last week's work began where it left off - more travels (this time nearly 3 hours away), more basketball - but this was the end of the line - for the team and for my hoops season, as well....
the next morning it was shooting the 24 kids that made the region best wrestlers for the season - kind of glorified headshots, really, which is why it's nothing i'd post....later that afternoon, off to a water park at a hotel complex off the highway in Dundee which was giving people free day-long access to the park with a food donation for the Salvation Army - man, that was tougher than i thought it'd be - first off it took about a half hour for my gear to stop fogging up - and it's not like it was even cold to begin with, it was just THAT steamy in there! and dark, but it looked like fun
well, some of these are so old at this point, that i've somewhat lost steam to rethink all the back story, so i'll probably be pretty brief....
feature hunting one afternoon, with initially scant success, i finally stumbled upon these kids - an older girl sitting alongside a building, busily texting away while she kept an eye on her sister and a friend riding their bikes up and down the block - felt okay with what i got from the situation, but i think it could have been better - wanted to work that shadow thing more, but, as so often happens, when you want people to cross in front of you, they always seem to feel they need to go around - not get in your way...but I WANT YOU TO GET IN MY WAY!!!! you keep thinking!!!
weekend was a couple events at the mall - one, a kids' science place having a show - supposed to be all about kids making slime, which sounded kind of promising, but, things didn't really turn out to be so - it was a stage show of different chemical properties - things that combust (on a minor scale, of course - i mean, we are in the mall after all - and things that absorb water - mostly it was a couple people from the science center on the make-shift risers and kids and parents sitting in folding chairs watching - so, not quite what anticipated, but you do what you can
later, the Easter bunny was to arrive....so at the end of the show, a couple mall workers come walking up, guiding the bunny-clad being, and the kids are pretty oblivious, cos they're all getting stickers from the science center people, so the workers, and bunny in tow, turn around and walk away
well, so much for all that! after a while, since bunny is not making any grand re-entry, i head off in the direction they went and find them back at their Easter station - ie, pictures with santa-cum-easter bunny photo set-up...but, no one's really coming...oh, a few kids come, and they get their pictures taken, and they leave, and some just want to see the bunny, but mom & dad don't want to pay, so they come up and look at the bunny and walk away, so, i got not a lot to work with here, and neither do the workers i might add, so one of them goes up and snuggles in next to the bunny for a rest, and then they start joking around, and she leans in close to the big black see-thru-ish bunny eye and says "i can see you in there!" and they start giggling, and i'm shooting, and i'm feeling like this is probably way better than anything i'll make of kids sitting on bunny lap, so i call it quits....and for some reason, the paper never uses this pic anywhere - not sure why.....i kind of liked it
so, the following week, sports are done, and it's back to feature hunting, and other featurey story things, including an "Italian Club festival" - which really is only a festival if you consider lining up to get a plate of buffet food, eating it and leaving a party...stayed as long as i could, given the next assignment, and hoped for a moment, which i sorta got, but it's just decent daily really
on a following day, had a few assignemnts - one of those "boom, boom, boom" kind of days -first, an anti-tobacco assembly at a middle school - i pull up, there are rows of t-shirts hung outside the building, and i see the sign proclaiming each of them to represent the number of deaths in the state last year due to tobacco - well, too bad, they didn't tell us when they were gonna put those up, cos that's WAY more visual than the kids speaking at a microphone in the gym, but, as is often the case, they found it PERFECT timing that we could be there for the assembly, and to get a picture of their finalized t-shirt memorial....and now they were going to gather for a group portrait in front of it all.....oy vey, this madness will never end...but, they did all head outside, post-assembly, for aforementioned fotos, but also to answer questions as kids from the various classes trekked thru the display - nothing too great, obviously, but better than the indoor shots at least, especially since this was page one
had just enough time to jet further up the road to a library for a "peeps art" making activity at the library, which i'd scheduled to shoot since we were gonna be in a nearby town just prior, and around which subsequently my co-worker had scheduled a portrait for the swimmer of the year - since we were gonna be right there in town anyway....all of which makes for an amazingly good plan, except for the fact that it turns out the peeps art library thing is NEXT week, and now i have an hour and a half to kill in Milan...but, it is a nice warm spring day, so, there have to be features, and off i go...
through neighborhoods, business areas, and i'm not seeing much, so i head back to this old auto shop, outside of which i'd noticed a cool old car parked beneath a big old tree, and which i'd planned to check out on my way out of town...so, i went there and made some frames
Uncle Jeff's Auto Body Shop...
i don't even know if it's still actually open or not, but it is full of cool old michigan remains
then i went back to feature hunting - found a family outside and pulled over - they seemed to be either playing in their yard or about to go for a ride, but i felt i could make something....after explaining that i wasn't there to sell them family fotos to mom who had an accent i couldn't quite place, i hung out and started shooting, til dad came out and started arguing with mom in a language i also couldn't quite determine, and then they all went inside and dad came out and stared at me from the porch - i just left hoping i hadn't created some kind of domestic situation
then i stopped in at the city's park, and i was about not to get out of my car and just shoot the kid on the swing photo, but i still had a half hour to kill, so why not just try and work it to see what happens, so i did, and i guess, for what it is, i'm okay with it for a daily feature
the portrait i shot is pretty so-so, so i won't waste anyone's eyeballs, including my own
next day went to an elementary school who was capping off their March reading month, themed "the Renaissance," with "Renaissance Day" - among the events, knights on horses were to ride up to the school and read stories to the kids....it was a windy day and pretty chilly, but still totally do-able - i mean, this is michigan, we can take it, right?! - but, apparently the knights thought otherwise, so it turned into they'd ride around the school and the kids could see them pass by the windows - great! so, that was kind of a bust, and after the story time, lunches began, after which would be more activities, so i pretty much hung out there for a couple hours or so, and i wasn't totally happy with how it all worked out in terms of my pix, but i did like this one of these kids lined up after lunch and this almost-there moment
nabbed by one of the reporters who'd just gotten a hold of a woman who was among the victims of a recent apartment fire - she'd lost nearly everything in the blaze, the most tragic being the family dog, Lola....or so she thought, as well as the fire fighters, as well as us, who'd reported the day before that several homes were lost, no lives, except one family pet....amazingly, this dog bound out from amid the charred rubble the next day as fire crews went back in to investigate....the woman and her daughter agreed to meet up with us after work, and i made this portrait of the 3 of them in front of their burned-out former unit - headline - "Lola Lives!"
more school, more kids - this event was a party for kids who'd done the best in the monthly good conduct program - this time, instead of the parents hosting the party, kids from the high school hoops and cheer teams got involved, and they had various stations with relative sports-themed activities - a bit hectic, and not quite what i expected - fairly pedestrian shoot, but i did like this expression/moment between 2 little girls as they did their sport visor craft
and on a different day, at a different school, a local dentist (my dentist, actually) was visiting the after-school kids club to talk about teeth and taking care of them - this guy's actually really good with kids - kind of like a Mister Rogers does dentistry - but, really it's him sitting or standing in front of the group talking and showing teeth and how to brush - there was a puppet, though, a kangaroo in whose mouth he'd put one of those dentist teeth sets they always have sitting around their offices - kind of creepy looking, actually - anyway, just liked the expression on all these kids' faces
a group of high school band kids formed their own sax quartet, and one evening they were holding a fundraiser at Wendy's, who was giving them 15% of the proceeds during the 2 hours they played, which would go toward the school's band program...they were really good, but it was tough to shoot - not a lot of moments there - they're up front playing, in front of the bank of windows, so they're totally backlit, and the people there, well, they're eating burgers...what's a gal to do - waited and searched for SOMETHING, but the best i got really was the manager clapping along as she tried to stir up the crowd in the spirit of the night
baseball season is getting underway, and the preview story included a focus on a kid who is a stand-out in a few sports, including baseball...the team was having a scrimmage one afternoon, which the other team was like an hour late getting to, so i shot some pre-game featurey stuff of him, but ended up liking this moment in the dugout during play the best
speaking of plays, that other season is upon us - wel, the theater season seems never to really end, but this is the big spring production time for the schools...Monroe High was rehearsing for a musical adaptation of Wilde's play "The Happy Prince," the music written by a Monroe native who performs music around the country - this is the "world premiere" of his musical...the music was really beautiful, and these kids, man, they just never cease to amaze me, how talented they are....liked the elements going on as they did a sit-down run-thru of the songs at rehearsal start
and then, there is my inevitable "in the wings" feature
that weekend's work included shooting a church group who is part of the international Lutheran workers making Braille and large print Bibles and other religious materials for the blind/impaired - quite the production line they had going in that church basement
afterwards, went to shoot a feature foto of some 4-H kids who were bringing baby animals to a store for kids to get their Easter pictures taken with - chilly day, so not a lot of traffic, but there was this one boy snuggling with his baby goat (god, i want a goat!) - it not only kept him warm, but he told me it makes for a really good pillow
and that was it for march!
march in, march out, march on!!!