Friday, October 30, 2009

Waiting game

"Springville seniors Brody Swanson (No.15) and Jeff Gueck (No.85) wait for the national anthem to end before heading out of the team locker room and onto the field against Salem Hills at Springville High School, Thursday night. Springville won and were crowned the regional champions."

For some reason I never used to shoot features before sporting games. But ever since getting to Utah I find that part of the game to be more eye opening and exciting than the actual game.

Last week, I went into Springville's locker room even though the coach didn't really seem like he wanted me there, yet allowed me to be in there anyways.

I didn't get much in their locker room, which was more or less a class room.

But I liked this one as they patiently awaited to take the field.

I am heading back to Springville today for some more playoffs action.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Staying dry

"Mike Roland of West Valley bears the rain during the 4A Utah girls state soccer semifinals at Juan Diego high school, Tuesday night."

Not much to say about this one.

If you know me, you know I have a bad case for taking pictures of umbrellas. Almost as much as Chip Litherland taking pictures of things that are red.

Whatever the case, I laid down in the wet grass to get this one. Not a favorite, or even in my top 10 umbrella images, but I was drawn to it in the moment.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First "real" snow

"Alyssa Lamph, 5, of Lehi leaps onto the base of a snowman as she and her father create a replica of "Frosty" on 200 South in Lehi on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009. "I like snowballs, and making angels; that's all," Alyssa said. Parts of Utah County, including Lehi, were blanketed with snow on Tuesday, dumping up to five inches in some areas according to"

I cannot believe it snowed already. Well, I mean, I sort of can, but at the same time was a bit shocked it came so early.

Back in Baltimore, it doesn't start snowing until at least December. When it does snow, it's maybe a couple inches at a time, and only snows maybe five times a year tops. Not to mention, the entire state shuts down, too.

Needless to say, when I came around the point of the mountain yesterday morning heading south, I was a bit panicked seeing that it was a complete white out and I had summer tires on my Subaru.

Alas, I was the lucky one sent out feature hunting.

However, Provo and Orem were bone dry. Sunny and above freezing. Even Sundance didn't have even a snowflake on the ground.

So I headed back north to Lehi. Found this little girl making a snowman. Not my typical clean framing, but I liked it nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hay is for horses

"Coleman Snyder, 7, of Payson runs through a hay maze with friends at The Country Farm Fest in Payson, Friday afternoon. "It's real fun," Coleman said. "We can run around in it, play hide-n-seek, tag, and more." The Country Farm Fest is an agriculture-based festival held on the Dumas farm in Payson. The event was created to celebrate fall and provide members of the community a taste of country living."

I am attracted to hay mazes. But I always shoot them the same way.

Maybe visual to the readers, but boring to me.

This was for a standalone in which I was sent to a farm that does it big for fall, Halloween.

I couldn't help to think of the last time I went to a pumpkin patch farm and then ended up miserable for two weeks. Miserable because I ended up getting Lyme disease. Friggin ticks!

This time I tried to sicken myself with roadside Mexican a place you'd never expect to see roadside Mexican food - Payson, Utah.

Luckily I lived to tell the tale.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hole No.18

"Kyle Korver and Boyd Summerhays warm-up before teeing off at 10:15 a.m. during the second day of the 12th annual Sorenson Champions Challenge Golf Tournament at Thanksgiving Point on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009. Bobby Wilson and Jason Zuback won the tournament at 12-under par after 18-holes."

Despite how much I hated golf, I did have fun.

Whenever I shoot something new, be it a sport or story, or even a person; I find myself in a pure state of joy.

It was cold and windy, and while I had trouble speeding around trying to figure out who and where the leaders are, I got a small number of frames that I liked personally.

Minus the mindless, tight frames of golfers, here are a couple more frames that I thought were visually interesting and kept me happy throughout the tournament.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Play that funky music

"A disco ball dangles in Lakeridge Junior High School on Friday morning."

What? A photo without people in it?

I was shooting at a middle school the other day and thought this ghetto rigged disco ball hanging from the ceiling was comical.

A big part of me wanted it to haphazardly come on. Another part wanted kids to start doing the "disco" when they saw it.

Alas, I have no idea why it was there. I thought it would be part of this speaker I was covering, but to my dismay, no go.

Now back to laying on the couch after hanging out with my toilet and bathroom floor last night (read: flu).

Friday, October 23, 2009

No wonder they all missed

"Timpanogos' Sierra Johnson (No.3) pushes Springville defender Vanessa Johnson (No.16) out of the way as she tries to put a header shot on goal during the first half in the 4A Utah girls state soccer semifinals at Juan Diego High School, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009. Timpanogos won, 2-1, advancing to the finals."

I have some older stuff I want to post, but it's all on my work computer. I haven't had a chance to dump my older stuff from the past two weeks over the the lap top yet. So here is another from this week.

It's championship season here in Utah and I love it. Every mistake can cost a team their season. Every victory leads them another step closer toward becoming state champions.

The other evening I was shooting back-to-back soccer games. Out here in Utah, the girls play in the fall and the boys play in the spring.

Anyways, the two games I shot were great matches. Chris showed up for the second game, despite being sick, and shot from under the bleachers to avoid the rain.

Smart move since I decided to weather the off and on rain showers.

This was my favorite frame of the two games.

In any other situation, closed eyed frames would not make the take. But I thought this was funny and very true of head balls in soccer. Everyone closes their eyes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hole No.1

"Bobby Wilson lets go of his club in jest after firing his first drive of the day on hole No.1 during the second day of the 12th annual Sorenson Champions Challenge Golf Tournament at Thanksgiving Point on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009. Wilson and Zuback won the tournament with a score of 12-under par."

Covered golf for the first time. Hated it.

Still don’t really know how I’ve avoided it all this time, but I was stuck at the 12th annual Sorenson Champions Challenge Golf Tournament at Thanksgiving Point for the last two days.

I thought I could dodge it the second day, but I was there again. You probably saw me. I was the guy driving like an idiot in the “Daily Herald” golf cart as I chomped on free Snickers bars.

I have zero patience for golf. I’ve played three times and each time its ended with my club in a tree and a lot non-stop, continual use of the “F” word.

Shooting golf didn’t go any better. I don’t know if I thought this above frame was funny, as in “Oh, that’s how you’re suppose to do it” or “Thanks to all above for this s#@! finally being over.”

Ironically, both days, in the first 36 frames, I made my favorite frames of the day. This was Bobby Wilson’s first drive of the day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Found - bagel boy

"Peering over the counter, a worker answers the phone at a coffee shop in downtown Munich on June 25, 2009."

Found this image last month when going through an edit with some friends, photographers.

I got some more coming from Europe.

Off to shoot some playoffs soccer. Sweet!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Apple man

"Max Pyne, 87, of Provo waits for customers to buy his apples out front of his old Orem home on Main Street, Thursday afternoon. Pyne has been growing apples for more than 50 years at his farm in Santaquin. While he sells most to Mountainland Apples, he still enjoys talking and selling the fruit to passerby."

I went feature hunting the other day and ending up going back to what caught my eye originally.

After driving into work early so that I could get a haircut up the street, I got lost and had to make a U-turn. When I did, I saw a old man selling apples in his front yard. I thought it would be a simple feature.

Later in the day, I was sent out. I thought of going back, but I decided to maybe save it for another day since last month I shot in an apple orchard.

Well, after finding a pumpkin patch with no one there, I went back and glad I did.

He has about 20 bushels for sale daily and said he just likes talking to his customers, many who were returns. Just a nice man.

While I don't really like shooting a portrait of someone for a daily feature, he pretty much sat there in the sun as the day was rather cold. It was better than anything I had of help selling apples to customers.

Now I just can't shoot anything apple related for features. I'll add it to my "Don't shoot features of..." list; which includes: fishers, bicyclers, runners...

Sunday, October 18, 2009


"Second-grader Cassidy Shumway smiles as she is escorted back to her seat after being presented a special wish to visit Disneyland at Scera Park Elementary School, Friday, afternoon. Shumway suffers from a genetic disease that will kill her. She is being treated by Primary Childrens Hospital, and the disease has yet to be named, but is in the epilepsy family. Since her dream is to go to Disneyland, the school and neighbors collected enough money send the family to Disneyland."

I am generally very objective and can easily hide my emotions. But last week an assignment was sad and I kept thinking about it long after I left.

Cassidy Shumway is a second-grader at Scera Park Elementary School. She has been sick ever since practically being born.

At 10 months old she started having stroke-like seizures. She stopped using her right arm and eventually got so weak that she could not eat or hold her head up. She was hospitalized on several occasions, but the doctors were bewildered because a number of tests came up negative.

She has since been life-flighted to Primary Children's with status of 'epilepticus' and
then hospitalized with chronic kidney disease. Today she is in stage 4 kidney failure but is holding steady at 30 percent kidney function.

Obviously, things aren't going well. So family, friends and the school secretly collected donations, enough to fly the Shumway family of five to Disneyland, her dream vacation.

So when Cinderella surprised Cassidy at the school's annual Sing-In it was special.

I cannot help to feel awful for Cassidy and her family. It was such a touching moment for everyone there.

Just a reminder that we should live each day to the fullest.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lone Peak rainbow

"Fans make their way into the Pleasant Grove Vs. Lone Peak football game at Lone Peak High School, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009. Lone Peak won ending Pleasant Grove's undefeated streak."

The other night I was driving to my football game assignment and it began to rain.

The thing about Utah is you can literally see the rain coming across the valley. Unlike back east, there aren't a million trees blocking your view.

As I made my way north, the sun started to come back out and rainbows were popping up. I won't lie, rainbows are abundant here. I've seen more than I can remember since being here.

I quickly pulled off to shoot some pictures since I could see the entire rainbow arch. It was the first time I've seen one like that.

However, I wasn't quick enough. It vanished and rain was falling again.

By the time I got to the game, it was both raining and sunny. And the rainbow was back.

Working quickly, I got a couple decent frames before it again dissipated.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Monday Close-up: Clandestine competitor

"Derrick Hubbard, known as "Derrick Jannetty" in the ring, works out at Gold's Gym in American fork, Thursday, Oct. 1 2009. Hubbard began lifting weights in order to become the perfect professional wrestler. Part to stay in shape, and the other half for aesthetics."

I decided to put up my second Monday Close-up before I finished the multimedia. I've been very busy lately and probably won't get to it until next week.

Long story short, I got to know Derrick Hubbard after meeting some people. I knew his story would be perfect for my Monday Close-up.

He is an average guy - quiet, polite, athletic, a student and young professional - except he has a secret life.

By day, a student. By night, a young professional. By weekend, a WWF-style professional wrestler.

Once I met him, I became infatuated with this secret, clandestine lifestyle. I'll probably be shooting more of Hubbard to get a more well-rounded story. But since I had two days to shoot and write my story for the paper, I could only do so much.

You can find my written story on the Provo Daily Herald.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


"Pleasant Grove's McKell Staheli dives for a spiked ball against Lone Peak at Pleasant Grove High School, Tuesday, Oct. 6 2009. Pleasant Grove won."

Wasn't sure if it worked or not. Got some mixed feelings.

Personally, I wish it was timed a little bit better.

Alas, lots of photos I want to share, and don't feel like writing a lot. Especially this week, I am super busy.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Amanda and Joey

"Amanda Borzymowski looks down at her wedding dress following her and Joey's ceremony in Jarrettsville, Md., Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009."

I was honored to document Amanda and Joey's wedding day and it was absolutely beautiful.

While the weather was rainy and dark, by the time of the reception there was nothing but sun and gorgeous light.

Thanks again to my good friend Drew for the second shooting. You killed it, man. And another thanks to friend Dave for the lights.

I am currently sitting in BWI for my flight back to Salt Lake City and thought I'd throw up a quick image from the wedding. Lots of toning to do this week!

But more images to come. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 09, 2009

In case you forgot...

"Provo running-back Kyler Hamilton leads the team in prayer before taking on Mountain View at Provo High School, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009. After trailing Mountain View, 20-15, at the end of the third quarter, Provo edged them out for the win, 21-20."

...The Utah high school football curse is still active.

Provo High School allowed me into the locker room prior to their game against Mountain View. They must have read the Utah PJ blog and known the consequences if they didn't allow me in.

To be honest, I don't know if it was my presence in the locker room or the incredible pre-game speeches given by some coaches. Either way Mountain View led, 20-15, over Provo at the end of the third quarter.

But Provo one point. Final score was 21-20.

Too bad deadline forced me to leave in the middle of the third quarter. I am sure Provo went crazy as they haven't beaten MV in a long time.

Side note: I'll be back in Baltimore this weekend. No posts from me until next week.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Let the light do the talking

"Jill Gullickson, 44, of Payson poses for a portrait outside her place of business in Orem, Friday, Oct. 2, 2009. Gullickson was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and has been dealing with the disease in a holistic, natural way. "

Nothing is worse than getting an assignment and thinking, "Where the hell am I going to shoot this portrait?"

That's exactly what I thought when I got a call to cover a last minute portrait near the end of my shift.

It was a preview story on Jill Gullickson, who diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. Over the weekend there was a benefit for her.

So I was called to her work. A check cashing place on a busy road. It was small, cluttered and ugly.

The reporter was interviewing, so I decided to scope out the outside of the building.

Much like the inside, there wasn't much room to work. I had a old, busted fence, a wooden walkway and a 5x5 square of grass. Beyond that was a road and a parking lot.

In all honesty, I was having a mini panic attack. I was getting ready to admit defeat and enter my soon-to-be-portrait in my "get a new career" folder on my computer.

Yep, a folder I keep all of the really bad pictures I take to help remind me that I need to step my game up when feeling down.

Anyways, with some luck and searching I found great light coming through a large tree behind this warehouse in the parking lot. Clean background, great light.

I am glad things worked out, other wise you wouldn't have a new post today. Hahaha. I kid. I am glad it worked out and helped tell her battle with cancer and how positive she is.

And sorry for all the black and white frames lately. I don't know if it's all the Radiohead I've been listening to, the way I've been feeling or if I really feel the conversion helps these frames.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

His crash, my rise

"Hayden Couch, 14, wrecks after attempting a jump on 40 North in Springville, as a fall storm moves eastward through Utah, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009. Rain and snow showers fell throughout the day in Utah County and temperatures were cold enough that gardeners needed to monitor frosty conditions. "[Snow and rain] is not going to stop us from having fun," Carter said. "Yeah, I have a coat on," Hayden said."

I mentioned it in recent previous post, but I wasn't shooting very well for two weeks.

Oddly enough, and I hate lyric references, I was listening to "Beck" and heard their lyrics, "I been drifting along in the same stale shoes..."

That's exactly how I felt. Shooting the most mundane, stale, flat images. For two weeks, in my mind, I didn't make a decent frame. It was frustrating.

Things didn't start out good when I got back to work at the beginning of the week either. Utah was having their first winter storm (I know, winter storm and it wasn't even October yet) and I was sent out to find a feature; after my first assignment that is.

Well, when I left for work it was raining in the valley, and snowing up the canyons. It was cold. I could have easily made a feature somewhere.

By the time my first assignment was over, the sun was peaking out and it was warming up.

I drove around for a solid hour or more, not finding anyone outside. So I headed back to the office to wait for kids to get out of school and clear my mind of my first feature hunt failure of the day.

By the time I ventured back out, the sky was getting gray again. But still no one was outside. I passed some kids playing out on the sidewalk in Springville, riding bikes, but I thought I could find better.

However, it then began dumping rain, sleeting and snowing, too. I made a U-turn and speed back. Luckily they were still out riding bikes.

I just tagged along as I got soaked. They loved the wet, cold weather and were setting up a ramp for their friend.

Well, first attempt didn't go so well. Crashed. But he was OK.

But I got a frame I liked. Something sparked inside of me and reignited my drive. His crash was my rise.

We ended up running a standalone of him actually jumping, although I liked the above and then the aftermath of the crash. The latter two I am still debating which I like better, but liked the actual wreck itself more I think. Thoughts?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Book of Mormon

"Brent Wyatt of Provo reads as he learns about the Book of Mormon during an Institute (LDS Church doctrine) class, at the Boulders Community Center, Tuesday afternoon. The center, which just opened at the Boulders, is through Americorps and offers: English classes, tutoring, Institute classes, some life skills classes, a play group, and a soccer league."

Last week between my ribbon cuttings and construction kick-offs, I was sent to a apartment community where they had just opened a new facility.

The community center, as they call it, just opened and is through Americorps. They offer things such as: English classes, tutoring, Institute classes, some life skills classes, a play group, and a soccer league.

I just needed to shoot some frames during an LDS Church doctrine. Basically people reading the Book of Mormon.

Not very visual. Everyone had their faces buried into the book.

But this guy kept grabbing my attention as he would flip up his glasses to read, then put his glasses back on to look at the instructor.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Dirty politics

"Jeff Francom poses at his Saratoga Springs home, Friday, Sept. 25, 2009. Francom, one of the two remaining mayoral candidates in Saratoga Springs, has been fired from his job because he refused to bow out of the race."

I love portraits. I've always had this obsession with others faces. There is so much you can say by photographing only a face.

I could probably talk about that forever, so I'll spare you that this time around.

My assignment was about one of the two candidates for mayor in Saratoga Springs. Jeff Francom said he lost his job after a letter and his own campaign literature were sent to his employer.

"There is an underhanded campaign going on that cost me my job," said Francom. "It's dirty politics."

Dirty politics...probably true. But they've obviously never been to Baltimore. All kinds of corruption and scandals back east.

That's besides the point.

When I arrived, we sat and talked. I got a sense of who he was, what his story was and was ready to get to business.

I had my visual, my eye candy - the blinds and strong west light. Unexposed and popped up a strobe to the right. But what about his facial expression?

Happy: That said anything but the truth.

Sad: Well, he was upset, but not ready to cry.

Angry: I thought it told his story, but maybe not his character.

So I went with a neutral look. A way to invite the reader into the article and let them make their judgment. And I think it sorta worked, besides it a political story, it got tons of comment online.

Now only if I could go back in time to tweak the image a bit more. Hmm...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Survive the spider

"Bonneville Elementary School second-grader Blain Gustaveson reacts after an Orem High School student found a spider during the annual Elementary Education Day at South Fork Park, Thursday morning. Orem High students in the unified studies program taught second graders from two Orem elementary schools about nature related skills."

Headed up Provo canyon last week to shoot some frames of children being mixed with high school students. The latter were teaching the skills needed to survive in the wilderness.

I thought it would be a lot like Bear Grylls type stuff, but I was wrong.

Most of the kids were being little pains. Many of the high school students had to take them to their real teachers after acting up.

After shooting for 45 minutes, I had to leave. I was not too happy with my take, so I was searching for one more moment.

Much to my dismay, I didn't find anything, so I started heading for the car. But then I heard screaming.

I sprinted over and realized an Orem high student found a huge spider. I have no clue what kind it was, but it looked poisonous. I stuck my camera in and fired some frames hoping to catch one of the kids over reactions to the spider.

The funny thing is, I was making the same face. I am just glad no one got a picture of me!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Construction kick-off to BYU kick-off

"Brigham Young's Jordan Atkinson (No.43) is greeted by fans before the game against Colorado St., at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009. BYU won 42-23."

Another week, another Saturday BYU football game.

I've been in sort of a funk since last week. I haven't had any assignments besides ribbon cuttings, food reviews and construction kick-offs.

It's a poor excuse to blame assignments, but my photos haven't done anything to excite me. I feel like it's mundane, mindless shooting. I'm not doing anything to catch the readers attention, nor inform them. It's my fault they, well, suck.

I really cannot complain though. I've had killer assignments ever since getting here in August. I am fortunate that I had over a month of incredible assignments.

Slow weeks happen and it's apart of the job. We all shoot building and road mugs, food reviews and media surrounded pressers. Nothing we can do but suck it up and do our best.

So with that, I couldn't wait to shoot BYU to end the week. The only problem was that my shooting still wasn't up to my own standards.

This week has started off slow, but I made a frame yesterday that perked me up, not to mention, I am doing my Monday Close Up on an awesome subject all weekend.

On a related note to the picture, no salted meats, cheesy mashed potatoes, or post-game doughnuts for me at the BYU game this week. I'm working the day shift.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Just crusin' around town

"Harold Hines of Provo cruises down 300 West with his dog on Tuesday. “I am just riding around enjoying the weather,” Hines said. “I ride a lot, mostly around the block or to the store.” For the first day of fall, temperatures were cool on Tuesday, only reaching the low 70s. However, temperatures will rise to the low 80s by the weekend."

I'll always hold this true: When you're sent out to find a feature, you will struggle. When the paper doesn't need a standalone, and you're rushing around town to other assignments, you'll find a feature.

This was certainly the case the other day. I had a morning assignment in Salt Lake before heading down to the office. The day was slow and I was assigned to standalone the night before.

I thought I'd go back to the office, dump my first assignment, and then head out to hopefully find a feature.

Well, my editor told me there was no more room, and instead I'd get a food review.

Inside I was sort of cheering. I wasn't being subjected to scour the area for a standalone. But I was also bummed that my day had and would only be what I call a PJ'ers dream day (I say in jest): A presser and a food review.

But it happens, it's part of the job. Not everyday is excitement and thrills.

Nonetheless, as I am driving to my food review I see an older gentleman riding his lawnmower on the sidewalk. I laughed. Oh, Utah. This is classic. But that's when I realized he had a puppy in a cardboard box up front with him.

I immediately turned around, chased him down, pulled over my car, and proceeded to try and catch up on foot. Sprinting down the sidewalk trying to get ahead of him as he now drove in the street.

Not the most graphic, or technical image, but I thought it was a nice slice of life. And we did manage to find room for it, and on A1.