California, along the U.S./Mexico border
By Mike Blake
A while back I had stopped at a cafe near San Ysidro, which is about as south as you can get in California before stepping into Mexico. I was walking out the door when I spotted three guys rolling up on ATV bikes dressed like they had just come out from one of my son’s Xbox games.
They were U.S. Border Patrol, grabbing a coffee, on a break from the dust of their patrols. I said to myself “Okay, I have to come back here and look into what these guys do.”
By Mike Blake
Red rocks, pink jeeps, vortex tours, pan flute music and UFO tours: Welcome to Sedona, Arizona.
You can see when arriving why for hundreds of years the Native Americans considered Sedona a sacred place; it is stunningly beautiful. But like most beautiful things on this planet we humans find ways to monetize the experience. From parking passes to tours through the desert in pink jeeps, businesses are created and a micro economy sprouts up next to the vortexes. But back to UFO’s…
By Mike Blake
The ability to take a number of pictures all on the same frame was simple in the days of film cameras.
You would find a situation where the background would drop off enough to accommodate a number of exposures on the same frame of film. After that, it was a matter of how many exposures and how do they all fit next to each other on the same frame.
By Mike Blake
Recording how we as a society advance and decline amid a changing world is pretty much what being a journalist is all about. The changes are mostly man made, sometimes nature, but humanity rolls along and each new generation brings with it change. Put a camera in your hand and record the events with images and you have a better idea of my job for the past 26 years as a staff photographer for Reuters.
That may be a strange introduction to a piece about a kid from Canada who follows his dream to be a professional skateboarder in California, but not really.
You’ve just won your Oscar, given your acceptance speech to the world and are whisked off stage. The world watching on television goes to a commercial break as you are escorted off to meet the press, first stop “The Photo Room”.
You come around a corner and step up onto a 60-foot long low-rise stage. Behind you are three 10-foot golden Oscar statuettes, each surrounded by a bouquet of colorful flowers. In front of you is a grandstand of 60 well-dressed photographers who all want you to hold up your award and look at them, and no one says cheese.
The biggest cheer at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards came when DJ Deadmau5 played Led Zeppelin during a commercial break.
Oh yeah, the Meat Dress…
The only thing going through my head when Cher announced Lady Gaga had won Video of the year was… where is the boom camera?
It was shortly after midnight on March 24, 1989 that the Exxon Valdez hit Bligh Reef in Prince Edward Sound and began leaking millions of gallons of North Slope crude oil. I was sound asleep in Toronto, Canada when that happened.
Reuters was still taking a feed of pictures from UPI (United Press International) from the United States. But I remember hearing the news that morning and packing my gear (which at that time was film, powder chemicals, portable darkroom, 16S color transmitter and of course.. some cold weather clothing). I sat in Toronto as the politics of the news business played out in Washington between Reuters and UPI. Finally, it was decided that we would both cover the story. So, David Ake, a UPI staffer from Denver, and I made our way there. I remember landing in Anchorage, Alaska, and hauling my gear into a rental car at midnight, then driving six hours to Valdez in the dead of night. About 4 hours into the drive I was held up by a few hundred caribou, who decided to cross the two lane highway, they were just mingling so I still have vivid memories of being in the middle of nowhere honking my horn to help speed up the process.