Friday, October 31, 2003

PhotoJournalist's risks are too strange to explain

A vulture flies overhead as officers of the Tarrant County Medical Examiners Office, Fort Worth Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation recover human body parts from the Westside Landfill in Tarrant County near the intersection of I-30 and Linkcrest on Thursday, April 10, 2003.

Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News

I shot more cute kids in costumes tonight. I didn't post any on the DMN site because kids and pets are considered "too easy." Point, shoot, "Awww."

It's OK to have one or two images in a portfolio, but if a news photographer's portfolio is nothing but cute kids and animals, there is a big problem.

We're required to make insurance changes once annually. My wife and I decided to add some life insurance for her.

Luckily, I'm already covered on everything because it appears I'm a risk. The eligibility questionnaire asks if the potentially insured is considering any of a series of dangerous activities in the next five years. Fay isn't, but if it were me, I would have needed an "all of the above" box. Heck, just from this year, I could've added some activities to make any life insurance agent sweat.

Most situations require too much explanation for a checklist. This is a cellular phone call to my wife:

"Hey honey, I'm going to be late tonight because I'm ankle deep in muck at the landfill while the cops try to find some more pieces of the body. OK. Love you too."

I read that back to her. She said, "Yeah, when they found the body." She is such a sport. I told her people will buy her book once I'm dead. ;-)

Enough for now,

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Shooting for file

It's much less physically demanding to sit and blog than to exercise off some of my rapidly expanding fat rump. Guess what I'll do this morning. :-)

Lots of stuff today. I'll break it up into bite-sized morsels.

Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News

Dallas Stars' center Mike Modano waits for the puck to drop during a NHL hockey game against Calgary at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Wednesday, October 29, 2003.

Let's talk hockey. The Stars won. I didn't have an evening shoot, so I shot the game for file. To shoot "for file" means to shoot images which might get used in the future, but aren't for deadline.

The game was assigned to Michael Ainsworth because he rocks. He got to suffer all the paranoia involved with shooting pro sports on deadline (I laugh knowingly). Meanwhile I got to take all the chances because if my images suck -- no problem.

The flip side is that if his camera dies, I'd suddenly be the one on deadline (and he would laugh knowingly).

I shot the first two periods and went back to the office. I put in five images for file. I put the one below onto my most recent page on the DMN site.

Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News
Dallas Stars' Aaron Downey (No. 47, right) and Calgary's Krzysztof Oliwa (No. 33, left) fight during a NHL hockey game at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Wednesday, October 29, 2003.

I rarely know the final score of the games I cover until long after the game is over. When I left the game it looked like Dallas was sure to lose, but they beat Calgary in overtime while I was working in the scanning room. Whodathunk.

Before I close out this entry, I must say I love to shoot at the American Airlines Center. They have great light. It has at least two full stops more light than Reunion Arena (which is still better than most other local gyms and arenas).

Enough for now,

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Restaurant review photographs

Thunderhorse Saloon offers a Double Cylinder Cheeseburger and libations at the saloon in Lewisville on Friday, Oct. 15, 2003. The motorcycle is a 2002 custom Harley Davidson long bike chopper owned by Christina Antee, the saloon's CEO and manager, at the motorcycle-friendly establishment.

Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News

Fayrouz had me pull down some of my favorite food photos from this year. She plans to update our site with a food slideshow.

If you check out the new images, you'll notice the hamburger and Harley shot. It was one of the more enjoyable shoots in the last few weeks.

The DMN PJs are given editorial assignments to illustrate restaurant reviews. These assignments must squeeze into our schedule as time allows. Often, we can't give restaurants a lot of warning because we simply don't know what's happening next. So, we'll call and say we're on our way and hope they'll accommodate our need for something to illustrate the story.

It's somewhat of a waste because we shoot images of whatever dish they prepare and hand it back to the owner. Some PJs pay for the food and eat if after they shoot it.

It's not a financial option for me, so I just shoot, return and leave.

I sometimes eat a (cheap) burger elsewhere before I go to the shoot so I won't become a shaking, starving mess while I shoot whatever I face.

Back to the story of the burger though... I called to make arrangements to shoot at the saloon. She said the saloon was open, but the reporter had talked to the manager about having the manager's custom Harley in the shot because she often parked it inside the saloon. She didn't ride the bike to work that day and said she'd do so on another day if we could arrange it.

So, I agreed and it took two days for both of us to have a meeting time available. She and her chef had to arrive two hours before the saloon opens. I had to do another shoot at 10 p.m. the next week to balance it all, but it worked. I'm happy with the bike shots.

So, yes, it's a real Harley on a dance floor in a saloon.

I only have one shoot scheduled for tomorrow. So, I can research a story I'm suggesting. I also need to listen to the police scanner for another story they're working about Northeast Tarrant County firefighter cooperation agreements. So, no telling what will really happen tomorrow after 3:30 p.m.

Enough for now,

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Most recent photographs updated

I updated photos on my "most recent" page on the DMN site. I've written about several of the images on this blog and thought some might like to see them.

Because we don't have automated Web site updates or a dedicated photo staff Web updater, we're responsible for our own updates. Therefore, none of us update our "most recent" files unless we're working on a photo story for the Web. Then, the "most recent" are actually the images for the story. That's how IT set up the site.

It's strange because I know they use our images on the rest of the site, but the images don't appear in our (photo archive) section. I don't know where those images are stored. It doesn't matter though.

I'd like to update the "most recent" at least once weekly, but I've no idea if I can find the time. This time I did it from home, but it takes a lot longer because of all the firewalls.

On the upside, each time I make an update, they're added into the online archive, so they could (conceivably) be searchable forever.

Enough for now,

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Women's professional football championship game

Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News

Dallas Diamonds' Alberta Fitcheard-Brydson (No. 24, right) breaks up a pass intended for Florida Stingrays' Terrell Roach (No. 25, behind right) while Benita Francis (No. 55, left) moves in to help during the Women's Professional Football League NFC championship football game at Birdville ISD Fine Arts/Athletics Complex in North Richland Hills on Saturday, October 25, 2003.

Today was interesting. I covered the Dallas Diamonds professional women's football team as they played Florida for the NFC championship. Florida won.
I got a good shot. I wanted to try to get some on the wire, but the Marlins won the World Series and then there was the rocket attack in Baghdad.

I asked Fayrouz how to spell the city name, and she had to think about it. It's not like she lived in Iraq 28 years (6 of them in Baghdad). :-)

Anyway, getting WPFL images onto the wire was out considering the chaos at the desk. Better luck next time.

The images from the author I covered before the first blog today vanished. The microdrive I used for the assignment fried along with the images. There was no way to recover the images. It was not a critical shoot, so life will continue.
Luckily the shots from Southlake's HarvestFest and Carnival were on a different flashcard and they didn't have a problem. Some of the kids there were darling. They came in their Halloween costumes and made my day.

Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News

Lauryn Moore, 1, (right) of Fort Worth watches as her cousin Ashley Thomas, 7, (left) flips in a bounce house during the Southlake HarvestFest and Carnival at Bicentennial Park in Southlake on Saturday, October 25, 2003. Moore was dressed as a princess and Thomas was dressed as a zombie.

Fayrouz and I aren't planning to have children because we would rather travel the world. I threaten that if I ever do have children, they will only wear costumes until they are school-age. Kids are just so darn cute in costumes. Why would anyone dress kids in anything other than costumes? Plus they are so happy. I have an image of one 5 year old dressed as a green furry dragon. He was jumping around and flapping his shining green wings. I'll bet he would have breathed fire if he could. It is rare to see adults as happy (I haven't shot Mardi Gras in New Orleans though).

Enough for now,

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Eschew negativity

I was covering a book signing at a bookstore today. The author said another author told him (paraphrasing), "If you write a book, don't write it about how you were mistreated by others. Ninety percent of the people don't care and the other 10 percent feel you deserve it."

Great advice.

As such, I thought about this blog. I approached it as a medium to let others interested in photojournalism get to know the down side of the field. So, I've vented a little and sniveled a lot as a way to let people know PJ isn't all champagne and caviar.

I know this is true of any job. I personally would hate to be a pop star. It's a 24/7 job with no down time.

So, I'll try (note the word) to move forward talking about the good things. Not particularly how others might see it, but more how PJs might see it.

For example, I'll be shooting the women's professional football league NFC championship game tonight. Some might be excited to be on the sidelines. I want to get a good shot. I'm hoping to get such a good shot that it goes on the wire.

If it goes on the wire, it might get picked up by a magazine, and I might get another venue for my images and a little extra jingle in my pocket next month. If it's good enough to get picked up, then it should also be good enough to compete and hopefully win a PJ contest or two. This would give me legitimacy at the water cooler.

So what did I really say? Just like everyone in the world, I want to know that what I do every day is good or at least useful.

This strikes at the heart of our fears - large alligators… Actually, that's loathing, but they're another story. I'm concerned about my ability to have a cool job. I know others could do my job better. I work with many of them and compete against more of them.

Some who could do my job better than I have rejected the low pay and chose to do something else with their life. I can't knock them for taking the route most paved with gold, but they can't claim victory for being better skilled at my job. They aren't doing it each day.

Some say, "Those who can: do. Those who can't: teach." Obviously, several teaching jobs would pay better than this field because many retire from the daily grind to teaching jobs. Luckily, I'm at a flagship newspaper, so I get fair pay (compared to the industry – which is horrible).

This explains why the DMN has so many shooters with 10+ years of experience. Once a PJ has suffered through this many years and won a number of awards, they're hooked for life. I've seen a PJ follow his wife to a new market in a different state. I've also seen one quit to make more money as a wedding/commercial photographer. The rest are all here trying to make the best possible images they can each day.

Me, I don't plan to quit. If Fayrouz gets a SUPER high paying job in another city, I'll need to rethink my plans, but I'm actually happy with my job and where I am.

Enough for now,

Friday, October 24, 2003

How I started PJ

While its on my mind, I'll explain how I got into this field. I took a test.

I returned to college after four years in the elite US Army OPFOR (Opposing Forces) regiment and a few years as a business collections coordinator for General Electric Capital.

One of my first classes was a "Master student" course. It basically teaches students how to maximize their education. I strongly suggest it and psychology for everyone.

Part of the coursework involved coming up with an educational goal. They gave us a test to see our likes, dislikes and abilities. Once we took the test, we got a set of letters to compare with a list of 17,000 possible degree-required jobs.

My letters were ACS (or some combination thereof). The letters stood for Artistic, Clerical and Social. Once I had the skill set, I wrote down the jobs available for those skills. Then, I rearranged the letters and checked for secondary jobs which have the same skill set.

For these three letters, there was only one option. I double, triple, quadruple checked, but there was only ONE job. Photojournalism.

Hmmm... a fairly compelling sign.

So, I started on this path and have not turned back. It helped me understand everything in college. Because in this field, everything is literally important.

I never know to whom I shall talk (isn't this just a lovely awkward sentence). Therefore, everything we learn will eventually be useful.

Last week, for example, I photographed a retired geologist. I was able to hold a discussion with him because I had taken historical geology in college as an elective.

Enough for now,

PJ time relativity

Before I get too deep into blog-world, I suppose some clarification rules are in order. I will post them as they come to mind, but the first is the relativity of time to most news photographers (especially the vampire crew).

Today is today until tomorrow starts. Tomorrow may start with or without sleep depending on deadline. Yesterday is generally unimportant because we can't photograph yesterday. However, tomorrow is critical because we don't know what will happen.

If you're nodding your head in silent understanding, I'm sorry.

Therefore, if I comment about yesterday (in the blog, not in hard print) it could actually be several days ago depending on the last time I slept, or if I took a nap. It can also get a generic meaning. "Yesterday" begins to mean "sometime in recent memory since my last day off."

If you're confused, don't worry. In short, because all cutlines are in present tense, so are PJs. There's now and tomorrow, but the past has passed.

With this understanding, I'll continue my pile of information.

Yesterday (see rule one -- could have been anytime this week in real-people talk), a darling young lady approached me while I was shooting football practice to ask me about photojournalism.

I feel badly about not being as civil as I should have been at first. I was inside my head at the time and didn't expect a pleasant person on a testosterone-laden football field. I think I recovered fairly well and gave her some information to get her started along her path.

If you haven't read "What is a Photojournalist," you might want to read it now so you can understand what I'm about to say. It's old, but it still applies to anyone starting in the biz. Go ahead, I'll wait.

I'll go make another cup of coffee while you read. Be right back...

Ok, I'm back, yummy.

Since you read it, you understand the first thing I suggest to any aspiring photojournalist is another field. This isn't a job you choose to do. It chooses you. It must be a mission of sorts, or it's not worth the time, trouble and stress. There are far better ways to make the same amount of money - pizzerias are one such option. Almost everyone likes pizza. :-)

Enough for now,

Congressional race to the raise

Congress members gave themselves yet another raise. They will now earn $158,000 per year.

"How can Congress give itself a $3,400 pay raise while nearly 9 million people are unemployed, and 2 million have been out of work for more than half a year?" asked Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.
With the latest increase, Congress members have received five consecutive pay increases totaling more than $21,000. This amount is more than most starting photojournalists earn annually.

Enough for now,

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Visit Healing Iraq

If you have not visited the Healing Iraq, I would highly recommend it. The blog is done by a young, well-educated dentist with a moderate view. He takes a realistic and sometimes humorous view of Iraq and the events happening there.

Fayrouz likes it most because he is the most "real" Iraqi blogger to her. The others each have one issue or another which make them less desirable as a blog news source for her. She reads them all to get a balanced look at the situation, but Healing Iraq seems to be the best at the moment.

Enough for now,

Monday, October 20, 2003

Dueling sitars

Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News Ravi Shankar (left) and his daughter Anoushka Shankar (right) play sitars at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium in University Park on Saturday, October 18, 2003. Ravi Shankar is the biological father of Norah Jones.

No sick days for PJs

I had a spot of the flu and haven't had much energy this week. A strange aspect of this job is the requirement to arrange sicknesses for days off. Yes, we get "sick days," but when can we take them?

We get our assignments the day before we shoot. If we wake up sick, tough. I've literally coughed up blood and was still standing on a railroad track in the winter to shoot a business assignment. BTW, I was also working on my POY (Pictures of the Year) contest entry and didn't have time to sleep for three days.

Jim Mahoney has been a DMN staffer for more than 25 years. He said he has yet to take a sick day.

I tried to call in "healthy" at Richardson once, but I was told I couldn't. I wasn't lying, I was ahead on my work, there were no assignments and it was a really pleasant day. They should have let me have the day off. Nope. I think I cleaned the darkroom instead. I would've much rather flown a kite.

Since I mentioned it, I love to fly kites in the spring and fall. I don't have a fancy one, but I still like to watch it whip around in the sky. It's like a colorful form of fishing without hurting fish.

I also like soap bubbles. They are momentary, but pretty and simple fun. I had a battery-powered automatic bubble gun until my niece's Great Dane ate it. I probably should get another one since they make me so happy and don't cost much. :-)

Enough for now,

Monday, October 13, 2003

You can't see what you shoot

Most people think it must be cool to shoot the pro sports, concerts and such. It has its ups and downs. It looks a lot more glamorous than it is.

There's a technical situation most people don't realize: PJs don't get to see a single decent play with both eyes during the game (if we're doing well).

We see the game with one eye jammed against the eyepiece of a single-lens reflex camera. When we look through the eyepiece, we're actually looking at the light bouncing off a mirror and sent through a pentaprism. When we shoot, the mirror flips upward to allow the light to pass through the lens and onto the CCD (or film) to record the image.

In practical terms, this means our view goes black for every peak moment in the game. If we actually see a play though our firing eye, then we missed the shot.

PJs don't see what actually happened during the game until we ingest digital files and view the images later on a computer (or chimp - look at the camera display). Since sports are normally shot on deadline, we typically don't see most of what we shoot anyway since we look for specific types of images (a frame with at least one person from each team colliding together while the ball/puck/whatever is visible). If PJs do our job, we miss physically seeing the most visual moments of an event.

The other reason most PJs don't get to "enjoy" an event is because we're working. We're looking for not only a document of what happened, but a unique image which conveys some of the emotion or something "extra" from the event. Hopefully we find something the audience didn't notice during the event.

Not only do we need to find an interesting image (because we'll face the wrath of a photo editor very soon), we need to get names, verify spellings and collect other journalistic facts.

With slower moving events, this isn't a big problem. In fast-action situations with limited access, this is a major problem.

Here's a quiz for example: what's the correct name and spelling of Pink's tour drummer.

Maybe this question is a little hard. OK, who would be a defensive player for the Dallas Diamonds pro football team whose jersey has a number 2 in it, but the other number is obscured by an opponent?

With this problem in mind, remember there is a six-inch hole on the section cover of Sports or Overnight waiting on an image. The hole must be filled within one hour of the moment we take our last shot. Sometimes, we might only get to shoot one song at a concert. BTW, the office is 10 miles from the concert venue and the highway is under constant construction.

No stress now...

The photo editor (this is a little hypothetical because I'm combining parts of all the editors into one hypothetical example) won three Pulitzer Prizes and has 30 years in the biz. He's waiting on you to deliver a "fresh" image (something he has never seen in any of the billions of images he's already examined). His dinner came from a vending machine down the hall. There's a nuclear accident on the other side of the planet that blew Page One's design. It's also his wedding anniversary, and you're the last image he needs to put the paper to bed.

BTW, do you have enough gas in your truck? Just checking...

OK. If you're still reading, you're just sick. So, there you have it. Maybe it isn't as glam a job as some think.

However, once a PJ gets beyond the above obvious shortcomings, we really have a cool job. We go places and do things few others ever do.

Personally, I like shoots which make my heart thump a little hard. I've flown in MiGs, hot air balloons and a stunt bi-plane. I almost got to barnstorm in a B-17, but the rain stacked up the paying passengers and messed up my ride. Better luck next time. :-)

Enough for now,

Mavs delay of game

I didn't follow-up last night because I didn't make it home until after 3:30 a.m. I shot the Mavericks vs. New Orleans pre-season game at the American Airlines Center as an extra assignment. It threw my schedule off.

Dallas won the game and got to evaluate most of its new players. Because the Mavs scored more than 100 points, the fans also got passes for free chalupas (an open-faced Mexican taco) from Taco Bell.

It was my first time to shoot a Mavs game although I had a shooting pass last year, and the organization was a freelance client many years ago (before Mark Cuban bought it).

Someday I might write about how I got the freelance gig, but the short story is that I had no idea who any of the players or coaches were (didn't care at the time). I had to ask everyone's names. Nelly was very cool and patient with me. They seemed happy with the images each time I shot for them, but I digress...

Enough for now,

Congrats for the twins

Congratulations to the doctors and everyone else involved in the separation of the Egyptian twins here in Dallas.

Mei-Chun Jau and Kim Ritzenthaler have been thoroughly documenting the twins since shortly after they arrived. I'm certain both will win many awards for their excellent images. The images and stories are posted on the DMN site.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Roughing the Raef

Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News New Orleans Hornets' Jamaal Magloire (No. 21, top) comes down on Dallas Mavericks' Raef LaFrentz (No. 45, bottom) during a NBA pre-season basketball game at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday, October 11, 2003. LaFrentz was traded from the team later in the season.

New batteries and a Mavericks pass

I shot high school football tonight. Colleyville Heritage played at Keller. I always must leave during half time, so I never know the results until after I turn in the images. When I left, Keller was doing much better. It was a good game though.

I got two treats at the office today. First, I got some new batteries for my digital cameras. It's just in time because the two I had are really on their last charges.

I can't use the new batteries until they finish conditioning though. To condition a battery, I must discharge and recharge the battery at least three times. Each cycle takes about 12 hours. I'll have one ready by the time I start shooting tomorrow and the other two will be ready for use next week.

The second goodie was a photo pass to the Dallas Mavericks for this year. As with the Stars, I want to shoot them whenever I can this year.

In previous years, I didn't want to shoot the pro teams too much because we have someone assigned to each game. I didn't want to step on their toes. However I was shooting the Dallas Desperados along with John Rhodes. It allowed me to take bigger chances with my images because I knew he would have something if the play didn't go as I hoped.

So, I'll try to be a second set of eyes. The Mavericks play tomorrow at American Airlines Center, so if I can finish my assignment relatively early, I'll go shoot some of the game.

I'm tired today, so I'm not going to get too detailed tonight. Tomorrow, I have a restaurant review and an assignment about a family-owned business in Northeast Tarrant County. It has undergone some interesting twists to adapt to the new role of Southlake (from farming to bedroom community). The business was once a feed store. Now it is a BBQ (barbecue) restaurant.

Enough for now,

Friday, October 10, 2003

Colleyville sandwich

Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News Colleyville Heritage's Tyler Henley (No. 12, center) gets sandwiched between Keller's Greg Trent (No. 40, left) and Shawn Jared (No. 22, right) during a high school football game at Keller ISD Athletic Complex in Keller on Friday, October 10, 2003.

Cars must be legal at all times

I got the horn on my truck fixed. Now I need an air filter and some new tires to pass inspection. I know it's odd to freak about inspection, but PJs are always around the police. We don't have the money or time to be paying preventable tickets.

Occasional speeding tickets are a different story. Luckily, technology is helping with the need for speed because we can transmit distantly. Formerly, we needed to travel several counties to deliver images in a short time. I'll explain how we transmit some other time.

Enough for now,

Nothing new

Nothing much new today. Shot the other nephew's football game. It ended in a 6-6 tie. My nephew started on both offense and defense. It was a cloudy daylight game, so the images should be nice. I didn't get to try to light it though.

I go back to work tomorrow. I have a restaurant review and a football game in addition to a snapshot portrait.

The big boss sent me an e-mail and said he has some new EN-4 batteries for my camera. YEAH!

Enough for now,

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Shooting the family football players

Today I shot my younger nephew's football game. They lost miserably. It was painful to watch.

Nonetheless, I shot it so he and his little buddies look like they are battling for ground. As long as nobody asks them for the final score, they can hold their heads high with their photos.

For those wondering about technicals, it was a night game on a field with poor light. I shot 1600 iso on f/2.8 at 1/200 with fill flash. Yes, there will be occasional red eye, but photojournalism ethics allows red-eye elimination for sporting events. The justification is it's "possible" to eliminate red-eye in the darkroom by burning down.

In reality, if you only adjust the red saturation in PhotoShop, the remaining colors are correct and it isn't a big deal.

I still would rather light the entire stadium, but I never have time. Since I've thought about it, I might need to try it at my other nephew's game (if it doesn't rain).

I normally light entire arenas for basketball. I use directional light for boxing. And, I use a softbox for volleyball. I used two softboxes to light a rodeo earlier this year. I had outstanding results. These can be seen on my portfolio.

Enough for now,

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Vacation with confidence

I have tomorrow off. Sometimes days off are questionable because of newspapers' needs. Luckily, the paper has the full staff around, so as long as I'm back to work by Friday, I won't be particularly missed.

This is one of the nice/bad things about different-sized newspapers.

At The Richardson News (my previous, smaller paper), I was the entire photo staff. When I asked for vacation, it was an elaborate dance to find a "slow week" for me to leave. When I returned, I was actually missed and the editors and staff members were happy to see me return. Then life got back to normal for everyone.

At a larger paper, we can take vacation almost any time. However, we sometimes feel like small cogs in a large machine. If we're there, we're useful. If we're not there, it's not a major problem other than budgetary (each PJ is still a deduction from the staff budget, but there's additional strain on the freelance budget).

Similarly, technology has isolated photo staff members. With a WiFi laptop and digital equipment, we can pick up my assignments and submit images from any location. If we want, we could avoid seeing any co-workers on most days. This is a major change from the old darkroom days where most of the staff had to process and print in the office.

I moved downtown post-darkroom. Even then, we needed to process and scan images downtown (color negative film).

Even though the newspaper has a large staff (more than 30 photographers), I sometimes may not see one of the other PJs for a few months because we're on different shifts or one of us miss the monthly meetings.

I dreamed of this situation many times in college when my fingers were getting wrinkled from too much time in the darkroom, but I miss those days a bit now. This feeling is probably similar to missing being poor or hungry. It's much easier to think nostalgically of something while removed from it and no longer suffering.

Anymore, we don't have anything to complain about. We make OK money for doing a cool job. Deadlines and some events are a little stressful, but it keeps us happy at the same time.

Enough for now,

Monday, October 06, 2003

A crazy Saturday

I had a busy day on Saturday. I started out in Little Elm at their new city hall open house. I went from there to Irving to shoot the Centennial Park dedication, and then I had to run downtown to shoot the Dallas Sidekicks (professional indoor soccer team) for deadline.

I got basically 1 hour at the first assignment, 30 minutes at the second and 1 hour at the last. It's best if we get around three hours to shoot a sporting event or a large public event.

I feel bad that I couldn't spend more time in Irving. The assignment said they would have fireworks. I saw they were going to do some sort of railroad spike driving ceremony. It could've been cool to shoot the spike event, but there are only so many PJs available for all the events in town.

The whole weekend was crazy for assignments anyway.

I started a mini-vacation last night. I took time off to shoot my nephews football games. It's a tradition I started when they played pee-wee football and has followed them to Jr. High. Each has a game this week. So I'll shoot them both.

The photos serve as a document of the boys' training and provide some extra images of their buddies to make them survive the horrible teen years. Anything you can do to make a teenager be "liked" is a good thing. Most teens have a really hard time. They could all use a little help.

Well, I suppose I have an idea of what I can do with this blog for a while. I have a strange job, and I can write about it here. My darling wife, wanted me to start blogging so I could save her the stress of listening to me.

She calls me "Merlot" because she thinks I whine (merlot is a wine). It's OK. I call her Shiraz if she is difficult and Chardonnay if I want something. ;-)

Enough for now,

I'm the other one

Before I go too far, I should explain that I'm Mark M. Hancock not Mark Hancock. Mark (no middle initial) is the photojournalist for the Oklahoma Journal. I'm at The Dallas Morning News.

Strangely, both of us are in the same area with the same name doing the same job. It really confused a PJ in Sherman because he finally sent me an e-mail asking me how I was at an event in Oklahoma City and Dallas at the same time.

Enough for now,

Introductory blog entry

© Mark M. Hancock /
A hawk attacks a pigeon in the parking lot of the Richardson City Hall for an early Sunday morning snack. Hello. I'm a staff photojournalist for The Dallas Morning News daily newspaper. This is the introductory entry for this blog. To learn more about me or see more of my photos, go to my Web site at Tonight I'm setting up the site. My wife will also have a blog soon. It should be fun as well since she's Iraqi.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Baseball tie

Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News Dylan Jordan (No. 7, right) of the Lewisville Dodgers slides safely across the plate as Garrett West (No. 1, left) of the Astros tries to catch a pickoff with a new glove at the plate during a baseball game at Lake Park in Lewisville on Thursday, October 2, 2003. Thousands of dollars of new baseball equipment was stolen from the Lewisville Baseball Association in August. Local businesses replaced the equipment for the young players. The catcher's glove was part of the new equipment purchased.