Saturday, June 27, 2009

a week of features

since tuesday, i've had a lot of featurey assignments, and i've feature hunted each day, too, just cos'.....not going to post everything, just the highlights that i liked, along with any relevant commentary, for what it's worth.....

this is a feature that i've shot before, but it's such eye candy, i couldn't resist, and it's different every time it seems - depending on the mesh, where the sun is, whether you go for a silhouette or not, how they jump, where they land, etc; so, i don't mind that i shot this again (it's been years, too, does that make it more okay?)....i had a couple hours to kill before a stand-alone feature assignment on a canine obedience class, which honestly, i wasn't totally into, so i felt like i needed to go do something i maybe would feel better about, and i think i found it

the next day, a bit of the same scenario - came back into the office after grabbing a bite, and saw an assignment in from a writer about how they are repainting the old village hall in one of the small towns we cover...there was another in the basket for a hot weather feature for next day's page one from the editor - the afternoon fotog already had a couple assignments going, so i wasn't going to ask her to feature hunt - the editor said either of those assn;s could work for the next day - the outdoor work (also a stand-alone) couple work in terms of the weather fea as well - playing in the pool on a 90+ day or sweatily working in it - both get the job i went up to the village - no one was working - and i don't know where people go in that little village, but i have yet to successfully find a feature there - they must all be huddled around the ac units inside or something - so made my way back to Monroe - not finding a whole lot, and i was taking a back way thru neighborhoods to get to an ice cream stand where there's always someone, turned down a side street, and there's kids riding around their yard on a miniature pony - what the hell? turns out it was a b-day party, and they were happy for me to stay and make some pictures - didn't get anything of the pony ride that i liked that much, which was a little disappointing, but they weren't on it long before they decided the pool was a much more alluring, anyway, here's the result of my lucky find for the day 

next day, did the desk stuff and the meetings, then i went to shoot a girls hoops camp as a stand-alone before i went to a "tour our new surgery rooms" assn. at the hospital - tear it up! i wouldn't be so cynical if it weren't our hospital, which has historically been a photo nightmare for us - nothing but one stop block and red tape hassle after another whenever we have to try and do something i was walking in - thankful at least for the ac after spending an hour-plus in a hot, steamy, un-ac'd gym - i  saw this guy walking out - i just loved the cane, and how he was stooped over and yet sporting his pistons jersey like a young guy

such was the week - a lot of feature pix, be it the drive-around kind or just events that we found out about that would work as stand-alone art...that was my theme this week i guess, but at least i found some frames i like and met some nice people  - can't really ask for a whole lot more than that

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

no all star photos last night!

got in to work yesterday afternoon and glanced at the board as i was setting my stuff down - oh no! ANOTHER all-star game? this time was the county-wide baseball all-stars...yeah, i forgot about that one...there was also a "family fun night" (we'll have face painting, the balloon man and a moonwalk!! the request said...ooh, no why does that sound so darned familiar??!!?) set to start at the same time and last for only a couple hours....i was gonna hit that quick then go to the game, until i found out it was going to be page 1, and i figured maybe it would be busier from 6 to 7, so i opted to shoot the game for an hour then go there...pretty much a crap shoot either way, because i could have guessed wrong and end up missing out on all fronts - maybe not getting good action, maybe missing the biggest crowds at the family night...but i just went with it - didn't get any good action at the baseball game - kids weren't getting on base so much, or when they did, there was no good action or plays involved, and the game was going quick - they were already in the bottom of the 4th after an hour - which is unusual for baseball here it seems - got up to the family night....i pull up thinking, hmm, where are all the people???? i see the moonwalk, i see the clown, i see the Wendy's mascot....and i see one kid with her grandparents getting a balloon animal made....greeaaaatt!!!! through the hour remaining a trickle of kids came and went - turns out i didn't miss the big crowd - this WAS the big crowd, the busiest they got; so i didn't guess wrong on where to go first, it just was pretty much gonna stink no matter how ya sliced i'm looking and watching, and i make a couple pix of some extremely non-expressive kids getting balloons made, and i try to shoot the face painting thing - ya know, the old 'take the over the shoulder shot as the kid checks out their colorful, sparkly new image in the clown's mirror' picture, but the mirror she had must have been about 50 years old and packed away in sawdust, so i can't see a thing...and i'm thinking "i won't shoot the moonwalk, i won't shoot the moonwalk, i won't shoot the moonwalk"....aww hell, i'm gonna have to shoot the moonwalk - that's the only place where more than 2 people are! this isn't what i turned in for the next day, but i'm gonna submit it for next week's photo page or a still life....bit of a rough night all in all....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

just when you think the fat lady has sung....

i forgot that after all the state finals were done and gone, that doesn't mean  a brief lull in sports - oh yeah, all star games!
we had 3 kids picked to be on the state all-star teams, which they play in Comerica Park (home of the Detroit Tigers), which is pretty cool for these kids and was also cool for me since i've never been there....

but 9 innings  - oy vey!! and i really could only shoot the 3 local kids - not to mention our side was spanking the other team, so the action wasn't crazy great complicate matters, only one of the 3 boys started, and he injured himself sliding into first right at the start of the game - but, he brought in the first run on that hit - he played a few more inings, but he really couldn't do much, as it turns out he half-tore his acl (?)...the other 2 kids eventually got in - both were pitchers, so not a lot of variety there....but i liked this image of the kids in the dugout - probably just because the sky was so dramatic, and after 3 hours, i was tired of the field and looking for something different/featurey anyway....

....friday night lights - this time, with REAL light!....

of all the sports, i've always counted football one of my weakest, but what a difference shooting it with real daylight makes! this was the annual Monroe County All Star game - i guess people here can only go so long without friday night football, so they hold this game in the summertime - it's kind of like the "Christmas in July" of sports...anyway, i got some pretty decent action - and some things i'd never ordinarily get - like this catch deep into the enzone - i was right there with the 300 on, so i'm surprised i actually was able to focus that fast and get it  - it's maybe a little too tight, but still...i was pretty happy just to get it

man, i wish his foot wasn't cut off!

this one was just an unexpected lucky shot - i never really shoot this play, but for some reason i focused in to see if i could time it right and actually get the kick before the ball was out of frame - didn't even see this kid leaping in for the block until i chimped after noticing what happened - hey! crazy - nice little surprise for me - i know it's not some portfolio image, but i like it because it's different 

the funeral

to catch up on something old - a week old to be exact - last saturday was the funeral for the little girl who was we thought we may have teams going on to the state baseball/softball finals that same day, i was switched to work that day to cover the funeral - turns out that all our teams lost (which NEVER happens, least not since i've been here - typically they all go on to the bitter end, THEN they all lose...but whatever); so since there were now 2 of us on and only that one assignment, we just teamed up on it - they were going to drive through town, past the park where she loved to play and then on to the cemetery, from which all media were banned - at least, the obvious media - meaning those of us bearing large cameras - our reporter of course strolled into the whole thing - funeral service, burial etc....anyway, a group of people decided to line the road of the park and release balloons as the procession passed, so i went there and the other fotog, our current intern Jenny, (who makes very good cookies on a totally unrelated note) was staking out the area closer to the cemetery, then i was going to go there and see what we could get, if anything of that - the balloon thing wasn't quite what i was envisioning i'd get, and since from the time i got there and to when the procession passed was about 3 hours, i made the mistake of second-guessing myself as to who would be the right group of people to stick with when the moment arrived - really, the whole thing just turned out to be a bust, as you can see from what i shot...

that done, and feeling completely like i'd blown it - cos it sounded like it would be really cool visually, and i made the other mistake of pre-visualizing beforehand, which is a sure path to disappointment - i went to the cemetery - i'd driven around there that morning, cos you can normally tell where a burial is going to be, and i wanted to know about where in this very large, packed cemetery everything was going to be, but i couldn't tell a thing....turns out that was because she was being buried in a back corner, behind all the office and mausoleum buildings - ie completely invisible from the road.....unless you go to a different road, that is...there's a side road in a neighborhood that essentially dead-ends to the cemetery right in that area....Jenny and i thought we'd just go over that way and see if there was anything you could shoot from that angle.....
so, we get there, i grab the 300, and we walk up to where it's totally this wall of weeds - Jenny just plows on through, and i'm standing there thinking, hmm, should i be doing this - cos now it's making a real back-door effort to see and photograph (maybe - i got no idea what's behind this wall of weeds) something the family has specifically asked us not to  - it's one thing if the media pack is outside the gates shooting the far-off gathering, but this seemed to be going beyond that....and to be honest, a big part of it for me, too, was i got no idea where or in what i'm heading - think of the poison ivy , the lurking large spiders that love to live in weeds (and of which i am deathly phobic) - so after a few minutes of mulling this over, and noting that there was a tv van parked at that dead-end, too, and they were nowhere in sight, i thought - c'mon kim, don't be a wimp, and what if the tv is in there shooting it and we don't, so in i went.....there wasn't too much weediness before you came to a clearing, and then there was a small i walked up to its end, crap, right there they were, not 30 feet away - the whole thing, and i can see it plain as, now what to do, i just started shooting - people are passing by the coffin and laying flowers atop it or just touching it as they passed, and they're hugging, and there's no tv anywhere - just me and Jenny, and having the 300 that close, i can get a lot of really clear shots....til one of the funeral guys noticed, and then he said to please respect the family's wishes and we did, and i was feeling really torn about what i'd just done - i mean, technically, we were outside the property, we just happened to know a back-way to get to where we could shoot something, but it still felt pretty sneaky, and i decided i wasn't going to submit any of those pictures...
we got back to the paper, and Jenny and i were looking at what we'd shot, and the copy editor saw those pix and knew that no one else had anything like he's getting interested, and i'm like, we can't run this, and i'm not going to make them available to run - he called the head editor to get her opinion, and she basically agreed - if we have other stuff from the procession, we don't need this - of course, the procession stuff is pretty bad, but i still would rather run that and not deal with what i think would be a morally "iffy" photo, which isn't that great either really, as you can see here....

it just was one of those days when i felt really torn ethically about 1) having shot this at all, and 2) running it -especially after the reporter came back and handed over the point and shoot he took with some shots we could use of the cemetery gathering - the editor still decided against it, and we just ran what we had, which i think was the right decision in the end - just too much moral quandary for the day, and not something i've had to deal with much at all since i've been doing this - just left me feeling pretty uncomfortable all the way around, and i was glad to finish that day and put it behind me....


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

assignment bust leads to feature must

i have some backdated things to post, which i shall get to soon, but this being my official 100th post, i was kind of holding out for something that i really liked i went out to the state park to shoot a college student who is leading an "explorer group" for kids to teach them about nature/being green, was an overcast day, sprinkling early in the morning with forecasts to rain and storm all day - that never really came to fruition, but i suppose the predictions, along with the clouds, was enough to keep any would-be attendees interested in learning more about the nature and eco-usefulness of the mayfly away, because no one showed...well, at least i learned a thing or two about the mayflies, made a portrait just in case they wanted to run the story soon before we could get back to shoot an event, then i went around the park in search of a potential feature....i wandered up onto the beach along Lake Erie and spotted a guy with 2 small kids playing on the shoreline....finally, i feel like i've made a pic or so that i like for the visuals, for the feel of them - these have more of a "feel" moment than an outward/interactive moment...which in a way i think i prefer - maybe i'm just drawn to subtlety - it's great to get those pictures that just burst out at you, but it's the quiet ones that sometimes have more impact to me - what's that expression? - still waters run deep...

although these are very similar looking, the mood of each is so different that i can't decide which i like better

after searching the beach for a stick to place atop her small sandcastle mound, this little girl found a really big stick - too big for her castles, but just right for making drawings in the sand - as the water crept up and continued to wash away her work, she'd simply remake them all over again

after making her castle forts, she triumphantly held up her stick, proclaiming herself queen of the realm!

i had a couple other versions, a little more quiet, of this moment, but i was drawn to the energy of her leaping upward as the water rolled in.....i think this is the beauty of childhood - you interact so completely and richly with everything you encounter, and everything around you - even the simple ebb and flow of the water - has a magic all its own...
yeah, this is my favorite

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

sports, final moments and in memorium

yesterday, i was on my way back from shooting a couple assignments and would be pretty much driving past the memorial to Navaeh, so i decided to drive along that road on my way back and see what was there, if any people were stopping, etc...i kind of felt like i was trying to get the picture i should have gotten a few days ago - just another day trying to play catch-up with this story visually, but since i was so close, i just went there....
it felt pretty creepy, staring down at the riverbank where her body was found, and even though i haven't felt really emotionally drawn in by everything (probably because i've been more consumed with the how we're missing everything than being really in it), i couldn't help but start to get choked up by the sadness of it that just kind of hit me as i pulled up along the road...there were a few other cars that stopped, and some got out and stood along the bank and looked at all the toys, flowers and religious items that have been placed there in her roadside memorial...but no one wanted to be photographed, so i shot this image, and then i left, just feeling kind of laden and thick and sad and feeling like this world can be a very horrible place

and then today

today was somewhat hectic - i knew i had a baseball game early afternoon - state quarterfinals, but i got a call from Mr. Bosch that one of the schools being shut down was going to give the building a big group hug after taking down the flag for the last time that afternoon - it was about 45 minutes before my game (which, as it turns out, was really 15 minutes before that, since sports gave us the wrong time...i figured that out later as i heard the announcer saying it was the top of the fourth and i'd only been there about 15 minutes - on NO planet whatsoever does baseball get to the top of the 4th in that time!!!), i went to the school, made some frames which i kind of like - the group hug thing was pretty much a bust visually, but i really liked some of the moments before that, and they still fit the tone of the, here they be...

i don't know which of these 2 frames i like better, but i think i'm turning one in for our community photo page next week

the principal asked all the students to shut their eyes and concentrate, think about their most special memory of their time at the school - i just really liked how this little girl covered her eyes and was focusing so hard on what was, for many of them, a very sad day

then, off to baseball

got a call just as i was leaving the game that the family of Navaeh may be willing to sit down and talk to us - in particular the mom, who has been mum to the media under police suggestion...unfortunately, she decided either today or yesterday to go on the Nancy Grace show, which she ended up walking out on, because she was being attacked - never heard of this CNN woman before, but i saw a clip of the uncle being interviewed and some other pieces she's done, and she's pretty couldn't have picked a WORST first media interview to give if she'd tried! needless to say, that pretty much blew any chances of her talking to anyone now, but the rumor remained, as the sheriff's office reported today that they got back DNA results confirming that the body found was Navaeh's....anyway, i was told they were going to make some kind of dstatement and to get to their apt. complex ASAP, so i did - the uncle did finally come out and made some brief remarks - not going to bother posting my pic, because it's just more of the scrum - this time, i had to crawl down into the middle after getting nosed out by the tv people, even though i was in position, so, that being's an outtake from the baseball game that i liked - just a general baseball feel kind of shot, but i'll post it so ya can take a look-see if you like.....

Saturday, June 6, 2009

a story revisited

the title of this post has a bit of  a double meaning - this is Larissa, on whom we did a story last year as a means of localizing the fact that teen pregnancies in the state had gone on the rise for the first time in over a decade - she had her baby just after the school year ended, and if you look back through old posts, i think i vented some of my frustrations with how the story unravelled - literally as well as figuratively!!
we wanted to do a follow-up if/when she graduated and we'd gotten no response back from her until the afternoon before commencement ceremonies yesterday - Larissa was unusually upbeat and enthusiastic to do a follow-up, and i was going to be out shooting the event for the daily anyway, so i could try to hook up with her while there...
she told the reporter that since so many family were coming, they'd get there really early - like 2 hours early - and just be hanging out together, including the baby - perfect, i'm thinking - i can hang with them, get the pix of her in grad attire at the school with her son, and then i won't be trying to do 2 different things simultaneously - so i get there about a half hour after she said they should be there, and they are nowhere - not in the school, not on the field, nada - so i call her cell - voicemail....eventually she called me back - they're running late, but they'll be there shortly, so, i just wait - it's still about an hour and a half til the thing starts, and hey, at least i got a really good parking space, right? 
so, finally, i see them walking toward the field, and the family and baby boy head towards me and Larissa breaks away and heads to the school - WHAT???!!!
since it's so late, Larissa has to go sign in and get ready to line up now - frickin great!
so, what to do - i go into the school, find her, figure at least i can get her with friends, whatever - i am SO over this story (see what i mean about the story revisited part? the way this was going was giving me a major case of deja vu, and not in a good way)

okay, hangin with her and friends and all of a sudden in comes her sister and boyfriend/fiance with the baby - so i'm desperately trying to get something decent out of this in case it's my one shot, and her friends are all gathered round and everyone wants to hold the baby....i get something, but not anything i feel really great about - the lighting in the school commons is horrible, there's motion blur in the couple pix i like, etc etc, but it'll work if it has to....
so i break off and go about shooting for the daily after they leave and tell her i'll try to catch up with her later - assuming/hoping they don't just hop right into their car and leave at the end of the ceremony

...and then there's this...

waiting for things to start, i get a call from a reporter - they've opened the road by the fishing hole where the body of the missing little girl was found buried by fishermen Thursday night...he's on his way and we could get a picture of the riverbank - but the kids haven't even started walking to the field yet, and i have just some average shots of getting ready inside/kids talking/laughing, etc, and not knowing what we were gonna shoot, i'm thinking i probably shouldn't leave - i should at least try to get something better of them when they come out, and then i could ditch (including Larissa - just go with what i got) if need be - i mean, this might just be a picture of dirt and grass along the river, right? so, i shoot fast, and i get a couple things i like, so i call him back about 40 minutes later - he tells me that there were people there, and they held this impromptu prayer circle along the bank, and i'm like - well, crap, should i come out there? i mean, this is a big story, given what happened out there - it clearly was more visually than just a picture of the ground, so i should have been there - well, he tells me it's done, everyone's left - he took some pix with the camera i suggested he take on his way there, and i'm feeling pretty bad - not that i could have known it was going to be that, and given i was shooting for what was slated to be dominant 1a (though i knew right away that wasn't the case anymore) plus the Larissa story - to ditch all that on an uncertainty...hindsight is 20/20, but i just hope i made the right decision in the moment and don't second-guess myself too much after the fact....
anyway, i made some pix of the graduation that i liked after his call, and then i caught up with Larissa on her way out - here's the result....hope it was worth it

class of 2009

first friday in june spells graduation 
this is one of those yearly challenges, because having shot it so many times over the years, there are certain pictures you just can't keep taking - the bubble blowing, the beach balls being bounced through the seats of the 400-some graduates - although this year, someone actually snuck in and managed to inflate a blow-up doll - like the cheesy sex toy kind of thing - it was actually pretty hysterical - even the security guy was laughing at it, and the kids just totally fell out when that thing went airborn! anyway, these are a few that i liked from the night...

the teachers lined up, forming a tunnel as the class processed onto the football field - at some point, they held out their hands to high-five a few of the kids, but then everyone just kept doing it - "hey, who started this?!" joked one of the teachers - there are about 400 kids in this graduating class

i don't normally stay until the very end of the ceremony, but as mentioned in the first post, i had to, which was cool, because i've not shot the hat toss before, and i wasn't even sure they'd do it, but i tried to position myself in the center aisle so i could scope out both sides for some kids who looked like they could be pretty animated - i was set to shoot a different section, but then i noticed this row - they were trying to start a wave near the end of the ceremony, and so i shifted down to where they were at the last minute - pretty lucky, because right before they threw their caps up, these two turned to each other and kissed - it was just a sweet moment and completely unexpected, so i felt pretty lucky - as for the caps shot, it's not the coolest - i've seen it shot a lot better compositionally, but still, i like the energy of it, and just the way the girl is kind of hunkering down in anticipation of the oncoming rain of falling caps

Thursday, June 4, 2009

i learned the other day that i rolled over this year into getting 15 days vacation status! woo hoo! so i decided that, given there were no assignments on the board as of post-deadline wednesday, i'd just go ahead and take an impromptu vacation day today - weather supposed to be nice (still, not even 70 degrees! wha's up???), and i had some bare spots to fill in in the garden, and it would just be cool to have an unexpected day away...came home after work yesterday to find a note from the city - all water on my block would be shut off from 7 am to 4 or so pm...BOOOO!!!! okay, so, cleaning the fridge definitely out of the question - not that that's a fun way to spend a day off, but it was on the to-do list of possibilities - anyway, for being waterless the better part of the day, i think i got a lot accomplished - including moving the summer clothes out of the footlocker and cleaning the big winter sweaters and moving them, along with winter socks, etc, into the footlocker - always a big chore it seems, and one that i've been putting off for a while - partly out of necessity, since i've still been wearing them through the spring. then i returned all the pop bottles accumulating in my backseat, got all my filler planting done, cleaned the car, prepped some new pix to post over coffee this morning, and now, keeping up with the posting before i just relax for the remainder of the day and do some beading on a peyote stitch bracelet i started....all in all, not a bad day, and the water is back on without any problems, thank goodness - crazy how you just do things by rote - even though i knew it was gone, i found myself reaching for the faucet in the kitchen or bathroom time and again simply out of habit - thank god for the inventor of hand sanitizer!....anyway, all that pretty boring stuff being said, here are a few pix shot yesterday - one from my feature hunt, and the others from more lensBABY fun after watering the plants last evening.....sorry to be such a bore - this is a pretty stupid post - i mean, really, who cares about me switching over my seasonal clothing wear, returning plastic bottles and getting to flush my toilet, right?!?! if you actually made it this far in the reading of the post, let me just say you are officially a good sport!

i went on the old random drive through town and was on my way to hit a frozen custard stand out of default (i was striking out big time!) when, while waiting to make a left, i spyed these girls in the parking lot across the way...i pulled in and got out to see what they were doing - they'd just finished their last day as 8th graders and were taking goofy pix on cell phones of each other in the parking lot - maybe not the greatest pix, but kind of a cool, community-feel moment, so i went with reminded me of how when you're 14 everything you do with your friends, no matter how small or silly, is fodder for a reason to giggle uncontrollably...why do we lose that as adults? 

and now, on to the lensBABY

i think i nearly blinded myself lying in the grass on my stomach trying to shoot from beneath this dandelion at sunset - my neighbors must think i'm such a wack-job!

so, hey, umm, yeah, thanx for looking!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

my green thumb's worth

so, 2 days off this weekend, and nice-ish weather...plant plaNT PLANT!!! here's the result of my work, along with some post-planting fun lensBABY exploration of the colors and textures now peppering my front yard....

moved the veggies off to the side so i could use my new patio planters for some pink varietal daisies i got...the pepper has a bud!! i'm sure you're just on pins and needles to see how it turns out!

sometimes, flowers are just as beautiful from the back-side as their more viewed front petals and blossoms

a very pretty light, light pink gerbera that i found

oh dahlia' beautiful!

a couple different views of the violas

i love the furry pollen texture of the little stamen (is that the right term?) tucked within the flower's like they're in their own little safe, beautiful world

margarite daisies in pink varieties...couldn't pass these up, though i didn't need to buy more plants...i mean, really, how could i????

just have to end on the dahlia note...again, the detail of the interiors of these flowers, they simply amaze me