Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of 2009: Sports

"Jess Harlee, who scored 28 points and made two key free throws late, is smothered by her teammates after Fallston beat defending champions Paint Branch, 65-62, during the Class 3A Maryland basketball championship at UMBC's Rac Arena, Saturday, March 14, 2009. With the win, Fallston celebrated the school's first basketball state championship and posted a perfect, 28-0, season."

Although sports involves the same games with the same rules, the players and emotions are always different. You never know what's going to happen.

I grew up playing sports and still play. Some even label me as a sports photographer, but I beg to differ. I simply enjoy shooting sports on top of the regular assignments.

This year I shot all the typical sporting matches, but also had a a lot "firsts" including shooting: swimming, stunt biking, wrestling, pro wrestling, and golf.

All of these fresh events kept me excited throughout the year and I am looking forward to completing some stories I've started, getting back to shooting these "new" sports to me and cannot wait to look into some new sports out here, too.

Of all I shot, it seems like BYU sports took the cake for being the most newsworthy, which included the brute, ponytail pulling soccer defender and a huge win over Utah in football.

Again, these are my favorite action and feature sports pictures from 2009.

Stay tuned. Feedback welcome. Enjoy.

UP NEXT...Best of 2009: ABROAD

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best of 2009: Non-Sports

"Betty, Mark Smallwood's one-year-old boxer, leaps into the air after Smallwood mentioned the word "walk" at his home in Baltimore, Thursday, May 15, 2009. Smallwood is responsible at Whole Foods to ensure they buy products locally, and hopes to begin a side project to teach urban farming, cooking, selling, and canning."

Caveat: This is part one of three of my favorites images of 2009.

Most of my year was spent freelancing in Baltimore for various clients. After finishing school and walking the stage in January I did a lot of traveling on top of shooting almost daily back home.

The remaining part of the year was spent in Utah, where I was lucky enough to land a staff job at the Provo Daily Herald.

It was a great year. I learned a lot, failed a lot, but also had some successes. I had a lot of fun and I hope that future years to come are this exciting.

These are some of my favorite moments, memories and photographs from 2009 (from daily assignments, stories, portraits, and more). These are not necessarily the most news worthy moments, but frames I liked for one one reason or another.

I know this is a lot of frames, and there are a lot of great photos I cut, but I tried to keep it compact.

I will be breaking down more, including sports and travels on here in coming days.

Stay tuned. Feedback welcome. Enjoy.

UP NEXT...Best of 2009: SPORTS

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best of 2009: Stay Tuned

"Brigham Young's Andrew George (88) is piled by fans and teammates after scoring the winning touchdown that put the Cougars over University of Utah, 26-23, in overtime during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah."

It's hard to compile a collection of favorite photographs from the year. So many different things photographed, lots of failures and lots of successes.

Well, I wouldn't say hard. The real difficult part is narrowing down a large number of images into a smaller number, and then that small number into something reasonable. So on and so forth.

As for my pictures, I keep everything. Every image from every shoot. But I also keep a file of toned, transmitted photos. That way I can find something I shot quickly, and if I need to, find the date it was shot, so I can then go to my archive and pull up the full raw take.

This year to date, I've transmitted more than 2,000 images to clients and employers. Now that number contains re-toned photos, sequences and more.

I like to say I had a good year shooting and feel like I grew a lot. I had a lot of failures and some successes. I was lucky enough to travel around the world and work some amazing publications. And I am even more fortunate to have landed a job.

While I have been shooting for a couple years now, I am marking 2009 as my first full year as a professional.

Why? Because at the start of the year I was no longer a student and was working full-time as a freelancer. I then moved to Utah in August to start at the Provo Daily Herald and have been working there full-time since. So this has been my first "full year" of shooting.

In coming days I am breaking down my favorites into three posts: NON-SPORTS, SPORTS and ABROAD.

The "Non-Sports" will be news, features, portraits and singles from stories.
"Sports" will be sports. And "Abroad" will feature images from my travels this year.

I could have narrowed down my favorites into 10-12 images in each category, but for now, I am putting up ALL of my favorites.

Enjoy. Feedback welcome.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Classic Hampden

"Bartender Edan of Golden West smashes his face against the window in the early morning after last call in Baltimore City, Sunday, Dec.27, 2009."

Sorry for the lack of posts. I went back home for the holiday and was running around non-stop for five days.

On the good side, I ended it having a blast with my good friends downtown.

This was our bartender, Edan, who really made our night twice as epic and fun. This kind of stuff would never happen here in Salt Lake that's for sure.

Anyways, I had a blast it's a shame I had to get back west.

Lots of new posts coming this week as I try and close out the year, including favorites of 2009 posts.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas lashes

"Eyelashes and makeup applied, actress Heather Hansen, who plays "Topper's Girl" adjusts her costume before opening night of "A Christmas Carol" at Hale Center Theater in Orem, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009. Often lauded as the "second greatest Christmas story ever told," Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is playing at the Hale Center Theater in Orem."

Actors are always nice people. But I wonder if they're just acting?

Yesterday afternoon, I hung out for a little over an hour shooting actors and actresses prepare for "A Christmas Carol" at Hale Center Theater in Orem.

They were very open and gave me all the access I could ever want. Yes, even in the ladies dressing room. No, they were clothed. Get your mind out of the gutter.

I split my time between the men and women, and even popped my head into the lighting design control room.

It was interesting, to say the least, as these folk got into character. From an average person I'd see on the street transform into an entirely different person was awesome.

I've shot stuff like this in the past, but couldn't pass up the moment when she kept adjusting her dress. I loved her long [fake] eyelashes and the warm hues, color of her makeup.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


"Allan Anderson, whose family has headed up organizing the live nativity the last 7 years or so, sets up a Christmas star at Orem Community Church, Friday, Dec. 18, 2009. The live nativity will be actively displayed, Dec. 22-23 from 7-9 p.m."

Sometimes people think I am a reporter. They want to introduce me to other people who have more logistics and information than them.

While that is often nice to get more information about the story, and get quotes for my cutlines, it isn't always necessary.

The other day Allan Anderson wanted to do just that, get me to someone "higher up."

However, I didn't need anything more than some photographs of him setting up this nativity.

But in light of being polite, I went through the motions for a couple minutes before I again greeted him outside.

He then realized what my goal was and let me just tag along.

With that, more often than not, I want to talk and get to know people more on my assignments. Other times I just want it to be silent and do my job of shooting.

It goes back and forth everyday what I like more. Sometimes I want it one way and it's that way, other days it's the complete opposite. But that's what I love about this job and makes it challenging.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Close-up: Handcrafted by F.B. Johnson

"Francis B. Johnson creates all things wooden, and loves wearing them around town. 'I have different bolo ties for different seasons, but I like Santa the most,' Johnson said. Johnson stands outside the Pleasant Grove Post Office, Friday, Dec. 4, 2009."

I've been sort of winging my Monday Close-ups.

Every single one I've found while at the Provo Daily Herald I've found the week before I've needed to do it; and I think I'll keep it that way.

My interests are always changing. Some months I'll love something, and the next I'll hate it.

So the best way to keep me interested in my monthly, light heart feature is to find those subjects while on my daily grind.

As for this month, I was really struggling to find a story. That was until I saw Francis Johnson at the post office.

Standing in line, I overheard a woman comment on an older gentleman's bolo tie. It was a small, wooden Santa Claus.

He looked like a character, so I followed him out and also complimented him on his bolo tie and asked if I could take his picture. Without hesitation, he said, "OK."

I talked to him for a couple minutes and came to realize that he made it himself and has made many more.

From there, I knew he'd be my December Monday Close-up subject. Only, I came to find out that he did more than just carve bolo ties, he has made just about everything under the sun from wood.

Much like every story I have ever done, I found out there was more of story to Johnson.

In his case, his everlasting love for his wife who now suffers from Alzheimer disease. While I wanted to shoot and write more about that relationship, my time frame for getting the story was short, so I didn't include that much.

Above is a smattering of images, some that ran, some that didn't and others that I just simply liked for one reason or another.

Click here to read the story.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Warming up in Provo

"A Provo wrestler prepares for his match against Mountain View at Provo High School, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009. Provo would end up losing."

I remember the first time I shot wrestling...last year.

Having never shot it before, I went to my good friend Matt Roth for advice. He had nothing but good things to say, and even gave me tips for keeping track of whom would be wrestling who.

Alas, I fell in love with the sport after my first match. There is just so much pain and agony that also runs parallel with joy and victory.

I've been waiting for the season to start. While I only had 30 minutes to shoot my first bout here in Utah, and although it was a landslide team win, I had fun.

Thanks to my editor for letting me borrow her car, too. That was the day my new Subaru broke down and I was left without a car until the next day when I could get a rental.

I can't wait for more action on the mat this season.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


"Morning temperatures hovered in the single digits up Provo Canyon at Deer Creek reservoir in Utah, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009."

I moved to Utah with regret; regret that I'd be in a cold, snowy place.

It's not that I am not a fan of snow or cold temperatures, I just don't like when it snows multiple times a week.

While it started snowing out here in October, it looks my "home" is getting more snow then we've had here in the valley combined.

Baltimore is expected to get hit with a blizzard, two feet of snow, while here in Utah it's just cold, frosty.

This morning I went up Provo Canyon to shoot an assignment. The temperature hovered in the single digits and it was frigid.

I think I'd rather be snowed in than deal with single digit temperatures. I am still thawing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Season of loss

"Jennifer Kuester (center) is comforted by family as she looks at the damage to her home that was caused by a fire in Orem, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009. The fire was extinguished at about 12:45 p.m., leaving behind about $125,000 in damage. The year has not been an easy one for the family. The Kuester's 9-year-old daughter died in October from complications of swine flu."

There is not much spot news out here in Utah. But then again I didn't cover that much despite the continual murders and crime in Baltimore.

This week, before heading out to drive west of Utah lake, I was told to head up to where a family's home was on fire.

I wasn't sure if it was still on fire or what, so I followed the reporter up there.

A real tragedy, this Orem family who lost daughter to swine flu were now victim to a total loss of their house to fire.

They weren't showing much emotion when the television and reporters were around. So I kept in the shadows until they all left. Even then, I kept my distance. It wasn't until all were gone when I got this moment.

I wasn't a big fan of the picture, I felt I could captured a stronger moment that showed their pain. But I was told it was moving and told the story. I hope it speaks the hardship the family has been through.

I wish them the best and hope that their holiday season is a happy time despite their hardships this year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


"An unoccupied, abandoned business rests on Main Street, Tuesday afternoon in Eureka, Utah."

I got to get back out to Eureka, Utah. This town is literally in the middle of nowhere.

Recently, I was sent out there to shoot a woman who collects creches from all around the world. I was intrigued the minute I got out there.

After talking with her for a good bit and shooting her portrait, she told me that she'd let me go, because Eureka was worth checking out since I was a photographer.

Unfortunately, I had to get going to another assignment, so I only got to stop for a couple minutes. But the houses and buildings are all very distinct and battered.

I am going to head back out there when it warms up with my bike and shoot some more of the architecture and the locals.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Poinsettias or poinsetas?

"In a sea of bright red poinsettias, Ludene Moon of St. George finds the perfect plants for her home at the UVU Teaching Greenhouse in Orem, Tuesday afternoon. The USU/UVU Horticulture Program is selling poinsettias in the teaching greenhouse located directly behind Parking Services on the east side of campus for approximately two weeks."

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Utah. Well, most of it is from the snow.

People do have their decorations setup and there are some pretty impressive houses around town. One that even has music synced up with it. It's really something.

Or the other hand, everything in this damn state shuts down on Sundays, that includes both primary Christmas radio stations. It really irritates me.

Any who, it's always a relief when I have to go out feature hunting, but I am given a list of possible ideas by my editor. In this case, a poinsettias green house.

I wasn't there long, but it was nice to avoid the cold, snow and not spend all afternoon unsuccessfully searching for a feature.

And I know it's spelled poinsettias, but is it pronounced: poin-setti-ahs or poin-set-ahs? Enlighten me, please.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hot glass

"Treavor Holdman fires a piece of glass as an Orem High School paitnelty waits his chance to make a blown glass flower at Tom Holdman studios at Thanksgiving Points, Friday, Dec. 4, 2009. "I've never done it, but it was way cool," an Orem High School student, Kyle Carter said."

I am already starting to bump into the same subjects again. I thought it would be a while before I did, but recently I've been looking at people thinking, "I know them."

This was the case last week. I was sent to cover Orem High School learning to blow glass on a field trip.

The minute I walked in I noticed that I recognized about 80 percent of the kids. That's because I did a story on this same group of high school students when they helped teach elementary school children survival tips in a local park.

I tried not to photograph those I had in the past, so a lot of time (while short) was spent mostly on the two dudes running workshop, and less on the kids since I had already shot them before.

This is nothing amazing, but decent for a daily work considering it was a cluster fu...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Push it

"Apline third-grader John Payne launches his newly built wooden-truck down a ramp following students from Timberline helping students from Alpine Elementary to build a project at Alpine Elementary, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009. This is a joint effort, with students from Timberline teaching Alpine Elementary students how to build a Optimus Prime."

Sorry, been off the grid for a couple days. My parents were visiting here in Utah and it's been exhausting.

It takes a lot of energy to be a tour guide, but I guess their good company and great food makes up for it.

Anyways, haven't posted much in the past couple days and my blog posts are piling up.

Enjoy. As always, more to come.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Crushed champion

"Snow College's Ben Dalley (39) shows his joy, and pain, as he is crushed in the team pileup after they defeated Grand Rapids Community College, 41-37, in the Top of the Mountains Bowl at Rio Tinto Stadium, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009, in Sandy, Utah."

Wasn't sure how I felt about this frame. Although he was yelling for help, I am not big on people looking into the camera or even looking like they are.

This guy was getting crushed in the championship win pile up and was screaming half in joy and half for help.

One of the less exciting, and very quick jubes I've seen all year. Hands were raised, they rushed the field and piled up for a couple seconds, and then it was over.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gimme that!

"BYU forward Chris Miles (54) and Arizona State center Eric Boateng (2) battle for possession in the first half during an NCAA basketball game at the Marriott Center on BYU campus, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, in Provo, Utah."

The nice thing about working for the Daily Herald is that I have leeway to freelance still.

Since I worked the day shift for the paper, I was able to shoot for AP at night.

The game wasn't anything great, and it ended up being way better than the last boring BYU basketball game.

I've been working on getting a certain shot, but I forgot I left my camera on manual focus during that moment and missed it. Hopefully I'll nail it before the end of the year.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Looking back: Stoaked

"A child's jaw drops as he watches a street bike stunt crew do tricks in West Baltimore City, Saturday, April 18, 2009."

It's nearing the end of the year, which means contest season and a fresh start for 2010.

I started working on a story when I was back east in Baltimore on a motorcycle stunt group.

On the last day I hung out with them (before I abruptly moved across the country) they went "stunting" on the city streets.

One of the coolest things about the group was that they got along with everyone in the city; from the police, to children and residents.

I forgot I took this picture and got a good laugh out of it.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

I guess this is right?

"Grand Rapids Community College wideout Demonte Collins (8) tries to pull in a reception but instead finds Snow College's Gavin Jones (4), as he tries to intercept a pass, during the third quarter in the Top of the Mountains Bowl at Rio Tinto Stadium, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009, in Sandy, Utah. Snow College won, 41-37."

Long days get me thinking.

Sometimes I feel like I am not doing the right things to better my shooting. I wonder if I am shooting the right pictures at the correct moments. I wonder if my photos have any meaning, and if they in fact, move anyone or tell the right stories in certain situations. My mind starts racing a million times the normal capacity and I get confused.

I guess I get this way when I am in a rut. And I am too hard on myself because my biggest competition has always been, and will always be: myself.

I don’t know what it is, but I thought this photo summed up how I have been feeling lately. Wondering if what I’ve been doing and what I am doing is “right.”

In this case, with this photo, do either of them think they are doing the right thing?

Catching nothing? Catching a players helmet instead of the ball? Who knows.

But what I do know that they will figure out they were both wrong when they see the photo. But in my case, I guess I’ll never know and that’s what drives me to make better pictures day after day.

I love to hate this job.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A face in the community

"Ceramist Emma Houghton of Orem smiles for the camera during the Reflections program's Arts and Entertainment Show at Cascade Elementary School in Orem, Friday evening. Around 90 percent of student body participated."

The other day, I was walking around a small community art show and was intrigued by potter, Emma Houghton.

Some say there is more to a portrait than just a face. Well, sometimes it's a face that I think tells me something about the person.

After talking with her about life and her art, I asked if I could take her picture.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Restless Riding: Outtakes

"Matt Codina shows off his cycling tan at a common hang out, J Dawgs, in Provo, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009."

Not much to say other than here are some outtakes from my recent story on a group of fixed gear bicycle riders.

There is no editing to the order of these, simply a smattering of images. Some of these were published with the story, others were not. And if you missed it, here is the one I already posted.

I included a couple portraits of the guys that I took outside of this insanely good hot dog place they introduced me to called "J Dawgs."

My reasoning for the portraits was that I felt that some of my images didn't really introduce the readers to them. Not to mention, the red wall looked sweet when they were chilling there.

It's just a shame none of them ran. I loved the first one, too.

OK, now I am hungry. J Dawgs is amazing. If you're ever in Provo, Utah you have check it out. Or you can just call me and I'll treat.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Hair foul

"Brigham Young forward Kristen Riley (35) draws a foul against Kansas State in the first half at the Marriott Center on BYU campus, Friday, Nov. 27, 2009, in Provo, Utah. Brigham Young would squander their lead and lost, 65-62."

I never liked playing back-to-back games when I was younger, whether it was soccer or lacrosse. I always was exhausted after the first game.

While I still don't like playing back-to-back matches, I don't mind shooting two games in a row. It's nice sometimes to be in one place rather than running all around the country.

This year I have done it a couple times, but was only stressed when I had to cover multiple volleyball games at once. It's not just because I don't like shooting volleyball (it's probably my least favorite sport to shoot), it was shooting four games at once that drove me crazy.

Trying to get a bunch of teams, players at once was a big challenge, but I like a challenge.

Anyways, I am confusing myself and rambling.

Last week I shot the women's BYU basketball game followed by the men's basketball game.

This was my favorite from the women's game, which ended up running after they let their huge lead slip and lost.