Here at The Examiner we're proud to say that in this photo there's 99 years worth of experience in the photography department.
And that's just Neil!
These guys are great to work with.
If we didn't have Neil, who would we laugh at?
And if we didn't have Scambo, who would we whinge about?
I'm the responsible one - if anything goes wrong, I'm responsible.
Not only can these guys remember the 2000s, they can also go back to the '90s, and even the '80s.
Most of our newsroom didn't even see the '90s.
Back in the '90s a great movie The Paper came out, starring our very own editor Courtney Greisbach.
The credit roll names her as Marisa Tomei, but the resemblance is too close to be coincidence, I think she was being discreet.
In the '90s, it was a bit like what we do today, but about a thousand times better.
What would be better, to have no internet, and to shoot black and white film, in a newsroom with a budget, or having the lovely digital cameras and convenience of remote filing we have now, but where every dime is agonized over three times before not being spent?
Personally, I'd go back to the '90s in a flash.
Here, The Paper shows a news editorial conference not dissimilar to what went on back in the day, minus the gun.
This is what newsrooms of old looked like, with piles of paper and books and junk everywhere.
And to spoil it for the readers of this column, who are never going to watch the movie anyway, there's a scene where cadet photographer Robyn, assigned an important story, is too inexperienced to compete with other journalists, photographers and TV cameras.
Back in the darkroom, she's looking through her negative roll with a loupe, bemoaning the events of the afternoon, hoping against all hope there's something usable, to find that she accidentally took the photo of the day without even meaning to.
This is a scene I have been able to relate to and for the rest of this column, thought I might share a few images from the '90s that I wish I could take credit for, but it was really from being a whole lot of lucky.
This was taken in low light through a fence with a 300 mm lens, 400 ISO film and a Nikon FM2 with a top speed of three frames per second. Back then it was barely worth doing a burst as the camera simply could not keep up with the action, it was a matter of anticipating and then pressing the button. I got a Country Press Association award for this back in about 1993.
My first aerobatic flight was in a Tiger Moth. We tied the camera to my wrist and as we did the loop, I had my arms over my head with the camera upside down, pointing backwards at the pilot. Well technically the camera was the right way up, it was us who were upside down.
An officer climbed the rigging with me to get this photo of a crew member on the Young Endeavour training ship, c 1994. He explained the need to keep my hands on the vertical ropes, if a horizontal one was to break, I would still be holding on. Sure enough, up near the top of the mast, one broke under my feet and I was left hanging.
The first bushfire I covered back in the day was an exciting event. As a fire truck went by, I knew someone on the back who let me jump on. As it turned out I became a valuable part of the team, it was so noisy and smoky the driver could not hear instructions from the back and I was in a position to relay messages. I also get why we now have to dress up like yellow canaries, I was dressed like the volunteer in the picture and had embers burning through my shirt and in my hair.
Horse kisses, 1993. One of the problems in presenting a story like this is finding images. There are thousands filed away in scrapbooks. It was a half a lifetime spent to shoot them and now I'm spending the rest of my life digitizing them.
This was also from early in my newspaper career. The rider was okay with me lying down to get the shot, the horse not so happy, it kicked off the pole which hit me on the head.
Back in 1995, there wasn't a problem like now with being at an accident scene. I anticipated rescuers would pass by close if I chose a discreet spot. The camera was a Nikon F4 with 400 ISO film, so I needed a slow shutter speed to pick up the SES floodlights and the on camera flash to light the foreground.
When an excavator dredging the bank became stuck and fell into the Hopkins River, a cable was tied to a large tree in an attempt to winch it out, but the cable broke and it was fortunate no one was in its way as the cable whipped back. I took a few shots of the sinking, and then suddenly this man appeared at the door.
When choosing images to scan at the end of a 1995 local footy grand final, I was really pleased to discover this negative when it turned out the guy in the middle was the captain. If only there was a rainbow in the champagne!
Kodak TMax 3200 was the film for low light, I shot this at 6400 and developed it for 12,500. No wonder the grain looks like hail stones.
When the Boat (that was its name) exploded in about 1997, windows rattled kilometres away. I was reading a bedtime story to my little daughter at home. Finishing the story quickly, I rushed off in the direction of the noise to find this scene. I wasn't 100 percent sure of an exposure, I knew the flash would struggle to travel the distance, at the same time, the bright flames would overexpose the image. I was relieved to get this one onto page one of the next edition.
The first cricket match of the 1998-99 season, the batsman hit the ball through the wicket at the other end, the bowler dived to touch the ball, the umpire jumped backwards, the runner leapt to be behind the crease, all captured in one lucky frame with a 500 mm lens on a Nikon F90X.
Primary school Book Week dress-ups are often predictable, but not this fairy tale morning when a couple arrived out of the mist on horse back in 1998.
Back in 1999, when the fire pager alarm went off, brigade volunteers would drop everything and run to the station, meanwhile, at the newspaper, we would go straight to the scene and it wasn't uncommon to arrive ahead of the fire truck, even in this case, when the house was two doors along from the fire station.
This tender moment was at the end of a 1998 siege when a young hostage was released. We media, being three photographers, three TV cameras, and assorted flash holders (I mean journalists) were herded into a small space the width of a footpath between a fence and a parked car. When the other cameras chased a passing police car, I put all my eggs in one basket and stayed focused along the footpath and I got a news award for this the following year.
When a column of smoke rose on the horizon while out on a drive in 1995, we knew it wasn't the Israelites leaving Egypt, especially when a fire truck overtook. We followed it to a nearby rural intersection where I got this page one photo for the following morning.
At a jam session at a local motel function centre in about 1997, I remember thinking the spotlight made the butterfly hair tie look nice and so I took the photo without really thinking about it. A day or two later, a stranger in the street stopped me and thanked me profusely for the lovely photo of her daughter. This is one of the things I really like about this job, while I know I am not extraordinarily good at this, neither am I extraordinarily bad, and it's nice when I can make ordinary people look good. Even if it's by accident.
Phillip Biggs, photographer.