DIGITAL LIGHT  ::  brian cassella
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
  new job, new blog

Have moved to the Chicago Tribune and am blogging again at 
Monday, October 20, 2008

10 19 2008 - ST. PETERSBURG - The Rays win the pennant, defeating the Boston Red Sox 3-1 in Game 7 of the ALCS. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

sorry for the lack of updates... been a little busier than normal, games in something like eight states in the past month... but the rays won the pennant right here at home last night, so now i've seen everything.

anyway, here's today's front page.  will get through that "to blog" folder after the world series...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

07 31 2008 - LAKE BUENA VISTA - Coach Jon Gruden blocks receiver Ike Hilliard (19) during morning practice at training camp on Thursday. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
  camping 1

07 30 2008 - LAKE BUENA VISTA - Quarterback Jeff Garcia (7) warms up during morning practice at training camp on Wednesday. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

  camping 2

07 29 2008 - LAKE BUENA VISTA - Bucs safety Sabby Piscitelli knocks the ball loose from receiver Michael Clayton (80) with a hand on his facemask during morning practice at training camp. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
  polo 1

07 21 2008 - TAMPA - Friends watch a group of bikers play a game of polo inside a skate rink along Florida Avenue. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

  polo 2

07 21 2008 - TAMPA - Friends play a game of polo inside a skate rink. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Monday, July 28, 2008
  feel the heat
06 30 2008 - ST. PETERSBURG - Rays fans celebrate J.P. Howell's save on their way to a sweep of the Red Sox. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

I liked how this photo contrasted so well with one from the exact spot nearly a year ago. What a difference a year makes for the number of Rays fans versus the out-of-town BoSox ones who used to pack the Trop.

07 28 2007 - ST. PETERSBURG - Red Sox fans go wild in front of reliever Jae Kuk Ryu as the Rays allowed six runs in the 12th inning in a loss.  BRIAN CASSELLA | Times
Sunday, July 27, 2008

01 31 2008 - TAMPA - Stewart Kitts, a longtime associate concertmaster of the Florida Orchestra who became addicted to crack and is now in recovery. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Tuesday, July 01, 2008
  .com me

About two years after I intended to, I've finally gotten my portfolio through the series of tunnels and onto the interwebs.

If you have a chance, take a look and give me some feedback... libelous copy errors, poor editing, it gave your computer a norovirus, whatever. This is a first attempt, so it's trial and error here.

Finally got it online to meet my self-imposed deadline of getting it done before I leave on vacation. I've got a flight out in a few hours and I'll be off living a life of leisure for a few weeks anyway...
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
  up and down
up and down 1

06 21 2008 - ST. PETERSBURG - The Rays, in their throwback St. Pete Pelicans jerseys, pour out of the dugout to celebrate Gabe Gross' game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 victory over the Astros.

up and down 2

06 22 2008 - ST. PETERSBURG - Carl Crawford returns the dugout after being thrown out attempting to steal third to end the fifth inning as the Rays offense stalled and they fell 3-2.

Up and down weekend for the Rays, starting with an exciting win Saturday night, their 7th walk-off win of the year. Sunday wasn't quite as exciting.

Started a new audio slideshow that we'll hopefully continue to produce through the summer. The Rays Report: Week in Review.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
  repo man
repo man

06 16 2008 - TAMPA - Jason Giddins and Jason Pearson in the yard of S&G Towing after bringing in a Ford Explorer.

Sign 'o the times... business is up for the repo man.
Monday, June 23, 2008
  be like ike

06 18 2008 - TAMPA - Bucs wide receiver Ike Hilliard takes the field for morning practice. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Spent two days at Bucs practice. This is exciting as it got. Just waiting til training camp...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

05 22 2008 - LAUREL, MD - Went home for a graduation weekend ...

graduation 1

Miniature grandparents.

graduation 3

Happy graduate. (who will oh-my-god-HATE this picture)

graduation 3

Sleeping dogs.

graduation 4

Regal puppy.
Friday, June 13, 2008

05 30 2008 - PANAMA CITY BEACH - Wedding on the beach. BRIAN CASSELLA

Thursday, June 12, 2008

06 08 2008 - TAMPA - Tampa firefighters battle a blaze that consumed the Tampa Bay Hardware store at 5511 N. Nebraska Ave. on Sunday. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
  kris kross

06 02 2008 - BRANDON - Jordyn Coughlin, 5, (right) leaps with other participants in a kids fitness class Monday night at The Athletic Club in Brandon. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

There's all kinds of things wrong with this photo compositionally, but I still liked the anti-gravitational children.

Monday, June 09, 2008
05 26 2008 - TAMPA - Painted outlines on the tile floor indicate the spot for new arrivals to stand when they are photographed for their mug shot during booking at the Orient Road Jail. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Spent a few hours at the county jail for a quirky story about why so many people seem to smile for their booking mug shots. One of our reporters noticed that on a given day, about 12% of the people who showed up in the jail log had big grins on their face, which is not exactly what you'd expect on a group of people who had just been arrested.

The booking area turned out to be nothing like I expected. Extremely laid back, with a steady stream of people arriving to be searched and fingerprinted, only a few of whom seemed at all upset to be there. The sheriff's deputies were equally relaxed, secure in an area where there seemed to be few flare-ups with inmates. They also recognized quite a few of the new arrivals, whom they called "frequent fliers" for their repeated trips through the familiar process.

Turns out people smile for all kinds of reasons. Particularly if they've been there before, they know their photo will immediately appear on the police website where their friends can see it. There are also some tabloids out there where run "best of" galleries of funny mug shots, and people try to make it into there. I didn't stick around for the DUIs after midnight, but I heard they tend to be the most relaxed group...

cheese 2
05 26 2008 - TAMPA - Hillsborough sheriff's deputies Richard Sergi (left) and Jesse Barber fingerprint Angel Luis Rivera as they confirm his identity while he stands ready for his mug shot to be taken during booking at the Orient Road Jail. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
  boy vs. tree

06 02 2008 - BRANDON - Hillsborough Fire Rescue frees a 15-year-old boy trapped in the limbs of a tree at the intersection of Bloomindale and Kings avenues on Monday night. The teenager had slipped into a crevice between two limbs and had become stuck, leading to a 3-hour effort to chisel a wider hole and hoist him out. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

This was something I'd never seen before. Got a call at home at 9:30 that a child was stuck in a tree way out in the suburbs. Expecting it to be over before I got there, I was surprised to see a couple dozen firefighters and a park filled with spotlights.

For the first hour, just his right hand was visible out the top and his feet dangled out the bottom. I shot a few pictures while the team cut away at the tree around him to widen the gap, and called into the office to let them know the pictures were decent and to expect a vertical shape.

At 10:53 pm they finally squeezed him out the top. I already had my laptop out in front of me, transmitting some of the early photos because I had no idea how much longer it was going to take. After he popped out, I picked a file on the camera, copied just that one onto the computer and fired it back to St. Pete by 11 so they could re-make the local cover in time. Apparently the whole thing was broadcast live on the news, too... big news in the Fla.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

05 30 2008 - ST. PETERSBURG - The Rays await Cliff Floyd at home plate after he hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Some nights it all works out.

This was a shot I'd seen before, and had had in the back of my mind for a year (which considering how little baseball I shoot, really isn't that long). When a player hits a walk-off home run to win a game at home, his entire team rushes out onto the field to await him at the plate. Shooting from the outside third base position, you have almost the same vantage point the runner does as he heads home.

There's a risk here, though, in that the outside third base position isn't a great angle for a number of other things. Critically, if the game is won on a series of hits and a play at the plate, the scoring Ray has his back to you as he crosses the plate to win the game. So the first base side is considered a little safer in a late game situation, although you never know what could happen.

With the game tied 1-1 in the ninth inning, I took a risk and went to the third base side. I figured if the White Sox scored in the top of the inning, I'd have a good angle facing the Rays catcher for a play there. Our main Rays shooter had made a number of nice images from game-winners that weren't walk-off home runs this year from that position as well, so I figured I'd see what happened.

I shot the action with my 400mm, and kept my 200mm with it's dying battery on my lap with the plan to switch to it in case of a home run, otherwise I'd stick with the long glass. Cliff Floyd launched the second pitch deep to right, and I switched once I knew it was gone. I made sure to get a shot (that I didn't end up needing) of Floyd heading down toward third with a smile on his face as I saw the crowd gathering by the plate out of the corner of my eye.

I switched back to the plate before Floyd got there, and as I looked through the camera, I thought "Whoa, that's nice..." Couldn't have lined up the players better myself, no skills needed here, just bang on the motor drive. It made a fun sequence as the players bounced, so I added it to our now daily photo gallery. It was cool to get some feedback from fans and the team today. Hope to see more games like it come October...?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

05 21 2008 - TAMPA - Students from Plant High and other area schools dance on stage and across the floor Wednesday night at the Honey Pot nightclub in Ybor City. Several groups of Plant students have been organizing and hosting these themed teen night events since last year, renting out the clubs and charging admission for the evening. The bars do not serve alcohol and only those under 21 are admitted. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

The second of two nights last week at neighboring Ybor clubs... Low, flashing, colored lights make things more interesting. 

I haven't used a flash (except for portrait lighting with big strobes) in at least four months now, so I'm trying to stick with that trend of being invisible and documentary while shooting with wide-open prime lenses in the low light. After spending far too many hours hanging out like the creep in the dark corner with a bunch of teenagers, the layers of kids came together well enough from the high angle of holding the camera over my head. 
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
  save a horse

05 19 2008 - TAMPA - Florida Mavericks members practice Monday night at the Lounge 7/14 in the GaYbor district for their upcoming gay line dancing competition. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Saturday, May 24, 2008
  saying goodbye


05 18 2008 - LUTZ - Barbara Freiberg says goodbye to her daughter, Lisa Freiberg, 26, and grandchildren, Zachary, 7, and Savannah, 2, after their funeral on Sunday afternoon at Lutz Cemetery. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Funerals are one of toughest things we have to cover. They're not an everyday occurrence, but they are sometimes newsworthy in such sad situations like this. The Freibergs, a young family of three, were killed in their home and discovered by Barbara on Monday morning after she didn't hear from her daughter on Mother's Day. Lisa's boyfriend has been arrested and charged with the deaths.

There are few cases where we would cover a funeral without the family's permission, and in this case there has been a lot of media attention already, so the Freibergs invited the media to attend the service but not to approach anyone or ask questions. This was fine, and I arrived early at the cemetery to scope out the layout and find a good positions to shoot from a distance with a long lens to avoid being too close. 

Luckily, I had gotten to meet Barbara and her husband Keith a few days earlier when they sat down for an interview with the Times. When they stepped out of the limo at the funeral, Barbara caught my eye and gave me a nod of recognition, which helped me feel better that she knew I was there photographing.

During the service, the family and friends gathered in a circle around the gravesite, which didn't really provide any angles to photograph from but I didn't want to intrude any closer. The family lingered around afterwards saying goodbye to friends, and when Barbara went around to each casket to say goodbye after the crowd thinned, it was a very moving moment.
Friday, May 23, 2008

05 15 2008 - TAMPA - Rory Fuller, 20, gets a haircut and a trim Thursday from Greg Caraballo, 24, at the Artistic Nails & Beauty Academy on Adamo Drive in Tampa. Fuller is a student at USF and says it's worth the drive out to East Tampa for the $1 hair cuts. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Do barbershops qualify as recession-proof? Sounds like a deal either way.
Postings by Brian Cassella, staff photographer in the Tampa bureau of the St. Petersburg Times and 2005 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Available for freelance.



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