Poetry and portraits

Writers Recovery Workshop
TOP LEFT: Bruce Gossack reads a poem that he wrote with the Writing for Recovery Group at the St. Mary’s Dining Hall in Stockton. TOP RIGHT: Lois Thomas reads a poem that she wrote with the Writing for Recovery Group. MIDDLE: Melodie Mills reads a poem that she wrote with the Writing for Recovery Group at the St. Mary’s Dining Hall in Stockton. Members of the group will be holding a poetry reading at the Haggin Museum in conjunction with a photographic portrait exhibition of group members by Daniel Kasser on Saturday, November 2 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. BOTTOM LEFT: Yvette Flores reads a poem during a rehearsal with the Writing for Recovery Group. BOTTOM RIGHT: Ruth Howser reads a poem that she wrote with the Writing for Recovery Group. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]
#writersrecoveryworkshop #stocktoshelterforthehomeless #stmarysdiningroom

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Throwback Thursday: Loma Prieta earthquake 30th anniversary.

TOP LEFT: A man sits with his belongings after being evacuated from his home in the Marina District of San Francisco after the 1989 Loma Pireta earthquake. TOP RIGHT: A portion of the Bay Bridge collapsed during the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. MIDDLE: An entire block goes up in flames in San Francisco’s Marina District during the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989. BOTTOM LEFT: National guard troops patrol a street where brick facades collapsed in Santa Cruz during the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989. BOTTOM RIGHT: A man sits with his belongings after being evacuated from his home in the Marina District of San Francisco after the 1989 Loma Pireta earthquake. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD FILE PHOTO]

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Bubble Palooza


TOP LEFT: “Bubble Lady” Rebecca Nile envelopes 8-year-old Rudy Winslow in a giant bubble at the Stribley Community Center. TOP RIGHT: Nile creates a giant sized soap bubble during her “Bubble Palooza.” MIDDLE: Rebecca Nile, also known as the “Bubble Lady,” creates a soap bubble storm as a part of her “Bubble Palooza” show entertaining children and adults alike at the Stribley Community Center in Stockton. BOTTOM LEFT: “Bubble Lady,” Rebecca Nile creates a soap bubble hairdo on the head of 4-year-old Ernest Brown, Jr. BOTTOM RIGHT: Nile creates smaller soap bubbles within a larger one during her “Bubble Palooza” show. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

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The Great Valley Bookfest

TOP LEFT: Thirteen-year-old Jordan Lovelace of Manteca creates a chalk drawing at the Great Valley Bookfest at the Orchard Valley Shopping Center in Manteca. TOP RIGHT: Sierra Mathiesen of Modesto checks out books at the used book sale at the Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca. MIDDLE: Author Max Mobley, left, a Tracy native, talks with Melinda Patrick of Manteca at the Great Valley Bookfest at the Promenade Shops at the Orchard Valley Shopping Center in Manteca. The event, which celebrated the fun of reading, featured more than 30 authors, author talks, a costume parade, slam poetry, street performers, cooking demonstrations, self-publishing and writers workshops, and food and beverage vendors. BOTTOM LEFT: Poet Gillian Wegener reads some of her work at the Great Valley Bookfest. BOTTOM RIGHT: Dwight Richards, right, author of a car buying guide, talks with readers at the Great Valley Bookfest. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

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Run for the Fallen

TOP LEFT: Active duty Air Force tech sergeant Robert Venable, left, and 15-year-old volunteer Isaiah Forrest who’s father is in the military, carry the American and Californian flags as they run down Airport Way near Scotts Avenue in Stockton while participating in the California Run for the Fallen. TOP RIGHT: Forrest, left, and Venable, are closely flowed by support vehicles as they run down Airport Way near Ralph Avenue in Stockton. MIDDLE: Travis AFB airmen Nathan Walsh, left, David Ellestad, Robert Venable and 15-year-old Isaiah Forrest who’s father is in the military, salute the flags they place along the side of Airport Way near Eight Street in south Stockton. They are runners participating in the California Run for the Fallen. A team of military and military-related volunteers are participating in a 150 mile run through California to raise awareness of California service members who have fallen in the line of duty post 9/11 including casualties from Operations, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn and Inherent Resolve. After each mile running teams stop to plant a flag with a biographical card of a fallen service member and then salute in a short ceremony. The 3-day route goes from Elk Grove to Byron, Ca. BOTTOM LEFT: Gold Star mother Nisla Cervantes, left, who’s son was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 while serving in the Army, hands airman Nathan Walsh from Travis AFB a flag to plant in the ground on Airport Way near Eight Street. BOTTOM RIGHT: A flag and bio card left along Airport Way and Scotts Avenue in Stockton by runners participating in the California Run for the Fallen. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

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Vehicles For Veterans

Vehicles For Veterans
TOP LEFT: Army veteran Harvey Stenson checks out the interior of a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban that was refurbished and given to him through the Vehicles for Veterans program. TOP RIGHT: Stenson, left, is handed keys to a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban by Michael Emerson, president of the Stockton AMVETS post #1947. MIDDLE: Army veteran Harvey Stenson shows his 4-year-old daughter Lacey the 1999 Chevrolet Suburban that was refurbished and given to him through the Vehicles for Veterans program. The Ohana Car Care Center in Stockton refurbished the donated SUV including a new transmission for free. BOTTOM LEFT: Army veteran Harvey Stenson, right, hugs R.J. Parungao, owner of the Ohana Car Care Center in Stockton. BOTTOM RIGHT: Army veteran Harvey Stenson gets behind the wheel of a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban that was refurbished and given to him through the Vehicles for Veterans program. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

TOP LEFT: Army veteran Harvey Stenson checks out the interior of a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban that was refurbished and given to him through the Vehicles for Veterans program. TOP RIGHT: Stenson, left, is handed keys to a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban by Michael Emerson, president of the Stockton AMVETS post #1947. MIDDLE: Army veteran Harvey Stenson shows his 4-year-old daughter Lacey the 1999 Chevrolet Suburban that was refurbished and given to him through the Vehicles for Veterans program. The Ohana Car Care Center in Stockton refurbished the donated SUV including a new transmission for free. BOTTOM LEFT: Army veteran Harvey Stenson, right, hugs R.J. Parungao, owner of the Ohana Car Care Center in Stockton. BOTTOM RIGHT: Army veteran Harvey Stenson gets behind the wheel of a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban that was refurbished and given to him through the Vehicles for Veterans program. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

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Rock ‘Roll and Fast Cars

(10/16/19)
Haggin Museum CEO & Curator of History Tod Ruhstaller puts the finishing touches on the Rock N’ Roll and Fast Cars exhibition at the museum featuring photographs by Martyn Goddard. Goodard, a rock ‘n roll photographer from the 1970s who then went on to photograph vintage autos, will be speaking at the exhibit’s opening at the Haggin Museum on Thursday.[CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

UK-based Photographer Martyn Goddard is holding a retrospective show of his work at the Haggin Museum that opens with him speaking at a reception at the museum tomorrow. He will speaking at the museum at 7:00 p.m.

A 1976 concert photo of Freddie Mercury by photographer Martin Goddard at an exhibition of Goddard’s work at the Haggin Museum in Stockton. Goddard will be speaking at the exhibit’s opening at the Haggin Museum on Thursday night.

He’s photographed iconic rock stars from the 1970s such as Blondie, AC/DZC, The Who, The Jam and Queen. Photographing a Queen concert is where Goddard got his start in 1973. Using prismatic filter over his lens his photo has a multi-image, dream-like quality that no one had seen in a concert photo before.

A 1980 photo of Pete Townshend of The Who by photographer Martin Goddard at an exhibition of Goddard’s work at the Haggin Museum in Stockton. Goddard will be speaking at the exhibit’s opening at the Haggin Museum on Thursday night.

What I like about his work is that it’s not just concerts but he has other types of rock ’n roll photos as well. Some of them are portraits meant for album covers. Others are behind the scenes photos or in the recording studio.

A photo of musician Phil Collins by photographer Martin Goddard at an exhibition of Goddard’s work at the Haggin Museum in Stockton. Goddard will be speaking at the exhibit’s opening at the Haggin Museum on Thursday night.

Goddard says the situations of photographing the rock stars were often “wait and hurry up.” He says that many times he had to wait a long time for the performers to get ready and then, as some could be in a bad mood or temperamental, he had only a short time to actually photograph them.

(10/16/19)
Martyn Goodard, right, a rock ‘n roll photographer from the 1970s who then went on to photograph vintage autos, talks with Dick McClure at an exhibition of Goddard’s work at the Haggin Museum in Stockton. Goddard will be speaking at the exhibit’s opening at the Haggin Museum on Thursday night. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Goddard eventually switched to shooting photos of vintage and exotic cars. He made the change because he said that he didn’t want to be an old rock & roll photographer. The thought of being a 50-year-old and photographing 16-year-old kids didn’t appeal him.

A Gatto by the House of Moal driving through the streets of Oakland by Martyn Goddard.

Like icons of Rock and Roll, his photos of automobiles are just as classic. The show features photos of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bugattis. Some are of static photos of a car parked in front of a scenic background, others are of an auto in motion traveling down a bucolic highway. All are fantastic photos.

The show will run through February 2, 2020.

A 1978 photo of Debbie Harry of Blondie by photographer Martin Goddard at an exhibition of Goddard’s work at the Haggin Museum in Stockton. Goddard will be speaking at the exhibit’s opening at the Haggin Museum on Thursday night.

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History is just a click away

I recently found out about a photographic resource that most people may not know about. The Library of Congress’ Digital Collections website grants access to thousands of historic and famous photographs to anyone with a computer, smartphone or tablet.

A portrait of Alabama sharecropper Bud Fields and his family at home. Photographer Walker Evans. Created/Published for the Farm Security Administration in 1935/1936.

The collection features work that was done for the U.S. government or photos that were acquired by the library. It offers more than just photos. Historic papers, maps, artwork, music, etc., can be found on the site, but since I’m a photographer, it’s the pictures that interest me.

Photograph shows destitute pea picker Florence Thompson of Nipomo, California with three of her children in a photograph known as “Migrant Mother.” Photographer: Dorothea Lange. Created/Published: For the Farm Security Administration March 1936.

One can find famous photos taken by famous photographers. I looked up Dorothea Lange’s poignant photo of a migrant mother during the depression. Shot for the Farm Security Administration, It depicts migrant laborer Florence Thompson of Nipomo, California with three of her children.

A man stands on top of bus loading luggage onto a rack, while others gather around at the Manzanar Relocation Center, California. Photographer: Adams, Ansel. Created/Published: 1943.

Ansel Adams photographed the Japanese-Americans who were interned at the Manzanar Relocation Center in Inyo County, California during WWII. Although Adams departed from his signature landscape photography, his pictures captured the people and their daily life in the camps.

Photograph shows Farm Security Administration employee charwoman Ella Watson standing with mop and broom in front of American flag in Washington D.C. Photographer: Gordon Parks. Created/Published: 1942.

Then there’s Gordon Parks’ powerful portrait of Farm Security Administration employee charwoman Ella Watson standing with a broom and mop in front of American flag in Washington D.C. in 1942.

You can also find images of historical significance or people of historic interest in the Library of Congress’s Digital Collections.

Photograph shows the first powered, controlled, sustained flight (120 feet in 12 seconds) with Orville Wright at the controls of the machine, lying prone on the lower wing with hips in the cradle which operated the wing-warping mechanism in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. Wilbur Wright, running alongside to balance the machine, has just released his hold on the forward upright of the right wing. The starting rail, the wing-rest, a coil box, and other items needed for flight preparation are visible behind the machine. (Orville Wright preset the camera and John T. Daniels squeezed the rubber bulb, tripping the shutter.) John T. Daniels, photographer

There’s the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. The photo, taken by John T. Daniels, shows the fragile looking craft taking off with Orville at the controls and Wilbur running along side.

Photo shows General John J. Pershing pinning medals on unidentified uniformed women in. National Photo Company. Created/Published: 1923

I found a National Photo Company photo of General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during WWI, pinning medals on some uniformed women in 1923.

Theodore Roosevelt waves from a car in Washington, D.C. Photo by the National Photo Company. Created/Published: between 1909 and 1932.

Another National Photo Company image, taken sometime between 1909 and 1932, shows President Theodore Roosevelt as he waves from a car in Washington, D.C.

If you want to just browse the collection’s catalogs you can find some obscure gems as well.

A portrait of freight head brakeman Lee High, with the Indiana Harbor Belt railroad between Chicago, Illinois and Hammond, Indiana. Photographer Jack Delano.
Created for the Farm Security Administration in January 1943.

I found a photo by Jack Delano, a Farm Security Administration photographer who I have never heard of before. It’s a beautiful portrait of Lee High, a brakeman with the Indiana Harbor Belt railroad shot in 1943. High sits on bench, perhaps in a train station or maybe even in a caboose, wonderfully lit by a single flashbulb.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops vividly reflected in a Nile River overflow basin in Egypt.
By the Matson Photo Service.
Created/Published between 1950 and 1977.

There’s great picture of the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt reflected in an overflow basin of the Nile River. It was taken by the Matson Photo Service sometime between 1950 and 1977.

Title
A man with a book and sunshade floats in the Dead Sea to show bouyancy. The Matson Photo Service. Created/Published between 1950 and 1977.

Finally there’s a whimsical picture also taken by the Matson Photo Service in the same time frame of a man who is holding an umbrella and reading a book while floating in the Dead Sea to demonstrate the buoyancy of the extremely salty water.

Photograph shows the Uyun Musa (Biblical Twelve Springs of Moses) way station for pilgrims, travellers, scholars and early tourists near Sinai’s western coast on the Gulf of Suez near the town of Suez, Egypt. Taken by the Matson Photo Service between 1950 and 1977

There are all these pictures and tons more in the library’s Digital Collections. I found it a little difficult to navigate due to the large volume of categories and photos. It can take you hours to peruse just a small portion of it. But it can be worth it with what you can find there. I’ve known about it for about a month now and I’ve only scratched the surface. The best part is that it’s free! You can look up, find and download just about anything in the collection with no charge to you with no restrictions. My daughter, who told me about it, has made some posters from some of the collection’s images to put up on her apartment walls. Some of the descriptions and information about the photos are, at best, minimal spotty and some of the images aren’t in the best condition, but for something that’s free, that’s not too bad. You can get to the Library of Congress’ Digital Collections at: https://www.loc.gov/collections/ .

A portrait of a group of six young men of the Summit Avenue Ensemble posed with their instruments in the photographer’s home studio on Summit Avenue, Atlanta, Georga. From left: the photographer’s twin sons Clarence and Norman Askew, son Arthur Askew, neighbor Jake Sansome, and sons Robert and Walter Askew. Photographer Thomas E. Askew. Created: 1899 or 1900

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National Chess Day

(10/7/19)
Children play chess during a meeting of the Stockton Chess Club at the Cesar Chavez Central Library in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Ever since President Gerald Ford declared it in 1976, the second Saturday in October has been recognized as National Chess Day, which this year falls on October 12. According to iChess.net the game originated in northern India and dates back some 1,500 years making it the world’s oldest board game.

(10/7/19)
Jimmie Turner, left, plays a game of chess with Tyler Bruns makes a move while playing chess during a meeting of the Stockton Chess Club at the Cesar Chavez Central Library in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

In May, Phillip Seibel of Stockton was looking for a group with which he and his children could play chess. Finding none, he approached the Cesar Chavez Central Library in downtown Stockton and started the Stockton Chess Club. It’s comprised mostly of children but they accept players of any age or skill level. In addition to the play games, they go over moves and strategies of chess

(10/7/19)
Phillip Seibel, center, goes over a lesson with children during a meeting of the Stockton Chess Club at the Cesar Chavez Central Library in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]


(10/7/19)
Nine-year-old Clara Seibel, left, teaches 5-year-old Melanai Ramos how to play chess during a meeting of the Stockton Chess Club at the Cesar Chavez Central Library in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

About a dozen people attended a recent club meeting where they engaged in friendly competition. If you don’t know the game at all, they will teach you how to play. While Seibel taught a woman who was a beginner during the meeting, his daughter Clara taught the woman’s 5-year-old daughter how the chess pieces move.

(10/7/19)
Lilly Lopez makes a move while playing chess during a meeting of the Stockton Chess Club at the Cesar Chavez Central Library in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

The group, which voted on a new name, the Stockton Knights, meets every Monday from 5:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. in the library’s children’s program room. If you have any questions you can contact Seibel at (209) 990-9280 or at doc.seibel@gmal.com.

(10/7/19)
Kayli Bruns contemplates making a move while playing chess during a meeting of the Stockton Chess Club at the Cesar Chavez Central Library in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

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The sporting life

We’re in the middle of the fall high school sports season and you may be wondering how to improve your sports pictures. Here are some tips on how to get a good sports action photo.

(9/13/19)
Lodi’s Christian Zamora, left, is tackled by Stagg’s Richard Lockhart during a varsity football game at Tokay High in Lodi.. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

One the technical side there are 3 related things in sports photography: shutter speed, ISO and equipment.

(9/10/19)
Linden’s grace Solari dives for the ball during a girl’s varsity volleyball match at Bear Creek in Stockton [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Most sports photos depend on stopping the action to get a sharp, crisp image. If you’re getting some motion blur that means that you should increase your shutter speed. To freeze most action you need to shoot at a minimum of 1/500th of a second, faster if you can.

(9/10/19)
Linden’s Rose Nealy, right blocks the spike of Bear Creek’s Vallon Bucayu-Lee during a girl’s varsity volleyball match at Bear Creek in Stockton [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Since most high school sports are either shot at night or indoors, lighting is relatively low, so you’ll be shooting at whatever the widest aperture of your lens is (a side note: although most fields and gyms may seem well-lit, they’re usually minimal for photography).

(2/23/18)
Sierra’s Jadyn Shinn, left, fights for the ball with Manteca’s Alexa Mayen during a girls soccer playoff game at Sierra. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Also because of the low light you’ll need to shoot at a high ISO, or light sensitivity. The higher you go the more noise or graininess your picture will have. To a point that’s OK. I’d rather have a noisy picture than one that’s blurry due to a shutter speed that’s too slow.

(9/13/19)
Lodi’s Andreas Pappas is tackled by Stagg’s Richard Lockhart during a varsity football game at Tokay High in Lodi. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Sports is one genre of photography where equipment makes a difference. First off, it helps to have a telephoto lens. Most sports require something in the 200mm-400mm range. This will help bring in the action closer to you. Secondly, having a lens that will gather more light, known as a “fast” lens, will help with low-light situations. However, the faster the lens, the more expensive it is. Most professional photographers like to have a lens that’s has f/2.8 as its widest aperture, but they’re very expensive. Most amateur equipment doesn’t go that wide. Having a camera that can handle high ISOs can help ameliorate that shortcoming. Most modern cameras can handle ISOs of 3200 to 6400 or more which can be enough for most venues.

(9/27/19)
Bear Creek’s Brian Adams, right, is tackled by Lodi’s Adolfo Sanchez during a varsity football game at the Grape Bowl in Lodi. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

You want to position yourself in which the action of your team is coming towards you, not matter what sport it is. Your distance will be determined by the length of your lens. The longer the lens, the farther away you can stand. After you master the technical aspects, sports photography is all about action, conflict and effort.

20181005
Bear Creek’s Charles Baker, right, breaks up a pass intended for Edison’s Javone McGee-Spivey during a varsity football game at Edison’s Magnasco Stadium in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]
Transmission Reference: REC1810060041347120

The action will be stopped by a fast shutter speed but you want to get what is known as “peak action.” Think of the action of a play being a bell curve. There’s the activity leading up to the play, say a pass reception, that’s the leading edge of the curve. Then there’s the apex of the curve where the catch is made, That’s the peak action. A camera with a high frame rate (the number of frames per second at which it shoots) is helpful for this, but it still takes timing and practice to get it right.

20181005
Bear Creek’s Terry Holmes, right, stiff arms Edison’s Christopher Marsh during a varsity football game at Edison’s Magnasco Stadium in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]
Transmission Reference: REC1810060036247112

The best sport photos involve conflict. A shot of a running back fending off a tackler or soccer players vying for a header or a volleyball player fending off an opponent’s spike make for much more interesting photos than the athletes alone.

(9/30/19)
St. Mary’s Halle Wunsch, left, attempts to block a spike by Tracy’s Leila Sardinha during a girl’s varsity volleyball match at Tracy. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Lastly, sports photos are about athletes giving their all. That’s shown in the expressions and concentration on their faces. I’ve shot sports photos where the athletes have cool, calm, nearly expressionless faces and frankly, they look like they’re not trying at all. A grimace, sneer or scowl can make giving an ultimate effort.

(1/30/19)
Lodi’s Edgar Lopez, left, and Tokay’s Eduardo Guillen fight for a header during a Tri-City Athletic League soccer game at Tokay in Lodi. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

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