Covering Wildfires From The Air

© Times-Call 2012/© MediaNews Group 2012

Colorado is having one of its driest seasons in years. Along with the high temperatures and lack of rainfall comes an increased risk of fire danger. June has been a bad month for Colorado. There have been so many wildfires I have lost count. One of the ways that we cover the fires is from the air. Yesterday I hopped on a plane to cover 2 fires, one in Estes Park and the other west of Ft. Collins, the High Park Fire.

It was an interesting experience. I didn’t think about how hard it would be to hang out the side of a plane and try to make pictures. To go on top of the wind, smell of smoke and bumpy ride, I was also trying to hand hold a 400mm lens. It was a lot to try and deal with at 13,000 feet.

The Estes Park fire destroyed 21 structures near the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. It appears that the fire started in a structure and quickly spread to surrounding trees and other structures. If it weren’t for the helicopters operating at the High Park Fire, it would have been a lot worse. The fire was under control only a couple hours after it started.

It’s difficult to fully digest how big the High Park Fire is. The smoke billows into the atmosphere and the scorched landscape seems to trail on forever. I watched the slurry bombers try unsuccessfully to change the course of the fire. Every once in a while the color of the smoke within the fire would change from white to yellow or black. It was likely that the fire had come across another structure and began to consume it. As of this posting the High Park Fire had destroyed 191 homes.

Continue reading

Longmont Pit Bulls

© Times-Call 2012

Last week, I worked on a story about Pit Bulls in Longmont. After a couple recent attacks, the breed has been brought into the spotlight again. It seems that both supporters and opponents have quite a bit to say about them. I feel sorry for the reporter who had to cover the story. She had quite a few emails and some voicemail about the subject. Here’s a few photos that accompanied the story. Enjoy.

Continue reading

A Steep Learning Curve

© Longmont Times-Call 2012

There is a lot to say about my first month at the Longmont Times-Call. Mostly, it was trial by fire. Some things worked out and some things fell through the cracks as I struggled to keep up with the pace of a daily news cycle again.

The biggest change has come from being a one-man-band to managing 3 one-man-bands. I am now part of a staff again which has solved as many problems for me as it has created. I now worry about what 2 other people should be producing as well as what I need to do to make sure they can do what I want. Make sense?

Continue reading

Weather Art

© Matthew Jonas 2011/Evergreen Newspapers 2011

Like any good photojournalist, after a good snow storm, you make weather feature pictures where ever you can. Covering the same area for the last 4 years has its advantages – you have a mental address book of all the good sledding areas. I started off going to the areas I knew would produce good pictures but I also kept an eye out for a few new unique locations along the way. It worked out pretty well. Special thanks to my Subaru for driving me through areas that my last car would have easily given up in. Click through for more pictures. Enjoy.

Continue reading