Sunday, November 29, 2009

xmas is here

saturday, i went out in search of a feature for page 1 sunday, as there was nothing planned, which was mentioned to me friday before i left...well, all rightey then, guess i gotta muster up something - i had planned on finding a feature anyway, cos there was nothing scheduled to shoot that day, i needed to find a photo for our InSight community feature foto page, and one of the copy editors mentioned they needed something for another inside community page next week and could i check out a couple things for that feature - they were the two things i was gonna go to anyway - really, the only visual things going on - the start of xmas tree sale season at a local farm, and then a "santa's workshop" at the old mill museum in another town - santa was set to arrive at both places at the same time, so i kept debating which to go to - and the old mill assn. only lasted 2 hours, so i decided to go to the farm early, since finding a feature of people tree shopping/cutting could take a while, and then i could shoot santa arrival there, and still make it up to the mill feature (for either page 1 if needed, or at least for that second community foto -- and hopefully, i could find something at one or both places that could also serve for an InSight foto) - turns out i missed santa in BOTH places - i was too far back in the fields with a tree-hunting family to catch santa on the farm, and the mill feature turned out to be a craft event, no santa per se....but, oh well, we'll be shooting santa again at some point very soon most likely, so that's not really a big deal, or "the" picture to get - honestly, i don't think anyone really cared, so long as i had something for A1 - i mean, it was practically told to me in passing on my way out after the super early friday a.m. shift - "oh, yeah, i saw there wasn't anything on the board to shoot saturday - we don't have anything for A1 sunday"....
"so, we need a feature for A1?"
and there you have it, the planning of a day's paper, just in passing....
just as a note, that isn't necessarily the norm, but it just cracks me up (and scares me) cos i can just have seen me walking in saturday night with the copy editor asking, so, where's the page 1 art, and had it not been for a semi-off-the-cuff comment about the need for main art, i would have been thrown into a complete tailspin! i guess any communication, then, is better than none at all!
anyway, here are a few i liked from that day on the farm....despite fighting a cold that just hangs on like a bad piece of lint and which had left me virtually voice-less by that day, i kind of liked some things i found, and then i headed up to the mill for the other feature...then had to get back for a girl that needed to come in for a headshot in the studio...then it was just the night desk duty after taking a break, and back home....

and so to back home, where a little kitty, probably about a year old has recently become a regular fixture on my porch - he's been coming around steady for a couple weeks now and is very very sweet - that night, as i was walking in the door, he grabbed onto my leg with both paws and just rubbed his face against my foot - he wants to not be outside SO bad, but i'm mid-knitting, and i'm not sure how he'll deal with stuff, so i need to kitty-proof the place before i'd even think about bringing him in - but he's a real heart-tugger, i mean, seriously, grabbing onto me and rubbing against me, like "please, please, take me with you" - oh my god, it broke my heart!

i call him "Ernie"

Friday, November 27, 2009

big voices & big sales

this morning, up at quarter to 4, yes, sadly, in the a.m. - being the morning gal on fridays once again now that football is winding down, i had the great duty of shooting Black Friday - done this a million times (okay, that's massive hyperbole, but you get the idea, i done it before, and more than once or twice!), we tried to find a family to follow ahead of time - they huddled on t-day to devise their strategy, but being an afternoon paper, a pre-event photo of an event that would have been done by the time we hit the stands, wasn't gonna make much sense, so we still had to cover the actual shopping, set the alarm, call reporter, ask her to call me when she gets up just to be safe, sleep with cell phone very near head...alarm goes off, call comes in, and i'm up and i'm out, and there's a chill and it's misting, but nothing crazy, so i think, well, we're surely not getting the snow they forecasted....not that it matters, cos it turns out the family is going to walmart, who has decided that shoppers will line up inside this year after the stampeding death of last year - gonna get there around midnight to get in line, then stay in line for the 5 am checkout sale start - so we show up about 4:30, which is actually much later than i anticipated having to get there for this, but that's when they told us to come - turns out they'd finished shopping several hours ago (they really didn't have that much stuff in the cart actually, and i guess they did it super early, then just got a good space in line for the actual check-out time) - whatever, finally locate them, reporter is interviewing them now as i am trying to shoot - hard working on top of one another - i mean, we both have our jobs to do - about 25 minutes into it, a walmart associate approaches - "mam, you can't be taking any photos in here" - but we're just doing the usual black friday story, and we were just here for you grand opening with no problems ( when, in fact, every employee in the place was tripping over themselves to make sure that "i had whatever i needed" hmmm, does that include a new hdtv? or wireless router for my printer - cos i, personally, really need those, and just so long as you're asking....), and always in here for the annual shop with a cop and no problems --- well, apparently TODAY i have to contact their corporate media office, so i get the number and call - "thank you for calling the Walmart corporate media offices...we will not be accepting any calls from thursday thru sunday due to the heavy business of the season" - yeah, and isn't this pretty much really the media office's PRIME BUSINESS time? and they decide that they're too busy to deal with the media????? isn't that pretty much ALL you're there to deal with, in the designated media office, on the busiest, most reported-on media shopping day of the whole friggin year?!!!?!
so, out we go - reporter's got her story, and i do have some stuff we can use - there were such better pix there, maybe not necessarily of this particular family, but just general black friday pix, and i had gotten myself actually kind of geeked up to go out and make the best of it and bring back something pretty kick-ass, but apparently it was not to be...
anyway, at least this is kind of a nice moment of the event...this family has been doing the black friday thing for years after losing their grandfather and trying to come up with some way of getting together as a group in his honor.....and i guess nothing says "remember grandpa joe (or whatever his name actually was)" like engaging in a morning of crass consumerism!!!!!!!
(wow, i sound like a total b____ch! - no offense to them, just being a smart-ass!)

neglected to bring home some pix to post from the choir rehearsal pre-parade last weekend, so here they be - i especially liked al the eyes going in all directions in the one foto - not one for the story maybe, just something i liked as a moment unto itself

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

spirit, of the school & santa sorts

last saturday, back out on the road for sports - this time, not nearly so far as last, thankfully, and even more so, it was a day game to boot - haven't had one of those in a long time - our sole remaining team in the state semi-finals, and what a crazy game - they were down, then tied, literally going into the final seconds of the game - i was convinced that they were going into overtime, and then they decided on their last play to go for the field goal kick 30+ yards to win - all with the kid who'd never made a kick that far and who'd missed the kicks after the td's - the sideline was crazy, so much energy, the guys all linked arms, swaying back and forth before the kick, and from each of them, utterances of "c'mon, seth, c'mon seth, do it, do it"- even i had so much adrenaline pumping just watching them and awaiting the reaction shot that i think i was literally shaking (and i don't even really LIKE football!), and he makes it - but the umps throw a flag, and they have to re-do the kick - so now, the kid who'd never done this before, not only did it once, but he has to do it again! so, same thing all over again, more adrenaline, more heart pumping, and he makes it again! frickin nuts! then the other team fumbles on their first down with like 10 seconds left and they recover and actually end up getting another touch-down....i didn't even know that happened til later, because i was just focused on the sidelines the whole time at that point - i just knew everyone was going nuts, and then it was mass chaos at the end, which makes getting stuff either really easy or really hard, and in this case, it was more like the latter, but it was cool nonetheless, and sadly, since i have to go cover the wackos lining up at 3 am to do the black friday shopping, i'm not on-shift to cover their finals game at Ford Field in Detroit late that afternoon....i'm seriously thinking about going anyway - and that's saying a lot for a girl who really doesn't dig the sport - but, i really love everything that surrounds it - all the emotion, the intensity....i may just have to whip out the press pass and go anyway

sunday was the annual holiday parade thru downtown monroe - i had to shoot a chorale rehearsal beforehand, then i drove down to the pre-parade line-up after i ran into the paper to dump my cards (just in case i needed all of them for the parade - 256 mb cards don't go too far in the D3) - there was a girl scout troop putting the final touches on their costumes - pin a green fleece blanket around a kid, and viola, you've got a little walking xmas tree!

and then, i jetted up to the paper, parked, then walked back down the street in time for the parade start.....i'm sure i've posted this before, but, man oh man, these are tough to shoot - you'd just think it's absolute gravy with portfolio images round every corner, but they're really kind of hard....particularly when you factor in the whole getting id's thing...but they are where all photojournalists master the great skill of walking backwards, which, given michigan streets, full of cracks and potholes, becomes more than a tad bit dicey! anyhoo, here are a few from the event

Thursday, November 19, 2009

shoot, shot, shoot

the other day i found a leaf - not yet turned brown and crunchy, but yellow, with deep red veins...too bad the red&yellow project just ran - this would have been a kind of cool addition, but like any project, it has to come to an end and simply get itself on out there - it still was cool to explore this leaf, me and lensBABY, that is....

back to work the other day - it was one of those days (which i actually like) where the assignments were just boom, boom, boom - one after the other after the other after the other - so much rather have a day like that than a slow day (yes, call me crazy, i actually LIKE to be busy! you know, not so much that i can't give each assignment its appropriate time and attention, but just enough to not be feeling guilty about sitting there in the office feeling like i have to justify my that vein, this day was, as Goldilocks might say, "just right")....2 of the assignments were pretty quick hits - shot pix of 5 kids at a couple schools wearing a Santa hat and holding up a sign bearing various numbers representing the days left til xmas - our annual "Christmas Countdown Kids" feature - like i said, quick, easy, usually cute...inbetween shooting 2 of those, i went to an elementary where 2 of the kinder classes were going around the neighborhood surrounding their school, hanging thanksgiving cards on the doors of residents' houses - the actual delivery of the cards was kind of a bust - i thought they'd be knocking on doors and handing them over, but it turned out to be more like following around a political candidate stuffing their lit into door handles, but still, it was kind of cool - made a couple pix i liked, like the little girl who collected leaves along the way until she had a bouquet-ful in hand

and this kid who got up close and personal with one of our newspaper boxes - "hello, hello, is anyone there?" he shouted, nearly sticking his whole head into the mouth of the box - if only he understood the cultural/newspaper industry irony behind this moment!

later, it was yet another flu clinic - i guess the newsworthiness of this one was it's the last one for the county this month - the H1N1 vaccine, that is - not nearly as crazy busy as the first, but still, this is the third of these i've shot this month, so how to do it differently - oh, ever the conundrum - last time, i didn't really shoot kids actually getting the vaccine - it was more about the turn-out, the lines, the long wait - so, i just decided to shoot the shot, so to speak - man, these kids (not just the ones i'm posting, but almost all of them) were completely freaking out -this little girl had such a high-pitched, prolonged shriek, i thought i might just be putting in for workman's comp over hearing loss by the time she was done! i mean, the power of 5-year-old lungs is seriously nothing to turn a deaf ear to, so to speak - ha ha

what killed me were the older kids, like 12, who still had to sit on their parent's laps and be semi-restrained to stay still for the shot - really, kids, you gotta be tougher than that or you're just never gonna make it in this world!
today, a goofy assignment in the a.m. - something that should have been no big deal, kids working in the classroom, and it turned out to be a group portrait in front of a computer - just silly...nuff said, we've all been there...
later, i went to a Pow Wow at an elementary - i was looking forward to it, envisioning what cool things would be happening (journalism mistake 101) - i got there, and it was kind of a glorified song pageant for parents with kids in headbands with paper feathers sitting in a giant circle singing songs and then gathering for a picture book reading, and then they all lined up for muffins and popcorn with juice....hmmm, not quite what i had in mind, but i stuck it out, and then they did a little dance, which i didn't get anything too good of - a teacher apparently thought i just wanted to shoot this one kid and started pulling others out of the way (yeah, thanx - i shouldn't be a crab, they mean well), then another story, which is where i made the following photo

...and inbetween, as the kids were eating their "harvest snack," i shot something of the recess going on outside - i don't know what it is about this, i just really kind of liked it

....anyway, that's been the work week since my last post - just trying to keep things current, cos i know y'all are simply on the edge of your respective seats as to what the world of journalism brings me next! could it be, kim goes to a flu clinic? no way!!! kim went to an elementary school?! high school sports???? SHUT UP!!! oh no she didn't!!!!!

oh yes she did!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

oops, one more

realized that in my update, i left out sports, which is odd considering how much of it we've been doing - anyway, not stellar, but my favorite from saturday night, somewhere several hours away near the tip of the thumb - my michigan travels are growing! thx sports!

Monday, November 16, 2009

a hiatus, chosen, and then again, maybe not

i know that's a bit of a strange title for this thread...i suppose i should explain, so let me explain, no, let me sum up (sorry, i just had a "Princess Bride" flash!)...
ahem, so, i feel like the impact of our staffing scenario has been getting to me - frustrations, miscommunications (or no communications), a somewhat persistent sense of unease/unknowing, the feeling that you are flying without a net all the time coupled with never really knowing where the next trapeze bar you're supposed to be grabbing is coming from - if that makes any sense - anyway, for a good 2 weeks or so, i just felt like i wasn't making any pictures that i liked, that i was not only stymied but perhaps going backwards and that i was feeling a little too down and frustrated to do much about it other than being uncomfortable, unhappy, uninspired and just plain worried! by the time i got to a pre halloween party that turned out to be kids running like maniacs thru a gym with the activities being face painting, bean bag toss games and the giant inflatable slide, i found myself standing in the midst of it all, just trying my best not to burst into tears...
so, yeah, some serious frustration going on - none of which inspired me to post here - i mean really, the idea of facing a "photo-oriented" blog with no work i feel i can share is pretty much just a reminder of how unhappy you are with what you've been doing - i may have some self-defeating tendencies, but i'm not a complete masochist!
anyway, don't know what has happened, maybe it's the assignments recently, maybe it's me, maybe it's the weather, but things have been picking up some, and i've felt better about what i've shot, and i've, more importantly, gotten that spark of being excited to go out and make something, even though it's no ground-breaking, prize-winning bit of photojournalism, here are some from the last couple weeks, mostly to catch up - you don't have to look at them all, or really any of them; in fact, if you've gotten this far into the post - well, god bless your kind, good soul, my friend!
guess i'll just start with the most recent and work my way back....

feature hunting for our community foto page since i'd made all the calls i had to do and no other assignments had come in - it was fairly warmish outside, so i found a few teens and their respective god-kids/siblings out for a "kids' day" of pizza and playground time outside one of our now no-longer used elementary schools, which is a sad story in and of itself - but, it seems the beautiful, architectural old building may have a new career of its own on the horizon - it is to be used in the filming of an upcoming movie starring Danny Glover and someone else pretty big - go, go Monroe!

veteran's day celebration at a local elementary school - kids, local/state pols, and then luckily later they let kids who had vet family stay and visit with them after the assembly

H1N1 vaccine arrives in Monroe County - people were lined up around the high school building, whose gymnasium was transformed into vaccine clinic - people were waiting a good 2 hours to get in for their shots, some of course to be told they didn't meet the requirements to be able to get it yet....good thing it wasn't horribly cold and/or rainy - if they weren't getting sick from the flu, they surely would have gotten sick waiting outside for 2 hours to get the vaccine!

before heading out to a volleyball game, i decided to put my down time to good use and go feature hunt - the night was rather nice, leaves had fallen en masse from recent rains and winds, and i figured i'd find someone outside doing something cool - i'd actually pulled over to shoot a family i saw out raking when i noticed these kids loading leaves into a wagon to pull to their house, so i just went with them - they'd decided to load up leaves from the nieghbors' yards, since theirs had all blown away - and they were having fun jumping into the piles, throwing the leaves skyward, and merely resting in them like a giant crunchy bed...ironically, the girl in the foreground i had happened to photograph with friends at a downtown pre-Halloween trick-or-treat event, and the girl in the background i'd shot the weekend before at the annual historical re-enactment "Lantern Tour" event, and to make things even crazier, it turns out i'd photographed the old barn in their backyard several years ago when we did a piece on remaining old barns within the city! so, this family has been well-documented by me, to say the least!

election night - the new mayor gets his props

shoot something that says "bus safety importance" for a recent story about how, due to the state's budget cuts, the bus inspector positions have been cut and no further inspections will be funded by the state for their state-mandated school bus yearly inspections - about 70 buses in Monroe remain to be inspected, but now the money is gone, and they are in the position of having to comply with a state-mandated safety program whose state funding has just been cut - not to mention what happens to all the buses next year - guess the schools, with their infinite budgets (all irony intended) are now stuck coming up with the funds on their own or risk being cited for not complying with state safety regulations - yet another wrench in the state's budget/education woes...anyway, just basically had to go shoot something of school buses, so i hung out at school's end at the big middle school, which gets plenty of bus traffic and looked for something moment and/or graphic that would illustrate the story - this kid plastered himself against the back window as his bus pulled away, which needless to say, given the nature of the story would have been a completely editorialized image to run, and we didn't, but it was a funny moment, particularly given that very story

Monroe's "biggest garage sale"

halloween - while scoping out a house to go to, i spied a bunch of costumed kids playing outside - their family and their friends and children were having a big pre-trick-or-treat halloween house party, and they let me come on in and hang out - shot that and then went across the street to shoot at what is probably one of the coolest decorated houses i've ever seen - these people went all out, very cool stuff, though i think they probably gave the local tots some serious nightmares!

a pampering day held for single mothers by an area church

while shooting a high school bio class out on a bird-watching field trip, we came upon this backwater pond in a clearing - just thought it was pretty

the annual Lantern Tour - one of those events that somehow i have managed never to shoot in the nearly 8 years i've been here - another record broken!

so, that's it for now - if you're actually still here and reading this, you are officially a good egg!