Monday, February 8, 2016

POSTED: Monday, March 24, 2014, 11:37 PM

Forecasters are saying snow coming tomorrow, five days after spring arrived.

It will be the 15th day this winter with at least 1 inch of snow. We tied a record (for second most) at 14 days with the winter of 1898-99. 

POSTED: Tuesday, December 31, 2013, 5:08 AM

Okay, so I know you're not supposed to begin any letter, email, correspondence, intercommunication, note, dispatch, card.. or blog post with the phrase, "sorry I didn't write earlier." 

It has been a while. But here, included in a gallery of my favorite photos of the year 2013 are many of the photos I might have talked about. If I had posted earlier.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 10:56 AM

The iconic 20-foot high statue of Benjamin Franklin inside the rotunda of the Franklin Institute gets a special protective polyethylene cover.

Ben is actually the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, as designated by the United States Congress in 1972 as the official national memorial to Franklin. It was sculpted by James Earle Fraser, and weighs 30 tons, sitting on a 92-ton pedestal of white Seravezza marble. Originally opened in 1938, the rotunda was designed by architect John T. Windrim and modeled after the Pantheon in Rome.

POSTED: Monday, August 12, 2013, 8:00 AM
So what is that catches a photographer's eye? That question is one of the things that makes photography so personal. What we see is as much a part of an individual photographer's style as how we see; which lens do we use, our choice of depth of field, use of a tripod or the standing on a chair, bending our knees, or using a fast or slow shutter speed. What makes something call our attention, cause us to lift a camera to our eye? Is it the faces of people? Shadow and light, scenery, animals, cars? Long before we even develop a style of shooting, before we even become photographers, we have already "decided" what we like to point at. 
That's what makes each of us go in our own direction. We become studio or nature or sports shooters, antique farm equipment photographers, or closeup focusers. 
But even when we've drifted into a category, say photojournalism, each of us still notice some things that others completely ignore. 

What is it that catches a photographer's eye? That question is one of the things that makes photography so personal.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 11:55 PM

Shooting in the city, I like to include pigeons in photos when possible. At the Jersey Shore, I wait for gulls to pass through my viewfinder.

I was on assignment yesterday in Ocean City for an upcoming story on the 100th anniversary of the country's oldest continuously operating fishing club - The Ocean City Fishing Club, which owns a pier that extends 635 feet southeast from the boardwalk (they have a live webcam).

After photographing some members fishing, I took advantage of being on their pier to shoot some First-Day-of-the-Heat-Wave photos. It was an opportunity to use a different vantage point - looking back toward the beach from over the water - than most of the photos I'd shot there over the past thirty years.

POSTED: Monday, July 1, 2013, 10:36 AM

So, just a few days afer talking about repeating oneself, I find myself shooting another one:

The day after the U.S. Supreme Court rulings, I covered a rally by supporters of marriage equality at the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton.

I know my editors always want a crowd shot, and you have to shoot the main speakers - here it is Barbara Buono, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and state senator from Middlesex County - at any assignment with a group, including both sides of an issue, if present.

POSTED: Monday, June 24, 2013, 7:30 AM

It's hard not to shoot the same photo again every 17 years or so.

As I approach my 30th anniversary of starting work at the Inquirer, I am reminded of that all the time.When you've been in one place for a while you can't help repeating yourself.

This week I ended up shooting a little bit of the World Championship of Sand Sculpting on the beach in Atlantic City. I'd gone there to photograph a Miss America press conference (the scholarship pageant returns to A.C. after seven years in Las Vegas).

POSTED: Monday, May 27, 2013, 11:55 PM

(Memorial Day "Giant Flag Folding" activity for National Constitution Center visitors, on their front lawn on Independence Mall Sunday, May 27, 2013)

Back at home from a Memorial Day day-off spent with my family,I was just looking through Time Magazine's LightBox gallery, at the photographs of Baltimore-based free-lance photographer Steve Ruark. Shooting mostly for the Associated Press, he has made 278 trips to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, covering the return of 490 fallen troops. His pictures are incredible. It is remarkable how he found so many ways to make each and every one a unique photograph, especially considering the restrictions placed on the media: stay in the same spot and do not photograph family member. Ruark, who has probably seen more of these brief ceremonies, known as dignified transfers, than any other civilian, tells Time writer Nate Rawlings that sharing his images is part of a crucial undertaking: “If something’s not photographed, it’s easy to deny...It’s a fact that Americans are getting killed overseas. Making people look at it makes them weigh the costs."

Like most Americans today, owing to the demographics of our all-volunteer military, I don't have any family or good friends in the service. So it's easy not to have to think about the risks they face every day.

About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
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