Monday, August 29, 2011

from then to now

so, last i posted, i was gearing up for the annual Miss Monroe County Pageant - this one an even bigger event by virtue of its 50th anniversary stature....which meant, the event was also longer as they brought back 30-some past queens for a special program during the pageant, and there were twice as many contestants this year as last....since i was under the impression that there would be a pre-pageant meet-n-greet with the past queens which was to go with a sidebar, i had been planning to get there early...only, when i checked in at the paper, the reporter had no knowledge of this sidebar nor covering this pre-event event, and i never had a time other than "before the pageant starts", i wasn't sure what to do, but figured i'd go early, just not as early, anyway...turns out that 'before the pageant starts' meant about 4 hours before the start, so i totally missed it, but i still felt i needed to get the past queens special portion of the night; i wasn't sure how things would work out time-wise, so since i was there for the duration, may as well shoot every contestant in every, nearly 4 hours, 13 bikinis, evening gowns, talent and platform questions later, there was a new Miss Monroe....shoot, shoot, shoot, speedy edit, submit, then edit and post all of that for a foto gallery

before the pageant, though, there were a couple other assignments in the a.m. - a rehab crew with habitat for humanity finishing work on a home....

then the annual fire/police picnic in the park for kids...they usually open up a fire hose for the kids to play in, which is where the best pix are, but they didn't do it this year, so i was resigned to kids sitting in a police car or fire truck...a little tough, but finally they let kids in to check out the swat vehicle, which at least gave me this

the next night, i shot a cricket tournament for patch...never even seen this game before, and now that i have i still don't totally understand it, but i did the best i could

later in the week, there was a portrait, then a smoke stack at a closed concrete plant in Dundee being imploded - took all of about 3 seconds

and then, football friday....shot a fundraiser at the Moose Lodge before that...but it wasn't really going yet - 'come back at 7, it'll be really going by then,' the ladies auxiliary women said....only that's kick-off, so i tried to get a moment of them talking with a local soldier - not really worth posting, needless to say, but okay for what it was...

saturday, only thing on the agenda was the Rib-off contest in the morning/early afternoon

then back out at night for the tail end of one of the bands and the first few songs of the main act - Grand Funk Railroad....really big crowd, too many very drunk guys - had to get the band and a crowd shot....logistical problem - they went on at 9:30 (assuming they start on time), and the desk wanted pix on the page at, i have about 10 minutes, 15 tops, to shoot...then high-tail it back, do a super fast edit, tone the page 1 pix, then head home

and another week bites the dust

Friday, August 19, 2011

all things august (and a bit of july)

oh i am such a bad blogger! now is the time to get going on my desperately needed catch-up!
i feel like i almost don't even know where to start, but i shall endeavor to do my best
so, in an attempt to stay at least a little chronological (best as i can piece together now), i believe my post should begin with a dog rally....
a few groups and other dog lovers have been fighting for the release of a few pit bulls seized from a home that was being used as a huge dog fighting ring last spring...they've been at animal control since and were recently sentenced to be put down (though these young dogs had never actually fought...yet, most likely)...a rally was held before the groups' appeal that the dogs be released to their animal shelter...the case is still ongoing

story for our south county weekly publication about teen summer jobs....the kid we were to photograph works for an insurance company....hmm, doesn't sound terribly visual, and when i talked to him he told me that what he primarily does is file when i got there i asked to see where he works, which is essentially a large walk-in closet filled with filing call it a room would be far too generous! so, don that creativity cap....not anything that's gonna rock the world, but i felt pretty happy with the portrait we made

the following saturday had me down for 2 assignments - a visit at a south county church by a priest who shows relics bearing items tied to Catholic saints, as well as pieces of the cross they believe Christ was crucified upon, and fragments of Mary's's called "treasures of the church" - everything from bits of clothing to bone, hairs - pretty much anything they ever came into contact with, encased in ornate golden displays....the showcase of the reliquaries was to begin at 6 ish, and my semi-pro football game started back up in Monroe at 7:25 (and, yes, there is actually a story behind that specific time, but i won't bore you with the details, unless of course, you're just that bored or curious!)
so, i get to the church hall and am told to stay away from the display, go sit down, Father doesn't want anyone to look at the items until he has given his talk....which is now being delayed...and then i learn will take over an hour! egad

so, by the time he gets done, the game is about 20 minutes or more into play, and given the 25-30 minute drive back, i should be arriving just in time for the horrendously darkly lit field upon which they play to have lost all natural light! so, i scramble to shoot as people finally begin to make their way through the display of nearly 200 saintly relics, and i keep running into people from Toledo, so i just scramble more, and finally i get this, and i'm out and flying up the pot-hole riddled road that is my quickest cut through back to Telegraph Rd. (hoping i don't blow a tire or break an axle, as many cars have on this road), and then i'm at football
and i get this

and on a funny note, the atmosphere of these 2 events could not possibly have been farther apart.....i go from a very religious, somber, spiritual arena to one that is, well, let's just say a fairly pg-13-R-rated collective...anyone who's been on the sidelines of the Timberwolves games knows of what i speak, and they were playing a fairly contentious Detroit rival team, so those are always amped up even more

the next week was the start of the FAIR!!!! my piece of it kicked off, at least ostensibly with a a new attraction - an alligator show - to start at one, followed by the veteran's parade through the grounds an hour or so later...only, i got to the gator show stage to see the posted show time as 3:15, 6 and 8....and so now i was almost 2 hours early for the start of my "later" actually worked to my advantage, because we still had our end-of-week fair foto page to make, and given my new situation and hours and the fact that i picked up a freelance gig on that wednesday, i was going to have to do my share all on thursday, which would be the last day to shoot - no pressure!

so, i used my time to get a jump on the feature foto finds, and had a few in the bag before i met up with the vets

shot their parade, after which i was a big sweaty mess - think our temps were in the high-90's or maybe a hundred by mid-day, humid, and i was just soaked

plus i had in my feature hunting tried to shoot a pig show in the main arena...the pigs kept running straight for me, so by the time i left there for the parade, i had a fair coating of pig snot and slobber mixed in with the sweat (lovely, eh?!)

after the parade, i ducked into an ac'd expo building, found some water, then headed out to the gator show....where i got splashed with some hefty waves of briney water as the head guy tried to capture an alligator

so, needless to say, by the time i left there and got back to the paper, i couldn't have felt or smelled more gross...i checked in, then came straight home, peeled off all my clothes and had a well-needed shower before sitting down to edit and transmit the day's work

the next day, there was freelance story on a 4-H garden club for patch up in Novi

then, back to the fair....thursday night was the tractor pull...went for some more features before that

maybe this says something about the old-time-i-ness of county fairs, but this cracked me up...the new kiddie ride where they whirled around in film canisters...i mean, do these kids even remember what film is?!!!

another night of returning home feeling kinda gross - just all the dust and smoke of the exhaust fumes...luckily, i discovered that i was next to the family of the one (from what i could discern) local guy competing, and caught his mom's reaction (below) as he sped to the record-setting pull of the event thus far

somewhere in the mix of all this, i was home and noticed that one of my sunflowers had finally blossomed, revealing one of my favorite color autumn mix blooms!

the next day, after the ringing in my ears finally abated, i headed back out for the friday large animal auction - i only had to shoot the lambs and the pigs grand champions and reserve champions, but as i was given the wrong start time, the lambs were already finished (WHAT???!!!) aargh - that whole week was one error after another, logistically!
so, i hung out til the pigs got underway...shot the champs, then i headed through the grounds to an arena where an MMA cage fighting event was going on...that was behind schedule, too, so i waited around for it to start, but it did give me the chance to get intro'd to Tommy Hearns, who came to take in the event...that was pretty cool, and the feature of him watching with fellow pro-boxer was the pic they actually used dominant....

then, up and at 'em, as they say, the next day for the small animal auction - geese, chickens, rabbits, ducks - oh my! afterward, i took a short break, then came back to shoot a newly-married couple who were to make a stop at the fair following their ceremony - she grew up doing 4-H and wanted to hit the midway for rides/wedding pix...only we'd heard that we weren't necessarily a welcome invite to this part of their day and wouldn't be their long, and as it had been raining just prior, we weren't totally sure they'd come...oh yeah, and this is slated to be the page one main story....but, the weather had cleared, and so the reporter and i headed toward the midway...i spotted some kids playing in the horse show arena, which had become an absolute mud bowl after the storms! i figured, if the wedding thing fell through, i'd have to have a page one feature alternate, so i diverted for a bit to work that as quick as i could...

the wedding party did arrive, and everything was fine - they and their fotog let me come on the coach with them as they rode the ferris wheel....hung with them a bit more afterward for other pix, then i split off and finished up my day

fair over, it was back to normal, such as it is these days...not much going on early in the week...wednesday went back to Novi for a patch assn about a green science camp for kids on a farm - that was pretty cool...came back to write my copy, edit and caption and transmit all my pix, so that was pretty much the whole day right there

back into the paper the next day, not anything too hefty on the fact, i can't quite recall what i d id that day...the next was all office, no shooting, but that weekend was the annual jazz fest/downtown art fair
got there for the second to last act, who was a bluesy/jazz mix...very cool, and definitely got the crowd into the groove! got to meet once again a large group that comes up every year from my hometown Cincinnati - they're so spirited, it's no wonder i shot them again (including the woman below) this year, though i didn't realize it til i went to get their funny, they live in the neighborhood just down the hill from mine...we're neighbors who get to meet up every year in Monroe at the Jazz Fest now!

Kenny G was joining Alexander Zonjic for the headlining act that night....i went early to catch some of the prior act so i had something more to add to a foto gallery and also get a secondary feature if the time Zonjic took the stage, serious clouds were moving in...the precursor of the radar's big nasty red digital wave that was heading our way according to the weather report i'd seen before leaving for the venue...i just kept looking up while shooting, thinking, 'bring out Kenny now, bring out Kenny now'!!!! and finally, just as the first sprinkles began falling, he appeared, mid-crowd up by the sound-tech tent, covered by an umbrella, and pining away on his sax....i thought he was just heading down to the stage, but he seemed to linger, and i thought maybe given the weather, he might just play a bit up there and then bolt, so i headed up to where he was....and got this

but, he did go downstage, and the crowd was packed super-tight around it by then; i slipped and slogged and parlayed my way through to get him onstage

then shot this feature on my way back out of the pack and toward the paper, which is probably my favorite pic of the night

i later found out that we were actually under a tornado warning when he started playing, and that, although central dispatch had signaled the sirens, they had failed to go off for some reason (TBD) in the city....nice!

next day, back up to Novi for an India Day event for patch...smelled SO good in there - the curry, oh the curry!

i just thought this moment was much tradition, and all these kids involved in their modern technology simultaneously

then, this week, shot people at an RV campground event - these aren't just RV's, these are multi-million dollar luxury RV's, complete with swarovski-crystal studded door handles.....must be nice, eh?

next day, volunteers filling backpacks with school supplies for future free distribution to students in need - this is another one of those yearly staples

later, a retiring school admin portrait - not worth posting - she was really nice, my portrait was pretty lame

friday, some desk work before going out to shoot a portrait for the football tab - this kid is a much-recruited county stand-out...kicks off the start of football play beginning next week - already! sooner than you think, it'll be cold and rainy and horrific and into the full-on winter hell!

but before that, i have the annual Miss Monroe County pageant on tap for the weekend! giddyup cowgirl!!!!!!!!!!