Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sulfer swim

"Relaxed, a man enjoys the warm waters of the Fifth Water hot spring in Diamond Fork canyon in Spanish Fork, Utah, Saturday afternoon."

Went and checked out some hot springs while Kate was in town a couple weeks ago.

The hike was only two miles, but it seemed much further, especially for her since she is not used the the elevation. I don't think she said more than 10 words on the hike up as she gasped for air.

Nonetheless, we made it. I thought it was very relaxing, but since the air temperature was 90 degrees, it was a little hard to thoroughly enjoy it. It felt better in the cold waterfall.

Alas, I'd like to get back up there when there is snow on the ground. I'd also like to see all these "naked hippies" everyone talks about, too. And, I want to take the D3 or D700 up there. This time I only took a couple snaps with the G9.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Getting the sky

"A passenger looks out the window of a helicopter as it flys over Cornbelly's, Utah State's original corn maze, which honors Larry H. Miller in their 14th season, Friday evening."

Sorry for the lack of updates, I've been going crazy trying to enter CPOY.

My editor found out that I was still eligible to enter after our intern asked for some editing help.

I have never entered before, and to be honest, didn't even know the contest existed until last year. I guess that's what I get for not going to OU or Western.

Anyways, this above assignment was the first time I got the a helicopter...on assignment. No really, we went about 1,500 feet and it was utterly amazing.

I was too busy trying soak in the experience riding a helicopter for the first time, trying to nail the actual assignment of shooting the corn maze, and making some stock photos for the paper of Utah lake and I-15 that I didn't really shoot anything else.

Chris got a dope frame though. Sonofabit....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Que? Como te llamas?

"Hard at work, Omar Valdovinos picks apples from deciduous fruit trees at Riley Orchards in Genola, Tuesday afternoon. Rusty Newton (not pictured), who was in charge of the operations for the day and was also transporting large crates of apples to storage, said that the nine man crew will fill and move more than 90 crates Tuesday afternoon."

After spending all morning not understanding my subject, things didn't get any easier as the afternoon rolled around.

I needed to find a feature and was told to head south to the Genola area where all the orchards were.

Feeling like the weather and season, I searched around the apple fields. It was a cool 70 degrees and the aroma of apples could be smelled from my car. All I wanted was some apple cider.

After failing for a good 20 minutes, I finally stumbled across some workers. I pulled my car into the field and told Rusty Newton, a worker, who I was.

"Sure, go ahead out there," he said. "Just know, not one of them speaks English."

Oh, great. My Spanish sucks. I blame it on my high school teacher. She always had a personal vendetta out for me and was never willing to help me. Bit...

So I trekked back, crushing rotten apples as I walked through the trees, until I heard some Spanish singing.

"Que pasa," I said confidently, and then began shooting.

After sometime, and many failed conversations with the workers in the field, I used the only phrase I knew would actually be helpful, and that I knew what it meant.

Como te llamas? Or "What's your name" in English.

Thankfully it worked. But I couldn't wait to get back to the office to speak about things and languages I knew. It had been a long day of confusion.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What? Sour pickles?

"Thomas S. Monson, sixteenth and current president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shares a laugh with colleagues at a BYU campus devotional at the Marriott Center, Tuesday morning."

The objective of a journalist is to be objective, but in this case, I really had zero clue what was going on, let alone what was being talked about.

I was assigned to photograph Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he encouraged students at BYU to follow the lives and counsel of presidents who have gone before him.

Yeah, I got that. But there were so many references I totally didn't get.

As an outsider of "the church" and the only guy that didn't pray in a jam-packed Marriott Center, I didn't get it the jokes.

I'd be sitting there, space out for a second when I lost track of what was being talked about, and then hear "sour pickles" and the entire crowd would erupt into laughter.

Huh? What? What did I miss? Luckily, it wasn't the only assignment of the day where I didn't understand my subject. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


"A BYU cheerleader looks into the stands during a timeout at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009. Florida St. won 54-28."

This frame didn't really fit my quick edit of my BYU football post. I thought the tight framed image of the BYU was very similar.

Alas, her big bluish, green eyes caught, well, my eye during a timeout.

I think she had fake eyelashes on, too. But I am no Brüno. Hahaha.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cougar blue

"Brigham Young takes the field against Florida St., at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009. Florida St. won 54-28."

I've always been a sports fan, but have never really taken a true love toward any one team.

No idea why, maybe because I've never felt a true tie to any team, no matter what sport.

Now that football season is back, I get a lot of people ask who my favorite team is; collegiate and professional.

I find myself saying the Maryland Terps and the Baltimore Ravens for reasons unknown other than I am from Maryland.

Since there is no NFL team in Utah, people go crazy for their college football. Between the Utes and the Cougars, life seems to stop on Saturday.

Last weekend I shot my first BYU game. Things could have gone better, but here are some of my favorites from the game.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Intentional downing

"Football safety Zach Dean is among many seniors that leads first-year teams at Westlake High School."

I love shooting sportraits when I have an nice set of lights. But it's hard to shoot them when the batteries are dead.

Last week, I headed out to Saratoga Springs to photograph a group portrait of senior athletes at Westlake High School. The story being about the first year school and how these athletes came from other schools and will only serve as a leader for one season.

I showed up early to scout some locations. After walking around, I thought under the East side bleachers would be awesome. Not too exciting, but I liked it.

The light coming through the thin, metal seating created this amazing light. I planned on underexposing a couple stops to make the light create this great pattern. But I still had no athletes. I was sitting there waiting on reporter to find me what players from what sports I need to photograph.

The sun was setting fast and my window of time was going quick. Alas, before I knew it, my pattern and nice light was long gone. My 5:00 p.m. assignment turned in a 6:00 p.m. assignment.

Once I had my players, I went to "Plan B" and loved what I was about to shoot. Well, about 10 frames into shooting, the battery on work's no-name-light died. The huge external battery wasn't charged. Doh!

I kicked it off and let it build a little extra juice. After turning it back on, I got five frames out of it before it wouldn't turn back on at all. Three were of the group of players. Two were of two players individually for fun.

For the above, I knew the light wouldn't make it to his eyes, and cranked every last bit of power out of the light.

I don't know why, but I liked it. Only wish I would have had more juice to keep playing around.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Keep your eye on the ball

"Alta striker Michelle Staples eyes up a loose ball during the second half against Lone Peak at Lone Peak High School, Wednesday afternoon."

I always had trouble keeping my eye on the ball when I played soccer.

From day one I was always told to "keep your eye on the ball" in terms on kicking, heading or trapping the ball.

The reasoning being that you concentrate more on where you strike the ball and only worry about where it ends up later. Not in a haphazard way of thinking, but a way that if you kick the ball in the right spot, it will end up where you want it.

Well, my problem was just that. I wanted to see exactly where the ball went. I wanted to see my 20-yards laser shot smash into the top corner of the net.

Don't get me wrong, I was a decent soccer player, and still played when I was back east. But it's just one of those things.

You want to see yourself score, even if that means taking your eye off the ball for just a millisecond.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Be jealous...

"The sun radiates a deep amber color as rain spills from the clouds over the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday evening."

I am no nature or landscape photographer.

But I cannot help not to take in the gorgeous views from my apartment every night. You should be jealous.

OK, you don't have to be, but coming from back East, I love the mountains.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Story time

"Carmen Agra Deedy tells a story of her childhood during the 20th Annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival at Mt. Timpanogos Park in Provo Canyon, Friday afternoon. The festival is the largest storytelling festival in the West and the second largest storytelling festival in the nation."

I wasn't sure what this assignment would be all about, but had some fun. I didn't stay long since I was toting the intern along and he had another assignment to get to.

Basically, listeners gathered beneath large white tents up in the canyon at the park to hear stories from musicians and puppeteers, and everything in between.

One woman I spoke with: "We've come since its start, it's a family tradition," Candice Boucher of Provo said. "Like Christmas and Thanksgiving, it's a timeout from life that we can't live without."

I didn't really know that story time would and could be so Christmas. Well, I mean, I love a good story, and always thought of myself as a good story teller.

Maybe next year I'll get to check it out while not working.

And it must have been good. Half the kids were sleeping.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Swine flu wrestling

"A pig pushes its nose through the side of a trailer before the Ultimate Pig Wrestling event at Salem Rodeo Arena in Salem on Saturday evening. The event was sponsored by Lazy A Ranch in Payson."

Last summer, my good friend Monica Lopossay covered a pig wrestling event in Maryland. I was extremely jealous and even though she only got a couple minutes to shoot it, due to a tight deadline, she blew it up...or as we say, "melted yer face off."

After that, I did everything I could to cover one myself. Well, after numerous phone calls and scheduling, I found one in Pennsylvania.

But it then quickly got canceled. The organizer began receiving complaints from animal-rights groups. There was also word of a possible boycott of his business and a threat of violence.

Needless to say, I never witnessed swine flu wrestling

Well, when I read a preview story in our paper this week, I knew I had to go down there whether or not I was working. I ended up having the day off, but met our intern down there to shoot for myself.

After seeing it first hand, my opinions are mixed about the "sport." You judge for yourself.

EDIT: This is the frame Detrick was talking about: Click Here

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tubby time

"Laura Barnett dumps soapy water over her son Aiden, 3, as his one-year-old sister Emma, looks on at the Barnett's home in Orem, Monday evening."

Last week we did a special section about water use in Utah County.

On my way home Monday I stopped at the Barnett's home to photograph their kids getting their nightly bath.

It was a funny, quick assignment. It lasted all of 5 minutes, including running back to their door step after I left one of my lenses on their couch.

The best part was how the kids basically ran to the tub. When I was a kid I remember fighting not to get a bath. Yet once I was in, I didn't want to get out.

These kids not only wanted a bath, but didn't want to waste any unneeded time in the soapy water.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Close-up: Little Big Garden

"Joe Kunkel picks beans in his largest garden at his Center Street home in Springville, Wednesday, Sept.9, 2009. Kunkel has been gardening in his three gardens at his home for 44 years."

Here at the Provo Daily Herald we have bit of doubled edged sword for photographers.

Every month, each photographer is given the freedom to go out and find their own story.

I'm still new, partial to this idea. Juggling two different mediums in hopes to have them both be perfect is challenging.

Don't get me wrong. I love being challenged. I love to write. But when I have to put more or less energy into writing or photographing, one or the other is going to lose some power.

Anyways, your one monthly story topic is seemingly endless. It can be on anything, and I've begun compiling a list on my phone.

But for my first one I wanted to find someone, something I knew nothing about. In addition, I wanted to up the ante and also do some sort of multimedia, too. I helped my co-worker Mark Johnston with his multimedia last week and it turned out awesome.

Well, when I was searching for a feature last week, I stumbled across Joe Kunkel. At first, he seemed hesitant to allow me into his life. But after a couple hours, my standalone turned into my first Monday Close-up.

He was an interesting guy, and while the story that attracted me to him was about his garden, it ended up being about him and his life.

I am more excited about my article than my photos or multimedia. I had great audio from my main interview, but subtle screeching sounds of passing cars ruined it for multimedia purposes. So I had to go back for something else between assignments.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Curse twist

"Lone Peak wide receiver Russ Walker (No.80) tries to pull in a pass against Brighton during the second quarter at Lone Peak High School, Friday, Sept.11, 2009. Lone Peak won, 23-7, ending Brighton's three-game shutout wins."

It’s a shame the nice light only lasts about 15 minutes during prep football games now. Before we know it, it will be dark at kick-off.

The curse has a new twist though. Lone Peak did not allow me into their pre-game ritual, so I was sure they’d lose. But Brighton also didn’t allow Detrick into their locker room either. My theory is that if both teams deny, then the curse is null and void. We’ll see.

Anyways, I struggled last night to make anything decent. Even when I did have something, it didn’t tell the story of the game whatsoever. Much like the above. Detrick pretty much kicked my ass last night.

This morning I checked out his stuff…he must have cropped every photo. Why? Because he shot the entire game with a 16mm…on a monopod! OK, I kid, I kid.

Friday, September 11, 2009

99 on 09/09/09

"Marc Ricks, 98-years-old, peers outside window after reading a book in the family room of his son's Provo home, Wednesday afternoon. Ricks, who lives with his son and daughter-in-law, will be 99-years-old on Sept. 9, 2009. He sleeps late, and doesn't leave the house much. Most of his time is spent gazing out the window, watching the world go by, and reading."

This job is a never ending opportunity to meet wonderful, new people every day.

Last week, I got to hangout with Provo resident Marc Ricks for a couple hours. His story is a once in a life time story; mathematically.

Ricks celebrated his 99th birthday on the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year of the 21st century -- that's 99 on 9/9/09. Like I said, it's in the numbers.

For being 99-years-old Ricks had the common wear as anyone at that age would. A little hard of hearing and forgetful. "My memory is not getting better at this point," he said to me at the house.

The fantastic part about that though is that his daughter-in-law created a personal history for him entitled: "An Autobiography of a Family Doctor."

From his own hand-written notes to photographs transformed into a printed hardback book, Ricks is never far from a memory, whether or not he can recall a story. A couple flips of his book and he'd be back down memory lane reading aloud.

But that's what keeps him happy. He sleeps late, and doesn't leave the house much. Most of his time is spent gazing out the window, watching the world go by, and reading.

Although Ricks only read, ate lunch and spoke with his sister-in-law, and it was hard to comprehend Ricks at times, I really enjoyed my time with him. His was sharp as a tack though. He made me laugh many times when I didn't expect it.

Before I left, Ricks asked, "If you were offered to be rich, or have the ability to study, what would you chose?"

Tough question I thought. I sat silent for a good minute. Who doesn't want to be wealthy, yet at the same time, and I guess I looked into the question sincerely, deeply, who doesn't want to learn?

I looked him in the eyes and said, "The ability to study, learn."

He smiled back, "Good choice. I chose the same thing during my life, and look what I have achieved in my life. More importantly, look who I am surrounded by: Family."

Good words.

Technically speaking, the first image was my favorite. I thought it spoke in volumes about him and his faith, in a place he sits all day. But it didn't make the final edit.

Here is the layout of the front page of the section, which funneled into more of a spread inside of the above images.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Mr. Touchdown

"Provo High wide receiver Keomaka Unufe has scored six touchdowns in the first two games of the season and the Bulldogs are now 2-0. Unufe poses for a portrait in the Provo High School locker room, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009."

I was assigned to shoot a sportrait the other day. I was nervous. Why? Well, lets see:

1) My co-worker Mark Johnston has been doing these crazy, awesome conceptual composites of athletes. Basically he shoots the players in the studio, and then HDR backgrounds, and then simply combines the two for a photo illustration. They are rad.

2) My good friend Matt Roth in Baltimore is the king of sportraits. He really thinks these things out and then melts your face off. Don't believe me, check out his posts here, here and don't forget Phelps here.

3) It's not a competition, but it sort of is. I am competing against these guys. And they're good incredible.

4) I haven't used my lights in more than a year.

5) Oh, right. I haven't shot a sportrait in more than a year.

I think it turned out OK, even for dealing with the entire team standing, sitting and screaming behind me.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Unufe setup

"The Provo High School football team poses after a portrait of one of their players in the Provo High School locker room on Wednesday afternoon."

I'll post the outcome of this sportrait tomorrow. But if you're wondering what's going on in this picture, let me tell you.

I had to shoot a local football player who has scored six touchdowns in the past two games and his team is now 2-0 for the first time in years.

After scoping out some locations, I figured the locker room would be the best place to setup my lights.

So I setup, made some test frames on some lingering students and then informed the coach where I'd be and waited.

I guess I wasn't thinking, but the entire team then funneled into the locker room after practice. They all asked what I was doing, and when I told them, their adrenaline started pumping.

I told my subject, Keomaka Unufe, what I had in mind, and as I peer over my shoulder, the entire football was cheering, screaming and ribbing Unufe. It was awesome.

At first, Unufe couldn't put on a serious face. He was nervous. He kept laughing. I shot a bunch of frames of him acting goofy, and when I chimped, the entire team would burst into hysterics.

But finally, I got him to a good place. I said, "Pretend you're going out to play Timpview (they're biggest rival)." Something snapped. He, as well as the rest of the team when crazy. Screaming. Yelling. Going wild.

I got my frame, but I needed one more. I have never had that many people watching me shoot a portrait before. It was loud, it was smelly and it was hot. The locker room was tiny, but without the rest of the team, I don't think I would have gotten Unufe's true personality .

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Friday night lights: Utah County

"American Fork cheerleader Ashlee Ozuna pumps up the crowd before the game against Timpanogos at Timpanogos High School, Friday, Sept. 4, 2009. American Fork won, 36-20."

Ah. Yes. Friday night lights in Utah County. There is something about Friday night high school football that makes it a great assignment to end the week with.

The young teenagers mingling in the crowd not paying attention the game, children tumbling down the grassy hills, the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers, parents screaming at every call, almost getting run over on the sidelines, and the intensity of players on the field.

This week I had American Fork at Timpanogos.

Salt Lake Tribune photog Trent Nelson wrote an article about the new Utah high school football curse: Deny a photographer access and you just might lose tonight's game.

I had to test it out, so I decided to stick with American Fork. Before tonight's game they were a perfect 2-0 and averaging 43 points a game. I was sure the coach would totally deny me access to the locker room.

Well, what do you know. I was granted access and American Fork won. The curse may be real, it may not be, but so far it's holding up.

You better believe I'll be testing it out every game I shoot this year.

Friday, September 04, 2009

They call her flipper

"A Lehi defender (not on roster) flip throws against Timpanogos during the second half at Timpanogos High School, Tuesday afternoon. Lehi won 3-0."

I don't know why, but out West (as apposed to "back East") the girls play soccer in the fall and the boys play in the spring.

Back in Baltimore, it was hard to keep track of the superstars, let alone each and every team. I thought I once read that Baltimore County hosted one of the largest number of prep teams in the nation.

Any who, here in Utah I've already covered some of the same teams. Enough times that I already know who the go-to-players are and who will probably win the game.

I even called the winner to the reporter (I should have bet him) before this game.

Anyways, flip throwing seems like the cool thing to do here. I've seen this girl do it about 15 times in two games and needed to make a frame of it sooner rather than later.

I wish I could do it. But I'd probably break my neck.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


"Pleasant Grove Surgeon Justin Lee, MD., performs a single-incision laparoscopic hysterectomy surgery using a Covidien SILS port at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, Monday afternoon. The single-incision hysterectomy is a new procedure approved at the beginning of 2009. This surgery is much less invasive."

I don't feel like writing much tonight. But last week I luckily got to shoot my first surgery.

My first assignment was canceled, so my editor sacrificed her assignment to shoot this laparoscopic hysterectomy surgery to me.

In the past, I have made some medical visits for minor injuries and a surgery when I was five-years-old. My mother (Hi, Mom!) also works in the medical field.

I am not scared of hospitals, surgeries, blood or guts, but I was really nervous before getting there.

Thankfully, I didn't pass out or vomit during the procedure. It was actually eye-opening, fascinating and fun. This ran A1.

Did you know they listen to music during surgery? They were cranking the 80s Jams!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Baltimore - Abandoned story

"Dave "Super Dave" Dalmasso rides circles on a friend's street bike under an overpass near M&T Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon."

Back in Baltimore I was working on a story about a motorcycle stunt riding group. My hopes were to introduce readers to their way of life.

Their style was unique, always riding with caution, practicing non-stop in industrial areas and huge parking lots, so when they took their stunts to the streets that they were ready to stunt safely.

A small part of the story was how they too were trying to introduce others to the lifestyle they are apart of. Their "leader" has produced many DVDs, and continues to work on them.

But the biggest part of the story was this: In a land where murders and violence is prevalent, the group brought joy to those living on the streets of Baltimore.

There wasn't one person who didn't know them, no matter how deep in the dangerous parts of the city we went. It was an amazing sight to follow them into the "ghetto" and watch people come out from every direction with smiles on their faces. Everyone getting along. Police respected the group and not once was there ever any confrontation between the group and anyone.

Alas, since I am no longer in Baltimore, this is a story I had to regretfully abandon.

I finally decided to share some stuff. Here are a select (read: way too many) frames of the only the stunting itself.

They were always on one-wheel. I'll miss documenting these guys on and off their bikes. But at least I'll take away something I can always come back to one day, and for now, some singles.

Thoughts on any that stand out?

(edit: not sure why the first frame looks blurry. Here is it out of the slideshow)