Thursday, February 26, 2009

Daily work

From my series on old men and birds. No, actually, I've been thinking about the beautiful parts of daily work. Day in, day out, simple work with a camera, where you get the chance to clean up the world by looking at it a certain way, and you get that freeing feeling that comes from a routine that isn't monotonous. Just wake up, have coffee, make pictures. Today I helped Justin in the studio, solving some interesting visual problems, had lunch, and then went over to photograph Marvin Sermersheim, who has worked the same job for 55 years. No complaints from him. He gets up, has coffee, goes to work, moves lumber, goes home to work on the farm, and starts over the next day. With everything going on in the newspaper industry, I just hope that there will be a place for me in a newsroom somewhere, because I am a creature of habit. If not, I hope I can hang on to the routine of coffee (always) and picture making, every day. Because it feels the most right.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Still Winter

From the Gun Club story. Above, Dink measures targets at the Sunday Meat Shoot. Below, I saw some birds and thought of Katie Barnes. It's all kind of wintery.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My last few weeks

I prefer shooting stories to sports. Yet, so much of being a newspaper photographer is about photographing sports, basketball at the moment, something I had never done before this year, my first internship out of school. There are things I love about it, though. Fans. Families out for the night. The excitement of a home team winning. The band. Sidelines features. Sometimes, when I'm really desperate, like tonight, I even like the food. Most of all, though, I appreciate the chance to be out making pictures. Not sitting at home, imagining if anyone will hire me after this summer. Not sitting at the office, tabulating my mileage for the month. Not obsessively watching the POYi judging, to which I have an almost Pavlovian anxiety-response, from my time working on that website. Instead, I'm just making pictures, clean and simple, of kids playing sports. And while I'm not the greatest sports photographer, I'm getting the job done. And for the chance to do the job, I am thankful.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


One bright moment in an otherwise boring assignment. So the day wasn't so bad after all.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Overtime. Ten seconds to go. One point difference. Wow. What an exciting night. I may be working on Valentine's Day, but as a consolation I also learned that I'm INPA's Photographer of the Year. That's pretty cool, considering it was judged by Steve Liss, whose story I was loading to the POYi website around this time last year, the way cool (or so I hear) Ryan Wood of Midland, and the incomparable Melissa Lyttle. The Herald did great overall, and that's the best part.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Considering the Past

I spent some time this weekend thinking about my Secret Life of Children of project. It was about this time last year that I really started working on it-- going out to the Furlongs house and spending my afternoons there. Muddy, warm weather changing to freezing all of a sudden. Drives to Sturgeon with lots of coffee, long phone conversations with friends on the way there, escape from the madness of the POYi website, which nearly killed me, but not quite. I loved making pictures in Sturgeon. There were so many other stories there to be told. Like the one above. When I go defend my Master's project in September, I think I'll budget some extra time to just hang out in Missouri and revisit some things I've missed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feeling Good

The sectional win for the Southridge Raiders on Tuesday night meant that head coach Greg Werner hit the floor in the locker room after the game for 75 push-ups. A Southridge women's basketball tradition, Werner faces an incremental increase in the number of push-ups each time the Raiders win.
It's that time of the season-- sports feature time! After a great, close game the celebrating went on in the locker room. Krista, the Herald photographer, had been talking about the locker room earlier in the day, and I hadn't been in one since volleyball sectionals last year. Fun!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spelling Bee Winner

That's right! Won the Dubois County Spelling Bee, went to Dairy Queen to celebrate! Sometimes life is just that simple. Did the photographer have ice-cream too? You betcha.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Quail Hunt

Among many. many other pictures. Oh, the air and the light and the dogs and the guns. A paradise. I spent the day quail hunting with a group of kids, and made a whole bunch of pictures I actually like. I was reminded of some things I need to work on too. But what a blessing to have a day to make pictures and drink coffee and eat barbeque.
Addendum | sunday morning | more coffee:
Here are some more photos from the quail hunt. I want to thank Jason Johns, former Herald intern and fellow Mizzou student, whom I have never met, for influencing me in my decision to stay as long as I did at the quail hunt. I got there at 7:30 in the morning and didn't leave until the afternoon, though I had some okay pictures for the paper. Jason wrote about his experience at The Herald that he constantly worked against his instinct to leave an assignment early. Instead, he'd force himself to stay and that was often when the best pictures came. That insight has been the driving force for me, and I'm always happy I stayed (or arrived early.) If newspapers don't work out, maybe I could work for a hunting magazine. I'd sure enjoy it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Light, the best & worst of it

Right now, I'm working on a number of stories that take place indoors, under some of the least-inspiring lighting situations. I'm longing for a story that would have tons of natural light in it. I'm surprised, though, at the subtle variations in even the worst light. Even the fluorescents in the Maple Valley Gym, where I've been working of a story about the only male cheerleader in Dubois County, have the properties to astound, with a hint of catch-light that can sometimes save a picture. I had one wonderful/scathing portfolio review at Eddie Adams, where the subject of "seeing light" was brought up. I've been thinking on that topic ever since, and while I'm stuck in these tough situations, I'm thinking on the even half-stop differences between one side of the gym and the other. Having crappy light also pushes you to rock your compositions as hard as possible, because in the final layout, light variations aren't going help diversify the story and move it along. Tomorrow I'll be quail hunting/ shooting pictures in the early morning sunlight. I'm excited just thinking about it. Zach, thanks for the comment on my last post. It, in turn, inspired me to write a bit more with my posts.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


So, I shoot a lot of features here at The Herald. Some months are especially great. Like November, apparently, with wins in INPA's Clips Contest. I especially like the judges' comment on the first place photo, which echoes a recent post of mine. "Nice quiet moment. The closed eyes, the camo - it all adds to the moment." Quiet moments and camo. Both are things I love to see in a photo. Sometimes I just drive around, looking for a feature. I if can't find one, I try to not waste the drive. I try and make some pictures, even if they're not perfect for the paper, like this one, above. Just an attempt to get at something, though this one isn't successful in the way I wanted it to be. Not white enough. Not close enough. Not enough. Stopping and trying, though-- that's an important habit.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Agony

That's right, Katie Barnes. We're having a wrestling shoot-off. Post your favorites from your recent assignment. The one on the top-- he had broken his toe the day before, and wrestled through the pain. I will no longer complain about anything.

Sunday, February 1, 2009