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Since becoming voiceofsandiego.org‘s first full-time photographer in August 2007, I’ve taken hundreds of thousands of pictures, a small portion of which have been shared with our readers. For every image that makes it to the pages of our website there are countless other images and back-stories that never see the light of day.

And as every day passes, I wonder what it is that our readers are really looking for in photographic content. We’ve found that many of our best stories, whether visual or written, come from tips, ideas and discussion with our readers. Until now, I haven’t had my own outlet for expressing and discussing all this. I do now.

So, welcome to Credentialed. This is voiceofsandiego.org‘s photog blog, where I’ll share all the pictures left on the (digital) cutting room floor as well as tidbits and insights into our picture selection, my photo subjects and the challenges facing our county.

I’ll also open myself up to tips and suggestions from you, the reader. I want to be updated on what you think a local news photographer should be focused on.

Is there a visual story in San Diego that’s just dying to be told?

Is there something our photo coverage is neglecting or focusing too heavily on?

Or do you just have a tip on where I can go to get an interesting photo?

If you’ve got the answer to any of these questions, or questions of your own, feel free to get in touch with me anytime at sam.hodgson@voiceofsandiego.org or comment below.

For a glimpse at some of the things to expect from this blog, take a peek below. I’ve included a few things I would have posted in this blog had it been active for the past few months.

First and foremost, this photo of football announcer Al Michaels definitely would have made it in here:

It might have been out of context had I included it in this slideshow of the Chargers/Colts playoff game, but it certainly has a great home on this blog. And when just about everything you read in the newspapers is about the faltering economy, partisan politicking and other calamities around the world, you can use Al Michaels to lighten things up every now and then. I had my camera trained on him before this game, waiting for something interesting to happen in the frame. Then, he just stuck his tongue out and laughed. This is one of the moments as a photographer when you fire away and figure out what to do with the photo later.

The below feature photo of a dolled-up Santa Claus definitely would have made it into the blog. I took this from the front porch of my house in Ocean Beach. I find it to be reflective of the small-town quirkiness of Ocean Beach. I had a lot of friends who weren’t too excited about this image, but had a lot of photographer friends who were really into it. Maybe it’s just a photographers’ photo.

I also would have included the blog posts you may have read in This Just In about trash piling up on the city’s beachfront cliffs and phone lines dangling precariously by duct tape. These are the kinds of stories where a picture really does tell 1,000 words and often prompts action from those in charge. After writing about the trash piling up, the city’s Environmental Services Department decided to monitor the area and keep it clean. And, after contacting AT&T after the dangling phone line, I received this e-mail from spokesperson Courtney Pendelton:

Many thanks for bringing this to our attention. AT&T technicians evaluated this area today. The hanging item was a support strand that holds the actual phone cable — thus not a safety hazard. It appears the strand had been corroded and it was temporarily secured. Our construction team obtained the proper equipment and supplies, and will be heading to the scene tomorrow to replace the support strand.

I checked back this week and the area indeed has been cleaned up as you can see in the photo below. Although AT&T said the line wasn’t dangerous, it certainly had some residents spooked.

And, when I came back from a trip to California’s Central Coast last month, I probably would have shared this vacation snap, my favorite from the long weekend (for no other reason than that I like the photo and I want you to enjoy it as well).

Sometimes it will be multimedia projects, sometimes there will be some writing (I started here as a reporting intern, after all), and sometimes I’ll just put up a photo I want to share. This blog will grow and change with your suggestions and with the growth of voiceofsandiego.org. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and sharing my photos and insights with you.

SAM HODGSON

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