Sunday, September 28, 2008


It's kind of a big deal...

Friends, from left, Nancy Mielnicki of Jersey City, N.J., Cindy Craig of Cary, N.C., and Lynn Woodward of Vestal, N.Y., take in the sights of Octoberfest at the intersection of West College Avenue and North Division Street in downtown Appleton, Wis., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. The friends are fans of the band, America, attend many of their concerts together, and know each other through a fan website.

Mary Jo Jensen of Oshkosh, left, and Brenda Richardson of Fond du Lac get their groove on to the sounds of Funk Trunk in Houdini Plaza during Octoberfest in downtown Appleton, Wis., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. Post-Crescent photo by M.P. King.

The cream puffs are a Wisconsin culinary tradition. No they aren't kaiser rolls... common mistake...

A different take on the requisite crowd shot...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday Night Football, the Black Hole

I hate using flash... I hate using flash... I hate using flash...

And this won't mean anything to folks who aren't photographers, but tell me: When was the last time you had to take pictures at a field where your correct exposure was ISO3200, 1/125 at f2.8?

I had never shot in New London and I wasn't expecting such exposure trouble, so I was pretty rattled all night. I managed, though...

Hortonville High School's Brad Leeman (9) nearly loses the ball on a run play while being hit by New London High School's Brandon McKeever (51) in the first quarter of a game at Hatten Stadium in New London, Wis., Friday evening, Sept. 26, 2008.

Reaching for the interception...

Laying back in the pocket...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Heritage Day

Heritage Day is an annual assignment that I always dread but somehow always come out of it with a decent image.

Mike Lorenz, "comedic juggernaut" of the duo Miller & Mike, uses a gimmick to get a kiss from Phyllis Cherney of Appleton during Heritage Day at Houdini Plaza in Appleton, Wis., Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sign shop

You know all of those signs around town? Well... somebody's gotta make 'em!

Spent some time in a local sign shop franchise the other day...

Josh Bevers, front, and Ryan Matthies attach grommets to a sign while coworker Chad Olson, background, works on another order at Fast Signs in Grand Chute, Wis., Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Millennium Park

Crown Fountain; Millennium Park

Fun shot at The Bean (truly, Cloud Gate)

The Bean's Underbelly

Chicago Cultural Center

I took in a few really good gallery exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center... a city establishment that's completely free. What a public service...

It's a beautiful building with an upstairs rotunda area where private functions can be held...

Hangin' with the Greeks...

In the 400 block of lower North Michigan Avenue, there's a hangout that's in many ways been a birthplace. It's the Billy Goat Tavern. And it's all thanks to a goat and a Greek...

William Sianis was a Greek immigrant who bought the Lincoln Tavern in the 1930s. According to legend, he adopted a goat that wandered inside the establishment after falling off a passing truck. From then on, he was known as "Billy Goat" Sianis.

During the 1945 World Series, the Cubs were leading the Detroit Tigers by one game going into Game 4. Sianis didn't want to miss history in the making. Neither, apparently, did his goat, Murphy.

Sianis showed up to the park with Murphy in tow – he even bought a separate ticket for him. Ushers gave Sianis trouble about the goat, refusing their admittance. Sianis appealed to then-Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley, but Wrigley said no. When asked why, Wrigley said, "The goat stinks." In response, Sianis laid down "The Curse"...

"The Cubs ain't gonna win no more."

Sure enough the Cubs lost Game 4, and the remaining games. They haven't won a World Series since... not even an appearance... not even a pennant.

So enough history for now... here's the view as you walk in.

This place was portrayed by Saturday Night Live in the "Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger" skit in 1978. The ambiance is a real treat...

It doesn't matter what you order... you're probably gonna get a doublecheez no matter what you ask for. It's the only restaurant I know of that you, by default, have ordered something without asking and you have to explain yourself to get out of it.

Typical exchange between customer and the staff:

Staff: "Who's next? You want doublecheez?"
Customer: "No, single please."
S: "Why not? Double's better."
C: "Just a single." [laughter]
S: "No, you get double..."
C: [more laughter]
S: "What to drink?"
C: "Coke."
S: "Good. Cheeps?"
C: "No thanks."
S: "Why not?"

It must be a Greek thing... now I know where my family gets it... I felt right at home. I'm not kidding... There's something really endearing about someone givin' you a good-natured hard time.

So go and get the doublecheez, a coke, and cheeps. There's no fries and no Pepsi. Try a Billy Goat Dark at the bar, too. Billy's newphew, Sam, runs the place these days.

And if you're a news buff, be sure to check out all the memorabilia about legendary Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko. The Billy Goat Tavern was Royko's second office... this is where he came to talk with Chicagoans and decide what to write about. He was the voice of the city and well revered by all. He won a Pulitzer in 1972. I can only imagine the party they threw for him that night...

The Chicago Theater

My first task of the day was the Skydeck at Sears' Tower... now that I've been there and done that once (and paid for it), I'm set for life. It's a nice view of the city, but the view is too flat and lacks perspective. You're too high up, too far removed to sense the monstrosity of the city.


Welcome to the Chicago Theater...

I have to be honest... for me, this stop for me was more or less "eye candy," the history-centric tour kind of bored me...

Next stop Arlington Heights...

I stayed overnight with gracious family friends in the northwest 'burbs... I took the MetraRail both ways... getting around is so convenient... it would be nice not having to own a car these days...

Metrarail station; Arlington Park

View from the "L'"; Armitage

Culinary walking tour...

How I stumbled upon this particular tour is escaping my mind as I write this, but I bought a ticket for the Near North Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour... it's run by Chicago Food Planet.

For $40, I got a 3.5-hour tour through the Gold Coast, Old Town, and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. We stopped at eight different establishments... all considered rare or off the beaten path... among them: a Jewish deli, Tea Gschwendner (over 100 locations in Germany and Europe, but only 2 in the U.S. and both are in Chicagoland), a spice shop, and of course, a pizza joint.

Here's my slice of Bacino's specialty stuffed pizza... consistently voted best Chicago-style stuffed pizza in the city. They call the sauce "the boss of all sauce." They're not exaggerating. The thing's just plain delicious...

It also happens to be America's first heart healthy pizza... and you'd never know it if I hadn't just told you... go get some... they're in the 2200 block of Lincoln Avenue. Seriously, folks, only here has pizza reached perfection.

Here's our group checking out The Fudge Pot on Wells Street while the family owner does a batch of caramel apples. Here we tasted their secret-recipe chocolate butter-toffee. We had a whole platter to ourselves... it was delightful...

Hitting the streets...

I have a habit of keeping my camera powered on while carrying it over my shoulder. Somehow, the shutter always trips itself 20-50 times over the course of a long walk. I have probably hundreds of frames similar to the one below... most are abstract... I could make a coffee-table book, I'm sure. But I do like this frame in the context of arriving in such a big urban environment that I'm not used to in Wisconsin...

A scene like this, shot on Michigan Avenue at Monroe Street, would have stopped traffic in Appleton... I couldn't help but laugh and make a frame...

To the Windy City...

The following posts are going to be a short series about my recent trip to Chicago on my days off...

While on the train from Milwaukee to Chicago's Union Station, I took advantage of the scenery, taking pictures along the way, framing each photo through the train window to capture a progression from farmland to the city. This one's my favorite, taken somewhere north of Sturtevant, Wis.

"Jake's a jerk..."

Last week I worked on a video project for a story that ran today.

The Rocke family in Neenah has a handful of chickens... four hens and one rooster, Jake. Well, now that Jake's a teenager in fowl-years, he's been crowing up a storm. Many think it's cute, adorable, a novelty, etc. But there's one neighbor who is particularly displeased.

Watch the video here:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Packers fall to the Cowboys

Tonight I was on my game... so were the Cowboys who offensively dominated the Packers. See more at

Green Bay Packers' Nick Collins and Charles Woodson break up a pass intended for Dallas Cowboys' Terrell Owens during first quarter action.

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers fumbles the ball during first quarter action. Rodgers went on to recover the ball during this play.

Dallas Cowboys' Miles Austin (19) can't make the catch while defended by Green Bay Packers' Tramon Williams (38) in the fourth quarter.

Dallas Cowboys' Miles Austin (center) celebrates his fourth quarter TD catch with fellow teammates.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The great Cabbage Chuck

Things you learn: a trebuchet is not the same as a catapult, and trebuchet enthusiasts will make sure you know the difference.

Shiocton is known for its cabbage-growing. Apparently they have a big surplus at the end of the season because they end up wasting a bunch by having this contest to see who can launch a head the farthest.

Cabbages sit ready for chucking, as trebuchet crews prepare their machines at the St. Denis World Championship Cabbage Chuck at Shiocton Lake Park in Shiocton, Wis., Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008.

Lawrence football... yay for the Banta Bowl

You all know I love shooting at the Banta Bowl. Backlit field with woods behind the west endzone...

St. Norbert College's Jared Hackbart (49) chases Lawrence University quarterback Nick Maxam (10) out of the pocket in the second quarter of a game at the Banta Bowl in Appleton, Wis., Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008.

Time Warner 5k

As if a dang marathon wasn't enough running for one weekend, they needed to fit in a 5k the day before. I've never understood this as long as I've lived here.

Nonetheless... we cover it.

Participants reverence the flag during the national anthem prior to the start of the Time Warner Cable 5k Run/Walk at Fox Valley Technical College in Grand Chute, Wis., Saturday morning, Sept. 20, 2008.

Loved the colors of the background I got in this shot...

Viace Temie (8013) of Appleton approaches the finish line as the first male and overall finisher with a time of 15:53.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday Night Football, Week??

I've lost track of where we are in the season...

Steve Lichtfuss tore it up for Appleton North last night...

Prep tennis

Couldn't ask for a better time of day to shoot tennis outdoors...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Before the soaking...

My assumption – that high school swimmers can make a clean entry in the diving start to their races – was wrong. They might as well do cannonballs...

I'm hoping chlorinated water won't ruin clothes...

Appleton East High School's Lauren Sell, front, starts off the block during the eighth heat of the 50-yard breaststroke during the Patriot Pentathlon Swim Meet at Appleton East High School in Appleton, Wis., Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008.

Another crash...

Another act of stupidity...

But hey, at least the scene was lit-up really nice for me by the firetrucks. There's even an American flag in the background! Bonus!

Emergency workers responded to the scene of a car crash in the 1400 block of S. Memorial Drive in Appleton, Friday evening, Sept. 12, 2008. Alcohol and speed were believed to be factors in the crash.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday Night Football, Week 3

I had Week 2 off, but it's back to the gridiron...

Appleton Xavier High School's Dan Klister (9) rushes in the first quarter while trying to avoid Little Chute High School's Matt Wells (22) at Xavier in Appleton, Wis., Friday evening, Sept. 12, 2008.

Appleton Xavier High School's Spencer Kocken (63) wraps up Little Chute High School's Anthony Martin (9) in the second quarter.

Eve of Destruction at WIR

Eve of Destruction is... geez... how do I explain this without totally dissing people...

Basically a lot of people show up to the racetrack at the end of the racing season to drink beer and see stuff blow up.

Because of our early deadlines and my other assignments, the motorcycle show was all I could shoot before I had to book it.

Dan Look emerges from the smoke of his screeching rear tire during the Section 8 Extreme Motorcycle Stunt Show at Eve of Destruction at Wisconsin International Raceway in Buchanan.

Paul Weber whizzes-by on top of his motorcycle during the stunt show.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New bishop...

The Most Rev. David L. Ricken, the 12th bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, said Mass Thursday in Appleton at St. Pius X Catholic Church. The Mass was a welcoming Mass for the newly installed bishop.

As a Catholic, I kind of get how big a deal this is. He's not the Pope, but it's still a big deal for the Catholic community (which is rather large here). He's their new spiritual leader. And having met him, I know he's got a hell heck of a personality.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Joseph McCarthy

Joseph McCarthy was a U.S. Senator, better known for his – to put it lightly – "anti-communist suspicions" during the early days of the Cold War.

He was also born, raised, and buried here in the Fox Valley.

On a day leading up to the Republican National Convention, a fan of McCarthy traveling to Minneapolis from the east coast by way of Appleton, stopped at the grave and gifted a rather large bouquet of roses presumably for what would be McCarthy's 100th birthday this year.

A card attached to the arrangement said: "Congratulations, Senator, on being 100 – years old, and percent right."

I'm going to let that speak for itself...

The grave site of former Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy shown in St. Mary's Cemetery in Appleton, Wis., Wednesday, Sept. 3 , 2008.

Collisions, collisions...

Covering collisions really gets old.

In the AP stylebook we're told that there's no such thing as a car "accident" and that you should never call it as such in a news story or a photo caption. I'm really beginning to believe that.

There's always a reason.

There's always somebody at fault.

Things don't just happen. They may be out of our own control but they happen out of foolishness or negligence. And they affect people's lives.

We forget that far too often.

A sheriffs deputy and assistant district attorneys tend to the scene of a two vehicle collision on U.S. 41 southbound, north of County GG in Winnebago County near the Town of Vinland, Wis., Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 27, 2008. One person was killed and four others were seriously injured after a car crossed the median on U.S. 41 and collided with an oncoming American Red Cross van.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Without NewPage mill, Kimberly's identity becomes a question mark

This was a Sunday story I worked with reporter Ed Lowe on for roughly a week. In a way it was successful, in a way it didn't turn out how we thought it would.

The storyline: Paper mills were once (and to an extent still are) the lifeblood of northern Wisconsin. Kimberly's mill was recently shut-down by its corporate owner, NewPage. It is just about the only industry in the village and employs over 400 people... the village's population is only about 6,000. The economic impacts of the shutdown, and the subsequent unemployment of a large sector of the population have the potential to be devastating. Think GM in Flint, Mich.

But this part of the story was a challenge because the concept of a community falling-apart isn't tangible or visible until it actually happens. The only things you can really show are mood, and things in the community that are at risk of being lost.

During a nearby candlelight vigil organized by the local union, four mill employees went on break. Somebody carried candles over to them across the street. For 10 minutes, the workers stood in distant solidarity with the community under the glow of the NewPage mill's sign.

There's an timeless innocence to Kimberly. It's downtown pharmacy still has a fully-operating soda fountain. Here, Noah Brown, 8, wipes his face after finishing his milkshake while Melanie Watkins, 10, center, and friend Katelyn Haen, 10, work on their sundaes on Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 27, 2008. All three are from Kimberly. Watkins said, "I come here when I get money."

There are other photos from the story... but these two probably fit the most with what we were trying to achieve.

Friday Night Football Begins

Another exciting season opener...

Appleton East High School seniors welcome their team to the field about a half hour before they played Appleton West High School at the Banta Bowl in Appleton, Wis., Friday evening, Aug. 29, 2008. Pictured, from left, is Jake Wittman, Andy Kluball, Brett Young, Aaron Lehman, and Ryan Winter.

Appleton West High School quarterback Charlie Foss (11) ducks from the sack attempt of Appleton East High School's Kyle Zuleger (23) in the first quarter. Foss was able to scramble and avoid the sack.

Appleton East High School's Eric Schultz (30) gets shoved off by Appleton West High School's Josh VandenHeuvel (41) in the second quarter.