Thursday, March 31, 2011

Behind the Photos: the Attempted Assassination of President Reagan Revisited

Ron Edmonds—AP
By Neil Harris |
McCarthy, officer Tom Delehanty and Brady all lay on the ground after being shot, as agents overwhelmed Hinckley. Of this other prize-winning frame, Edmonds recalled: "To me, [this] is one of the best pictures I made of the event, not having the President in it, that really kind of told the story. The reason that I got this picture is I was able to go around two [secret service] agents I had worked with and [they] kind of left me alone. I was able to stay out there for a little while until they pushed me out. It's not always clicking the shutter if you can't get there to click the shutter."
Click here to find out more!
Thirty years ago today, Ron Edmonds was on his second day as Senior White House photographer covering President Ronald Reagan for the Associated Press. Edmonds had photographed much of Reagan’s presidential campaign the year before, and the two knew each other well.
That day, Edmonds had been photographing the president giving a speech inside the Washington Hilton Hotel, and after the speech was over, he rushed outside to get a shot of the President waving to the crowd before getting into his limousine. “That day was the first day I was going to cover him where he was President of the United States,” Edmonds says. “I’d photographed him thousands of times getting in and out of a limousine, but never with a Presidential seal.”

Edmonds had the camera to his eye when the President started to wave, and as would-be assassin John Hinckley, Jr., fired his gun, Edmonds made the famous sequence of three images that would be published around the world. “Sometimes you make your own luck, and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and ready when this happened,” he recalled. “The most important job is to watch the President. I did everything I was supposed to do.”

As an AP staff photographer, Edmonds did not own the negatives or the copyright to the photographs he had made. “I have never seen all of the negatives. I couldn’t tell you how many outtakes there are.” So unlike some freelance photographers at the scene, Edmonds did not make much extra money from his employers. “I got a $50 a week merit raise,” he says.

Initially, Edmonds was convinced he had upset his employers because he had failed to get a picture of Hinckley. When Edmonds returned to the office, he was told to call the head of the AP, and he assumed the worst. On only the second day of his six-month probation as a new hire, he feared he would be let go. Instead he was told, “You nailed it, kid,” and “We’re lifting your probation — we’re going to keep you.”
Edmonds won the Pulitzer Prize for news photography as well as many other awards that year.

SHOOT: Brilliant story. Here's more.

Cape Epic’s fourth day a ‘killer’ - by Nick van der Leek

Wednesday was another windless day, but for the first time the sun never really got out of bed.  The grayness of the day seemed to make some riders more miserable.  Extremely tough course conditions, including water portages through chest-deep streams and tough technical sections [such as traversing riverbeds filled with round white stones] did the rest. 

Burry Stander tweeted after the stage about ‘loads of [sense] of humor failures.’
Bulls rider and pre-race favourite Karl Platt called the stage ‘the most stupid stage I[‘ve] ever done.’ While it’s not clear exactly what he was referring to, it could have been an allusion to at least two extended sections where the mountainbikers hit tar road.  One tar section, through the scenic Slanghoek mountains, was at least 7km. Or perhaps by ‘stupid’ he simply meant very tough.

The 125km route from Tulbagh to Worcester twisted around vineyards whilst vaulting up the sides of the surrounding mountains. Some riders punched the air after graduating through thick sandy sections, prompting spectators to yell: “Will you marry me!”

For the first time in this year’s Epic, the Songo Boys did not dominate. Christoph Sauser, who just the previous day had said he’d felt ‘super’, called stage 3 ‘the toughest ever.’   The purple colors of Milka-Trek disappeared up the road early on, establishing a large gap on the main contenders.  

Although the Dutch duo [Bart Brenjens and Jeroen Boelen] were not a threat to the overall classification, the heads of state seized control of the race after the third and last water point. During the chase, the Bulls could not keep up with Songo or Multivan Merida. The catch was a mere formality on the final climb of the stage 10km from Worcester.

From that point Multivan Merida kept up a ferocious pace, with Hannes Gens and Jochen Kaess dead keen on extending their lead over the Bulls. In the end the stage came down to a sprint between Songo and the Germans.  Gens and Kaess edged across the line 2 seconds ahead of Stander and Sauser.  Milka hung in there, finishing 14 seconds behind Songo, and getting themselves onto the podium for their efforts on the stage. Crucially, the Bulls conceded another minute, which means Songo now have a decent cushion of over eight and a half minutes. Songo’s lead over Multivan remains over 6 minutes.

Stage 4’s shortness will be a relief to Cape Epic riders and crew alike.  The 32km timetrial through Brandwacht, traverses the Karoo Botanical Gardens on the west side of Worcester. It is best viewed from the grounds of the local golf club as the riders pass this point twice: on the way out and back. However cool, wet conditions are expected.

Cape Epic Stage 3 PICS

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New York law firm lies in its promotional ads...

SHOOT: Sometimes - often - photoshopping an image is downright dishonest, and at best, unethical. Here's an example:
One of New York's Bravest is objecting to the use of his likeness in a poster marketing the services of a New York law firm that specializes in 9/11-related illnesses. The ad in question features a firefighter holding a photo of the devastated World Trade Center site, accompanied by the words, "I was there. And now, Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern is there for me." And therein lies the issue: the man in the ad, Robert Keiley, didn't become a firefighter until 2004.

According to the New York Post's Reuven Fenton and Jennifer Fermino, Keiley is particularly upset that the photo in the poster was manipulated from a generic promotional photo for the department--of Keiley holding his fire helmet. The law firm's ad agency, Barker/DZP, swapped a picture of the World Trade Center in place of the helmet. They then debuted the poster at a fundraiser, the World Police Fire Games Event Gala; a move Keiley thinks makes him look like a "scumbag."

"It's an insult to the Fire Department. It's an insult to all the families who lost people that day," Keiley, an ex-cop who also works part-time as a model and actor, told the Post. "It makes me look like I'm cashing in on 9/11, saying I was there even though I was never there, and that I'm sick and possibly suing, trying to get a chunk of money."
The ad sparked the ire of popular anonymous advertising blogger Copyranter, who expressed to us that the ad reinforced his long-held belief that "law firms shouldn't advertise" because it's "unethical, and they just plain don't know how."

Songo Boys make it three-in-a-row [CAPE EPIC PICS PLUS RESULTS]

Stander and Sauser win again, continue Epic Domination - by Nick van der Leek

South Africa’s MTB wonderkid, Burry Stander [36ONE Songo Specialized] didn’t mince words about Stage 2: “Today’s stage was hard. We...tried to stay in front. Towards the end there were some steep climbs...”

Stander was able to stick to the game plan, although the day was really Sauser’s, who said: “I was feeling super strong today and had a good day in the saddle.” Sauser’s strength pushed the team to their third straight win, with Hannes Genze and Jochen Kaess [Multivan Merida Biking] finishing second, 47 off the pace.  The Swiss outfit Trek World Racing finished third, with the Bulls fourth, losing yet another chunk [1:40] to the Songo Boys.

The hardest section was a 1.5km near vertical climb out of Tulbagh along an old wagontrail into the Witzenberg Valley. For much of the stage Stander and Sauser had the company of half a dozen other riders, who rode as a unit along the plateau through attractive orchards and otherwise sleepy farms near Ceres.

While the air was breathless and warm, the terrain was brutal.  The final climb back towards Tulbagh included a section that simply went straight up the side of the mountain, with conditions under-tyre very difficult - either large loose stones or soft sand, or both.  

By noon long queues had formed on the slopes, with some riders pushing two bicycles to spare their teammates, whilst others lugged their metal contraptions on their backs.  In some cases tempers frayed, in others the silent treatment with clenched teeth was more effective.  Overall the riders greeted these brutal conditions with chirps, jokes and plenty of self deprecating humor. “I can’t believe I actually paid to put myself through this!”
Some who climbed off their bikes, shouted: “I suppose Burry rode this part!” 

One energetic rider jumped off his bike at the top of the last bone crunching climb and ran along the track to take photos of other riders backgrounded by stupendous, sweeping views.

Sauser, who is 35, said after the stage that his power training had paid dividends: “I definitely have more strength in my legs.” Many riders did not finish the stage before the final cut off at 5pm.  With 18 minutes remaining 40 teams were still battling for a play at the line on tomorrow’s Stage 3, which heads to Worcester.

Worcester’s stage is even further, at 125km, but climbing is slightly more modest at 1900m.  Being the 4th day in the saddle, the legs will be both fatigued and hurting, bringing on that lactic acid burn much earlier, even on gradual climbs.  Songo - a sizable 6 minutes 18 ahead of the second placed Germans from Mervida - will have to make no mistakes on this stage if they aim to cement their first Epic win. 

RSAWeb Results:
Once again the ladies team were the third South African team to finish, and in stage 2, finished faster than their compatriot RSAWEB 2 Team.

Cat Pos. 59. GC Pos. 79. RSAWEB Swiftcarbon Men 6:05.19,6 12:35.56,2 73-1 Simon Lamond 73-2 Nic Lamond [South Africa]
Cat Pos. 129. GC Pos. 208 RSWAWEB Swiftcarbon 2 Men 7:05.03 14:23.02,2 287-1 Rob Gilmour 287-2 Mark Slingsby [South Africa]
Cat Pos. 5 GC Pos. 163 RSAWEB Swiftcarbon Ladies 6:45.32,5 14:01.04,1 187-1 Catherine Townshend 187-2 Julia Skea [South Africa]

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stander and Sauser extend their Epic lead - by Nick van der Leek

After a convincing prologue win, the team in yellow, Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser put in another determined effort.  Stage 1 took the riders 89km along the bowl of mountains surrounding Tulbagh.  Although the skies were clear and windless once again, the route was a monster, with some unusual signs en route warning the riders of dangerous drops [a rarity on the Epic].

The day promised a few casualties, but the fabric of the race was ripped by the shocking early departure of Kevin Evans, 360Life.  The freak mishap occurred around 9am when 5 teams tussled up front on a section of road closed to traffic.  On the descent Evan’s brakes failed, causing him to crash, smashing his left collarbones and damaging a steel plate and new bone growth from the last incident. Evans wrote on twitter later: ‘My collarbone is broken but my heart is shattered.’

The setback is even more disappointing given Evans’ and David George’s excellent condition going into this event.  Christoph Sauser, Burry Stander’s teammate also experienced a fall  on a descent early on.  Despite losing momentum with the an ongoing mechanical issue, the two worked hard to get back into the race. 

At around 10:49am Bulls 2 were ahead of favourites Platt and Sahm, another Bulls outfit, and some pundits were wondering why the teams weren’t helping each other. Meanwhile Stander and Sauser cruised to the finish 5 minutes before 11am in a time of 3:52. The Swiss pair from Stöckli pro, Urs Huber and Konny Looser finished a surprising second, 1:02 off the pace, with both Bulls teams third and fourth.  The Bulls 2 were 1:10 behind the Swiss but Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm conceded 1:50 to Stander/Sauser.  Sunday’s runner ups in the prologue, from Germany’s Mulitvan Merida Biking, finished 5th on the stage.with the same time as Platt/Sahm.

Stander said at the finish: “You’ve got to be prepared to suffer; you have to work hard in this race because anything can happen the next day.”
Andrew Mclean’s wife Ali has tweeted what perhaps many South African supporters are daring to hope: ‘Yellow Jerseys! I have a feeling these will remain on their backs to Lourensford.’  In this race, anything can happen.

While the legs will be buzzing after over Monday’s 2km of vertical climbing, Tuesday’s stage is longer [104km] and climbs higher [2300m].  Approaching the 18km mark tomorrow, plenty of walking is expected.  It is an out and back route starting and finishing once again at the Saronsberg Wine Estate near Tulbagh.

Postscript: The RSAWEB ladies team were the third South African women’s team to finish the stage.

RSAWEB Results: Stage 1

Cat Pos  57  GC Pos 75. RSAWEB SwiftCarbon Men 5:09.28,2 6:30.36,6 73-1 Simon Lamond South Africa 73-2 Nic Lamond South Africa

Cat Pos 119 GC Pos 189 RSAWEB SwiftCarbon 2 Men 5:54.32,4 7:17.58,3 287-1 Rob Gilmour South Africa 287-2 Mark Slingsby South Africa

Cat Pos 5 GC Pos 163 RSAWeb Ladies Ladies 5:45.45,6 7:15.31,6 187-1 Catherine Townshend South Africa 187-2 Julia Skea South Africa

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cape Epic Stage 1 [INTRO + PICS]

Stage 1: Saronsberg in Tulbagh - Saronsberg in Tulbagh

Stage 1's distance is a shade under 90km, which may sound short but is not to be underestimated! The flat roads out of town leave few clues as to what is to come. Very soon the short(ish) but incredibly steep, rough and loose climbs appear, and on the treacherous descents, volleyball-sized rocks and sand patches pock the little-used dual tracks.

While the pros make short work of it, the first 50km may take backmarkers over 5 hours. The stage's last climb on some rough roads brings riders to the top of one of most precariously difficult downhills they've seen at the Absa Cape Epic. With large rocks, deep ruts and a sheer drop on the left, be sure to take it slow.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Stander and Sauser leave Epic Contenders in the dust - by Nick van der Leek

South Africa versus Germany. That was the face of Sunday’s technical, twisty 27km tussle, a prologue involving a modest 750 metres of climbing. The first day’s racing, on the forested slopes of Tokai on a warm, windless day, was won by South Africa’s ace mountainbike rider, Burry Stander and world champion Swiss team mate, Christoph Sauser. The best time: 1:02.40,7.

The German duo from Multivan Merida biking came through in a surprising second, just over 1:40 behind. The favorites, also from Germany, Stefan Sahm and Karl Platt took third, thirteen seconds behind their compatriots. David George and Kevin Evans from 360Life finished their stint just 15 seconds behind the Bulls.

Whilst almost two minutes is perhaps an unassailable advantage in road cycling, it is not much of a cushion in MTB.

Sunday’s race was also noteworthy as Supersport’s first live broadcast; it was also the first time a multistage MTB event had been broadcast live anywhere in the world. The presence of blind adventurer Hein Wagner [riding for Team Pragma] rounded off a day of firsts, falls, broken chains, broken helmets and face plants. Andrew Mclean was one of the riders to kiss the dust, while another rider lost his saddle.

Also noteworthy amongst the top teams was the use of the controversial 29er bicycles. The main advantage appears to be these bicycles are less prone to sinking in soft sand or large holes [due to larger wheel size] however the larger wheels require greater strength for steering, and larger wheels tend to be heavier and more difficult to turn.

Monday’s first stage is a monster. 89km, 2050m of vertical climbing, it starts and finishes in Saronsberg Wine Estate outside Tulbagh and is likely to further separate the men from the boys.

POSTSCRIPT: Team RSAWeb’s Nic and Simon Lamond departed at 11:05 and had a good ride, but got snagged by backmarkers in single track, Simon crashed, breaking his helmet and buckling his front wheel, at approximately 21km. The battered and bruised pair finished in 1:21. “We were probably 7-8 minutes slower than we wanted to be,” Nic Lamond said, obviously disappointed.