Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm not in Ohio anymore...

...and what I heard on the radio this morning has left me disoriented as to exactly where I am.

Where I come from, radio stations have simple contests, like "win a car"... or "win your dream home"... or "win an exciting vacation get-away."

This morning 101.1 FM kicked-off their "Win the ultimate fishing shanty!" contest.

I don't know what to think anymore.

Sportraits, sportraits, sportraits...

Yes. I like ground-level blue skies in my portraits. Leave me alone. :-)

Girls' tennis player of the year Rachel Vrabec of Xavier High School

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I would hate to be a quarterback...

Because of this picture.

This guy has no idea he's about to get popped by a 200-lb linebacker coming from his blind-side.

This other frame needs a crop or something but I love the guy face-planting while looking up at the pass he was kind of supposed to catch.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Volleyball isn't so awful... I guess...

Funny how when you're forced to shoot something frequently you become better at it...

This was a big sectional match-up between Menasha and Neenah and it had so much more energy than a boys' game. Loved every second of it... just trying to tell the story of the night...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Another... uhh.. it's Tuesday now...

My first Tuesday night football I've ever shot. There's a first for everything in this business.

What a miserable night though. The radar was completely clear when I left the office and somehow it just poured cold rain the entire first half. Most of the photos were absolutely useless.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The comedy club...

I've never been to a comedy show... I've never seen live comedy. I've only seen it on TV (when I had cable I was addicted to Comedy Central). I'm periodically amazed at where my job takes me, and this was a really fun assignment.

I was happy with most of the photos I took during the night. But this one I was glad I saw. It's dark a heck in these places and there are only a couple of very focused can-lights in the rafters. I just waited for a waitress to take a drink order from the tables near that light. I knew then to move to the back of the room and played the waiting game. I was pre-focused on where she'd walk by under the light and I like the result.

Love the moody feel, although it's really begging for the cigarette smoke you'd expect in a night club. Darn smoking ban!

Waitress Trisha Hughes delivers drinks to tables while comedian Tanyalee Davis of Las Vegas performs at the 8pm show at the Skyline Comedy Cafe in Appleton, Wis., Friday evening, Oct. 19, 2007.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Hailey Meltz, a two-year-old from Appleton, has an inoperable brain tumor. This is the beginning of her story.

More information here: Team Hailey
And here: The Post~Crescent

Friday, October 19, 2007

Another Fri– hey wait a minute...

In Wisconsin, the end of football season starts getting screwey. Games start being played on Thursdays, and Tuesdays, and Saturdays in addition to Fridays.

That kind of threw me off a little bit, but I still had a decent night. The nice aspect is that I only had one game to cover. It's incredibly relaxing. I even walked to Subway during halftime to eat dinner. (sub of the day... just $2.99...)

It was a total mud-bowl because of recent rains, so I tried to capture that a little bit.

I try to avoid putting in pictures of people's backs, but despite that, I think this picture of an interception has a lot going on... lots of appendages... appendages are always good, and so is mud.

Our sports tabloid cover photo:

I like flying turf.
I always get a kick out of it, and I should stop being so obsessed with it. But you have to understand: when I was in high school I shot high school football on high-speed color film – believe it or not... I'm not that young. I developed it by hand for extended times in hot developer... that's how most everybody shot prep football. The resolving power of that film along with the relatively short lenses made photos looks pretty awful. There were minimal details – ooo... a hand! ooo... a ball! I got the ball in the frame and it happens to look brownish! Sweet!

Now with digital, the low-light quality really rivals and often exceeds what film ever did – without the carcinogenic chemicals. Seeing amazing details like blades of grass flying up from a soccer slide-tackle, or the finest of hairs on a person's face in a portrait shoot are really commonplace anymore. One really disgusting example is that I once captured someone sneezing at 8-frames-per-second... and no, they didn't cover their mouth.

My point: we've come a long way from tintypes and wet processes, and we should continue to be amazed at the increasing accuracy we can depict our world with.

A final frame.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Why do people do this to themselves? I want to be fit and in shape, but collapsing and nearly heaving-up a lung and throwing-up isn't a price I'm willing to pay for that.

Seriously... this is a very narrow view of the finish line. You're not seeing the rest of a battlefield...

Cross country...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The strongest, most persistent, positive woman I've ever met...

Victoria Goss – Victoria runs the Last Chance Corral, a horse/foal rescue operation in Athens, Ohio. I had been out of touch with the Corral since I graduated from Ohio U. It's a special place and I missed its aura.

Long story made short, Donny is gone. Victoria is moving on by renovating the house.
She's doing all the work herself, of course using her diverse skills in masonry and woodwork and stonework... anything she doesn't know how to do, she's learning as she goes along. She's a woman who doesn't let anything stop her.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

From 31,000 feet...

This won’t be a photo entry today. Sometimes just my words are all I want to spew onto your computer screen.

I woke at 5am this morning… that was sure fun. It’s literally been months since I’ve woken up and there was no sunlight. Today I’m flying home to Ohio to visit. It’s a visit long overdue.

For some reason it’s a mix of feelings leaving your “new home” for your “old home” for the first time. It’s liberating: for five days work is the least of my worries… although I’ve been gone for only a day and my email inbox is flooded already. It’s also strangely unsettling and I can’t begin to comprehend why. Perhaps it’s a little bit of fear visiting old places knowing that after only three to six months they will assuredly not be the same places I once knew, either in appearance or nature.

Flying is enjoyable to me. But it’s the one thing people love to hate, so hey– I’ll go ahead and hate on it, too.

Driving into the airport a safe hour before my flight, I realized that recent construction had ravaged the airport signage… “where the **** is the daily/weekly parking?” I asked while I circled the airport grounds three times feeling like a complete moron… all the while, my breakfast (consisting of a Qwik Trip donut) taunted me from the passenger’s seat.

It only got worse from there…

Outagamie County Regional Airport (ATW) is not a busy airport… except of course for days on which I’m in a hurry. Upon entering the terminal (10 minutes late thanks to the lack of parking signs) I found myself at the ticketing counter behind 20 woodsmen all dressed in camo and their wives (totally not dressed in camo) apparently going on a hunting trip. The line for the security checkpoint was literally going out the door.

As the minutes ticked by getting closer and close to my departure time, I watched helplessly as each of these hunters checked their allotted five guns each. Between frequent mental fits over the delay, I wondered how many frigging guns one man actually needs to kill an animal. Then I realized that what was once a one-gun activity (key word: active) for finding food to live on has modernized and Americanized into a multi-firearm “sport” involving recreational drinking and climbing trees.

For a moment I considered cutting to the front of the line. I immediately realized that was a ludicrous idea: everybody knows you never cross Wisconsin hunters… particularly a group of 20 with enough firepower to form a poorly regulated militia.

Upon getting checked-in I headed to the security line, where – as I said – it only got worse from there…

There are at least 50 people ahead of me. Don’t people pay attention to the TSA rules? Television news only spend half of their newscasts for a week reviewing the changes. Furthermore, it’s not as if they just instituted the no-liquid-rule yesterday. It’s been effective for over a year. Nevertheless, there’s a second line next to the main line of the folks who disregarded the advisories. They stood there upset, chugging their bottles of overpriced spring water with the same vigor as a UW-Madison student doing a keg-stand.

I boarded my plane with just a few minutes to spare.

It only got worse from there…

The plane was smelly.
The plane was sweltering… I think there was a bonfire stoking in first class.

At least I sat next to an interesting person. He did prove the premise that Americans are generally uncomfortable with verbal silence in social settings, but he was nice. He’s worked in the aviation industry, private and public sectors since the 1960s. He wanted to be a licensed commercial pilot but onset diabetes prevented that. He said that one of his employers were part of developing the coatings and paints that make the military’s stealth bombers undetectable by radar. They are also one of many aviation firms trying to develop supersonic aircrafts that are flyable over the continental U.S. – they merely have to find out how to break the sound barrier without making a sonic boom. Interesting stories although I wouldn’t bet my journalistic credibility on them…

Now, I’m at 31,000 feet on my connecting flight from Minneapolis to Columbus. By now, I’m probably over the one state I loathe the most. I’m sitting next to a guy that tried to trick me into taking the window seat… I ain’t no sucker. I’m probably driving him nuts though, because even though I hate the window seat, I love looking out the window. They need to work on airplane design to accommodate both of my needs. My row-mate (sounds like prison) can’t read this because he’s asleep, rudely claiming the center armrest for himself. I’m squeezed in-between him and the drink cart in the twelfth row, right next to the bathroom. Why did I pick these seats again?

The captain just came on and said we’ll be on the ground in 15 minutes. Current weather: light wind and rain.

But the sun will come up tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


...not the best stained glass photo I've ever seen... It's okay.

Anthony Ross of Coventry Glassworks and Gallery, one in a crew of four, installs stained glass windows in the sanctuary of St. Mary Parish in Menasha, Wis., Monday, Oct. 8, 2007.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Called up to the big leagues...

I was planning on heading north to Lambeau Field to work on a feature/atmosphere story for my next ViewFinder project.

Then the Crandon shootings happened and the usual plans went out the window. Patrick Ferron, who usually shoots the Packers games with Dan Powers, was sent to Crandon and I was assigned to game coverage with Dan. It was my first regular season game.

Specifically I was assigned to be the "Favre-cam." At home games we like to have one photographer focusing on Favre full time so we get all the action, reaction, or injuries. I got some decent photos from the game, and even the game-winning touchdown, but more importantly (in my mind) I learned some things that will make next time easier and more productive.

Dan Powers: "I know you're assigned to Favre, but when it's the 4th quarter, the game is tied, and the Bears are past the Green Bay 40, why the **** are you still shooting Favre on the bench... the game is out on the field!"

Green Bay Packers' Nick Barnett wraps up Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Griese in the third quarter.

Me and my low angles again. I'll master this yet! Green Bay Packers' Brett Favre prepares a hand-off for DeShawn Wynn in the third quarter.

Green Bay Packers' Atari Bigby is unable to keep Chicago Bears' Greg Olsen from pulling in a touchdown pass in the third quarter.

Chicago Bears' Desmond Clark tumbles over Green Bay Packers' Nick Collins at the end zone for the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Green Bay Packers' Brett Favre walks off the field after the Packers' loss to the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Another Friday night... Week 7

Clearly the best end-zone lighting (cross-lit!) I've had all season...

This was our tab-cover... I'm kind of iffy on my decision to go with this...

Quarterbacks running from linemen is a nice safety shot to grab at any point in the game. This one does a little more for me, with the layers and that little ridge of hard light on the quarterback's face.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I still suck at shooting volleyball...

...but I'm getting marginally better. I still have to bank on celebration images and a lot of luck.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I hate halloween...

Halloween is my least favorite holiday. At a newspaper you just can't weather the fall season without an assignment or two pertaining to the damn day. People keep telling me that I'll love it when I have kids. Whatever. For now I reserve the right the be disgruntled with it.

This assignment raised my blood pressure. If one hates Halloween, they will surely hate a haunted house. Upon arriving at the "Burial Chamber," I trekked through the house (no lights on) and made this frame for our Weekend cover. Everything was totally freaking me out. I don't even want to think about it... uhh... bye...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Done it... seen it...

Every once in a while you think you're doing something so spectacularly original... so fantastic... that you can just imagine all the cheers you'll receive...

...and then, instead, you get that bubble immediately burst when you hear "Oh yeah, the beveled glass on that one door... oh yeah... we've all shot through that..."

Seen through the beveled glass window of a door to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, U.S. Ambassador to India, David Mulford addresses Lawrence University students, faculty, and members of the public during a convocation titled "The United States and India: A Partnership for the 21st Century" in Appleton, Wis., Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2007.

Monday, October 01, 2007


You can't document Octoberfest without documenting the recreational binge drinking.

Patrick Leonard of Chicago sits on a curb near Division Street and College Avenue in the later hours of Octoberfest in downtown Appleton, Wis., Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007. Leonard, describing himself as 'bored,' said, "I kinda want to go to the bars right now."

This picture alone doesn't tell the whole story. But this was the quirky frame from the day that made me laugh and smile.