Just days after Memorial Day, the traditional start of summer, oil was spewing virtually unchecked from the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.
The disaster wrought by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig had taken the lives of 11 men, and its associated negative publicity had unleashed economic hardship on the people of the Gulf Coast.
On the Sunday before the summer solstice, the Chronicle launched a series titled Voices of the Gulf. Eight Chronicle columnists fanned out across the Gulf Coast to tell the stories of what was deemed one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation’s history.
As the lone photographer assigned to produce photographs for the series, I logged some serious miles crisscrossing an area from Corpus Christi all the way to Key West, covering some 10,000 miles in the 28 days I spent in the field. The spill stories became what I did with my summer (not) vacation.
Precious little of that time was spent making photographs, of course. Most of the time was spent driving (5,469 miles at the wheel) or on commercial aircraft (2,311 miles flown). However, some of these miles yielded real photo opportunities, like the 665 miles aboard a NOAA research ship, or the nearly 1,500 miles flown on a variety of government or industry airplanes and helicopters.
For the record, in all these travels I saw only four instances of spilled oil. But the effects of the spill could be seen everywhere I looked.
Surreal beach scenes, idled oilfield workers, huddled oiled birds, irate residents, weary cleanup workers, abandoned house pets and literally thousands of miles of protective booms form a portrait of the summer of 2010. A lost summer for those who live and work on the Gulf Coast.
By mid-summer, BP had capped the gusher, and the armies of cleanup workers and media had mostly moved on. But the photos from the summer form a survey of the Gulf region and an essay on the lost summer.
The resulting story is told through photo galleries and blog posts on the Chronicle Photo Department’s Blog, so please check it out. I’ll republish the highlights here at a later date.
After much prodding, my lovely spouse has finally gotten me to cough up the vacation photos from last fall. So here you go, the Big Bend, Monahans, McDonald Observatory and other points west.
This definitely a recommended road trip for any who are interested. Or explore the map, geotagged for your pleasure!
We recently finished a project for our friends at AIDS Foundation Houston highlighting their Camp Hope program. All of the folks at AFH, Camp Hope and Camp For All do great work and we are happy to support them in any way we can. Special thanks on this project go out to Annie Benjamin, David Jack Browning, Jeremy Carter, Jessica Johns Pool and of course Marc Cohen and the everybody at AFH.
Well, my best intentions to build out the site and start blogging in earnest of course fell by the wayside in the frantic lead up to the 2010 games. I’m in Vancouver now and running at full speed. So for the next few weeks you can check back where I will upload the day’s take to my photoshelter account which will dynamically update this gallery so everyone can follow along with the Vancouver games.
UPDATE: Clicking on the photo in the flash slideshow above will take you to the full Olympics archive.
Happy New Year!
As the calendar rolls over to 2010 I’m pleased to launch a fresh update of smileypool.com. The new website also brings with it the launch of this blog and hopefully many more interesting possibilities as we head into a new decade.
The previous incarnation of smileypool.com was built on the super simple and elegant flash platform from by Jayson Singe at Neonsky. The new version is built on WordPress and features integration of a theme by Graph Paper Press with my archive at PhotoShelter.
The folks at both GPP and PhotoShelter created quite a buzz when they announced their partnership a few months back. It came at a time whenI had just started testing a redesign based on GPP and the timing of the announcement couldn’t have been better.
Both companies have shown a commitment to photographers that is welcome and so far I’m thrilled with where they are headed. However, I will be the first to admit that the promise that “Graph Paper Press & PhotoShelter Make It Easy to Integrate Your Blog” has been a bit of a stretch in my experience.
If, like me, you have minimal HTML+CSS skills but you still want to make any changes to the default themes, well it’s not for the faint of heart. But after a few late nights of tweaking code I’ll push ahead and we’ll see how it goes even though there are still some bugs to work out.
It is still a work in progress (especially since I’ve never really spent the time to even edit my portfolio!) but I’m pleased to finally have my portfolio, video, multimedia, blog and archives all under the same roof and excited about the possibilities it presents. So keep checking back here and we’ll see where this fresh new decade leads us.