Sunday, February 21, 2010

dance + dance + dance - dance - dance = dance

had an assignment yesterday morning to shoot a new dance company's rehearsal - they were going to be on stage, lights and costumes to videotape their dances, which will run in the background as a kind of multi-media project at their first show in a couple weeks...this was a good chance to get them with a better visual setting than their basement studio space with the bad flourescents and no costumes for an A&E preview looks like a pretty cool idea they have going, and their dance was interesting - kind of modern ballet i guess you'd say.....
didn't get anything over the top cool, but i kind of liked these few

i really would have liked this one alot if only that elbow weren't in the corner, but trying to crop it just wasn't working...oh well, there will always be more dance rehearsals
after that, was looking up what else might be going on and there was a telethon and a dance-a-thon at the high school - apparently started at 7 am and going til 5 pm, so, i decided to check that out, more toward the end, when everyone would be really tired - got there about an hour and a half before end, and they were all leaving the auditorium - boo - so, though i didn't really want to shoot the telethon, i thought there might be a backstage kind of moment, and i was only a couple miles away, so i went - being that it's at the big theater here, they could do it a lot more professionally than in years past when they were at a school, but that also meant that you didn't have the performers all in one spot practicing or getting ready - they all just showed up ready and sat in the dark theater watching the other performers til they got called onstage - i made like literally 2 frames, roamed around and around for a while, and thought about trying to catch one of the dance groups - but it was gonna be like an hour before they got on, they've been in the paper at least twice in the past year at other events, so, i just left
hence the title of this post - nearly shot 3 dances in one day, but it all fizzled out to just the one...then it was desk duty, then home...not a real riveting day, but a day nonetheless...
tonight i just want to paint, paint, paint! here's something that i finished recently...i keep forgetting to post things other than foto/work up here

Friday, February 19, 2010

heart and soul

naming this thread as such 'cos it kind of bookends my week thus far....wednesday's assignments included the annual heart and lung dissection project at an elementary school - but, first, there was a morning assembly in which kindergartners performed songs and skits celebrating their first 100 days of school....which actually was a bit of a misnomer, since given the recent snow days, they've really only completed 98 days of school - but who's counting, eh?
it wasn't anything super cool visually, but the kids were cute, and these are a couple frames that i liked - after it ended i went on the hunt for id's, which is the bigger challenge of covering these events

later that afternoon was the dissection assignment...shot this last year, so i pretty much knew what to expect and probably what i'd be looking for - which is simply, the good face or moment - which will be either the kids cracking up and getting all nuts over the gore or being completely grossed out by it, or, as more likely happens, a combination of the 2 - being so grossed out that it's hysterical...still, i tried not to preconceive or go there looking for the same photo i made last year - but, a good moment is a good moment is a good moment....

and i think this pretty much qualifies - got in the cafeteria where the 5th and 6th graders gathered for the project (which is really pretty gross in and of itself - i mean, you gotta do this in the cafeteria?!), scoped out the tables and saw this group of girls trying to cut into their set of lungs - just loved this moment that came together - that one girl was an absolute goldmine of expressions!

next day was a pool renaming dedication at 4:30, then hoops for the league title at 7 - got to the pool, and it turned out they were actually going to have a meet, so i figured they were doing it before the event, and i wait, and nothing seems to be happening, so i track down a guy from the school and ask what the plan is - he says, "where did you get that time? we saw that in the paper, and no one can figure out where that info came from...we're not gonna do that until after the diving events, around 6ish." hmmm, really, so i call my boss, cos, even though i could make it to the game on time (though the towns are probably about 45 minutes apart), i now have an hour and a half out there with nothing else to do, and given what this is (a couple people will talk, and then they'll take down the large swath of paper covering the new sign), it just doesn't seem like the best use of time, and it's a stand-alone foto to he tells me, it'd be better to feature hunt than just sit there waiting, so i leave - try looking for something in that town first - cos if that takes up enough time, then i could just stop back to the pool, but i'm coming up empty, so i head back into monroe, drive into a neighborhood that i rarely go to, but decided i was gonna try on a whim, and eventually i spot 2 brothers out playing on the remaining mound of snow alongside their driveway, so i work that for a bit, and then it's off to the north for hoops

as it turns out, i get there on time, but the JV game has just ended, so now it's warm-ups before game start, but it's also parent night, so before that, they have to introduce all the players and their families and hand out the roses - and not just for the varsity, but for the JV and the freshmen teams, so after being there almost an hour, it gets started....good game, long night, didn't get anything too great, just kind of decent daily

this morning, got into work - nothing going on, so i looked through our community calendar, and the only other thing going on besides the very long list of AA and NA meetings is a rummage sale/soul food dinner at a small eastside church - so, that doesn't sound too awesome, but maybe there'll be a cool moment, so off i go....made these 2 pix, which are really just okay, but i'm glad i went because it was a cool little church - one of the oldest (maybe the first) Black churches in Monroe - Rosa Parks actually visited there in the 80's - and the people were very nice

so, that's been the week - tomorrow, it's a dance rehearsal, maybe another feature hunt and then the night desk duties...if i get something cool (and hopefully i will), i'll have to add on to the week's work

Monday, February 15, 2010


so i did it - i went out and built a snowman, well, more like a snow baby - man, building snowmen is hard...i forgot, but then it's probably been like 30 years or something since i did this....the snow kept sticking to my gloves instead of the snowman, so, as my fingers were beginning to experience a serious loss of blood flow, i opted for a mini snowman...complete with leftover xmas decor as hair and scarf and the dead remains of what were once, in warmer times, the stamen of my echinacea flowers for eyes - throw in the empty french onion dip container as a hat, a couple sticks for arms, and voila!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

let it...let it...let it....what's that last part? oh yeah - SNOW!

snow, yes, snow seemed to be the predominant theme across the country the past, here, we got a share of it - but crazily, i think dallas got as much as we here in SE michigan, so, all in all, we made out pretty easy on the weather scale of things...
ours came on tuesday, which meant that one of my 2 assignments - basketball - got i picked up the one about the availability of snowblowers - since we've had such a mild winter, snow-wise at least, places like Lowe's still have many in stock, and with the first really heavy snowfall arriving, they expect a rush of buyers - one of our reporters found just such a customer, who purchased one on his lunch hour and was picking it up after work - given the timing of the next assignment i had, we couldn't follow him home as he put it to use, so we decided to shoot him loading it up onto his truck instead...

the next assignment was a wedding - a local couple who apparently REALLY love gen. custer were getting married tuesday, 9feb, 6 pm, at the first presbyterian church - the same day, time and church in which custer was married - we weren't able to actually reach the couple (we learned of it thru a custer re-enactor guy - whole other story there), as i learned before heading out, so there was a chance that they could tell us to get, off we go to the church - get there about a half hour before the ceremony, and it's all locked up and no one's there, so we go to the parish hall door and knock and the minister answers - she's new there, and apparently has issues with media - she basically told us we couldn't set foot in her church, especially not with a camera, and no the wedding party wasn't there yet, and no, even if they want us to be there, it's still not, we wait, out there in the blustering wind and cold and snow, and about the time the wedding is to start, the couple finally show up, and yeah, they'd love to have us there for a story - they'll talk to the, in they go, and out we stay, and after a couple minutes, a guy pops his head out and says the rev refuses to let us, we stand there, and the editor isn't answering his phone, and the reporter says, well, i'm just gonna wait til they come out - should be a quick ceremony - grab them for a quote and maybe you can just snap something of them....yeah, that sounds really GREAT!!! so, after about 15 more minutes standing out in the not-so-friendly weather, we go to get warm in our cars, and we wait, and wait, and the light is going going gone, and i'm wondering what in the hell i'm gonna do with these people, and i happen to notice that the courthouse clocktower is framed up inbetween the ice and frost on my car window, and the street light is making this cool effect thru the frost, so i make this picture....

then the people come out, and they're freezing (bride is in heels and bare-legged in this weather, mind you), and they gotta get home for the party, so i fire off like 5 frames of them standing in front of the church before they hop in the car, and that was that, and i won't even waste your eyeballs posting that up here
knowing that the start of the snowstorm tuesday was extending overnight, and they'd want a fresh weather feature from that morning, and we had been told by the head editor that, you know, if you get something really cool, we're gonna run it, you know, huge, like 6 columns, so, you know, get something really cool, and oh yeah, we're running an hour early that day, so we need that by 9 pressure! i was a little worried, from past experience, that i wouldn't be able to get my car out of the drive, so after the wedding debacle, i went home and shovelled the 4 or 5 inches that had already accumulated before the next 5-7 inches gathered overnight - cos there is no way my car will ever budge thru a foot of the stuff....but, still, i emailed the editor to be prepared for me having to go on foot in search of the feature and send it from home - so, up early that morning - spent about a half hour unearthing my car from the overnight snowfall, and then, i just got in, crossed my fingers, gunned it and managed to power out! woo hoo!
but, it's just getting light out, and with so many people off work and school cancelled, many people weren't out super early, so, i drive, around and around, and i'd see someone, but shoot, they're almost finished with their walkway, so, keep driving, finally, i start to see more activity, pull over (and, figuring out where to do that on unplowed side roads during a snow emergency when i'm not supposed to park anywhere at all - quite the challenge - just to make things a little more interesting)
i spy a couple out shovelling, and they're just getting started, so i pull over, it's not the greatest, but i gotta bag something, cos now it's about 20 after 8, and i'm running out of time, and i got pretty much nothin...finally, i get to another street, and there are many more people out, a lot more to work with, and i pull up to the intersection, and i see these folks, and i notice the layer of them all shovelling and blowing this way and that, and i can see something coming together, but crap, what to do with the car - the moment's gonna be over by the time i get it parked, so i just start shooting thru the passenger window, cos it's really all starting to come together, and i have to shoot it now! i really liked how weird this one came out - the frost on the window made this weird foggy effect

but i felt like that was probably too strange for the paper, so i turned in the one of the neighbors each snowblowing, caught just as they passed each other heading opposite ways up and down their respective drives....i know it's not a really award winning image, but i liked how it kind of summed up the scene of the day and the activity, and how it caught them in passing....shot some more on that street, then high-tailed it back to the paper just in time for deadline.....whew!

was a little nervous as i sat there waiting to tone it, because i knew if it came in and it wasn't running 5 or 6 columns, then, i had pretty much blown it, but they went big, so i guess it all worked out for everyone in the end!
after deadline, it was back out for fresh features - cos everything i shot was for that day's paper, now we had to get something kickass for tomorrow.....had a really tough time finding anyone out there enjoying the snow - alot of just shovelling and snowblowing - and i really wanted to find something knock-out, but it just didn't come together for me, and i knew mr. bosch might hit the sledding hill, so i didn't want to go there....oh well, it is what it is, right? he totally kicked my ass, by the way - found this awesome pic of kids jumping and doing flips off their trampoline into a big snow mound....

the next day, things were a little back to normal, everyone less crazy over snow, and that night it was district wrestling tournament - got some stuff that i kinda dug

friday - just a headshot and then a portrait, nothing too exciting, and saturday it was down to the town of Ida for the annual Winterfest Snowball Tournament - i think this is the first year in a long time that they actually had snow on the ground for this thing, but i kind of forgot that essentially what it is is guys playing softball on the ball fields in the snow - still, potential for some cool stuff, and again, i REALLY wanted to knock it out of the park, but i also didn't want to shoot it like game action, and had i remembered, i would have brought the 300, cos i definitely needed it - wasn't getting the fun action moment i wanted - they guy sliding in all the snow, a cool moment, something that showed the spirit of the event....ended up going with this more scene-setting kind of thing - with all the snow and ice that was stuck on the handles of the bats - and then i kind of liked this woman bundled up against her boyfriend - cos after all, it is still only in the 20's, and if you aren't the one drinking beer and running around a ball field, it gets pretty frickin cold after a while....

on my way back to the car, i saw these kids having a snowball fight in the park by the ballfields....tried to work that, and it's not something i'm totally proud of, but i do like these 2 pix

okay, so, that's been the week - sorry to write so much, thanx again for looking!
by the way, there is something seriously wrong with people here - maybe i'm just missing it, but i haven't spied a single snowman or seen anyone out playing yet - i feel almost compelled to go build one...and if i actually do, i'll be sure to post up a shot

Sunday, February 7, 2010

lights, camera, action

i think the theme of this post should be about the visual challenge - alongside the usual dose of prep sports this week, my "assignments" all fall into the category of covering something visually that isn't inherently visual....
let's just begin with the RV Show from last weekend - these things are always so tough - people walking up and down aisles looking at mobile homes and campers, carrying the plastic bags filled with promotional materials they collect along the way - i tried making something out of the reflections, shooting through the windows, waiting inside to see if i could catch a moment as people toured thru the vehicles....i felt like a magician fresh out of ideas, pulling all my old tricks out of my tan dompke bag, and feeling pretty uninspired - having a hard time calling up that "roll with it, clear your head and let the picture come to you" mantra that serves so well in situations like these....just as i was about to give up and just go with what i had, i saw this group heading toward a large mobile home - they had a slew of kids with them, and i'd seen the kids playing inside one of the other homes, but couldn't get in there in time to work with it before they were off and on to the next, i got in there, and the kids ran into a back bedroom and immediately set up camp in the closet....well, okay, i'll take that, the composition is a little off, but i still liked the moment as their mom spied them inside the closet (reflected in the mirror of the closet door)....

monday morning, a former teacher who is now a professor teaching English in Tokyo came to visit a group of 4th graders....their teacher was actually this guy's student back in the day, and he has been corresponding with her and her class throughout the, being in town, he came for an in-person visit, bringing along with him sheets of paper with their names written in Japanese and lucky coins, and for the most part it was a power point map kind of presentation...this isn't what i turned in for the paper, just an aside moment that i liked...

then, later that night, sports....

and the next night, more sports - the challenge here being cheerleaders - aargh! do they really have to line up right under the basket, forcing me to shoot from the side, which is exactly where the ref will stand just at the peak moment of action....cheerleaders - BOO!!!!!

next day, went out to shoot a future Sunday piece on a program called "Bridges Out of Poverty," which is a 15 or 20 week program that uses a nationally distributed workbook curriculum that aims to help teach people how to break the cycle of poverty and get their lives back on track - so, basically, 3 women sitting around the large conference table and going through their workbook and talking - of course, each with the pop or water bottle plopped directly in front of them and the large platter of bagels and donuts in the, there's the challenge, and again, i feel like i resorted to some of the old visual tricks - i was hoping for a moment, but as to making it visually interesting and getting that extra layer in there, i noticed that one of the women was reflected in the screen of the facilitator's, there goes that old visual cliche again, but, i think it works okay and helps to make the moment a bit more interesting, and i liked the close-up of the woman who's kind of the focal peg of the story, so i think as a package it's not an inappropriate use of the reflection

and then the ice jam - this happens every winter, and every winter, whether it's actually creating a problem or not, we shoot it - thought we were actually going to blow it off this time round, but then one day, there it was written up on the board with my initial stuck alongside, off to the river to find the glutted slabs of was at a point in the river that is pretty plain - not a lot to work in there visually/ do what you can

friday morning began with a portrait of a man that bought a long-abandoned old factory and has rehabbed it into a warehouse...brought along a light - we've been really trying to do more with lighting portraits and kind of upping the ante in that respect - my co-worker far more than me, and with much better success i think - but, i'm trying to step it up....i was glad we were able to get in to the building - it sounded like he may have wanted/indicated doing a portrait standing outside the building (or god forbid, as we were joking, "by the sign") - at least all the lines of the shelving gave some visual elements to work with - had a heck of a time getting the white balance right - no setting seemed to work, especially once i threw the flash in there - i think the lighting works a little better (more like i wanted) in the second version, though i didn't like the composition as much....this guy was really patient and easy to shoot - before moving back to the area, he was actually a commercial fotog and foto instructor at Brooks Inst. in CA - which right away always makes me feel a little intimidated - just shooting another fotografer - and knowing, the kind of work he did and taught, he probably worked a lot more with lighting portraits than me, so i didn't want to look like a complete dope...but, i suppose, for what it is, i'm pretty content with the outcome...

later, shot an event for the opening of a new educational facility for people to get their GED's...after all the muckety-mucks got done speaking, they did the ribbon cutting and then everyone filed into the building for the tour - it's really just 2 rooms - one two long tables of computers, the other just an open room with some GED books and round tables - people stood around the open room eating cookies and drinking coffee and talking....happened to catch this moment after the ribbon cutting, where the center's coordinator got a congratulatory hug from a friend who works at another social service agency (actually, she was the woman who teaches the poverty class i shot 2 days prior) - if i stay here long enough, i won't even need my notepad anymore - i'll just know everyone i think!

so, that's been the challenge week for me, and now i have a few days off, and i can catch up and clean and paint and work on jewelry - prom season will be here in no time, and i am determined to make something out of it this time round!

thanx for looking,