Tag Archives: photography

My short-lived trip back to the newsroom

Betting on Gannett didn’t pay off this time

About a month into the job at The Tennessean, working on two laptops and a desktop computer.

Getting oriented back into a newsroom included working with two laptops and a desktop computer, relying on my old systems while I learned the new ones.

Well I gave it a shot. I placed the bet, rolled the dice and crapped out. I know “crapped out” isn’t the correct term (I’m looking at you, Mary Lawrence) but I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for the right gambling analogy and, well, crapped out.

Just a few days past my one-year anniversary at The Tennessean in Nashville, I joined the ranks of the unemployed. (It also happened just four days after my Continue reading


Saturday morning Nashville

020715 Nasville morning loThis morning I went to a volunteer event in North Nashville. I wanted to go to it for a number of reasons:

  • I wanted to learn about the group sponsoring the event, Dogs Deserve Better, a national organization with a chapter in Nashville. I left Columbia vowing to get more life in my life, and this might be an organization I give some time to. They work to free dogs from a life being chained up in yards. Today’s event was a fence build, the group builds a fenced-in area in a residents yard so that their dog can roam freely, unchained, in a safe area.
  • I hired a freelancer to cover the event, a guy I’d hired before but had not yet met in person. This was a good time to meet him. And lastly,
  • I had not yet been to this area of the city and I couldn’t recall any stories we’d done out of that neighborhood.

I accomplished all of these goals with this picture as the cherry on top. As I turned the last corner on the way to the homes for the build I saw this. The light was wonderful in the way it silhouetted the kids who were playing both football and basketball in the street. The light also played off the power lines and reflected off the cars, which lined both sides of the streets. It struck me as a classic urban scene. Just a few hours later that beautiful light was gone. And so were the kids.

My first — but not last — experience in “Nawlins”

Months ago two friends and I decided to get together after more than 30 years apart. We were classmates at Drake University in Des Moines, lost touch then reconnected last year. My birthday is in January, a time in which most people in the college town of Columbia, Mo., are out of town. We wanted to meet someplace warm and I’d never been to New Orleans, so that was our spot.

Here are some of the things I saw and did there. Hopefully this won’t be my last trip The Big Easy.

The Waiting Game: Waiting for all the elements to gel

As a photographer, I spend a lot of time waiting. And I’m not talking about waiting for games to start or press conferences to happen.

The kind of waiting I’m talking about is the waiting we do, hoping for all the right elements to come together to make a good picture. Photographers see slices of life all around us, just waiting for the right elements to come together: the right light, a person to be in the frame at just the right spot.

I’ve been waiting for this picture since last season.

After making a free throw, Alex Oriakhi, right, is congratulated by a teammate. Oriakhi was made 5 of 6 free throw attempts.

After making a free throw, Alex Oriakhi, right, is congratulated by a teammate. I saw this moment last season but wasn’t able to make the picture work.

Shooting game after game after game — any kind of game — becomes an effort of finding the different shot, an exercise in continuing to “see.”One thing I keep looking for is detail shots, isolated moments.

So tell me: does it work? In my mind it always did, but seeing it now, I’m not sure if there’s enough context.

It took many games to finally get it. I was often blocked by other players or they didn’t do the high five or I didn’t have the right lens or my focus was off. You get the idea.

Talk to any photojournalist and they could tell you of a number of pictures they’re just waiting to make.

When all the elements come together.

China Open: First day at the courts, we all get tested

The shadows made for interesting light on the Lotus Court during the opening rounds of qualifiers, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 at the China Open. Here Camila Giorgi of Italy returns a shot to Mandy Minella (LUX). Giorgi won the match 6-2, 6-4.

Today was our first test of two key abilities: our ability to report on tennis and our ability to find food. Oh yeah — and we enjoyed some good tennis and excellent weather.

We’ve been more successful at reporting than at finding food, especially food we like. We’ve been told several different things about which dining venue we can use. Today we ate with the other media. I think tomorrow we’re going to have to eat with the volunteers, which we did on Monday. From what we saw today, the media are getting fed better. Plus, the media venue is just 10 steps from our desks in the media center. But we’re troupers, we’ll make it work.

There are only seven students this year, which is about half the size of last year’s group. Madison Heinsohn is attached to the tournament director. Trevor Kraus and Stephanie Halovanic are handling multimedia coverage. Travis Zimpfer, Karen Miller, Calvin Lewis and Alex Silverman are doing the game stories and special events.

The first day is a bit confusing, trying to figure out who exactly our audience is and therefore which matches we’re going to cover. It seems that we did ok today, the first day of qualifying for the women. At least we haven’t heard any complaints yet.

One really frustrating thing is the seeming difference here in the concept of time. In America this tournament would have been planned out weeks ago, with contingencies for players who drop out. Here, we didn’t know who was playing today until late yesterday. Real rounds of play start tomorrow and no schedule has been released as of 6pm. We’re having to learn to go with the flow.

Today was the first of three days of qualifying for the women. Rounds start tomorrow, but it’s very unclear how the “real” rounds and the qualifying rounds are going to be held at the same time. Much about this tournament is unclear.

Lots in store for us tomorrow, with several activities and a full day of play. We’re looking forward to it. Be sure to check out the other blog. Good post today from Karen Miller about her desire to be a sports journalist.

Saying good-bye to Mizzou lacrosse

This is a sad day for me. Today I officially resigned as the Missouri Men’s Lacrosse Team adviser.

This team—this game—has always been about more than winning and losing. It’s about building men, building character.

Lacrosse is a great game. I thought so the first time I saw it, played at the high school level in Webster, NY. It’s drifted in and out of my life since, and for the past nine years it has been pleasantly in my life. I have been amazed at the talents and dedication of these guys. Lacrosse attracts me because of the tremendous hand-eye coordination and the endurance needed to play it. A lacrosse player is an amazing athlete. Quick hands, quick feet, sharp eyes. They make amazing throws and catches on the run. They run plays and think about strategy. They’re disciplined.

Andy Mackley, left, and Blaine Skrainka helped out as alumni coaches when times were harder.

Since 2003 I’ve been watching the Missouri men’s club team and since 2005 I have been one of its faculty advisers, offering guidance to the Leadership Team and mainly being the team’s photographer. I have worked along with Joe Vale, who has been with the team even longer. We both resigned today.

The picture above is one of my favorites: coach Jared Diamond consoling goalie Patrick Sammons after a loss to our rival, Lindenwood, in the playoffs. Patrick (Patio to his friends) took it very hard and very personally. Jared had the hard task of helping Pat see the bigger picture and not shoulder all the responsibility.

One of my other favorites: this is Eric Chole, a great four-year defenseman and our current coach.

For nine years I’ve been watching these terrific athletes grow up to be terrific men. Lacrosse is their love, being a student athlete is their job. None of these guys are going on to professional lacrosse careers so each one has to take their studies seriously. And they do. We have engineers, bio technicians, chemists, business majors and even a few journalism majors on the team.

Joe and I have had a lot of great experiences with the players and their families. I have literally thousands of pictures that bring back nearly as many memories. It’s been a lot of fun.

But there’s been some angst, too. Working with 35 young men can be a roller coaster ride. We’ve worked through clashing personalities, firing a coach,  rebuilding the alumni group, parents complaining about playing time and the never-ending problem of having enough money to get through the season.

Joe and I advise with a philosophy of the long-term health of the team so our opinions and decisions tend to be more conservative than those of 18-22 year old young men. We’re looking out for everything from financial health to the good character of the team.

After a long run with the club, we’ve reached an uncomfortable situation: we don’t agree with the path of the current group of team leaders. They have a right to do what they want — Missouri club sports exist for the students, not the advisers. These organizations are an opportunity not only to flex their muscles, but also their brains. They get to test their mettle as leaders, and Joe and I believe in that mission. But that doesn’t mean we have to go along if we think the ride is going to get bumpier. Life is too short.

Something we volunteer to do shouldn’t be stressful. We don’t want to cause frustration for the men any more than we want to be frustrated. Both Joe and I have full-time jobs, other interests and family obligations (yes, Frankie and Alvie are my family.) And maybe it’s time for us old fogies to step aside. We’ve had a long and enjoyable run with the team and maybe this is a natural parting of the ways.

I don’t know yet what I’ll do with this free time, but you’ll probably find me at all the team’s home games.

Good luck men.
Go Tigers!