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Wednesday, 07 January 2009

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Wow. Heartstopping sequence, and an amazing story. Photojournalism "in action", for sure.... Thanks for posting!

Talk about street shooting!

ch

Wow! His eyes were totally locked in the camera lens. When I saw the photograph, I thought this was from a movie scene. Talk about being and shooting at the "right" time.

I couldn't believe the photos David got when I saw them. Bet I would of been shaking a bit too much to get sharp shots.

It looks like the gunman was keeping relatively cool, too. He didn't even drop his cigarette.

More than likely, the suspect was a Canon fanboy who couldn't resist the urge to teach Nikon boy a few lessons...those guys can get fiesty.

He kept the dang smoke in his mouth through the whole thing! That deserves a jumping chest bump.

This photo essay also reinforces an important item...wear sensible shoes for the activities that you have planned for the day (which the suspect did).

The cigarette!

Amazing shot! As always, I find myself fascinated by the shots that were not emphasized, as well. The one that depicts the fugitive dodging traffic, for instance - it makes for a different depiction of the man as more hesitant and wary.

I'm also intrigued that the photo gallery did in fact contain _all_ of the pictures in the sequence, including the bursts of what must have been a result of the rapid-fire mode. It's rare these days to see the unedited junk that brackets the amazing shots.

(Don't get me wrong - the photographer did an amazing job - but it's reassuring to see that even the professionals are human and that not all of their shots are drop-dead amazing.)

I wonder if he got a model release signed?

The last time I drove through Normal, IL a few years ago, police cars were standing on all intersections. When I asked what was going on, I was told that a Tiger had escaped from the local Zoo.
Interesting town - "Normal", IL

David Proeber got the shot alright and was cool headed enough to make a getaway without getting hurt. Nice work.

I don't think I'd worry too much about the suspect's family seeing him photographed waving a gun. Then again maybe he just found the pistol on the side of the road and was showing off his new toy.

This photo looks like its from a scene of an action movie.

Those shots brought me to a halt when I saw them in the Chicago Tribune. I thought they were fictional.

Let's see hot-shot Bruce Gilden pop this guy's mug at close range. It looks like this fellow would supply his own flash.

Highlights are BLOWN

charlie d: yes, the highlights are blown. But the face, hand, and front of the body are well-exposed, and that's what's important.

It'd be better if the highlights weren't blown, but I don't know how to achieve that in this situation (no time for multiple shots or setting up lighting, no time and probably too far away for fill flash).

This is why people keep wanting cameras with more dynamic range. In five years, letting the highlights be blown on this won't be an acceptable choice.

It's bad enough he's a criminal. To be smoking during the whole thing is unacceptable.

Boy, the image quality from Nikon DSLRs seems to be aweful ;-)

Andreas wrote: "Interesting town - 'Normal', IL"

A couple hours southeast of Normal (which is a big town, by the way, by standards of the area) is a small town called "Oblong." Legend has it that in the bridal announcements of the local paper there was the headline "Normal Boy Marries Oblong Girl."

If you read the story in the Pantagraph, you'll find out that the gunman died of his wounds later that night. I think that puts the question of how the family might feel about having these photos public in a different light.

"charlie d: yes, the highlights are blown. But the face, hand, and front of the body are well-exposed, and that's what's important.

It'd be better if the highlights weren't blown, but I don't know how to achieve that in this situation (no time for multiple shots or setting up lighting, no time and probably too far away for fill flash).

This is why people keep wanting cameras with more dynamic range. In five years, letting the highlights be blown on this won't be an acceptable choice."

I think Charlie's comment was tongue in cheek

Interestingly, it seems that the offender wouldn't have stopped if he hadn't seen Proeber stopped. So who knows how that one would have ended...

I'm sure if David would have just tried to bum a smoke everything would have been cool!

DLC,
News is news.

Mike J.

One question struck me about that photo series:

Would Proeber have switched to video mode if he was shooting with a VSLR like the Canon 5DII or the Nikon D90?

I know that eventually these cameras' quality is going to be good enough that PJ's can just shoot hi-res video and pull out quality stills later, but it seems that for now the dual capability poses an agonizing question that has to be answered in a split second: which to choose? I'd always be worried I'd choose wrong (video when I should be shooting stills, and vice-versa).

In this case, I'm glad there are stills. I suppose it would make an OK YouTube clip had Proeber opted for video, but that would be much more about the motion and progress of the chase of "a suspect" than about the personal chill one gets from seeing a freeze-frame of the look into this specific guy's eyes.

Not to far from where I go to school (U of I)... creepy.

Great shots though. I was confused at first thinking that it was a random civilian stopping to catch some action. I've been tempted to do that before.

Dear Sean,

I agree in that I also think charlie was tongue-in-cheek. But I disagree that more highlight detail would make it better. In fact, if this had been a negative I'd been printing back in my news photographer days, I'd have printed it very much like this-- solid contrast in the midtones and shadows to bring out the salient information and intentionally blow out the highlights, so the irrelevant background would distract as little as possible.

Just my taste, FWIW.

Great photo regardless. Should garner awards.... and also appear in many "fact or fiction" photo quizzes.

pax / Ctein

It may be news, but if he coulda gotten a release, you *know* with the logo square to the lens like that, New Balance would be paying big bucks for this for their next ad campaign.

What a great shot. Both the robber and the photographer get kudos for keeping their poise. I get a kick out of the robber. No kid by any means and he still has time to smoke while leaping over the Jersey barrier.

I love the one near the end when the police squad realize he is on the scene - the squad collectively look up and train their weapons on him. Of course then the police-women comes running at him with a gun also. How many times does that happen to you in a day?

"I think Charlie's comment was tongue in cheek"

(Smile)

"Note that in the article's comments at Pantograph, one commenter scolds the photographer for stopping on the Interstate"

While I recognise that the story and images are quite amazing, I have to agree. It is both stupid and dangerous to stop on a major highway like this. In the UK (and most of Europe) it is an offence to do so except in an emergency or when directed by the police to do so.
In such a case, Proeber would be just as likely to be arrested at the same time.

And I thought Toronto was tough on smokers!

My point is more that knowing these photos were taken moments before the gunman was mortally wounded makes me feel very different looking at them. This is really the guy's last act on earth. Even given that he's crazy, that's still a pretty profound thing.

"now the dual capability poses an agonizing question that has to be answered in a split second: which to choose? I'd always be worried I'd choose wrong (video when I should be shooting stills, and vice-versa)."

Robert, more likely, the agonizing question would be "will I live or die?"

A man died, so perhaps it is inappropriate for me to post the thought that occurs to me.

What makes this look so cinematic?

I think it is the blown highlights and noisy shadows. Digital artifacts which give it a film look, oddly enough...

If you don't like Normal, IL, maybe Peculiar, MO will be more your style..

The Rome paper picked it up too:
http://www.repubblica.it/2006/05/gallerie/esteri/ladro-autostrada/1.html

According to La Repubblica, the perp died in the hospital after a clash with police.

As a professional video shooter and hobbyist photographer, my opinion is that shooting styles differ to much for expecting optimum results from stills and video being shot simultaneously.

If the image quality was such that a still pulled from video was the same as a still, you would still have to compromise one or other in how you shot.

A skilled photographer covering a live event will quickly change position, angles, focal lengths, and whatever they can to get the best shot.

Simply rolling video of those jerky, rapid movements, zooming in to snap a shot then running to another angle, would make for vomit-inducing video.

Shooting smoothly moving, shake-free video that holds framing long enough for viewers to follow, without any crash zooms, will miss many opportunities for unique photos.

I think a piece of equipment that can do both is a wonderful idea. I think someone trying to do both at the same time is a horrendous idea! I keep picturing one person trying to simultaneously do stills and video of a wedding by themselves, and produce a crappy result for both.

I think the real lesson to be learned here is: shoot though the open window.

Robert Noble, good question. At 30 fps the stills would be rubbish (and I don't see 1200 fps 1080 res video being feasible any time soon outside of RED) but for a photojournalist like Proeber, would HD video of that scene been more valuable (literally, in $$) than high res stills? I honestly have no idea.

Robert: The headline you mention really was printed, though I believe it was ""Man", not boy, and perhaps Woman rather than girl. For man years the Pantagraph was known for such malapropisms

I saw this in the Pantagraph this morning but didn't dig into the story or gallery.

Much about Normal ... isn't normal. No, don't ask me how I know all this.

The Wild Wild Mid-west

I dunno, in addition to the blown highlights, the whole series is front focused. And talk about distracting bokeh! Not really worth publishing, I say.

When this guy recovers from his wounds, someone should tell him that smoking is not good fo his health.

What makes the shot are the eyes. The suspect is looking right at the camera. I think I would have done #2 in my pants about that time. It looks like he is coming for you and he does not look happy. And the angles are all skewed. The line of the jersey barrier, the car and the position of the gunman. Great shot!

Somebody was concerned about the publication of the phots would hurt the relatives of our antagonist of the day. Methinks mebbe grampa shoulda thought about that when he decided to rob a store. I just wish the cool old man had put his western boots on in the morning, so he didn't have to die with running shoes on.

I wonder if we are looking up close and personal at the tragic consequences of the economic downturn.

The robber's age and car model do not seem typical of the genre. Are we viewing evidence of despair in the middle class here?

Dear Ctein,

I completely agree, blown highlights never entered my had when I viewed the image


Regards

Sean

"I wonder if we are looking up close and personal at the tragic consequences of the economic downturn."

I don't think so. I think he has had a troubled past.

"If you read the story in the Pantagraph, you'll find out that the gunman died of his wounds later that night. I think that puts the question of how the family might feel about having these photos public in a different light."

He would not have died if he didn't do wrong in the first place.

Is this a still of movie? It's an amazing shot!

I never have agreed with Gary Winogrand's view that photographs do not have narrative ability. Sure you can't know everything from a photograph, but that's part of the appeal. A certain amount of openness is required. Or to quote Samuel Taylor Coleridge...

"That willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith"


I don't know if Robert Sylvester was a good or bad man. I don't know his history. I don't know what led him to a life of crime I don't know what kept him offending. That is something the photograph can't tell me. But it can imply, it can point to, it can give signs of a life spent on the wrong side of the law. It may not be the whole truth but that doesn't mean there's no truth there


This is a great shot. It makes you wonder what this guy is thinking in the last seconds of his life. Is he scared? Doesn't look like it. Nervous? Manages to hang on to his cigarette to the bitter end. Desperate? From the backstory, money wasn't currently an issue (he was a journeyman ironmaker). Or maybe just hopelessly and naively stupid. Yes, he got away with it a couple of times, but not this time. Did he really not think the police would shoot an armed robber running around on a freeway waving a pistol? Or, did he just really not think?

I'm not a big fan of criminals, but this poor schmuck's story is just sad.

This was fun until I learned the robber had been killed.

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