Friday, November 30, 2007

The opening of a can of worms...

In what will no doubt be a national, convoluted, disturbing, and long trial:

Manishkumar Patel, 34, is accused of attempted first-degree intentional homicide for allegedly spiking his pregnant girlfriend's drink with RU-486 on Sept. 17 in Appleton — two weeks before she miscarried.

Although she did not ingest that drink, authorities suspect he may have caused that miscarriage and another one she had about 10 months earlier.

Patel is being prosecuted under the state's fetal homicide law that has been in effect since 1998. That law classified unborn children as potential crime victims.

The two photos are from Patel's initial court appearance. They, among others I sent, were carried on the AP wire and also used by CNN in their on-air legal analysis of the case. Not a huge deal but fun to see the photos used on a national level.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

High School Musical

To this assignment, I roll my eyes, but nevertheless emerged with a couple nice pictures...

Troy and the Jocks sing and dance to the song "Get'cha Head in the Game" during Disney's High School Musical played at the Fox Cities P.A.C. in downtown Appleton, Wis., Wednesday evening, Nov. 28, 2007.

A young theater-goer watches excitedly as the actors perform.

Ushers sit together in the back of the theater to watch the show.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Soccer player of the year – Stuart Grable

This was a much simpler portrait than the last one. One light, very small softener.

I was intent on using a wide-angle lens at first, and finally backed-off and shot through the soccer netting. Here's how the portrait ran in the newspaper:

Friday, November 23, 2007

Swimmer of the Year - Sarah Wardecke

Kirk and Dan both graciously came along on this photo shoot with me as assistants. I literally couldn't have done it without them. This portrait looks simple enough but it was a total bear to actually pull-off. The motto of the day was "volts and water don't mix."

While Dan set-up the softboxes and PocketWizard remote triggers, Kirk and I were in the shower room putting my electronic strobes under the hand dryers (it would have made for a hillarious funpix). My light kit had been in my car overnight. Chilled from the freezing temperatures, they began sweating profusely from the humid natatorium. We didn't want to plug these in until they were completely dry.

Volts and water don't mix.

I had this shot a bit pre-visualized, and we got all the lights setup shortly before Sarah arrived. I asked her to give an intense, stone-cold, game-face look. Some folks just don't have that kind of attitude. In Sarah's case, she's gifted with a pleasant smile, so we went with that.

This was one of those cases where the lighting just took forever to get correct. Water adds another whole dimension to lighting because it refracts the light in ways you wouldn't expect, especially in a natatorium with white reflective walls. I wanted a dark surrounding so we had to use grids and scrims (light modifiers that narrow the beam of light) to get this to look the way I wanted it. With two guys helping me, it took 20 minutes to get the shot. If I was flying solo, our swimmer would have been a prune by the time I would have finished.

Kirk and Dan were also instrumental in keeping some kids away from our extension cords and ensuring those cords never came in contact with any of the puddles on the pool deck. Thanks guys!

Here's how we ran the portrait in our Sports tab.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


More photos from the extended project...

Shannon Meltz holds her daughter Hailey, while watching her other daughter, Faith, jump on a trampoline in their backyard at their home Wednesday evening, Oct. 17, 2007. Brian and Shannon Meltz of Appleton, Wis., have two young daughters, Hailey, 2, and Faith, 3. In June 2007, Hailey, 20-months-old at the time, was diagnosed with Pediatric Low Grade Astrocytoma (PLGA), an inoperable brain tumor.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gun-Deer season begins...

We have no qualms about running photos of dead deer on the front page here. That's just not my choice to make. And on the morning after the first day of Gun-Deer hunting season, that's apparently what people want to see.
Kristine Olson of the Dale Mini-Mart takes a photo of Dave Holloway of Dale and his hunt in the back of his pickup truck after registering at the Mini-Mart on the first day of gun deer hunting season, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007.

This photo is really straightforward, but I thought the hunter's expression, hamming it for the camera was telling.

The rest of the morning I tried to focus more on the beauty of man in nature.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

State Football - Game 2

Kimberly victorious over DeForest.

Kimberly High School's Tyler Wolf (6) crashes by DeForest High School's Matt Klemmer (55) in the Division 2 State Football Championship at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., Friday, Nov. 16, 2007.

Kimberly High School's Nick Harkness (36), Dan Lenzner (48), and Mike Kusnierz (18) make a quarterback sandwich out of DeForest High School's Tyler Benzine (12) in the fourth quarter.

Kimberly High School's AJ Klein (34) and Dan Lenzner (48) celebrate their win.

Kimberly High School's football team celebrates around the state title trophy.

Our cover and centerspread that ran in the newspaper:

State Football - Game 1

New London loses to Wisconsin Lutheran.. . a game filled with missed tackles...

...nearly blocked punts...

...and disappointment.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Prep Football Semifinals Part II

On the road again, this time to Ashwaubenon outside of Green Bay for the Div. III semifinal.

Clintonville High School's Justin Jirschele (17) gets a face full of hand from New London High School's Jake Hermsen (13) in the third quarter of the Division 3 football semifinal game at Ashwaubenon High School in Ashwaubenon, Wis., Saturday afternoon, Nov. 10, 2007.

I really like this frame: New London High School fans cheer in the stands as Levi Thiel (34), bottom, makes his way through the scrum at the goal line to score a Bulldog touchdown in the third quarter of the Division 3 football semifinal game at Ashwaubenon High School in Ashwaubenon, Wis., Saturday afternoon, Nov. 10, 2007. Thiel's touchdown along with the extra point afterwards, increased New London's lead over Clintonville to 14-0. Landing on top of the pile is New London's Mitch Schuh (82).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Prep Football Semifinals

I was in the Wausau, Wis., area to cover Kimberly playing Menomonie for the Div. II birth to the state championship in Madison. Wausau's a little farther north than Appleton. Never before have I encountered four deer in my hotel parking lot, and I've never had frost actually form on my cameras while I was shooting. How bizarre!

Here are a couple of my favorite frames from the evening.

Kimberly High School's Zach Thuecks (22) breaks up a pass intended for Menomonie High School's Jon Heimler (80) in the first quarter of the Division 2 football semifinal game at Stiehm Stadium in Weston, Wis., Friday evening, Nov. 9, 2007.

This shot of Kimberly QB Tyler Wolf scrambling out of the pocket was a total fluke. I'm not sure I like it or not, but there was this photographer on the opposite sideline who kept blasting her flash throughout the game. 900 frames during the course of a game at about 5-6 frames a second and you're bound to catch a flash or two. I like the slight back-lighting and green "UFO" on the left. When I transmitted this image, I actually got a call back from the sports desk saying "there's something wrong with your photo."

This was the game-winning touchdown catch – right on the guy's fingertips. When I saw this on the back of my camera I knew this had to be our cover shot. News value and moment always win.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007

State Soccer - Day 3 - The Championships

Championship day is all that matters. What is it all about?

It's about defeat...'s about unusual key plays...'s about game-saving goals...'s about leaving it all out on the field...
...and when it's all over, celebrating your successes.

Deer season in hunters' sights

I've never been hunting.

Personally, I'm quite tolerant of people who hunt for food needs.

I don't, however, agree morally with hunting for sport or population control. Research has shown that hunting to control deer populations doesn't help and in some cases actually makes overpopulation worse. Too often we forget that Spencer and Darwin were right about a lot of things... particularly that the fittest survive and reproduce. There are much more effective ways of controlling deer populations, including hands-off approaches, and yes... even deer contraception.

Nevertheless, there are just some things in this business that you have to cover objectively despite your personal opinions.

This story was about hunters heading out to local gun clubs to adjust the sights and scopes of their rifles and shotguns. Although, there was just something really cool about a smoking, spent shotgun round ejecting from the chamber of a Weatherby...

...and a collection bin for spent rifle rounds.

Friday, November 02, 2007

State Soccer - Day 2

Awful soccer played today... best action photo is this... ugg... feature is this...

It is what it is.

Autumn leaves a quick, colorful blur

My third installation of our ViewFinder photo columns... this one's slower, nature-eee-err, and has my awesome voice over.

Audio slideshow here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

State Soccer - Day 1

I'm cooped up in a pressbox that consistently smells of burnt popcorn (we're right above the main concession stand). I feel like gagging.

But this is fun... and for a guy who really dislikes soccer as a sport, De Pere played an awesome game tonight, although it resulted in a heartbreaking loss for them. And wouldn't you know it, the guy who pushed everybody around and fouled scored the winning goal... life just ain't fair... it just ain't fair...

Trick or Treat

Even though I can't stand Halloween, I can tolerate Trick or Treat night. Dan Powers and I tag-teamed the paper's coverage... we were able to cover two neighborhoods on opposite sides of town and get all of our shots before the sun set (which is really, really early this time of year). I think it made things easier on both of us.

Dan kicked my ass as usual with a really nice photo of some little girls being scared by a swooping skeleton bat coming out of a tree. I had to rely on visual quirkiness and traditional views... Rockwell-esque if you ask me... :)