Thursday, September 17, 2009


this week didn't get off to a great start - worked a semi-split on monday, since i was solo that day - wanted to go to the reporter's meeting and just check in on any potential daily assignments, and then volleyball that night - the day-side assn. turned out to be a bust - couldn't get it organized to write/shoot that day, so then it was just sports....i thought i'd try to find a feature at the game, since the story that didn't work had been lated to be page 1 - got to vball, was striking out on finding a feature, but that turned out to be a good thing in a way, because when i got back to the office and popped my card in, it came up 0 images in folder - what the heck? i saw the virus scan going through hundreds of files, so i stuck it back in the camera - same thing - zippo on card - man, what a sick, sinking feeling washes over you - i fire up Bryan's computer, since his has image rescue on it - but everytime i launch it, up pops the "application has unexpectedly quit" message - and after the 7th or 8th try, it really wasn't that unexpected anymore let me just say - turns out that was old software that wouldn't run on our updated macs anymore, so pretty much nothing i could do  - left the card and a big note and voice mails with everyone coming in in the morning - HELP and be prepared for no sports fotos for your section that was monday - second work day in a row that i found myself leaving in tears....stinks.....

they were able to retrieve all the images on the card - i guess they can just essentially reformat themselves - haven't had that happen before - the good things out of all this are that they are getting us updated software so we can just take care of it ourselves right away, and i found a new spot i like to shoot volleyball net action from

yesterday was the opening of the new Walmart supercenter - woo hoo!!! there weren't the huge crazy crowds that i thought there'd be, but there's something just really funny about this moment that happened when i was hanging out trying to shoot the greeter - she looks about as confused as to why these people walked in and started pointing at her as i was! it's funny though, to me at least.....

later, one iof our reporters came over to say the fire investigators would be at the scene of an apartment fire that had happened the other night, could i go or should he shoot something - heck no - please, i mean we've been practically begging for things to shoot! so, i get there, and the investigator's just getting in, and the woman who lived there is there as well getting what she can salvage of her and her toddler son's belongings - they both made it out safely thankfully, but i can't believe they did! everything except the back bedrooms were charred and melted - her tv was just an amorphic blob of black plastic - and the paint was bubbled and peeling off the wall - furniture melted - just crazy, crazy what fire does to things....but, like i've said before, and as the reporter and i were talking about later, there is something strangely almost tragically beautiful about it all - but the smell, not so much - good god, i think i was tasting it for like an hour later....

the really sad part is that the fire started from candles she had burning in the living room - she was using them because she's had financial problems, lost her job, and she'd just had her electricity shut off - so it was the only source of light she had.....really tragic....and scary, because i burn candles all the time! to see what can happen if you're not really careful is just scary!

anyway, better day yesterday - no tears, actual assignments, even though i did try to do a little feature hunting no that school's back in, the afternoons are a hard time to find anything going on....but i'm hoping for autumnish features soon - it's feeling like it...our weather has been that cool low 70's, sunny - perfect fall days! it's time to go for a walk in the woods or a pumpkin patch or something cool like that! i love the fall!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

i like being a big baby - lensbaby, that is

i'm still finding inspiration in the flowers and lensBABY - i'm waiting for it to get old, but it seems like, given the right mind-set, i manage to find something new that i hadn't seen or shot before, which is pretty cool....i definitely need that kind of positive photo experience right now, because work has been, well, more a source of frustration lately than otherwise - i need to start taking some of those vacation days i have left, especially if i can't be using any of them for xmas, because i really need to clear my head right now and get a fresh perspective...i feel like i shouldn't complain or get down on things, because really just to have a staff job at a newspaper right now is no small feat in and of itself, but, as my mom used to say when we were sick as kids, "better out than in!" wise words indeed!
so, here's the latest from the lensBABY - the last is my favorite of the bunch i think

Sunday, September 13, 2009

more play

i intend to be president for a long time

the long & the short of it

playing with foto booth

this week was a short one, work-day wise, but it felt more like a 7-day work week than 4! and the fact that i accomplished nothing in what turned out to be a 4-day weekend last week doesn't help matters, but that's really just my problem.
anyway, the week starts with shooting something at the historical museum, which is far too lame to post, and then i picked up one of the prep feature assignments we had going - this kid had about 10 minutes between getting out of school and getting on the bus to head out for a cross country race - story is he broke both his feet last year, but is now back - Bryan was gonna shoot this one, but as more assignments came in thru the day, it only made sense for me to pick this one up - so i asked him what he'd decided to do with the kid, and he jokingly says he was planning to shoot him like i'd shot a girl a few years back, so i just went with it, but it's pretty appropriate given this kid's story, so it works, although it's a do-over essentially

the next day, i had another not-so-memorable assignment, but then i went feature hunting -saw kids hanging on their porch playing music, so voila, something for this week's community foto page

things are still a work-in-progress as far as getting into any kind of groove with the new schedule - saturdays just pretty much suck - and i'm feeling particularly down on everything right now - especially after being really disappointed with how things turned out yesterday - had 3 assignments - first in the morning was a Baby Walk - SIDS awareness fundraiser and family day to follow after their short walk - so, the pictures, well, not so great, and once they got back there was face painting, a duck pond and the ever present inflatable bouncies - i seriously think i might just go insane - i almost want it to get cold so they can't keep those things inflated - oh, but wait, then they just bring them there NO ESCAPE???????!! apparently not, and hence the slow, bouncy road to insanity begins.....
that being said, ironically the only foto i made at that assn. that i remotely like is a mom and her toddler resting in the shade inside a bouncie - maybe it's just all in how i look at it - maybe i can learn to love the inflatables, embrace my inner bouncie (maybe i'm farther down that road than i thought!)

after that i headed down to south county for a downtown celebration day - essentially it's a giant flea market in a park and outside businesses throughout the downtown area - complete, of course, with children's activities (guess what that's code for - c'mon, just guess - now, repeat after me - "i will not thrust a sharp stick into the bouncie, i will not thrust a sharp stick into the bouncie"- ooh, all this complaining is kind of fun - it's like therapy!), community raffles, a car wash, etc....really not excited about shooting this, and it's the cover story for the weekly tab, so i have to get a few decent pix out of it  - it ended up being not so completely horrible - liked these 3 sisters all lined up, suckers in hand, as they waited for a free pumpkin train ride....

then i took a short break, went into work, got my stuff in for the daily, then headed out into the country where a family was holding a picnic for foreign exchange students and their host families - there was gonna be games, a bonfire and i get there, and for the first hour, all the foreign kids are herded off to a patio where they are getting an info packet and welcome talk by the woman running the program (who used to work here til a round of lay-offs last winter), then after that, the kids kind of just stand around and talk - the only ones playing the games or doing anything were the host family kids, so, whatever - i'll try to get some kind of picture or moment as they hang out - that's not going so well, but it's okay, cos what i've really been looking forward to (really, all day) is that i should be able to make some cool pix when we go on the hayride....and the clock is ticking, and people are eating, and eating and eating, and the kids are standing or sitting in circles and talking, and i look at the time, and i look to the west, and i get to wondering, when exactly ARE we going on the hayride? and i wait, and i wait, so now it's about 10 til 8, and i have to go get my hoody out of the car, because it's getting chilly, and i'm thinking maybe i should just go - i have to get back to the desk soon, and it's seriously losing any hope of light....we'd have to be firing up that hay wagon like right now for me to have any chance left - cos going on a hayride in the dark with bad flash is just completely pointless....and just then i see the host guy walk over and fire up the tractor - thank god! so, they spread out the hay, and now it's a little after 8, and the light is pretty much had, but if i crank up the iso, i may still be able to get some sense of light out there on the, everyone gathers round the wagons, and the guy gets up on top, and he thanx everyone again for coming, yadda yadda yadda, and then he says, now before we go on the hayride, we're going to play a few rounds of twister til we get down to the international twister champ, and since we've got about 40 or 50 kids playing, this might have to go in segments! WHAT?????? are you freaking kidding me?!!!! so, yeah, that's it, turn camera off, walk back to car - it's dark, i'm out of time anyway, and i am just so completely disappointed i seriously almost start to cry on the way back into the office - all i've got after 3+ hours at this asn. is complete crap, and not only am i let down that something i'd really been looking forward to shooting just totally fell apart, but i know that it's dominant page 1 for monday, and really, it just sux! that was my day....
inbetween assignments that morning, i dropped off a roll of film at the drugstore - i'd taken some pictures of this praying mantis that spent the better part of monday hanging onto my screen door...looking at it more closely, i noticed how one of its wings was permanently stuck jutting out to the side , and later saw that a front leg on that side was messed up, too, so i googled injured praying mantis, and up pops a site devoted to caring for, trying to be good steward of the earth, i thought i should protect it while it healed - so i got out an old fishbowl, and then i covered it with newspaper after getting her (and i now know it was a her, because she had 6 legs, as opposed to 8 which the males have - the internet is just so darned educational!) into the bowl, and i went down to the basement, where i knew i had some cheesecloth to secure over top - i came back up after a couple minutes, and hey, fishbowl is empty, and then i hear it - an awful crunching sound, and i see the cat that frequents my porch, and the poor praying mantis is on the wall, and cat's batting at her inbetween crunches - so i bat the cat out of the way and manage to get the bug back into the bowl - cat has now performed amputation on aforementioned injured front leg - and me, i'm just pretty horrified at this point - here i thought i was taking care of this insect, and i only led it almost to near death and definitely to maiming! what's that phrase about no good deed? 
i told this story later to a copy editor as i was looking at the pix, and before i left he told me to watch out for injured insects, to which i could only reply that, apparently, they needed to watch out for me!
 to quote our last intern, sad day!

and as it turns out, there was stuff on that roll of film that i'd totally forgotten i'd shot - like pix from the county fair kick-off parade - they look like pictures from the past or something! still lovin that lensBABY! (just to end on a lighter note)

Friday, September 4, 2009

a week's worth work

new month, and like always, i have this weird subliminal-superstitious inkling that if i don't make a kick-ass picture my first time out, it just puts some bad mojo on the whole month - in psychological circles, i think they call that "all or nothing thinking," and like most defined modes of thought processes, that equates to "not good way of thinking." okay, well, whatever (insert 'denial' here) so, the first day, i really don't make anything of which i feel particularly proud - so much so, that at the moment i cannot for the life of me even remember what it was i shot that day - bad omen #1 - but i try to put it out of mind and not let my superstitions get the better of me - not right here at the very start of a whole new month! no pressure though, right?!

so, on to the next day - this story is a bit complicated, but essentially, one day on the island of Mindanao in the Phillipines during WWII, a young US soldier checking a village for the enemy came upon a Japanese flag with writing all over it - he also came upon a jewel-studded saber, which he really wanted, but such finds were known to be booby-trapped, so he let the coveted sword go, but a flag - how could that be booby-trapped? so he took it, and it wasn't, and he kept it, for years, for decades......a year ago or so he researched the flag, and learned that often soldiers were sent to battle with a small flag, all the family would sign it alongside the name and hometown of their loved one, and it was meant to offer protection/luck while they were away at war - thru the net he deciphered the names and city, and he found the man to whom the flag belonged - he was still alive - one of only 2 out of 23 that returned home at the war's end - and he sent the flag back to its rightful owner -- on tuesday, that man, his wife and granddaughter flew to Detroit, and visited with the Monroe-born soldier who'd kept his flag all these years - neither knew how the flag had made its way from Mindanao to Monroe, but with the translation help of the granddaughter, they unravelled the story, and more importantly, they got to meet for the very first time - needless to say, a very cool and fascinating story - i'd wanted to go to the local man's house early, because i wanted to try and capture that moment when they first saw one another, but when the reporter and i got there, we found out that he'd decided to go to the airport too, so that moment was pretty much gone, and we walked into their tiny apt. with the chairs all set out in a circle and packed with other family who came for the event (and it was now, pretty much, an event), not the pictures i was hoping for, but still, like i said, a really fascinating tale of two men from opposite ends of the war - once enemies, now merely 2 survivors, each with their own amazing separate and yet parallel stories to tell, and piecing together their common thread there in that small living room was a very cool moment to be part of.....on a totally somewhat unrelated note, i am still completely mind-blown to learn about the indigenous peoples' affinity for collecting the chins of their killed enemies as trophies - CHINS????!!!! are you serious?! can you imagine how horrific that would be to find - you walk into a village and see on display the CHINS of people they've killed?! i mean, really, all i can say is CHINS?????!!!!!

so, the following day, i think i'm on the later shift for the football game that night, but then, poor Mr. B seriously jacked up his back, he called that morning, so i went in to catch the weekend meetings and shoot the early afternoon assignment, which was a school having their annual "lunch on the lawn" back-to-school pizza lunch, games and pep rally....that was okay....then i took a break and came back so i could get that in, check on things at the office, then go down to football....

got there to hear the sounds of whistles blowing, did they start early? but wait, the cheerleaders aren't out there, and hey, there's some of the varsity and they aren't even suited up? wtf? turns out they had a jv game right before, and it was still going on....and on....and on...and when it's 41-7, shouldn't there be a running clock? guess not...and on it went, to the bitter end, when at 47-7, they finally enacted the running clock rule, and there i have sat, keeping an eye out for features, and sadly watching the light go down and down and much for the benefit of shooting football early in the season...oh well, watcha gonna do, eh? so i look around more for features and find these girls playing beneath the bleachers and watching the cheerleaders warm up and practice their stunts 

 this one girl looks like she's straight out of the 70's - i think i had this haircut at one point in my youth! is that more of an "egads" for me or her? 

not sure, but regardless, it was a nice find, and it took a while for me to wait out this many girls NOT at some point looking at my camera, and the balance of how each was looking where simultaneously, made for a good balance, so i was happy with it

friday, i wasn't sure if Bryan would be back in or not, so i went in for the a.m., figuring i'd just go home for a stretch if i needed to take the night shift - good thing Mr. B has had a speedy recovery, so i didn't have to do the on-the-fly split, but there still weren't any assignments day-side, so i went feature hunting after lunch - spyed a little girl walking around a sidewalk wearing a ladybug costume - i pulled over and parked asap and went over - she was dressed up to help draw attention to a little "rummage sale" style shop that the nearby church opened to help raise money for their youth group - this church and what they're doing to revitalize the neighborhood is a story in and of itself, but it at least gave me a cool feature to bring back for next week's community foto page, not mention, something that made me feel of visual use for the day   

the one i like best here i think will be for Still Life - not really fitting for the InSight page, but the best of the bunch i think

 as Bryan said, it's like a fly drawn to the light!