Monday, December 17, 2007

Ka... ka... ka... Cold!

It's really cool when you're paid to take pictures while you go on a carriage ride through the woods. But you just have to remember to dress warmly.

Liz Herms of Random Lake, Wis., and Chris Stinski of Appleton enjoy a carriage ride with friends at Cavanaugh's Carriages in Neenah, Wis., Saturday afternoon, Dec. 8, 2007.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hmong New Year

The Fox Cities Hmong community held its annual Hmong New Year celebration Saturday at Appleton East High School.

Organizers said about 500 people attended the celebration, which is the most important holiday for the Hmong community.

Crystal Vue, 15, of Appleton, dances with her group Gao Hmong Asia during a talent portion of the Hmong New Year celebration.

Christina Thor, 15, of Appleton, dressed in traditional Hmong-Chinese clothing talks with her family.

The traditional clothing for men and women features special chiming coins, which culturally represent and display beauty.

Family portraits are commonly taken during the day. Families often travel to reunite for this holiday.

The Hannah Montana craze

The Fox Cities were no exception to the Hannah Montana craze that's sweeping the nation. Tickets are selling out all over in less than five minutes. There's a little happiness and a lot of disappointment.

I wish I could say that skill played a part in the photo below, but I feel it was more a matter of good karma, or divine intervention.

I missed another moment a few minutes before this photo because a TV cameraman was in my way, blocking my shot. He was the kind that had no awareness of how his actions were affecting others.

On a hunch, I asked the Macy's TicketMaster representatives if I could come behind the counter with them for a different angle. Sure enough, one minute later, the ticket winner's girlfriends show up and start jumping up and down and hugging each other. I had the perfect angle for the moment of the day, and the TV guys missed the whole thing. That's karma baby...

Erika Conn, 16, of Neenah, Wis., left, hugs her friends Kari Zwirchitz, 16, center, and Angela Bacon, 17, right, both of Neenah, after Conn became first in line for Hannah Montana concert tickets thanks to a lottery system, shortly before noon at the Ticketmaster outlet in Macy's at the Fox River Mall in Grand Chute, Wis., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007. Hoping for a ticket behind them is Hannah Olson, 5, of Oshkosh, Wis. Tickets for the Jan. 13 concert at Milwaukee's Bradley Center sold out in just four minutes.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Boys' Basketball: Hortonville shocks New London...

Nobody expected the Polar Bears to knock off the Bulldogs... but I guess in nature, a polar bear could totally rip anything to shreds...

Friday, December 14, 2007

More wrestling...

Put a little more effort into wrestling last night. I had some time and the opportunity to setup a strobe in the corner of the small gymnasium used for a wrestling match. Why would I do such a thing? It looks better, I can shoot with a lower "film speed" by a factor of 3, and I can shoot with a slightly smaller aperture to ensure focus and sharpness.

These are two of my better photos from the night...

Menasha's Braeden Harris tries to pull away from Neenah's Ryan Robillaro in a 119 pound match in Menasha, Wis., Thursday evening, Dec. 13, 2007.

Neenah's Josh Gallagher gets a close-up view of the mat courtesy of Menasha's Tyler Bordeau in a 160 pound match.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Ice Maker

It's a simple process, really... you go to a park, plow away some snow in the shape of an oval, spray down water with a fire-hose and let it freeze. But it takes a week to turn a park into an ice rink. We went to Menasha's Hart Park in the middle of the process to see what everything looks like half-way through. The spikes sticking up are blades of grass coated with overspray.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Valley ballet...

Juanita Makaroff, right, is stepping briefly out of a 49-year retirement at age 73 to dance the role of Grandmother in Makaroff Youth Ballet's full-length production of the holiday classic "The Nutcracker."

Makaroff, who founded the oldest ballet school in the Fox Valley, left the professional performance stage at age 24 to teach classical ballet. She's returning to the stage at the invitation of daughter Jeanette Makaroff, left, the nonprofit youth ballet company's artistic director and the choreographer of "The Nutcracker" performances Saturday and Sunday at Lawrence University's Stansbury Theatre in downtown Appleton.

If I had to shoot this portrait again, I'd take the suggestion of my colleague Dan to put a slight hair-light/kicker behind them to separate them from the darkness. But I'm still happy with this. Those are all handmade tutus surrounding them, by the way...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hockey... room for improvement

I like hockey, but I'm awful at shooting it. We all need something to improve at, though. Here's a couple photos from last night's girls' game between Waupun and Appleton.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The beginning of a long basketball season...

Football was one day a week... basketball (seems) like fifty times a week.

FVL seniors Andrew Aronson and Joel Vanden Busch, right, cheer on the girls' basketball team to victory over Appleton Xavier High School at Fox Valley Lutheran High School in Appleton, Wis., Thursday evening, Dec. 6, 2007.

Appleton Xavier High School's Ashley Barwick (21), left, gets her her arm wrapped around Fox Valley Lutheran High School's Alysa McGovern (22) in the second period.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Wrestling... and then came the storm...

Even though wrestling just looks "wrong" sometimes, I enjoy shooting it. It's a challenge to get something good, something different. Late in the season it gets especially competitive and emotional. It's one of the only sports I know of where kids starve themselves during the week to meet their weight class. Here are two of my favorites from yesterday's tournament.

And then our first big snowstorm came. These photos aren't that awesome but they show you what it was like here. We got about 6-7 inches in about six hours.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Vinny's Pizza

Business assignments are usually really challenging. While local businesses really do make the world go round and keep the local economy afloat, they're usually no hotbed of activity worthy of camera attention. Anytime we're able to get something remotely cool, we're pretty happy.

This assignment was a little like the soccer portrait I shot a few weeks ago. I was really intent on shooting wide-angle up close... nothing looked right. Even though it was 15º outside, I went out in the parking lot and shot telephoto. It's a completely different view from what you'd see inside. I wonder how many people actually look in this way after they park their cars?

My overall style, I think, is simplicity. You have pizza boxes, workers, and dough. It's a quick read but should hold your attention for a little while.