assigned points to our votes. First got three points, 2nd got two points and 3rd got one point. These numbers were tabulated and placements were assigned.

If there was a tie, we held a head-to-head vote for the tying images. So, if two images tied in points for 2nd place, the vote decided which image was 2nd and 3rd because 1st had already been decided.

In the end, we were satisfied with the results. Yes, there are some images we have differing opinions about, but it was a fair contest. Instead of eliminating the worst, we selected the best.

This is basically the same process most PJs use to choose images for the paper. We don't scream about one soft-focus image (OK, we do, but it's rare). We pick a good set, narrow them down to the best, turn them out and move to the next assignment.

Judges rules
The photographers entering the contest should know the contest rules. The judges are given a set of rules as well. They are codified, but I don't have a copy. Nonetheless, here's the crux of the rules:

* There must be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd chosen in each category.
* Images must be judged in the category entered.
* Do not eliminate any entry without calling the national clip chair.
* Ignore reproduction issues (paper/halftone quality, color, etc.).

These rules should explain some of the choices. Basically, some images look fine in newsprint, but fall apart when published at full resolution in the magazine. We're required to judge for image content, composition and timing. We must give the benefit of a doubt to focus and exposure because those could be reproduction issues.

In the past, submissions that did not follow the rules (credit lines or paper affiliations were visible, no cutlines) were eliminated. Now, it requires a call to the clip chair to eliminate an entry. So, every image was judged, but these images must clear a slightly higher hurdle.

August 2005, National contest:   The results
Judges:   Pete Churton, Dave Ryan, Scott Eslinger, Jennifer Reynolds, Mark M. Hancock and Andrew Nenque

Spot News
1st Place:   Lannis Waters, The Palm Beach Post
2nd Place:   Matt Rourke, Austin American-Statesman
3rd Place:   Michael Chow, The Arizona Republic

Judges' comments
The winning photo got a perfect score with all judges selecting it as the top image. At the first vote count, only one point separated 2nd through 4th. Several strong photos could have been strong feature contenders. The category contained many natural disaster images. Dave Ryan said the images were overwhelming. "The magnitude of the events chronicled made for great photojournalism," he said. Scott Eslinger said he liked the tight, emotional photos in the category. Mark M. Hancock said, "I like the emotion and graphics of many images, but I prefer the action shots and dangers faced by the photojournalist to get the image." Pete Churton agreed. He said, "I think the action shows intensity and danger for both the subject and the photojournalist." Churton also liked an image of troops deploying while a mother of a newborn cries in the foreground by Marc F. Henning of The (Bentonville, Ark.) Morning News. Churton said, "I like the composition and play of light along with the motion and layers. Honestly, it is different than the other finalists."

General News
1st Place:   Tim Revell, Columbus Dispatch
2nd Place:   Dan Powers, The Post-Crescent
3rd Place:   Denny Simmons, Evansville Courier and Press

Judges' comments
The images tended to be clean and emotional. The one "happy" photo in this category didn't do well when juxtaposed with such painful images. Several images may have done better in features. Pete Churton said, "A whole lot of emotions were captured. The images show studiously planned access. They wouldn't get these images if the photojournalists were intrusive. We're eliminating some really strong stuff." Dave Ryan said the raw emotion of the first place image helped it win. Mark M. Hancock said the winning image must have been emotionally difficult on the photojournalist.

1st Place:   Chris Faytok, The Star-Ledger
2nd Place:   Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise
3rd Place:   Will Lester, The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Judges' comments
There were many clean images and lots of action in this category. Purely graphic images didn't do well when juxtaposed with action and humor. While there were extremely strong contenders in classic sports, many of the judges were impressed by the variety of non-traditional sports represented. Pete Churton said, "It's hard to go for elbows and armpits with so many great offbeat images." Dave Ryan preferred the winning image. "Covering golf as much as I have, something like that is a rare opportunity." Everyone liked the 2nd place image because it required attention. Mark M. Hancock said, "This is like encountering a new word. You must study it for a while and place it in context before it makes sense. The graphics and scale of the image are interesting and misleading. This image delivers visual rewards twice." Jennifer Reynolds' top pick of the day was the 3rd place image. "That is a very hard moment to get in baseball. The expression, the focus, the tight composition - it has it all." Bill Feig's, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate, image of a center ripping the helmet off another player was extremely strong as well as a similarly painful looking shot by Sanford Myers of The Tennessean.

Feature / Single
1st Place:   Joe Burbank, The Orlando Sentinel
2nd Place:   Taylor Jones, The Palm Beach Post
3rd Place:   Janet L. Mathews, The Columbian

Judges' comments
Images showed good use of layers, graphics and emotions. Color was a dominant theme in this category. Dave Ryan liked the winning image. He said, "I've never seen that shot before. I've seen similar, but never that good. Jennifer Reynolds agreed. "It's unusual for a photojournalist to make a great feature image like that while covering spot news." Scott Eslinger liked the giraffe image. He said the photojournalist had to see the potential and wait until the moment happened. Andrew Nenque favored a state fair image by Erin Fredrichs of the Bangor Daily News. Nenque said, "It's an interesting shot. The lines, symmetry and everything else flows together. It's busy, but it's clean at the same time." Everyone liked the composition and timing of a hula hoop image by Shauna Bittle of the San Antonio Express-News, however it didn't make the final cut. Jennifer Reynolds asked aloud, "How many frames did it take to get that shot?"

Feature / Multiple
1st Place:   Patrick Schneider, The Charlotte Observer
2nd Place:   Elyse Butler, Concord Monitor
3rd Place:   Gary Coronado, The Palm Beach Post

Judges' comments
There were many fine photo stories and essays. Quality use of detail shots, gaining access to difficult assignments and working the subject was commendable throughout this category. "Rodeo kindergarten" was the second unanimous winner. It features good compositions and covered the emotional range of the subject. "Visiting Hours" allowed us to look behind the bars to the people and their families. "Retratos de Cuba" featured excellent use of light, composition and delicate timing for a quiet, fluid feel. Pete Churton said, "The combination of images works wonderfully, but each could stand alone. Together, they tell the bigger story."

National contest observations
As appropriate, the images at a national-level competition are better than the images submitted to a regional-level contest. Only the top three finishers in each category from each of the 10 regions make it to nationals. We didn't know the order the images had placed in the individual regions.

Consequently, there weren't any questionable images (rule breakers) in the national clip contest set we judged.

The only conflict we encountered was with a set of images we knew contained an image from the winning Pulitzer Prize group. Since I personally know, respect and like the PJ, I'll point out the problem with the entry so other PJs can avoid the same issue.

It's OK to submit sets of photos into individual categories. This may bolster their ability to win. However, the weakest image becomes the standard for the entire set of images. When competing against 29 strong individual images, every shot in a set must be better than any of the other 29 images to win.

Pete summed it up during the regional judging with a golf saying. He said, "Like in golf, your bad shots hurt you far worse than your good shots help you."

When you see other contest judges emphasize the need for a tight edit on photo stories, this is the laser point of their suggestion. If 12 images are submitted as a set in a category, ALL 12 must be better than anyone else's one image. It's a high hurdle.

The single image that won the Pulitzer Prize would have easily won if it was entered as a single. Unfortunately, it was entered as part of a very large set of similarly-angled images and didn't make it into the final three.

September 2006, Region 4 contest:   The results
Judges:   Pete Churton, Dave Ryan, Jennifer Reynolds and Mark M. Hancock.

Spot News
1st Place:   Denny Simmons, Courier and Press
2nd Place:   William A. West, Star Beacon
3rd Place:   John Dunham, Messenger - Inquirer

Judges' comments
About the first-place image Jennifer Reynolds said, "I like the composition. I like the moment with the mother holding the kids in traffic. Most flood shots don't have traffic as well." Pete Churton said, "I like the action of the event with the flood and family connection. Second place was tied for first until the final round of judging. Of it, Mark M. Hancock said, "The body language is so tender and fleeting under the circumstances. The image captures humanity during this crisis. The juxtaposition of the EMT's preparations makes this image stand out." Of the third-place image, Mark M. Hancock said, "This is a good capture. The photojournalist was on the scene and got access while emotions were still raw." One set of news images was strong, however the edit wasn't tight enough and weaker images brought down the whole entry. Churton said, "Like in golf, your bad shots hurt you far worse than your good shots help you."

General News
1st Place:   Erik Holladay, The Jackson Citizen-Patriot
2nd Place:   Jarold Tyler Klassen, The Truth
3rd Place:   Ryan Garza, The Flint Journal

Judges' comments
The first-place image won unanimously. Jennifer Reynolds said, "I really like the moment. We saw a lot of 'soldiers departing' shots (during national clip judging) and this stands out because of its lighting. But, I like the moment very much. The silhouette makes it a better photo." Pete Churton also liked the second-place image. He said, "It's an emotional moment that is emphasized successfully by a strong horizontal crop." Dave Ryan liked the third-place image. He said, "It's a nice portrait for an ongoing news story about the Rebel flag and fighting authorities."

1st Place:   Jimmie Presley, The Flint Journal
2nd Place:   John Dunham, Messenger-Inquirer
3rd Place:   Neal Vaughan, Herald-Palladium

Judges' comments
The entire category was strong. Pete Churton said, "This is a lot stronger category than the others. If the same talent and quality had captured the news photos, they would have placed in the top five." About the first-place image, Dave Ryan said, "I love it. It's a great victory photo. It makes you want to read the cutline." Jennifer Reynolds said, "The image has the emotion of the players as well as the action of the water. Part of its appeal is knowing the water is going to change the subjects' emotional expressions in a split second." Reynolds also liked the second-place image. She said, "That moment conveys all the misery the player must have felt." Mark M. Hancock said, "I like moment as well as how clean and sharp the image is. The crop emphasizes the weight within the image as well as the emotional weight the goalie must feel." About the third-place image, Jennifer Reynolds said, "That's a very hard image to get." "Choke" by Chuck Crow of The Plain Dealer also made it to the final round.

Feature / Single
1st Place:   Jenny Sevcik, Messenger-Inquirer
2nd Place:   Bob Gwaltney, Evansville Courier & Press
3rd Place:   Patricia Schaeffer, The Morning Journal

Judges' comments
This category had the most entries. About the first-place image, Jennifer Reynolds said, "I love the swirl of color and the sharpness to put the subject in context. It makes you look twice. It's very different." Reynolds also liked the second-place image. She said, "I like it because it's a one-in-a-million shot." Mark M. Hancock said, "The rarity of having both lightning and a rainbow in one shot put it to the top." Hancock also liked the third-place image. He said, "The baby in the car made me read the cutline. I had to re-examine the image before I saw the pull rope. The separation of baby's car combined with the compression of other larger parade vehicles made the image work." Pete Churton said, "This is a much better than average parade shot." The rodeo image by Michael Blair of The News-Herald would have won second or third in Sports. A silhouette image of a high school reunion by Jesse Osbourne of the Midland Daily News also made it into the final round. The actor in suitcase by Ken Ritchie of The Madison Courier could have done better as an illustration.

Feature / Multiple
1st Place:   Sarah Rice, The Kalamazoo Gazette
2nd Place:   Jane Hale, The Flint Journal
3rd Place:   Matt Detrich, The Indianapolis Star

Judges' comments
Jennifer Reynolds said, "The photojournalist did a very good job of capturing the daily life of this young woman. Her sorting socks by feel is a mundane shot, but it shows the difficulty of doing what people with vision take for granted. The images show a great level of comfort between the subject and photojournalist to get access and find natural moments." Pete Churton liked the second-place story. He said, "By using this many photos, there was a danger of repetition. However, there's a good variety of sweetness, introspection and action. Editing was top notch." Churton also liked the third-place story. He said, "This story had a strong news angle with the cops killed instead of the standard feature. Consequently, it has a much stronger emotional impact." "Tuesdays at the track" by Brett Marshall of the Midland Daily News also made the final round.

1st Place:   Michael Blair, The News-Herald
2nd Place:   Justin Rumbach, Courier and Press
3rd Place:   Donna Terek, The Detroit News

Judges' comments
About the first-place illustration, Jennifer Reynolds said, "It's a fun way to illustrate this story. There's so much in it that draws me into the image. I really like this one." Pete Churton preferred the second-place image. He said, "The simplicity stands out. The image approaches what I think an illustration should do:   take a simple image to convey a complex thought." Jennifer Reynolds liked the lighting in the third-place image. Dave Ryan said, "I like the way the arm is suggestively enticing the child. It was done well."

Region 4 contest observations
Region 4 had it rough because we had judged the national clips the previous month. The standard was fairly high heading into the contest. Luckily, the images were up to the challenge.

However, this was a "raw judging" rather than a "winners only" contest as the national clip contest was. Consequently, there were some problems with a few of the entries. Specific problems included:   entire tear sheets, credit lines visible, and no cutlines. As I mentioned above, these would have previously eliminated entries. Two images were strong enough to overcome these problems, but the rest didn't.

Since this post has run long, I'll make a separate entry with some suggestions to give your images a decent shot at the monthly clip contest.

Enough for now,

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Donald T. Boumans, president of Boumans & Associates, Inc., poses for a portrait at his office in Nederland on Friday, Jan. 26, 2007.

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Astros visit West Brook

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

West Brook High School athletes listen to Houston Astros baseball representatives in the school's field house in Beaumont on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007. The Major League Baseball team begins spring training in Florida later this month.

Astros baseball pitcher Brad Lidge talks to West Brook High School athletes in the school's field house. Lidge has the third-most saves in the Houston Astros' 45-season history.

Astros baseball player Chris Burke talks to West Brook High School athletes in the school's field house. He stressed the importance of keeping good grades in high school to get into the college of choice.

Astros baseball broadcaster Bill Brown, from left to right, player Chris Burke, assistant general manager of baseball operations David Gottfried and pitcher Brad Lidge talk to West Brook High School athletes in the school's field house.

Please read "Astros talk pressure" by Chris Dabe.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Celeb Look-a-likes

Southeast Texas celebrity look-a-likes pose for a portrait at The Beaumont Enterprise in Beaumont on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007. Look-a-likes from top to bottom are Jeanette Graves (as Shirley Jones), Donna Simon (as Wynona Judd), Mary Ellen Barilucci (as Jodie Foster), Jim Hamilton (as Jeff Foxworthy) and Josh Carter (as Woody Harrelson).

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

The newspaper has an interactive vote today for which local resident looks the most like a celebrity. Please read "Famous Faces: Southeast Texans look like stars" by Becky Bowman and cast a vote (no subscription required).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Twister basketball

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Ozen's (No. 33, right) Willie Jefferson and PN-G's (No. 11, left) Damon Kerr scramble for a loose ball during a high school basketball game at Ozen High School in Beaumont on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. Ozen won the game 87-31.

Need a CPA?

Sorry about the dearth of posts, but January is contest season and we've been one shooter short. I have some stuff in the works, but it's going to be another week before they make sense. I'm running on very little sleep, so nothing makes sense this week. However, everything is really, really pretty and colorful....

It's February. The final major contest is due next week (if you haven't already submitted it). Most folks should have gotten all their W-2 and 1099 forms by now. Today would be the ideal day to put the finishing touches on the tax records and send them off to the CPA.

If a pro PJ doesn't have a CPA, the one who does my taxes said she'd be willing to take on some new PJs. She's been my CPA since before I was a PJ. Now she does the taxes for many (high-profile) PJs from coast to coast. I'm not sure why, but she actually finds it fun to do our taxes. She does everything electronically (including direct deposit) at a reasonable rate, so you'll need a stable e-mail address and access to a fax machine if you don't already own one.

Since I'm extending my reputation to whomever would like to use this CPA's services, I must insist you follow the instructions outlined on Documents to give CPAs. Once completed, e-mail me and I'll hook you up with her contact information.

The earlier you turn in your stuff, the earlier you'll get your return and shiny, new camera gadgets before your spouse finds out.

Enough for now,

February 2007 CD of the month

February's CD is 2007 Grammy Nominees by various artists. (*****)

1. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
2. Be Without You - Mary J. Blige
3. Put Your Records On - Corinne Bailey Rae
4. Waiting On The World To Change - John Mayer
5. Dani California - Red Hot Chili Peppers
6. Sexyback - Justin Timberlake
7. Not Ready To Make Nice - Dixie Chicks
8. Jesus Take The Wheel - Carrie Underwood
9. Hide And Seek - Imogen Heap
10. Ain't No Other Man - Christina Aguilera
11. Unwritten - Natasha Bedingfield
12. You Can Close Your Eyes - Sheryl Crow
13. Stupid Girls - Pink
14. Black Horse And The Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall
15. You're Beautiful - James Blunt
16. Save Room - John Legend
17. Jenny Wren - Paul McCartney
18. Bad Day - Daniel Powter
19. My Humps - The Black Eyed Peas
20. I Will Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab For Cutie
21. Over My Head (Cable Car) - The Fray
22. Is It Any Wonder - Keane
23. Stickwitu - The Pussycat Dolls

This is a good month to explain how I rate CDs. I rank a CD based on value. I think it's reasonable to ask for 10 decent songs per CD. This equates to about a buck a song, which is the iTune cost.

Each song I add to my iTunes library gets the CD half a point. If I like 10 songs from one CD (whether I already had the songs or not), it would get a score of five stars. If I only add two songs, the CD gets one star.

I bring this up because this is a five star CD. I have 15 songs from this CD in my library now (those in bold). It's a good value.

I try to get the Grammy Nominees CD each year. Some years are better than others, but it's always been a good value. These CDs have introduced me to some performers I hadn't previously heard. I first heard Andrea Bocelli on the 2000 edition. I expect to continue the tradition each year.

Enough for now,