Joseph Schell Photography

Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

San Francisco Bar Pilots

Posted on: August 19th, 2013 by Joe 1 Comment

This week, we take you out in the early morning activities of the SF Bar Pilots. To start the day, we arrived at Pier 9, next door to the new Exploratorium, at 4 am at the Bar Pilots headquarters.

Who are and what are Bar Pilots you’re asking? The pilots, who are required by state law to guide ships entering or leaving the bay, have been around since the Gold Rush. What’s changed? The size of the ships (which now reach over 1,000 feet long) and the technology to accomplish the job.

The Bar Pilots are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to safely deliver cargo and passengers, boarding each ship via a rope ladder. Once on the bridge of the ship, the Bar Pilot takes control of the navigation and directs the ship into the Bay. In terms of piloting, San Francisco Bay is considered one of the most complex harbors in the United States.

For five hours one typical morning, we documented these brave men and women keep the SF Bay’s commercial vessels safe.

Enjoy the photo essay.

See more industrial themed photos here.

The Elusive California Condor

Posted on: April 15th, 2013 by Joe No Comments

Here’s some info about the birds I found online:

Also here’s some more info about this particular bird. “Crush” #51


The California Condor is the largest North American land bird. They inhabit northern Arizona and southern Utah, coastal mountains of central and southern California, and northern Baja California.

With a huge 9.8ft wingspan it is the largest of any North American bird, and its weight of up to 26 lb.  It is one of the world’s longest-living birds, with a lifespan of up to 60 years.


While the condor’s numbers dramatically declined in the 20th century due to poaching, lead poisoning, and habitat destruction. A conservation plan was put in place by the United States government that led to the capture of all 22 remaining wild condors in 1987.


These surviving birds were bred at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the Los Angeles Zoo. Numbers rose through captive breeding and, beginning in 1991, condors have been reintroduced into the wild. The California Condor is one of the world’s rarest bird species: as of May 2012, population counts put the number of known condors at 405, including 226 living in the wild and 179 in captivity.

The Mirkarimi Saga: San Francisco’s Sheriff’s fall from grace

Posted on: April 18th, 2012 by Joe No Comments


Just after the New Year I get a call from the SF Examiner for “special assignment”. Basically the assignment went something like this “Domestic violence charges have been brought against our newly elected sheriff and we want you to follow him around until he either turns himself in or is arrested. Best case scenario you get a photo of the sheriff being arrested in handcuffs.”


My first night staking out his home I settle across the street from his home, listening to NPR and eating a burrito. About half way through the wrap i spot him coming out of his house and heading to his car, I quickly set down my burrito and lurch out of my parking space only to launch my burrito, chips and salsa across my lap and onto the floor. After a series of three point turns, I’m headed in the same direction as the sheriff, tailing him a couple cars back. I’m thinking to myself that I may have a natural knack for being a private eye. For those of you who don’t know, I drive a ’86 Nissan truck, although it’s a great little truck it was no match for the sheriff’s Lexus. Several miles, intersections and salsa spilling corners later, I’ve completely lost my subject and am left with no leads what so ever.


Long story short, I spent three days following the sheriff around when he finally just turned himself in outside of his office. Enjoy the photos from several court dates, stakeouts and other assignments. At the time of publishing the sheriff had been relieved of duty and was fighting the mayor to get his job back.


New Bold Italic Stories

Posted on: March 28th, 2012 by Joe No Comments


San Francisco’s Super heroes

Posted on: March 28th, 2012 by Joe No Comments


By Lauren Smiley

Around 11:30 p.m., The Ray stepped onto Broadway in downtown Oakland, certain of what he had to do. The peaceful general strike march of Nov. 2 had ended, and now rioters swarmed, smashing windows and stoking fires in trash cans. Cops formed a line across the street, battling back with gas grenades. Helicopters hovered. The sharp stink of tear gas pricked the The Ray’s nose.

He’d first smelled it a week before, at the bombastic eviction of the Occupy Oakland encampment from Frank Ogawa Plaza on Oct. 25. That night he’d come dressed as a civilian, and filmed a man getting shot down by a rubber bullet.

But sizing up the melee on Nov. 2, The Ray knew that Oakland needed something more. A superhero.

The Ray strapped on protection — goggles, gas mask, knee and shin pads — and set out to calm the chaos. Only his eyes showed beneath the black of his supersuit. Stab-proof plastic armor protected his chest, and he gripped an orange aluminum Captain America shield, borrowed from his superhero teammate, Motor Mouth.

He had never witnessed anything like this back in Antioch, the East Bay’s outermost patch of sprawl, where he’d grown up in one of the suburban homes that eat into the bluffs along the Sacramento delta. There, The Ray would bike to Safeway and climb up onto the roof to survey the parking lot for crime. He fought to stay awake after a day stocking Target shelves as 22-year-old Roy Sorvari: the home-schooled, Mormon, former Boy Scout. Roy: 5-foot-5, 120 pounds, with a forthright, courteous manner. Sometimes called Roy the Hot Dog Boy, ever since he started selling franks at the skate park off a grill rigged to his 10-speed.

In Antioch, his greatest feat had been stopping kids from breaking into a vending machine outside Wal-Mart. Another time, someone called the cops on him for carrying a sword on his back at the skate park (it was actually a Taser).

The Ray carried no weapons as he paced toward the Occupy tent city in front of City Hall. A riot squadron with bigger shields than his lined the plaza’s perimeter, and rioters scrambled to erect their own barrier of upended tables parallel to the police. Suddenly, a phalanx of riot cops barged through from the City Hall side, setting off flash-bang grenades and tear gas, arresting anyone in their path. A siege.

The Ray spotted two protesters who’d fallen to the ground and curled into the fetal position. A cop rushed toward them. The Ray feared the worst. His code demands he first make a verbal attempt to end conflict, but to The Ray, “that point was definitely past.” He says he couldn’t imagine asking, “‘Officer, would you please stop beating us?”’

Instead of talk, he took action. The Ray ran in with his shield between the cops and the prone occupiers. Hit, he fell backward, and rolled to spring back up. His face hit the ground.

Some time later, The Ray woke up. His hands were cinched behind him, and warm liquid coated his face. Blood. Someone lifted him to his feet, and pain shot through his leg. Cops would later tell him an occupier must have shot him with a paintball, but the bruise had no trace of paint; he thinks it was more likely a police-issue rubber bullet or bean bag.

The Ray felt as if he were floating through a dream. He remembers his gear getting cut off. An ambulance. His hands cuffed to a hospital bed. Stitches plunging through his eyebrow. An interrogation room.


His charges: battery on a peace officer and remaining at the scene of a riot.

It’s not easy protecting the people’s liberty.

It was just five months ago that Sorvari started stalking off in all black from his parent’s ranch house in Antioch, the one with a tiny American flag in the rocks out front, a Jesus painting over the fireplace, and a garage dojo where Roy Sr. teaches martial arts. Before long, guys with names like Nyck Knight and Motor Mouth started showing up on the front step like awkward first dates, waiting to drive off on missions. Sorvari’s mom, Lynn — a friendly, former Navy avionics mechanic with curly black hair — assumed Sorvari was videotaping crime in a costume. “I knew Roy had the desire to be a superhero. It just seemed liked a seamless, no-big-deal thing.”

Sorvari had turned into The Ray, Taser-bearing protector of the streets, the Safeway, and the skate park. His enemy: what he sees as an invading army of thugs — the poor, usually black, residents who have moved into Antioch from San Francisco, Richmond, and Oakland. “I’m not a Nazi, an anarchist, or a racist,” Sorvari says when asked about his new neighbors, many of whom have come for the plentiful, roomy houses available with Section 8 vouchers. “It’s just, stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.”

All superheroes have an origin story, and The Ray’s started last spring when, as he tells it, he witnessed a group of 40 young black men show up at the skate park to fight his mixed-race group of skater friends. (The cops came before anything could happen.) Then he says that last summer he was hunting for squirrels at the skate park with his BB gun — he cooks the meat and sews fur bracelets out of their hide — when three black guys knocked him off his bike. Sorvari scrambled to his feet and returned a flying kick to one in his gut. (“I’ve always wanted to do that.”)

Read more here…

Those darn 49ers and the Stanford alum

Posted on: March 28th, 2012 by Joe No Comments

Enjoy some pics from the end of the 49ers season and more of the NFL scout day at Stanford University.

The state extends age for foster children aid

Posted on: March 27th, 2012 by Joe No Comments

New state law gives foster youth time to bloom

By: Amy Crawford | 01/08/12 11:01 PM

Timajae Evans spent his teenage years in foster care, moving from one group home to another. When he aged out of the system at 19, he had to grow up fast.
“It kind of threw me off for the first month,” Evans said, recalling the sudden responsibility of having to pay his own bills and shop for his own groceries.
Evans, now 20, lives by himself in a Daly City apartment. He is taking general studies courses at City College of San Francisco and hopes to become an auto mechanic. But while he said he was thriving on his own, he was happy to hear about a new law that will let current foster children stay in the system until they turn 21.
“Usually, kids that are aging out, they don’t have anywhere to go,” he said. “They don’t have the support system that they need.”
The California Fostering Connections to Success Act took effect Jan. 1. Previously, most foster children aged out of the system at 18, although current high school students could apply for a special dispensation for more time, as Evans did. The new law will raise the age limit to 21 by 2014, as long as a young person holds down a job or attends school.
“It just opened the door a lot wider in allowing youth to have some stability after they turn 18,” said Maya Webb, foster youth services coordinator with the San Francisco Unified School District.
High school students who leave foster care right at 18 can run into trouble on the way to graduation, Webb said. And looming independence can be a distraction from schoolwork.
“I expect it to reduce the immediate stress of turning 18,” Webb said. “All of these milestones don’t have to be so rushed and so imminent.”
Tina Dollison, who runs the group home where Evans once lived, welcomes the new law, because many of the teens she works with aren’t ready to be on their own. But Dollison worried that the law might give some young people an excuse not to plan for the future.
“I feel like for some of them, it will allow them to just procrastinate and not get their act together,” she said.

Nefertiti Franks, 18, who lives in Dollison’s group home, acknowledged that some teens would probably put off the inevitable as long as they could. But she was hoping the new law would help her finish high school and get started at college.

Nefertiti Franks, 18, who lives in Dollison’s group home, acknowledged that some teens would probably put off the inevitable as long as they could. But she was hoping the new law would help her finish high school and get started at college.
“I’m not grown up all the way, but I’m getting there,” Franks said. “For the youth that want to shoot high, they’re going to need help if they’re going to get off on the right foot.”

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:



Big Sur Pig Roast

Posted on: December 6th, 2011 by Joe No Comments

SF Gay Rodeo

Posted on: September 12th, 2011 by Joe No Comments

Photographed for the Bay Citizen-

“The annual Best Buck in the Bay Rodeo and Festival, sponsored by Golden State Gay Rodeo Association, took place in La Honda on Sept 10 and 11. Contestants participated in bull riding, steer roping, chute dogging and other rodeo staples over the two days.”

Source: The Bay Citizen (


View full screen pics



Freehub Magazine 2 pg Fold out

Posted on: January 4th, 2011 by Joe No Comments

Here’s the tear sheet from a recent photo of mine published in Freehub Magazine, a bicycle mag out of Bellingham, WA

Here’s a link to their site-