By Jenny Neyman
Just like any good news photographer, David Wartinbee didn’t waste time celebrating the good luck that put him in the right place at the right time with a camera in his hand as a spectacular mushroom cloud bloomed over Mount Redoubt on Saturday afternoon. He lifted his camera to his eye and started shooting, and didn’t stop until the eruption subsided.
Then he went straight to his computer and filed his images. Later that evening they started showing up in media venues across the state, and soon, the nation and world.
All in a day’s work for an intrepid roving news photographer.
Except Wartinbee isn’t a news photographer. He doesn’t work for a media company or wire service; doesn’t have a press pass or journalism credentials. He’s a biology professor at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus with a recreational interest in photography whose front porch in Soldotna faces out across Cook Inlet, and who happened to be pulling into his driveway just when the mountain started to go off.
But through the power of digital cameras and the Internet, and a world that’s becoming insatiable for instantaneous imagery, Wartinbee and other central peninsula residents were deputized as newshounds that day, by virtue of having cameras, having something spectacular to point them at, and being willing to share. Continue reading