Friday, June 24, 2011

New bulletproof vest for a K9 officer

K9 officer Odin plays with a toy with handler Sgt. Brent Plisch, left, as Tanya Mordecai, center, and Donna Morgan, right, both of Janesville, watch before a press conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department in Madison, Wis., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Odin received a bullet- and stab-resistant vest thanks to the efforts of Morgan's Wisconsin Vest-A-Dog organization and Project Aluminum, an initiative headed by Mordecai. Mordecai estimated it took between 800 and 900 pounds of collected aluminum to raise the funds needed to purchase Odin's vest.

K9 officers Odin, left, and Rex, right, focus on a dog toy while posing for pictures with, from left, University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Sgt. Brent Plisch, Tanya Mordecai of Project Aluminum, Donna Morgan of Wisconsin Vest-A-Dog and Det. Shane Driscoll after a press conference.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What I Do: Auctioneer

Tom Fiese, auctioneer at Fiese's Auction Services, makes an announcement from his truck before the start of an auction on Orchard Drive in Madison, Wis., Saturday morning, June 18, 2011.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

2011 World Naked Bike Ride in Madison

A few participants in the 2011 World Naked Bike Ride bring up the rear of the group while riding northwest on South Broom Street in Madison, Wis., Saturday, June 18, 2011.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Welcome home, Soldier

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker greets Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers from Madison-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment after they landed at Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wis., Friday afternoon, June 17, 2011. The return marked the end of their tour of duty in Iraq in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. They were mobilized in June 2010.

Excited family members and friends of the Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers watch their loved ones approach on foot after landing.

Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers from Madison-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment disembark their airplane.

From left, Maj. Kurt Southworth of Reedsburg, Maj. Matt Strub of Hubertus and Sgt. 1st Class Miles McChesney of Waunakee, all Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers from Madison-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment walk on the tarmac towards their families.

Sgt. Emily Cash, a Cross Plains native now in Oshkosh, reunites with her daughter Isabel, 3.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Corpse Flower

"It's like petting a hairless animal," says Kandis Elliot, botany illustrator with UW-Madison's Department of Botany, as she checks the tip of the Titan Arum plant's spadix for temperature in the greenhouse of Birge Hall on campus in Madison, Wis., Thursday afternoon, June 16, 2011. Also known as the Corpse Flower, the plant's spadix periodically warms (at times to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit), releasing strong, aromatic oils – similar in process to perfume, but similar in scent to rotting fish and burnt sugar – according to the department's website. Elliot says she has worked at the department for 22 years, and says it's the "best job on campus."

Wisconsin Budget Protests: Day 3

Clouds roll over a small protest rally at the state Capitol, as seen from a nearby condo building in Madison, Wis., early Thursday evening, June 16, 2011.

Ben Perreth of Madison blows a horn during a protest rally at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Thursday, June 16, 2011.

Wisconsin State Patrol and Capitol Police officers surround protesters banging on a window outside the state Senate at the state Capitol, Thursday evening.

Capitol Police officers drag away a protester outside of the state Senate Thursday evening.

A protester screams at Wisconsin State Patrol officers guarding the state Senate chamber Thursday evening.

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) wipes his face during debate on Senate Amendment 8 to the state budget, as a session of the body continues into the night in the state Senate chamber at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Thursday evening, June 16, 2011. In the background is state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Majority Leader.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wisconsin Budget Protests: Day 2

A protester is removed from the state Assembly gallery by Wisconsin State Patrol officers after she interrupted state Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) as he gave opening remarks to begin debate on the state budget at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, June 15, 2011.

Protester Jeremy Ryan is removed from the state Assembly gallery by Wisconsin State Patrol officers during debate on the state budget.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wisconsin Budget Protests: Day 1

No we're not back to square one again (although sometimes it feels like it). The state's biennial budget is working its way through the legislature, and guess what. Protesters aren't happy with what's in it.

They're coming back to the Capitol to speak out against just about everything happening within.

In the morning, I tried to focus on the – cuter – moments in the protest scene. The day wrapped up with a rally on the State Street steps, but not before a bombshell of breaking news: the state Supreme Court reversed a Dane County judge's ruling, ordering that Wisconsin Act 10 (the collective bargaining bill) go into effect.

Even dogs carried signs of protest at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Tuesday, June 14, 2011.

Protesters hula-hooped in an area they called "Hoop for Justice" Tuesday.

Yep, that's a guy in a friar's outfit smoking a cigarette and talking on a mobile phone. Unsure if he is actually a cleric or not.

Protesters Ray Nashold and Caroline Greenwald find shade near the entrance to the Wisconsin Historical Society as protests continue across the street.

Henry Kempen, almost 1, rides on the back of his father, Madison East High School teacher Jason Kempen, during a protest march around the state Capitol, Tuesday.

State Senate President Michael Ellis (R-Neenah) listens to debate in the Senate chamber at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Tuesday, June 14, 2011.

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), right, speaks privately with state Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) on the floor of the Senate chamber during debate on concealed carry legislation Tuesday.

Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, tells protesters of a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision during a rally at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Tuesday afternoon, June 14, 2011. The decision overturned a Dane County judge's rulings that voided a state law limiting collective bargaining rights of public workers, finding that the judge overstepped her authority in making her decision.

Josh Reed, a teacher from Williams Bay, Wis., holds an American flag during a rally at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Tuesday afternoon, June 14, 2011.

Mitchell continues his speech.

Gene DeFelice of Northwest Indiana holds a sign during the rally.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wisconsin's First Lady

Had an enjoyable time photographing Wisconsin's First Lady Tonette Walker at the Executive Residence last month for a profile story on the Governor's wife by WSJ reporter Clay Barbour. Would like to thank Clay, especially, for his reflector-holding skills!

I began scouting the first floor of the residence for locations immediately upon arrival. A small sunroom with some delicate, nearly pastel decor was an easy choice, followed by the dining room. I don't consider myself a strong portrait photographer, but I feel like I escaped from this assignment with some decent shots.

This was also my first time giving my new Lastolite Professional TriGrip Difflector as a shoot-thru strobe modifier. I won it last month at the Wisconsin News Photographers Association convention. I can definitely see a lot of use ahead for this thing! Very pleased.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Home and Garden Tour

Every once in a while you get sent on a home and garden assignment that just makes your jaw drop.

Front view of the home of Karen Christianson, a 1903 Queen Anne/Gothic style home extensively renovated with Feng Shui principles, in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, June 1, 2011.


Round table between the kitchen and great room.

Great room

Secret Places: Henry Vilas Zoo

For our periodic series "Secret Places," uncovering locations not accessible to the general public, out of the way, hidden or off-limits.

Deputy zoo director Ronda Schwetz feeds Shaggy, a giraffe, a cracker at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, June 1, 2011.

Betty, 41, the oldest harbor seal in the United States according to Schwetz, swims around in a small pool behind her exhibit at the zoo.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A great day for soccer

Madison Memorial's Ruth Lenzen (20), right, and Waunakee's Samantha Murray (5) collide in the first half in Middleton, Wis., Saturday, June 11, 2011.

Madison Memorial's McKenna Meuer (8) and Ingrid Greene (17) celebrate the game-winning goal in the second half.

Madison Memorial players celebrate after the game.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Another great day for softball

This sectional final is going into extra innings, folks!

Sun Prairie's Sam Kanak (13), left, tries to outrun a throw from Madison La Follette third baseman Tessa Lewis (23), center, in the third inning of a WIAA sectional final in Waunakee, Wis., Friday, June 10, 2011. La Follette pitcher Nicole Newman, right, follows the play.

Sun Prairie third baseman Katelyn Huemmer (3) acknowledges pitcher Kristen Hoppman on a double play in the fifth inning, throwing out Madison La Follette baserunner Haley Coulthart (5), bottom. Reacting, far left, is La Follette head coach/third base coach Heather Fish.

Madison La Follette third baseman Tessa Lewis (23) prepares to throw to home from the dirt in the eighth inning. Lewis' throw made it in time to throw out Sun Prairie's Ali Lee (8), preventing a run.

The umpire calls out Sun Prairie's Ali Lee (8) at home plate with Madison La Follette catcher Megan Tuohy (30) on the tag and throw coming from third baseman Tessa Lewis (not pictured) in the eighth inning.

Sun Prairie shortstop Chelsey Rodenkirch (1) makes a running throw to first base in the ninth inning.

Sun Prairie left fielder Taylor Lenz (11) chases down the game-winning hit by Madison La Follette's Tessa Lewis in the tenth inning.

Sun Prairie catcher Maggie Scott (4) is stunned as Madison La Follette players, left to right, Brianna Sohrweide (4), Clare Gloede (21), and Haley Coulthart (5) run onto the field to celebrate their win. Knocking in the game-winning hit was Madison La Follette's Tessa Lewis (not pictured).

Thursday, June 09, 2011

It's like covering a congressional hearing...

...only in a much smaller, less beautiful room.

The political madness in Wisconsin continues as we shift some of our attention to the impending recalls of several state Senators. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Board is in the middle of a mess of a fight over signatures, petitions and affidavits for the recalls. They held an open session with lawyers and GAB staff to help determine how to handle the situation.

Jonathan Becker, division administrator of Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board's ethics division, looks at a projection of an affidavit in question during an open session meeting in the agency's board room in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board's staff counsel Shane Falk, left, and elections specialist David Buerger, right, make a presentation to the GAB board members in the open session meeting.

Judge Gordon Myse on Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board asks questions of GAB staff during the meeting.

Jeremy Levinson, an attorney for Democrat state senators being recalled, offers a rebuttal presentation.

Eric McLeod, an attorney representing committees trying to recall Democrat state senators, offers a rebuttal presentation.