Friday, May 29, 2009

friday night

i went driving east after my shoot at the school carnival below...just wanted to see if i could come across anyone out searching for the still-missing little girl - more people were organizing to search throughout town tonight, and we still haven't really shot it...this is such a familiar sight in Monroe - whenever you're going anywhere, there always seems to be a train that crosses your path, not that i was in any particular hurry - i just loved the light and colors, and so, i'm just sittin there waiting with everyone else for the thing to go by, may as well shoot it, eh? despite the call for good weather today, it sprinkled off and on during the carnival, and then the sun just burst out and looked so cool against the passing storm clouds....then it was back to being overcast....get it while you can, right?!

so, here's what i turned in for the school carnival assignment tonight...even though i've shot this kind of thing a million times, i was kind of looking forward to this one...maybe in part because this is at a little school that i like going to and it is also one of the 4 schools closing after this year due to budget cuts...anyhoo, some of the frames from the night - nothin out of this world, but not bad for a night's work i suppose....

the composition is kind of awkward, but still, there's something about this that i like - maybe it's the awkwardness itself - not sure if this works or if it's more of an almost

this is my favorite of them all, though...i like the graphics of it, the near silhouette and body language with the hands in the air on the left and that hand pointing to them on the right - it was actually the inflatable volunteer worker telling them who could stay and whose time was, that's my visual input to the world for the day...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

the scrum and then some

last sunday a young girl went missing - a playmate at her apartment complex turned up at the family's door to tell them Navaeh was gone...later, an Amber Alert was issued, and today, the search continued, this time with search and rescue teams scouring the two quarries in town - i had no idea there even were two of them - this one was remote - tucked behind a park and the holiday inn out by the highway - i went here first, because, frankly, if it's this out of the way, i kind of thought that it was a more likely place to be - pretty gruesome way of thinking i know, but it just made more sense...trekked through the woods to the open area where the teams were assembled and made some pix as they made their sweep, canine search dog aboard...animals are so amazing..i was talking with one of the team and i'm like - can that dog really sense something on the water bank from out in the boat? - not only can he do that, but he told me how they can smell a body that is at the bottom of the water - a body under water starts to emit gases that bubble to the surface, and while we'd never notice that, the dogs can smell it and know there is a body below - amazing, but still, very gruesome and particularly sad given the context that this is a 5-year-old girl

while i was at the quarry, i got a call from the reporter that the grandmother of the little girl (who actually has the legal custody, but mom lives there, too) called all the media to tell them she'd like to hold her own kind of press conference, show everyone Nevaeh's favorite toys and tell them about what kind of child she is - that was in about an hour, so i hung out a bit longer and then headed over to their apartment complex after running home to scarf down a yogurt

the regional press - toledo and detroit - have been all over this story, and before grandma and other family came out, a great aunt agreed to speak - there was some rumor that grandma and the family had decided perhaps not to come out and talk - as soon as one tv reporter asked if this woman would talk, it was an absolute onslaught of cameras and mic-bearing reporters/anchorpeople - here's my "hail mary" of the scrum...
so, knowing how this thing was gonna go if and when the immediate family came out, i made sure to be up front, which meant maintaining a very squatty, leaning angle beneath the cameras, mics and arms jutting out all around me - but i would have had no shot any other way...let's just say, that is one core body work-out - the kind of weird position that you maintain until you feel your legs and stomach start shaking...being so close in their emotional moment, i didn't want my pictures to be like that "in your face as you go through trauma" view that i hate, but it was hard not to be in their face, given the position i had to take to get any pix at all, so i struggled with which of these to pitch as dominant or single, but such is the stuff of this job i guess

from left, the little girl's dad, her uncle, and the grandmother with whom she lives

this is getting into place before the cameras and tv people descended - the family was walking out and getting ready to face the press pack - just stick close, back up and don't get shut out i'm thinking as they walk out, and this is at least clean and i think what we may be using in tomorrow's paper...just on my personal rant, i wonder how it is tv and still people can all go thru the same journalism programs and come out with such divergent practices - i.e., one of Nevaeh's favorite toys, which her grandma brought out, was a toy guitar - she turned it on so that we could hear her granddaughter's song, and this tv reporter bearing a mic just reached out and turned the thing off! i guess it was interfering with the audio of the interviewing or whatever, but the worst was that grandma kept turning it on to listen to it, and this woman would just lean in and shut it back
made me feel really not so bad that my camera was right by their mic clicking away and probably also disrupting their nice, clean ends my rant and post for the day

just for fun

the annual memorial day parade begins just a block from my doorstep, and though it was a long weekend, and this was my day off to get all my "stuff" done - planting, shopping, bills, laundry, cleaning, etc etc - i had a real urge to shoot the parade with the lensBABY...sadly, this year's parade seemed to be over really fast, but i made a few frames that i kinda liked

sunday night, i shot a memorial day tribute to the fallen ceremony, which is basically a glorified slideshow - really hard to shoot - and there's one really nice pic there, but my boss shot it last year, so, quite the challenge...anyway, when i went out to the parade, this was the first float i saw, which was funny, because this statue was onstage at the ceremony the night before!

spotted this little girl from across the way...just pure americana, no ifs ands or buts...

the start of a very long day

worked the night desk friday - which, by the time i get out of the office, i am always wide awake after and up for a few hours later, which ain't too pretty when you're facing a 12-hour solid day starting in the a.m. with 4 assignments and running through to that saturday's night desk duties...this was the first assignment of the day - boy scouts placing flags at the grave sites of veterans in one of the local make it manageable, i tried to stick with a small group of kids, and this first image is what ran dominant on a little back-page package a couple days later

this little boy was running like a maniac through that cemetery...scanning the site, he'd suddenly yell "i see one" and go running and screaming to the next headstone - it was a chore keeping up with him

seems like there's always that one kid that just kind of gets to you...this little boy started talking about how his grandfather was buried here he thought - he got lung cancer and died, and his uncle got "the cancer" too and then he died too...the other kids weren't really paying any attention to that, but i started talking to him, and he just kind of stuck to my side after that...i'd start shooting some other boys, and i'd notice him standing there just kind of waiting for me to come back, so i did, and he told me about how much he'd like to have a toy flying plane, and that he was going to a Tigers game soon and they had seats right behind the dugout...later, after they'd put out all their flags on the graves, he started playing with his handful of left-overs - "i have funny ears" he'd say, sticking them about his head, until one of the parents scolded him and the others for mistreating the flag...they are kids after all, and really, amidst all the seriousness we all face, and of which this little boy is obviously aware in his own family, can't kids just BE kids?

oh, this one is SO still life - bound!

sports o' the week

at a track meet last monday, and i know this has been done before (by one of our interns i believe even), but i  just wanted to play and see what i could see...not totally into these, i think they're kind of "almosts," but not so bad i s'pose

saturday's weekend shooting included a doubleheader, and i just liked this dive back to first pic - this is one of my safety shots, but i'm usually shooting it from the third baseline, so this was a little different and cleaner

on the lighter side

just some natural prettiness here....

while in line at the grocery check-out a couple weeks ago, i saw this pretty bunch of tulips on sale for a couple bux, so i got 'em, and before they totally died, had to break out the lensBABY and make some frames.....

making my way back to my car after shooting golf, and i was struck by how the roots of the very old stately trees had come up out of the ground and woven themselves over the base of the trunk, and the texture of the lichen growing...just liked the feel of it...and it suddenly reminded me of when i was six, and my first grade teacher (whom i loved - Mrs. Beavers) held her own little workshop over the summer break - she took us to the museum, introduced us to her neighbor and his big boa constrictor pet that he told us all about and let us touch, and one day we went to the park, where she told us that the green stuff growing on the trees was called "lichen" and we got to make our own little glass bottle dioramas (or whatever those things are called) of 'foresty stuff" - strange how the mind works - one day you learn what lichen is, and over 30 some years later, suddenly your mind goes right back there....a good memory

Thursday, May 21, 2009

dirt, worms and color

so the last two days have been simply gorgeous - a complete hint of summer - the nice summer, not the very hot, sticky stuff that will be sure to rear its rather ugly, dehydrating head the week of the county fair - and i have the days off - my weekend for working through the typical-work world weekend yet to come....a-planting i shall go, a-planting i done gone....this is the garden so far....with a few close-ups of some of my favorites - dahlias and daisy varieties, i'll have to hold up on the beauty of the gazannias, because they have already closed up and retired for the evening!

i decided this year to try and plant some veggies, and i bought a tomato plant....i was so very excited to see the flowers and this little nubbin of a tomato that had just started to grow....just as i was putting stuff away yesterday, i accidentally knocked over the pot, and the plant toppled, breaking the stem completely off its roots - so here's the first tomato i WOULD HAVE grown :(
 but, i was inspired to try again, so hopefully i will have more home-grown produce in my future!!
another dahlia - they are so beautiful!!

the front plot

one side of the porch - dug up the grass (which never got mowed anyway) and made this bricked-in area to set the pots on - the circular nature was a little tricky, so i left a middle space and planted some flowers in there....still a couple flats of to-be-planted things and extra pots set out on here, but you get the idea- it's no martha stewart, but whatever.....

Friday, May 15, 2009

all in (roughly) a week's work

picks of the picks from what i've shot in the last 7-10 days -- been in a lot of feature hunting and kid scenarios, but that's's my eye-ful for the week as i try to get back to posting more regularly (well, at least more than just once a month)!!

i was chatting with this little girl and her mom after making their portrait yesterday - she ran to get her doll and asked me to take a picture of them together....the weird thing is that just that very morning i was shooting a toddler play group at the library, and one of the girls i focused on was clutching this very same doll!!!

outtake from a story about a school bus driver who put her extra 10 minutes before kids can unload and head into school to use by holding a spelling bee every morning...the kids are divided into teams and the team that gets the most points each month gets a special treat...they've spelled over 2000 words since it started in october....while i was on the busride to shool, i tried to get some pictures for our weekly photo page and if lucky maybe even a still life...

and now for something completely different...

got this assignment to make a portrait for our relatively new seasonal glossy publication Monroe Magazine - this woman is starting a club for teens to get them exposed to Lake Erie and its beauty and was dark, gloomy and/or rainy for most of the last half of the week, but it had to be shot within a couple days, so weather be damned, try to make a good portrait - i thought i was going to get lucky and have a nice sundown - i was shooting a softball game, and as the time approached for me to hightail it over to the lake and meet this woman, the clouds started rolling in, looking pretty threatening - i'd brought an antique umbrella i have just in case, and i like the element it added to the portrait, but i also liked the shot without it (my "test shot" actually, but i think it was the best one), which is what they're running in the mag

and the beat goes on....

just an outtake of a grab i made while at a family's house before school earlier this week - this family had just bought a house and moved to that street so their kids could be within walking-distance of their elementary school - as of late last week, that was one of 4 schools slated to be shut down due to budget cuts...below, the mother snuggles with her toddler son (whom they'd planned also to go there when he was ready) as they watch the ducks on the river banks from their living room window...just liked this tender moment between them...

the art of feature hunting - get in car, point said vehicle in some direction, drive around in big squares until you find somebody doing something....found this one one day, and the one below it the next

the older of these 2 cousins had donned his dad's baseball cap as they rode up and down the sidewalk in front of their house - he could barely see - i think you could have fit about 2 of his heads in there!

So, to end on one of my favorite notes, the bus ride was kind - not only did i shoot the assignment and get some contenders for the photo page, i found a still life - just love all these faces! everyone is looking off in their own direction, and miraculously none of them are looking at me!

"There are no ordinary people." -- C.S. Lewis

couldn't have said it better myself...til next time

Saturday, May 9, 2009


"Freedom is only granted us that obedience may be more perfect."

                                                                          -- John Ruskin

"Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives : where we focus our attention."

                                                                             -- Greg Anderson

over a month with no posting...just seems every time i intend to do it, i either get distracted, run out of time or am simply, regrettably, too lazy....pretty lame...i think the weather has had me in a funk - too many chilly grey days with not enough warmth and light mixed in to keep a forward momentum going...but, those days when it has been nice have felt so good - like the friday night a few weeks ago when i actually got to shoot sports not in the cold or rain or both - beautiful light, beautiful sundown....and interspersed have been some moments of feature hunting and even a couple still life, from what i could dig up that i have sized and intended to post for weeks now are some of those frames....i'm hoping/intending that when spring REALLY arrives, it will bring me a personal renewal as well, and everything in me that has been lying a little dormant below the surface and feels like it won't ever come out (and on the worst days makes me feel like it might not even really be in there), will finally break through and show itself....

on the way driving back from the game, i came up to this stoplight and noticed these two coming up to the crosswalk - grabbed my camera off the seat, quickly changed the exposure and managed to get this frame just as they passed in front of me....

since i had the camera out, i just thought i'd keep shooting as i headed back to the paper - so here is downtown Monroe at sundown...gotta love shooting and driving at the same if only i'd been smoking, drinking coffee and shifting gears, i'd be the ultimate multi-tasker, and/or currently recovering from some traffic-related injuries....more soon!!