Sunday, August 30, 2009

the repurcussions of indecision

a sunday, i have no idea what to do with myself - i sleep in, i wake up and lay there thinking that i could just stay here, a lump beneath the very warm covers, the whole day long, but this is my short weekend, the one before my now long weekend, as we get into our new schedule - so, after coffee and prepping pix to post here, i sit, pondering what to do...i really don't want to go back home, but i don't really know WHAT i want to do - museum? no, too late in the day....go to the mall in Toledo or Detroit? no, too far, and i NEVER go to the mall - i mean, i spend money on a lot of stupid stuff, but i haven't gone "shopping" in i don't know how long...besides, i really can't afford it, so shopping actually means going somewhere and feeling depressed walking out empty-handed after seeing things i want and can't afford, or guilty after walking out with things i now have and still can't afford.....i am bored, and after putting over a hundred miles in driving for work yesterday, i don't feel like even the Toledo trek, and given the sorry nature of our local mall, i decided to just go there and see what's new in the several months since last i've been - should be a safe compromise - so, i meander thru a couple stores, and i'm okay with not finding anything, and then i go into a chain store which i never have bought anything from, and i see THESE JEANS in the display window - now, let me just say that jeans these days have lost a lot of appeal for me - the whole super skinny jeans, zipper that extends about a quarter of an inch from the top button, super low rise, squish my ass thing - i don't think it looks good on anyone, and it is definitely NOT my denim-wearin' cup-o-tea...but THESE JEANS they're the "boyfriend" cut - i.e. - when i want to be close to my man, i wanna wear his clothes, and these are his cut-o-jeans - i think they're called the "Kyleigh Boyfriend" - oh yeah, well, he's my boyfriend now bitch, and for buy one get one free, i can keep TWO pairs of his drawers in my drawers!

so, there you have it, girlfriend got the credit card in the wallet, she's got the angel on one shoulder, and the devil on the other, and let me just say, someone gonna be going to confession this week!

and if you've ever been the sort of personality that subscribes to the working theory - "i already screwed up, so why not just get this, too?!" then you will understand the subsequent result of my swing thru Target on the way out of the mall - hey, this wacky little bag is on clearance - man, this goofy hat is sort of "cool" goofy AND it's really warm (insert football shooting flashback here), and man, these boots are pretty kick-ass, and i didn't find anything at the usually cool cheap shoe store (and i am, sadly, a shoe gal) - and these are only that much?
yeah, so there you have it - not to mention the stop at bath and body works just to see what they have, and buy 2 get one free later...well, let's just say i now have 3 new body lotions - i am a velvet tuberose, wild honeysuckle and "midnight amethyst" -- ooh the mystery of me!!! (in all fairness, most of the lotions i have left now are on their last few drops)
....but, ya know, despite the "shouldn't have done that" thread running thru my head, i actually don't feel that bad - cos, the way i see it, if i just quit smoking, this'll all be paid for in no time!!!!!
in the meantime, all the bills are making me want to smoke really, really bad!!!

jumping in with both feet

the title is as such - this past weekend kicked off (no pun intended, well, okay, maybe a little) the official start of the football season - though we won't be able to do this for most of the season, we both worked the night shift so we could cover 2 games - in part, because we also needed to shoot a page 1 "Friday night Football Returns" dominant feature, and also because one of the schools is in an area where we put out a weekly tab, so you gotta shoot extra to cover 2 publications, essentially.....but, wait, it's not just all that which warrants the title of this particular post - the one thing that i dread about shooting football every year is not really the sport, but all the elemental factors that usually accompany it - cold, damp, wet, windy, oh yeah, and it's dark -  several of our schools clearly have not put sports lighting on the budget (which could lead to an entire cynical thread of its own - i mean, a lot of them can barely afford to stay open, let alone spend their non-existent/in-the-red budgets on little things like better lighting for the local journalists to shoot under!).....but i digress - so, to the jumping in, all appendages on deck, our weather has taken a turn for the chillier - more like late september or october than august - and there was rain - oh lord, was there rain - okay, i'm exaggerating - it was only a slight steady dripping, but then there was that really very big cloud i noticed lurking on the fast-approaching horizon toward the end of the first quarter - oh ye of the slightly greenish foreboding tone - oh, yeah, something was coming, and it wasn't going to be, having bagged a couple decent action shots (i didn't have the primary game, i had the optional one, so really i was trying most for the feature), i went up into the stands, and within minutes that cloud had arrived, and it wasn't going to pass by without seriously making its presence known - it only lasted about 10 or 15 minutes, but it was kind of cool, because it helped the feature - 2 girls braved the better part of the downpour, sans umbrellas, still cheering for the home team, and at its hardest, it sent kids piling onto one another beneath the umbrella holders - i could only hope i had something, because honestly, i couldn't see a thing thru the rain, all the water running into my eyes and seriously streaking up the lens, and trying to focus...well, you get the idea- not sure i captured all the momentary chaos of the scenario, but i felt pretty happy about what i got regardless...and let me just thank the good people at nikon for making their cameras pretty damn tough, because that D3, soaked to the bone as it was, didn't miss a beat - now, me, not so much - try clearing off your glasses with soaking wet clothes - yeah, not working so good - down to no glasses and manual focus? good thing it was half time and i had to go, cos for me, it was pretty much game over at that point!

and just when you thought you hadn't had enough!

saturday, it was back out for more football - monroe vs adrian - a big rivalry, and they hadn't played one another for whatever reason in a year or so, so now it really was even a bigger deal! they, along with a few of the other larger regional schools got to hold their season opener in the stadium at EMU - again, needed a page 1 dominant feature along with action for page 1 sports - the home team wasn't doing so hot - in fact, they got spanked - 30-0 - not a rivalry match to go down in the ol' history book, unless you're the other team maybe....that always makes the action harder, cos if they can't execute the plays, that leaves me just less to work with action-wise....liked this shot best, though it is a better picture of a guy on the other team

halfway thru the second quarter, i started focusing on the sidelines - i shot fans as the feature the night before, so i wanted this one to be something of the players, especially since the big deal was the team rivalry - got these 2 kids' reactions as they watched the defense go for an interception - and then i was off - i actually wouldn't have minded staying for the whole game, but we were in Ypsilanti - about 40 minutes or so drive, and i had to get down to "Kids Day in Luna Pier" - on the southeast part of our county - which was a good hour, and since i was on desk that night, too, i was trying to get some time off somewhere in there....

so, they had a sandcastle contest on the beach, a mechanical bull, not just one but several inflatable moonwalk things (i shot none! yeah for me!), a musical chairs game, etc was actually kind of cool....

i saw these 2 girls swinging around on a fence game thing in the little park near the beach - they were actually part of a wedding that was going on on the pier simultaneous to the event - the wedding party had no idea this event was scheduled at the same time - some of them told me they thought it was just part of their ceremony - i was like, y'all must have been thinking, boy do these people in Luna Pier know how to host a wedding or what?! anyway, for this one i'm thinking Still Life - quote ideas anyone?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

things such as they are so far

this week seems a bit more normal thus far - actual assignments on the board, though this whole not doing the desk work and all is taking some getting used to i must admit...anyway, yesterday's work was guys prepping schoolbuses and then a dog agility training in for the afternoon shift, and Bryan and i were starting to catch up on all the latest work stories - the funny, the ridiculous and the maddening, when he suggested we continue later cos what if the bus guys working all day isn't quite accurate and they all get done by like 3 or something - point taken, and out i head....

the big thing they told us they were doing was realigning and checking all the cameras on the fleet...each bus has a front and rear camera/audio installed - kids ain't gettin away with nothin on a monroe public school bus! shooting-wise, it was tricky - here's this guy working on buses (with no interior lights on) inside the garage - of course, he couldn't be doing the ones outside where, you know, there's light - sort of a critical element to the whole photographic process - so, instead of writing with light, i was writing with, well, let's just say, not so much - good thing i'm steady at longer exposures! as if that wasn't a challenge enough, what he's doing entails him standing either right at the very front or right at the very back of the bus - so, there's the additional issue of how to physically shoot this without just showing the back of a head...did the best i could - kind of liked just showing him as recorded on the laptop screen while working on the rear camera with the other school buses visible thru the window to give some context...anyway, bit of a challenge......

later, there was a group meeting for their weekly dog agility training - mostly 4-H kids who do the dog shows - nice night, nice light - and i liked some of the images of the kids just hanging out, moreso than the pix i made of them running their dogs thru the jumps and hoops....

so, today - went out to a greenhouse farm business that is closing after 85 years in operation - i was expecting just your average family greenhouse business, but i pull up and holy cow - this place was a huge complex - 12 acres of fields and greenhouses of varying styles and materials - this whole assignment is a story in and of itself, in terms of negotiating shooting it with the reporter, and i'm not even gonna get into it, but anyway, i was going there to shoot whatever work was going on - which is pretty minimal since they're about 90% shut down in preparation for closing and auctioning off the whole kit and kaboodle in a few weeks...but one of the family members had me hop on a golf cart to go thru in search of workers - i kind of wished i could have just roamed, but she was cool and gave me the full tour and wasn't really rushing me thru, so it worked out okay i suppose - just wasn't expecting a guided shoot experience - interesting aside, when her grandparents started it all, and branched out from farming to the greenhouse part, they had the idea they might could sell some of their flowers thru this new store that just opened - a little shop called funny is that?! within a few years they were providing the flora and fauna for all of their central Michigan stores.....they weren't able to handle the national level of business, but still, that just struck me as so crazy - just having no context for K-Mart being this one-store little start-up business - i'm sure none of them on either side at the time were expecting K-Mart to be, you know K-MART! (or K-Marts, as they call it, cos here, EVERYTHING is pluralized! you don't work for Ford, you work for Fords, and you don't shop at Kroger, you buy your groceries from the Krogers)...i just liked this view from the back side - the colors and saturation...

got back from there after making a brief stop by the river - saw a few guys fly fishing as i drove over the bridge and thought i'd check it out for InSight - those pix were pretty lame, but i liked all these gulls lined up atop a streetlight - one flew in, driving another off its perch - later, i noticed how it seemed funny like the 2 lamps were these industrial wings juxtaposed with the outstretched wings of the landing gull - or maybe i'm just reading into things.....

so, yeah, back at the office, i was about to edit the greenhouse stuff when a reporter came over to tell me about an update story on a community garden that a church started this spring - it's in full harvest and yeah, there are people out there right now picking - she was just gonna call and tell me what was going on out there later, but knowing the weather forecast, i said, why don't i just go right now since people are there and then i can try to match up the people we photograph with those whom you, out again....good thing, too, because they were about done and then it started raining, so no one else was likely coming - and the extended forecast this week is for more rain and chilly temps.....what's even crazier better is that, the church started this "garden ministry" to help those in need in this tough economy and named it after one of their new parishioners, a young woman who was murdered early this year, and the people that were out there working in the garden were her mother and 2 cousins! how nuts is that! so glad i just went when i did! 

after that, i was checking out the sunflowers someone had planted (i'm a total sucker for sunflowers! live sunflowers, dead, dried sunflowers - doesn't matter, i just love them!) - they were absolutely some of the HUGEST i have ever seen - i swear, there were flowers on there as big as my head! i should have done the hail mary self-portrait thing so there would be some scale, but trust me, they're BIG! and the bees were all about being on those fat head plants, too!
Bryan and i liked the last one, cos it really does look like a rag doll with the yarn hair - sunflowers - such personality!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

a feature, another feature and a fair

the board was looking pretty empty all week - so, as not to feel like a sloth, and bank some features for InSight next week, i spent a couple afternoons feature hunting - had a couple nice, just slice of life finds - people (okay, kids) out playing or whatever....

first feature day...

the first day i was driving about and spyed a bunch of kids playing on a sidewalk on a small sidestreet, headed their way and saw this woman cornrowing a little girl's hair on her porch - so i hung with them for a while and tried to work it to get one of those pix that is more or as much about the "feel" it evokes as the scene it shows - not sure i was totally successful, but not bad for a feature find....

kids are so interesting, the little girl was just kind of staring out across the street as the other kids played, patiently waiting her turn to join in while her aunt finished the cornrows on her 5-years' worth of never-been-cut-very long hair (it was taking her forever!), and she starts singing - blue houses, white houses, green houses, brown houses, brown houses, brown houses - her voice trailing off as she repeated the last part over and over again....

and then it was on to eating packets of Kool-Aid like dip n sticks

next feature day....

the next afternoon, i went out to hunt in a trailer park - i usually don't look for features in enclosed subdivisions - like trailer parks, or the kinds of new neighborhoods where the houses are all variations of a common structure - window on the right on this one - window on the left on the next one - and the street names all follow a common theme, usually involving trees or some shakespearean thread - but this day i did -- for all the cars parked at each of the homes, there was surprisingly little evidence of life - saw 3 boys playing in their side yard, and just to bank something, i stopped  - walked back to their yard, and they were gone - hey, no fair! but, it turns out they'd just gone to the back fence where they were joking with a friend who lived in an adjacent park, the 2 separated by a barb-wire topped fence - you weren't supposed to go over the fence to the other side - though they knew of a hole in the fence that you could squeeze through.....wasn't sure what this would bring, but it turned out okay - i mean nothing too cool, but just a decent typical summer day kids life pic....the boys were so excited about maybe being in the paper - on my way to my car,  i could hear them yelling to their mom as they rushed in the trailer - "hey mom, guess what?!!! we might be in the newspaper next Tuesday!!!!!" you'd think they'd won the lotto - good to know being in the paper still holds some appeal!

then recently....

saturday, after the volleyball, i headed down to the park for a "community services and volunteer fair" - basically, info booths set up from various local service orgs, the hospital, etc, a christian band playing and the "kids activity area" - replete with all the usual suspects - face painting, mini ring toss, balloon animals, and yes, prepare yourself, the moonbounce - i didn't even go near that one! hung out with a little girl and her puppy, succumbed to the face painting, then saw this lady caught up in the worship band music....and that was the day

catch-up time again

i can't believe how fast every week seems to go - i feel like i'm constantly catching up - i smell a new year's resolution!!!
summer, sadly, is nearly over, and with the start of all the pre-season sports coverage (i swear, besides feature hunting, i think the ONLY assignments i've had (at least 90%) have been for sports), i feel like the start of school and fall is already here!
so, on that note, here's a few from the wide wide world of monroe prep sports...

soccer preview - new head coach feature

football feature - a starting quarterback

volleyball invitational

(not to mention the golf invitational, which i'm not posting anything from, since my pix were pretty "par for the course" - ha ha, oh what a clever, clever gal i am!)
i saw a post from NPR seeking participants for a story they plan to do on the culture of friday night football - perhaps i should send them a link to my slideshow and pix from the piece i did on that a couple years ago - i want to be on npr (again! yes, by fluke while shooting something on an internship, i once was....and i MISSED it! but i heard about it from a friend)
hey, so i've been part of an npr story, met Jimmie JJ Walker, and sat in the truck Clint Eastwood drove on the set of Gran Torino - this job is bringing me no END of fame!

Friday, August 14, 2009


i like to write....sometimes random little things come to me - observations, mini-stories, poems (that sounds presumptuous, which is why i rarely ever put anything out there), but i kind of like this, so here ya go - 

staring into the mirror, washed face,
my reflection casts back - a staunch, stark pillar of salt;
it wants to take me out for a spin - 
400 horse power, rough ride on the clear lake - 
this pillar of salt,
 sliding, bit by bit, into the fresh water - 
"i will make you an ocean."

a feature & a fuzzy find

this was a short week, as i have had the last couple days off to try and use up some vacation time before that gets really difficult, now that our staff has further dwindled starting this weekend - yes, our internship is now defunct, which is sad in a variety of ways....
anyway, after shooting some folks packing up backpacks with school supplies for kids in need, i went looking for a feature - ended up at the pool with the little splash park area - it's been more consistently hot recently, so i figured it was about that time, and there was NO ONE out in the neighborhood i was driving around in...anyhoo, saw these 2 brothers playing in the spraying - pretty typical splash park feature, but still liked their energy and reaction....

home for the evening, and i was sitting on the porch doing a puzzle when i spotted this furry caterpillar crawling up the wall - i haven't seen one of these in years! when i was little, we used to see the brown and black striped fuzzy ones all the time - i'd always catch one and put it in my bug catcher and feed it - they were kind of like mini pets til i let them go (or they otherwise left, if ya get my drift)....using the nifty camera on this laptop, i decided to make some pictures of it, and then i let it go - so here's our joint 15 minutes of fame put out here for the general public to enjoy

Thursday, August 13, 2009

after the spot news

we seem to be doing a lot of stories these days that entail getting portraits of people after they talk to us about their recent tragedy - granted, there have been an unusually high amount of them this summer - from Nevaeh, to hit and runs, to fires galore - earlier this week we went out to talk to 2 men who are both victims of a fire - one, the guy whose apartment burned - seen here with his sister - and the other his neighbor, who is in poor health and is dealing with the after-effects of the smoke and soot damage that got into his adjacent apartment, and the insurance companies as he tries to get his clean-up costs squared away (his portrait was pretty pedestrian, so i'm not gonna post it, but i did like this one of the guy and his sister) - the real impetus for this story was the fact that the city policeman, who was first on the scene and went in and dragged this guy, unconscious, from the burning and smoke-filled apartment, is now in a case filed by MIOSHA for violating safety rules, since he's not technically equipped to go into a burning structure - i guess they wanted him to just stand there and let the guy die while they waited for the fire department to get there - pretty friggin ridiculous....anyway, that was my tuesday work

call me the funky wedding fotog

funny, but it seems that whenever there is someone having a quirky wedding, i get to shoot it - not that i'm complaining, it's just funny how things work out - this past friday, a young couple got married in their old high school theater - that's where they met when they were 15 and 16, fell in love, and so that's where they decided to tie the knot - not totally wacky, but still, a wedding with a twist...i find that i really don't mind shooting weddings, maybe doing it for the paper instead of getting paid by the family and being solely responsible for their lifetime memories lets me take some of the pressure/stress off of myself - maybe i should consider this practice for a possible future, whether i want it or not! 

before the ceremony began, the wedding party gathered in a back room and did what they used to do before performances - "lion face! lemon face!" they shouted as they stretched their facial muscles and voices to the max - it was pretty funny - they weren't at all nervous, just having fun, which seems like the best blessing you could have on your wedding day

"it's a boy! i've got a son" the groom's new mother-in-law jokingly shouts as she congratulates him after the ceremony

and then, the bubbles

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

fair dyptichs

so, didn't post up some of my features earlier, because they became part of this final project - and a couple, like the swing ride got paired with another fotog's - to see them all, go to and lok under the gallery dedicated to the theme - i think it's called "pairings"
but, here's a sample of my contribution

i think this last one is the only one i fully did that i really like....maybe i'll find some tomorrow and edit this post, because there's a pairing from Bryan and Jenny that I LOVE!

Monday, August 10, 2009

fair play

the fair - this one will probably go down in history as the most comfortable fair week ever shot - our weather has been mild, beautiful, thereby eliminating much of the "walk around til you feel like a drowned rat and are getting slightly delusional from dehydration" that normally marks the experience...for our annual fair-wrap-up foto page running the Sunday of fair week end, we chose the theme of shooting dyptichs - i had some ideas in mind at the start, but man, this was really harder than i thought it would be - i couldn't tell if i'd not thought enough, was completely overthinking/looking or what - i just really kind of struggled with this one - i decided i'd just go out and keep shooting, and maybe things that fit together would all come together in the end, and we could play off each other's pix as well - one half of a dyptich could be from me and one from Jenny or Bryan, if they got something that fit well - it came down to the wire, literally, but in the end, it all came together - some falling just the way of 2 different fotogs having the perfect matches for one another's images - that part was kind of fun - like putting together a, here's some fair pix - finally got my bootie out to shoot the rodeo - didn't shoot much at all of the actual riding, because i was more interested in the behind-the-scenes aspect of the event, but the light was nice, i kind of liked some of the frames i made, and i met this lady beforehand that totally blew my mind - she had just started her 6th round of chemo that very day and was taking her granddaughter to the fair that night with the chemo literally pumping into her at that very moment - "you're a pretty tough lady!" i said, after asking her, completely stunned - "you mean you're getting chemo, right now, walking around the fair????!!!" people's spirits and strength are amazing!

my first fair assignment - shoot the veterans parade around the fairgrounds before the start of a special veterans program in honor of veteran's day at the fair...was just getting kind of the usual stuff, trying not to run into anyone as i walked backwards through the fairgrounds, and although the reflection thing is a little cliche, i liked how the colors shapes came together as the group made its way through the line of food vendors

after the parade, i swung by the petting zoo for a feature to run sometime about it - these were just some of the animals i liked - the people feeding them were pretty usual stuff....this monkey looked so pensive...i wonder what is going on in his mind...below an alpaca - serious underbite!!! i love goats and alpacas and llamas! and their wool is the warmest in the world!

i stopped at the Star Family Circus show, they're so amazing, though most of the family members were different this year - one still the same was Oscar, who does this crazy walkig the spinning wheel thing, sometimes jumping rope, sometimes blindfolded, always without a net - loved the reaction of the riveted crowd
tuesday night was the derby - i swear, one of these days, i'm gonna do this - i know i's all pretty redneck, but there's just something about a demolition derby that appeals to me - it is kind of tough to shoot - everytime i struggle with how to make a cool picture of the action - either due to the blinding dust or just to the fact that they tend to clump up as they ram into one another, and it's hard to show the impact, etc - someday i'll get it right, but here are a few anyway

checkin out the competition before entering the arena

a demolition derby oreo

and then, the fans - funny story, i was scoping out the stands looking for a crowd shot, and this guy came up to tell me that i couldn't stand in the walkway, i had to keep i moved, then i spotted a spirited family, was framing up to shoot them, and here he is again, mr. tall, looming authoritative guy - i don't want to tell you again, you can't stop here." "but i'm just making a picture for the paper, i..." "you can't stand here, you have to keep moving, if i have to tell you again, you're going to jail" well, that pretty much shut down my common sense neurons from firing - seriously, you're going to arrest me?!? i'm still laughing as i think about that exchange - made a picture anyway, though maybe not as cool a one as i could have made...andi'm sure that guy went home that night feeling REALLY cool and all-powerful! more power to him!

wednesday night, went looking for dyptich features before the rodeo - more of the reflection theme, though this one would have worked better if the corn dogs read better i think

i'm a swing watcher, i'm a swing watcher - - sing it with me now!

 like many of the boxers, MMA fighters, etc, i've met, rodeo ridin cowboys have this big ol' "doing it for christ" thing that i find a little fascinating - i guess if i was getting in an arena with someone bare-fisted out to kick my ass or a bull or bronco who REALLY didn't want me on their back, i might find jesus too!

this is my favorite frame i think....after i got this guy's name earlier (shooting him praying), he came up and asked me if i had 20 bux on me - "i don't give out my name to be used for less than 20 bux," he said.....""too late now, you already told me," i said  (we were both joking, by the way - well, i was, i hope he was - if not, ummm, oh well!)