Behind-the-Camera of Photojournalist Nic Coury in Monterey County, California.

July 17, 2014

Professional Bull Riding at the 2014 California Rodeo Salinas.

Last night, I shot my seventh Professional Bull Riding at the California Rodeo Salinas and it was by far the best set of photos I have made at this event. I think mostly because I consciously thought about the photos I was trying to make and had a vision. Or maybe that I was just tired of shooting the same shot of a bull rider coming out of the chute.

An old colleague said told me once if there are two events I ever have to shoot in my career, it's boxing and rodeo. Even though the rodeo culture isn't me whatsoever, I do really enjoy photographing it.

July 8, 2014

A Victim of a Gang Shooting Speaks Out.

Jose Robles at his home in Seaside, Calif. June 2014.
 A few months ago during a community meeting in Seaside discussing gang violence in the aftermath of a violent April, I met Jose Robles.

On March 20, during a night of many shootings in Monterey CountyJose Robles was doing one last job for the night in Seaside, hauling away old paint from a project site. He called his wife, Bernarda, and said he would be home in 10 minutes to have dinner with her and his two daughters. But the next time she saw her husband, he was lying in the street, shot in the back and may never walk again.

Robles is a family man. He thorough enjoyed life before the devastating shooting and even now, I see a genuine smile on his face. I interviewed him for a story about his life since the shooting. He loves his family and he loves his God. I delivered a copy of the published article, he was genuine and thankful for telling his story. Even in broken English, we communicated easily.

It's funny how such a tragic event can move people and hopefully others can learn and better their own lives from such an event. I talked with a colleague at the Seaside Police Department, Sgt. Nick Borges, who is a really good guy. He told me the Robles shooting haunted him. It was a humanizing comment.

I've never had the chance to talk to a shooting victim before and I wanted to ask Robles if he would ever want to meet the shooter.

He sighed. "No need"
"What would you want to say to him?" I asked.
"I would say he shouldn’t be using guns and that is not the way you fix things in life. You talk out your problems."

Seaside police officers care for Jose Robles shortly after he was shot once in the back on March 20, 2014.

Jose Robles at his home in Seaside, Calif. June 2014.

July 2, 2014

My Ten Favorite Recent Portraits.

Larry Hosford has been playing blues and rock in Monterey County for decades, He is pictured here at his home in Salinas, California.
Portraits are always a mainstay in my photography and I'm constantly trying to up my people shooting game. Here are 10 images I really like and I've even been shooting more film.

More to come as the summer provides a lot of people to photograph and I just finally got some new Alien Bee lights.

Jimmy Welch in a former California state prisoner for drug crimes and now does prison ministry at Salinas Valley State Prison.
Monterey City Councilman Alan Haffa sits on the steps of the city's history Colton Hall.
Jose Robles was a day laborer in Seaside, Calif. and was doing one more job on March 20 when he was shot once in the back in a mistaken identity gang shooting. Due to nerve damage, he is in a wheelchair and may not walk again.

James Scott, 50, was released from a long stint in Monterey County Jail for drug crimes.
Wyatt Miller owns Hellam's Tobacco in Monterey, Calif., the oldest tobacco shop in the state. Shot on Tri-X 400.

Puppeteer Ricki Vincent makes all his own puppets and changed careers from owning a tattoo and piercing shop to pursue puppetry.

Aerialist Jillian Coombs teaches silks at Sanctuary Rock Gym in Sand City, Calif.

Brian Andrews owns Carmel Hat Shop in Carmel, Calif.

Brianne Spiersch is the California director for the Little Bellas, a non-profit program to get young women into cycling,

March 24, 2014

The Late, Great "Serial" Artist Ed Leeper.

Ed Leeper at his home in Pacific Grove, Calif.
I got news over the weekend that a longtime, close friend of mine passed away.

Ed Leeper was a self-proclaimed "serial" artist and peace activist. On Tuesdays, he could be seen on the corner of Franklin and Alvarado streets during the Oldtown Monterey Marketplace giving away tons of free books for the pure reason of getting more people to read.

I never really knew either of my grandfathers and Ed sort of filled that role for me. I spent a lot of time photographing him and he was always up to work with me in the pursuit of art and making art. I knew I could always call him up on a whim and he would be game to make and talk art.

He would always get excited when I pulled out a film camera, wanting to test out a new lens or lighting idea. He would pull out some obscure art piece he made and explain it. His yard in Pacific Grove was filled with absurd art pieces and random wood, paints and books for future projects and endless ideas.

According to his stepdaughter, Kira Godbe, "Ed died yesterday sitting in his comfy chair, reading an article about one of his favorite artists, [Robert] Rauchenburg. He was completely at peace, his legs crossed, his glasses on and his eyes closed and that is it."

Below is a video I shot of him talking about what is "art" to him.

March 3, 2014

Inside the Monterey County Jail.

Last Friday I got to tour the Monterey County Jail on assignment. Here a few frames.

Portrait of 50-year-old James Scott, an inmate in Monterey County Jail who is doing half of a seven-year drug sentence. He's a native of Seaside, Calif. and it scheduled to be released in September 2014. He's one of the longest-housed inmates in the county jail.
Seen through a tower window covered in spitballs, a sheriff's deputy walks through a hosing pod in the Monterey County Jail on Friday morning, February 28, 2014.
Graffiti inside a safety cell at the Monterey County Jail on Friday, February 28, 2014.

December 29, 2013

Multimedia in 2013

Other than photos, I produced some cool video projects in 2013. Here are a few.

My friend from high school, Alissa Bell, runs a really neat business printing stuff on letter press.

Alissa Bell Press from Nic Coury on Vimeo.

In April, I had the honor to help promote equality in professional mountain biking.

Equal Prize Money in Professional Cycling from Nic Coury on Vimeo.

In January, I shot a really cool music piece on a local 60s garage rock band.

The Tomb Weavers from Nic Coury on Vimeo.

I also shot lots of videos pieces for work, including a really cool friend of mine who's an artist.

People I Know: "Serial" Artist Ed Leeper from Nic Coury on Vimeo.

December 22, 2013

Pfieffer Fire in Big Sur.

This past week became extremely busy as a massive fire broke out on Pfeiffer Ridge in Big Sur late last Sunday night. 22 homes were lost and over 950 acres burned through the hills just south of Big Sur Station on Highway 1 in Big Sur.

On Monday afternoon, I got some good access into the canyons and sent some photos over to the Associated Press, which were published all over the country. Below are a few of those clips.

The firefighters, including the local Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade, worked tirelessly in helping the local residents who were displaced by the fire and the Big Sur community was fantastic in making sure their friends and family had a bite of food and bed to rest in.