July 4th Fireworks in Idaho Springs

© Matthew Jonas 2011/Evergreen Newspapers 2011

Tonight I tried a little light painting with an LED flashlight during fireworks. I hadn’t shot fireworks in Idaho Springs before so it was a complete crap shoot. I made a couple of frames I liked, one of which is above. Not a complete failure. And now finally, I am off work.

Fall Colors In the Rocky Mountains

© Matthew Jonas 2010/Evergreen Newspapers 2010

It has been almost a week since I posted anything. I have had to go through a years worth of papers to put together contest entries for the Colorado Press Association. That took a long time and now that I look at what I didn’t enter I wish I could have added a few more. But enough of that. Here is a photo from Squaw Pass I made this morning. It was cold, overcast and raining. I really didn’t do enough with fall colors in the papers last year so I am going to spend as much time as I can afford this week trying to come up with some feature photos for cover shots. I will probably file the photo above as a secondary detail shot and try to find a scenic for the primary. See you in the high country.

Portrait of Don Allan

© Matthew Jonas 2010/Evergreen Newspapers 2010

Portraits, portraits and more portraits. Get used to it if you are on the path of photojournalism and editorial photography. I often bring lights, softboxes, radio triggers, gels, light stands and a variety of other light modifying devices when I know I am shooting a portrait. And Sometimes I leave it all in the car when the natural light is just too good to pass up. The portrait above is of Clear Creek County Coroner Don Allan. It’s lit using the light from a large window and the reflection off of a wall from the same window. No artificial lights, no modifiers. Just Don’s personality and f2.o at 85mm. Read the full story here.

Celebrating Independence By Blowing Up a Small Piece of It

© Matthew Jonas 2010/Evergreen Newspapers 2010

Shooting fireworks seems to be a staple of small town photojournalism. Every year I have to make at least 1 picture of a fireworks display. Believe it or not, shooting fireworks is a difficult task if you want to come up with something different every year. In our coverage area there are at least 3 opportunities to do so every July 4th. This year I chose to shoot the Georgetown 4th of July fireworks display. If you are unfamiliar with Georgetown, it’s a town of about 1000 full time residents at 8500 feet in elevation. They shoot the fireworks off Guanella pass over the town at dusk. I thought that it would be a great idea to find a high over head position to shoot from to include the town along with the mountains and fireworks. I spent a good amount of time scouting locations (in between rain, hail and lightning) and finally decided on a position near I-70 overlooking the town.

As soon as the first shot went off I knew that I probably made a mistake in choosing my position.  It was pretty far away from the fireworks and I had more town than fireworks in the shot. Oh well, live and learn. I still made a few OK images but I was disappointed in what I had thought was going to be a great image. That’s the best part of photojournalism: taking chances to come up with something different. I can pretty much guarantee that no one else had the same images I did.  Maybe that’s for good reason. Next year I will not shoot from that position. I learned something this year and that’s the part of the job that keeps me going.

Fall colors in the Rocky Mountains

Over the weekend it dawned on me that I really didn’t have anything to run on the cover of the Clear Creek Courant. So I drove up to Mt. Evans only to realize that the really windy weather we had a couple of days before would ruin any chance of a fall colors photo spread. Smooth move on my part. Way to miss that opportunity. A little frustrated I drove up Squaw Pass and then down Hwy 103 into Idaho Springs. When I reached Idaho Springs I noticed that the water wheel had been dressed up for Halloween. So I wandered toward it and got lucky with some great fall colors. The trees and plants near the water were in full fall color. Shot some wide, shot some tight, stopped down opened up and even trespassed a little. All in all I think I came up with a few good ones.