Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stuck in Aruba

"Sprwaled on the floor, a child plays with a toy in a market stand in downtown Oranjestad, Aruba Monday afternoon."

Ugh. My luck with flights this year have been anything but smooth sailing flying.

Again, I am stranded. This time not on the plane thankfully(Unlike last time). Instead, I am sitting on a dirty, uncomfortable floor trying to not twitch or breathe so I can hold this weak, free Internet signal.

I was scheduled to depart at 7:50 a.m. on an American Airlines flight. Well, after five security check points, I found myself sitting quietly on the plane.

Fast-forward an hour. We were told to deplane. Brilliant.

So another hour ticks by. This time we were told to head to another gate at the end of the airport. At this point, I am thinking, "Awesome, maybe just be delayed two hours."

Well, my optimism didn't last long. At 11:00 a.m., we were told that we would be maybe departing at 4:00 p.m.

Alas, I am stuck here in Aruba. To burn the time I've been trying to tone the photos I've shot and listen to some Jim Gaffigan to keep me sane.

Follow my escapade on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tire shine

"Larry Schaffer of Phoenix, Md., who entered a 1968 Chevy Camaro (not pictured), looks at a 1966 Pontiac Lemans convertible during The Chesapeake Classic Car Club annual show at the Fire Museum of Maryland in Lutherville, Md., Saturday morning."

I used to be into cars in high school. I would spend countless hours between playing sports shining up my ride and making sure it never got a single dent or ding.

At Home Depot I'd park practically at the forest's edge of the parking lot to help avoid grandmothers with large Cadillac doors denting my door, and mothers in SUVs, so their kids wouldn't slam their doors into my fenders.

But I quickly grew sick and tired of always being perfect with it. I wanted to explore other options like trying to eat a greasy cheeseburger in the car as I drove 80 mph down the highway. I wanted to not wash it for a month. I wanted to get it muddy.

To an extent, that's how I see my photographic work. I love to try and find angles and such to make my images clean. That's how I see things. That's my style. But while that is not always feasible, I live and I am always trying to evolve my style and dirty up the frame when I can.

This picture is definitely not "dirty" but this assignment reminded me of my old days and how they, in a small way, relate to my work nowadays.

Unrelated, I felt the pain of the drivers every time I walked by one their cars. Each time they jumped up to protect their paint, even though I made sure I covered the ends of my lenses with my hands to avoid any sort of accidental dinging. Funny stuff.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Poopy pig

"Inspecting the rear end of his pig, Timothy, brother of Travis (left), tries to get his hogs ready prior to the open swine show at The Mason Dixon Fair, Thursday night."

A couple weeks ago, on a random Thursday night I roamed around "The Mason Dixon Fair" with my girlfriend for an hour as we had a fix for some good people watching and carnival food.

This is an annual fair directly on the Mason Dixon line, not far from my old high school, that is typical of the area: lots of tractors, livestock and rednecks waving their confederate flags.

While chomping on some pit beef sandwiches and funnel cake, I spotted these two kids, Travis and Timothy, with their two pigs, in the pen. I thought they were endearing in their little cowboy costumes and pigs, so we stopped to watch. I shot a couple frames and then quickly lost my appetite.

As one of the pigs started taking, for a lack of better words, a poop, Timothy picked up the pig's tail and decided to inspect things out.

I think a crop could strengthen the frame, make it more immediate, but I keep going back to this full-frame version. My cutline is also lacking, as I simply threw a card to the kids mother since I was not working and trying to enjoy the fair.

This is where I would usually continue to talk about the events I witnessed, but I think I'll let you imagination run wild here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Current Location: Aruba

“Soaring through the air, a local Aruban dives from a rock ledge toward the clear waters at Arashi Beach, Thursday, July 23, 2009. “

I am currently in Aruba. This is my second time here, although I don’t really remember much about the first time I came.

Yesterday I spent most of the day submerged below the warm waters as I snorkeled and swam. The water is absolutely lovely and a perfect temperature.

Typically I never carry my work cameras on beaches or anywhere near sand. I’ve always been terrified that one grain of sand will get inside one of the click wheels and total my camera.

However, I decided to be risky and take the D700 with a 35mm attached along with me Thursday. I zipped it up inside a small Mountain Smith bag, which I kept protected by my main beach book bag.

After catching some rest in the shade, I saw this guy at a distance leaping off far shore rocks into the clear waters. I ventured down and began working the scene.

He didn’t speak much English; nor did his girlfriend. But they did ask if I was American, if I liked Aruba and as I departed to have fun. While he didn’t mind me shooting pictures, he wouldn’t give me his name, even when I introduced myself. Oh, well.

Figured I’d update with my location with this post, but this week I’ll be back to posting some pre-written, recent assignments I haven’t blogged about. My phone and data work (although really slow), but I have to walk a couple blocks to a McDonalds to get Internet. Bummer.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The pool

"Seen from below the surface, kids and other patrons swim at the Rock Spring Swim Club in Bel Air, Md., Monday morning."

Last week I had a day off, so I opted to head to the local pool.

What was supposed to be simple task of testing my Canon G9 w/ underwater housing, turned into a fun, little multimedia feature about "the pool." Well, that was until I never made it back to the pool.

I had this cool idea and wanted to run with it, but each time I planned to go back, real work came in.

I am enroute to Aruba today and wanted to test out my Canon G9 w/ underwater housing before leaving. I have used it once in the past (read: last year the day after I bought it) and remembered it floated very easily.

So prior to heading to the pool, I went to Home Depot and made a weight kit for for a couple bucks (since Canon's version is $25).

It worked perfect. Nothing like a couple washers and a bolt to do the job. As I swam around shooting stills, I remembered I also had video on the G9. So then I began shooting video. Before I knew it, I had this entire idea about a little multimedia project.

As I mentioned, I had planned to go back to shoot some more video and then talk to some kids on the record about "the pool." But that never happen. So now I am left with some random underwater pictures, no audio and some decent, but not enough video.

Maybe I'll keep my pool idea on my BlackBerry's "to do feature stories" list until another day.

Alas, some pictures.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I’m excited to announce that I will be leaving Baltimore's freelance scene to take a staff photographer position at The Daily Herald in Provo, Utah!

I’ve enjoyed my time in Baltimore freelancing for the big name newspapers and wires for the past couple years while in college (and very short stint out of school), but I feel that this is an opportunity that I cannot pass up. I’m looking forward to working with the staff and getting back to shooting daily.

Wish me luck on the relocation and new job. I am scheduled to head out there early to mid August when I get back from yet another bit of traveling.

Monday, July 20, 2009


"Justin Miluntoni of Perry Hall, Md., tries to catch a quick nap prior to walking the stage during Perry Hall's annual graduation commencement at Towson University's Towson Center, Friday evening."

As I discussed in my last post, I ended up challenging myself to make all of my images that I would move to my editor from before the actual ceremony of graduation.

To be honest, before and after the commencement is by far more visual and easy to find a moment, rather than wait for some random graduate to cheer or do something quirky on stage and then motor driving.

Typically, I'll shoot before and only stay halfway through the stage walk, or get there late, and shoot the second half of the name calling, stage strolling and shoot the accolades from parents.

In this case, I went early. Ironically, nothing was happening. Students simply stood around like zombies.

Justin Miluntoni caught my eye as I made my way into the changing room. I am usually hesitant to shoot sleeping people for some odd reason. Maybe it's because I enjoy my sleep and don't ever want to be woken.

Whatever the case, I thought this picture was funny. In high school all you want to do is sleep in and skip school every day. But your parents always force you to get up and go, making you late.

Nothing like procrastinating and risking the chance of being tardy on what some may call your last official day of high school.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A very graphic graduation

"Soon to be alumna, a student makes her way to her seat during Perry Hall's annual graduation commencement at Towson University's Towson Center, Friday evening."

Playing catch up on the blog since I never blogged in Europe. This is one of the oldest assignments I have yet to post, too.

Graduations are long over here in Maryland, be it college and high school.

I was assigned to shoot a high school graduation at my college alma mater. The huge downside to this was that I had shot more than five (that I can remember) commencement ceremonies there in the past while in school.

But they aren't all the same you're probably saying. Well, you're 100 percent correct. They are not all the same, but the lighting, stage and way they conduct things are.

So I decided to make all my images from before the students got to the stage...except this one.

While I moved three images of students getting ready and goofing off beforehand, I couldn't resist the graphic view of my eye as students made their way to their seats.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hey, Hon!

"Passerby pose for a portraits during HonFest in Hampden, Baltimore., June 13, 2009. HonFest is a local tradition."

A funny thing happened last month as I was sitting on my back porch.

Hoping I'd get a call to cover HonFest, I came up with an idea to setup a white sheet or seamless and shoot street portraits whether or not I got a call.

Within minutes, my phone buzzes from my buddy Drew. He had the same idea. Ironically, we hadn't told one another until we chatted on the phone, so we decided to take a tag-team approach.

In all my years in Baltimore, I've never even been to this fun event.

If you don't know, HonFest is a local Baltimore tradition, or as we locals would call it, a Bawlmer tradition, hon.

I met up with Drew around 3 p.m., and we gaffed up a seamless on a side street brick wall. We then scouted out some willing subjects (we also had Monica sending us some people since she was enjoying the event with beverages and other friends).

Charlie showed up and shot some video, too. We should be done that soon. We've all been busy.

Also, to toot my own horn, this was also the feature for the day on SportsShooter.

AND... if you aren't tired of clicking links in this post, click here to see these portraits bigger on my Web site.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


"Lori Stephen attempts to shed sunshine from her eyes during a round of miniature golf in Pennsylvania Saturday evening."

Random photo I took while playing miniture golf. I can only assume that is was too sunny outside.

After this photo, I proceeded to throw my club into a tree. I have zero patience for golf, be it mini, or as I call it, grown up golf.

I can drive a mean golf ball at the range however.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Young gun

"Young Marine Brandon Yeager, 13, of Conowingo, pretends to fire a gun from a black hawk helicopter that was on display after ceremonies honoring those who fought in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, during World War II."

I still have some random assignments I wanted to share before I jetted over to Europe; this assignment in particular being a D-Day ceremony near Baltimore.

Nothing seemed to be going my way though. I was told to get there between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. to document a black hawk helicopter land.

When I showed up, the chopper was long landed and empty.

Second, I was told to get some photos of a World War II veteran that always comes to this certain ceremony. He has written a book and was apart of a certain infantry group. Well, he was a no show and there were no other veterans, at least from World War II, at this remembrance.

At this point, I am shooting whatever I feel tells the story of the day. But not much is happening. Yet I always remember that some of the most subtle moments make the most telling photos.

My confidence began to rise as I started making some keeper photos for the assignment.

Alas, I was about to call it quits after the ceremony, but my own curiosity led me back over to the black hawk helicopter. The marines had opened it to the public to sit in and such, so I took advantage of that.

Afterward, I was standing outside of the chopper talking to the leader of the "young marines" since I realized they were from my small hometown near my parents place.

As I sat there chatting, I started shooting from the hip of these kids, young marines goofing off. I thought it was so funny how young they were, yet so serious about wanting to go to war.

This picture ended up running over all the serious D-Day images I had shot. Funny stuff.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Toning Europe

"Dragging on a cigarette, a women relaxes at a cafe on Van Baerlestrat in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, June 22, 2009. The cafe is in the museum district near the world renowned Van Gogh Museum."

Another quick frame from Amsterdam. I just got back to the U.S. and started to
edit and tone images from Europe.

I shot way too much and feeling overwhelmed, maybe that's why I am liking this frame right matches my mood.

Alas, more to come.