Basic Reporting for Concerned Citizens

Hi folks, here a few tips for effectively sharing information, or reporting on things that concern you, be it via social media, email, phone, snailmail, etc.

Learn and remember the journalist’s question prompts of 5WH.



Answer those questions as best you can before you start sharing information, before you start writing, calling, Tweeting, posting to Facebook or blogs, emailing… and you’ll be miles ahead in clarity, conciseness, accuracy, and so on.

For a fleshed-out guide to 5WH see the Wikipedia entry here.

This applies to streamkeepers reporting spills or fish kills, to citizens reporting crime, to folks contacting their local papers, to students posting on blogs, to. . .

Zen Zone Appears in Our Foyer

foyer zen zoneDamn, er, I mean, om.

On my way down to my office I ran into this zen zone in our foyer. The calming force field pushed me back upstairs where I dumped my steaming cup of coffee in favor of a chipped stone mug of green tea.

I managed to make it into my office on my second attempt, but how am I going to get much work done when I pause to meditate each trip up or down the stairs?

Seriously, this is another lovely creation by Yumi, who comes up with something new every few weeks or months. Thank you!

Old B&W Photo of My Sister Garners FB Likes


The other day I found a B&W 8 X 10″ print that I’d done in a home darkroom of a shot of my lovely sister working on a piece of art many years ago.

I was enthralled to find it, because nearly all of my early photography was wiped out in a basement flood some 30 years ago.

I scanned the print and posted it to Facebook and it’s running up the Likes.

Probably shot on home-rolled bulk Kodak Tri-X, and I’m guessing a Nikon F2 with either the 50/1.4 or the 105/2.5, developed in a bathroom, and printed there, too.

Raissa Choi as a young artist

Setting Limits on Volunteer Photography

Just a heads up to folks looking for free, er, “volunteer” photography. I’m full up for free photography.
For years I have volunteered for, or provided a much-reduced token rate for, several annual events, including local community organizations, the Editors’ Association of Canada, the DFO Salmonid Enhancement Program, the MS Society, etc. I’ve also provided volunteer coverage for large, less-regular events like the BC Seniors’ Games.
I love photography. I enjoy event photography, and if I may say so, I’m good at it.
But I’ve reached my limit.
In fairness to myself, and to working photographers, I will not take on any more new unpaid assignments. I may continue with the volunteer events I’ve shot in the past, while nudging them toward at least token payment, but nothing new that doesn’t pay.
As I pull out of some of these gigs, if you’re an up-and-coming young documentary photog who is looking for some portfolio material, let me know. I may be able to hook you up, and give you a few tips on equipment, vision, attitude, performance, delivery, etc.
Some of these groups simply can’t afford to pay a pro, or even a semi-pro, but you should limit your donations of time and expertise to a year or two. Or choose one org or event, and commit to them.
After all, you won’t get a plumber to your house at 7 pm on a weekend (common working hours for a photog) for a promise of “credit” or “exposure.”

Owl Graces Rainy Walk in South Burnaby

What a treat on a rainy walk in south Burnaby — Yumi spotted this barred owl near Byrne Creek and we spoke to it gently while I fished my wee pocket Canon out for a few shots.

Yumi took the day off to work on her CPA program, and after five hours of stuffing her head decided she needed a break.

We are so fortunate to have such a lovely oasis of urban biodiversity right out our back gate!

It’s doing that ‘looking at you backwards’ thing that owls do so well.

barred owl