January 30, 2012
Living the Dream

RP BEAR LIFT.jpgI'm proud to be a photojournalist at The Sacramento Bee. I've been doing this for nearly 30 years and I'm always ready for a new adventure.
Recently, reporter Matt Weiser and I were invited to observe the release of two black bear yearlings by the Department of Fish and Game. The young, unrelated male bears had spent the past few months being rehabilitated at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care.
The bears were sedated, loaded up and driven to a remote location in Alpine County where they were placed in a den and left to tackle the world. As I took in the beauty around me I realized how lucky I was to be able to experience these kinds of special events.RP BEAR ON BLANKET.jpg

January 25, 2012
Solar storm provides stunning video and stills
A solar storm is raging on the sun, sending particles from the sun toward earth. This amazing video (below) was posted on the NASA website. There are also many great still images that can be viewed on The Frame

The storm is impressive but not as powerful as it can get during the height of the solar cycle, NASA officials said. 
"I would expect that we will see more storms like this one or even bigger as we get closer to solar maximum," said Michael Hesse, chief of heliophysics at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
January 24, 2012
I Care photo column

Started a new photo column called "I Care" which runs every Monday in the Bee. The column features an individual - a community hero of sorts. Looking for humble folks who care enough about an issue, a cause or a mission to give their free time to help.
If you know such an ordinary person with an extraordinary desire to help and volunteer email me at mcrisostomo@sacbee.com


Hardships no obstacle when others are in need.
Boone Noynosoudachanh makes food in the kitchen at the St. John's Shelter Program for Women and Children in Sacramento. "They give a second chance to moms and their children, and it feels good to be a part of that," he said.

January 23, 2012
Covering NFC Championship Game

My passion for photography started in 1988 as a teenager in rural Fresno County. My first photographs were of clouds rolling past the cotton farm we lived on in Huron. I've traveled to many places since then and covered many assignments, but one thing I have always remembered is you have to be prepared to make the shot.

Recently, while covering the California Hall of Fame, I heard this statement: "If you do what you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life." For the past 20 years I've been doing just that.

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Last Saturday night, while traveling to San Francisco for Sunday's 49ers NFC championship game, our photo assistant, Reggie Pascual, pointed out the glowing illumination of the Coit Tower. Poor José Luis Villegas who was driving, missed a chance to capture this image. As we drove across the Bay Bridge I quickly pointed my Nikon D3S camera with a 24-120mm f4 lens. To make sure the image wasn't blurry I shot it on manual at 6400 ISO and at a 200 shutter speed. It pays to keep your eyes open, or at least have Reggie in the car with you. Sorry José, next time I'll drive. Thumbnail image for 20120122_ha_NFC_champion0986.jpg

Covering sports can be rewarding and stressful at the same time. Sometimes you get lucky, but most of the time you have to make your own luck so it's especially important to be prepared. A few days before the game we had a staff meeting to discuss our photo coverage plan. The field was divided into quadrants and each of us, Bryan Patrick, Paul Kitagaki Jr., José Luis Villegas and myself were assigned to specific sections of the field. We rotated spots at halftime and as luck would have it, I was positioned to capture Kyle Williams critical mistakes.

We carried a lot of equipment into the game. I used three Nikon D3s camera bodies with a Nikon 400mm f2.8, a Nikon 24-120mm f4, and a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8. The most important part for this day was to stay dry. Digital cameras are very sensitive to water - trust me we've learned from experience. We used the Hydrophobia protective covers from Think Tank and they kept our cameras and lenses dry.


This photo of Kyle Williams dropping the ball on a punt return was made with the Nikon 400mm f2.8 lens. When photographing sports it's important to have some knowledge of the sport that you are covering. Whenever possible I listen to the live radio broadcast of the game. Being able to listen to the analysis of the game gives you a good idea about what pictures are most important to tell the story of the game. As my boss says: "show me how the game was won or lost, and show me how it felt."

January 23, 2012
A Voice for Our Vision

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Welcome to Exposures, a photography blog by the multimedia staff of the Sacramento Bee. We're visual journalists who enjoy talking about photographs as much as we enjoy taking photographs. Exposures is a place for us to share our vision and our voice, so visit us daily for the stories behind our photographs. We're here to expand your technical knowledge and inspire your photographic journey - so don't be shy, we'd love to hear from you. Thanks for being part of our unique photographic community.

Mark Morris
Senior Editor/Visuals

January 18, 2012
Tears of Thanks

Today I'm choosing photographs to include in the "Thank You" ad for The Sacramento Bee's Book of Dreams, a project which I have photographed for the past five years. One thing that has surprised me this year is the number of tears I have witnessed. Traumatized tears of a woman describing her spiral into homelessness, tears from a parent afraid for her child's life, and bittersweet tears streaming down the cheeks of a teenaged mother as she speaks of the strength of her love for a child born too soon in her life. But what surprised me the most were not the tears of hardship, which we have all at some point shed, but the tears of gratitude that I saw as our Book of Dreams recipients answered this question: "What would you like to say to our readers who donate to help you?" Michael Pacheco, shown in the video below surprised me with his emotional response to this question.

After the story ran I hand delivered $1000 worth of gift certificates to the Pacheco family so that Michael could buy Christmas presents for his children. Later on this month we will set him up with furniture in his home so that each person will have a bed to sleep on. I think about what this kind of attention must mean to a struggling family, how the children will see their father after he has been publicly applauded for his volunteer efforts. It means so much more to them than the objects that they have received. It means that the community of Sacramento cares for those who struggle. This is why being a photojournalist is so special to me.

Thank you to all our readers who donated to Book of Dreams. To view this year's stories please visit www.sacbee.com/bookofdreams.

January 18, 2012
Hatching Salmon


I love it when I have an excuse to put the camera into an underwater housing to make a photograph. Last month The Bee published a story about the return to the American River of the recently-declining salmon population. I was assigned to photograph the Nimbus Fish Hatchery where countless salmon eggs were hatching in large jars. I used a close-focusing macro lens on a Nikon D700 camera sealed inside an aluminum underwater housing and dunked it a few inches into one of the jars. I set a single underwater strobe near the top of the jar, and as the tiny alevin floated up through the empty egg casings, I shot several frames and selected this one. I tried a few shots without putting the camera into the water, but the ripples on the surface of the water made it impossible to get sharp detail of the tiny eggs seen here. The image below is the same photo approximately actual size.

Approximately actual size:

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