Thursday, April 29, 2010

Voting stale

"Allen Young of Orem begins cleaning up the litter of promotion signs out front of Mountain View High School as the Utah County Republican Party nominating convention continues on inside, Saturday, April 24, 2010."

Its been a visually stale month. So much that I am actually admitting it.

I think it's normal to have a slow couple days in the month where you're shooting nothing too exciting. You know, stuff that lends itself to no emotion. Nothing that really helps readers connect and feel something from your photos.

But for some reason this month has been stagnant, boring. Maybe its me? Maybe being my own worst enemy and critic is caught up to my performance this month?

Whatever the case, after running around Saturday morning, I rushed over to the Utah County Republican Party nominating convention.

After parking a mile away and making the pilgrimage to Mountain View High School, my eyes lit up like a Christmas tree.

My pupils were over stimulated by the abundance of promotional signs out front of the school.

Naturally the eye goes to things it can read in a photograph. So I wanted to make something work that included the litter of words and corrugated plastic.

After shooting what I needed to inside, I ventured outside and waited, and waited, and waited some more. Finally this man lingered around before starting to clean up some signs.

I got a couple frames off before he wanted to start posing for me. So I packed up and headed out.

Alas, here are the few I liked from the assignment.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


"Following her pinning, 2nd Lt. Mary Jo Ford is hugged by her father David Ford (right) during the BYU Army ROTC commissioning ceremony in the Crabtree building on the campus of BYU, Thursday, April 22, 2010."

Sometimes getting to an assignment is more of a challenge than the actual shooting part.

Following my first assignment, I pulled up to my next one. But I quickly got a call from my editor with a change of plans. I needed to get over to BYU to cover a Army ROTC commissioning ceremony.

The one problem was that it was already 11 a.m., and the ceremony started at 11 a.m.

After speeding over to BYU through traffic I was already about 15 minutes late. I then tried to find parking, but with multiple graduations going on at BYU, that seemed to be an impossible task.

After moving a cone which was for "Cap and gown pickup 15-minute parking only" and parking my car for other reasons, I attempted to call the reporter multiple times.

I had no idea where I was going since the assignment was filled with convoluted information.

With no avail, I ran to the nearest building. I asked someone and they told me such-and-such building. Ran over there. Nothing. Asked again. Was told a different building. Ran there.

Well, after a handful of suggestions and locations, I was clear across campus and clear out of breathe. Oh, and an hour late.

I didn't have much time to work, so I made due with what was in front of me. Not to mention, I totally forgot to bring an extra battery. I had five percent to work with.

Alas, was happy with this moment. Why?

There is nothing like making your parents proud. It was evident that Mr. Ford was more than pleased with his daughter;s accomplishment, especially since she was following in the family's military background.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Antelope Island

"A random fire hydrant sits in the sand on Antelope Island, Utah, Sunday, April 25, 2010."

I ventured up to Antelope Island, Utah for the first time today.

For about two hours I drove and walked around. It was a perfect day. Nice light, decent temperature and not many people around.

Not to mention, I got to see my first wild buffalo.

However, I am pretty confident I now have malaria. The mosquitoes out there were absolutely outrageous.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Moment with coach

"American Fork fooball coach Davis Knight is retiring after 30-plus years as a coach and teacher. He poses for a portrait at American Fork High School, Tuesday, April 13, 2010."

There is nothing that makes me feel more nostalgic for high school than hanging out with a level headed coach.

On day one, I met with coach Knight to briefly to shoot a portrait of him. A graduate of the very school where he has served so long as a football coach, coach Knight returned to AFHS as a teacher in 1965.

He shared some memories with me, we talked sports and high school. He was a man full of wisdom and it was refreshing to hear him talk of his long history at American Fork.

The following night, I was sent again to hang out with coach as he met with former players, parents and fan. I basically stood in a pair of positions as a long line, that extended out the door, as everyone greeted him.

It was nice to see how happy he was meeting with everyone of his legendary past.

I wish coach Knight a happy retirement.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Almost out

"TCU looks on during the fifth-inning against BYU at Miller Field on the campus of BYU, Saturday, April 17, 2010. TCU would rally late to upset BYU, 6-5."

There is a downside to working with a small tiny staff of photographers - working sick.

Our ship is run tight as is. It's even tighter that on Saturdays because there is nearly no one in the office aside from the copy desk and two photographers.

And I guess you could say it's extremely tight on Sunday because no one works ever, anywhere, on Sunday in the state of Utah.

Caveat: I know the reason why that is, but don't ask me why it is. It's hard enough finding a meal on Sunday!

So last Saturday when I woke up feeling a bit odd, calling out was not really an option. Leaving the other photog (read: the new intern) with six assignments probably isn't fair to anyone.

I always said I'd never call out unless I am yacking, and now that I am thinking about it, I don't think I've ever called out sick before. But I was in a bad place Saturday.

Rolling out of bed I felt a tight throat. Almost hard to breathe. After rushing to the fridge for a cold drink I then found myself in shock looking into the mirror.

I had an allergic reaction.

It was so bad that my eyes were nearly swollen shut, my face looked like I took a couple fists to the cheeks and nose, I had huge rash on the back of neck, along with multiple, itchy blemishes on all parts of my body.

I was miserable. Yet I knew I had to work.

Luckily I was able to get a hold of my doctor who was able to call in a prescription within the hour and also give me some suggestions on how to fight the reaction.

While it took two days (my weekend) to clear me to clean state of health, working on Saturday was tough.

Shooting outside all day in the heat, itching like crazy, hardly being able to see, and did I already mention itching profusely, was not my idea of fun.

But I go though it with some pictures I liked. Somehow. Someway.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Luck of the ball

"American Fork's Jordan Jacklin (13) and Lone Peak's Brody Berry (14) battle mid-air for a header during the second half at American Fork High School, Friday, April 9, 2010. Three second-half goals propelled Lone Peak to a, 3-0, win over the American Fork Cavemen, earning them not only a win, but at least a share of second place in Region 4 play as well."

I am a strong believer in luck - especially when shooting sports.

In my opinion, knowing the game you're covering is a large part of coming out with unique sport pictures.

Since I grew up an athlete, I don't think there is a game or sport I don't know, so I have that to my advantage.

Well, now that I think about it, there are plenty of games humans play I don't know anything about. I let Sol take care of those.

Anyways, combine your self knowledge with your location during the match, gear, timing, and some other variables, and you hope to come out with something fresh every game.

But even if you're on top of your own game during a sporting match, luck sometimes just doesn't go your way.

For example, tge action may never come in front of you and pictures you at one point of the game thought would be stellar A1 frames go to, well, for lack of better words, shit.

In this case, I only had enough time to cover the first half of this high school soccer game. After the first couple minutes I spotted the star players and placed myself in the best spot I thought possible.

American Fork was dominating, so I focused on them and I had many great images to show that.

Yet the minute I walked to my car, about five minutes into the second half, I heard screaming and cheering. Lone Peak scored and went on to win, 3-0. Alas, more than half of my the images I thought told the story were thrown in the outtakes bin.

Such is luck in sports.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eyes on Unga

"A spectator attempts to capture the moment from the grandstands on the final day of BYU spring football practice at Lavell Edwards Stadium on the campus of BYU, Saturday, April 10, 2010."

Who would have thought student-athlete-football player Harvey Unga would announce his decided to withdraw from BYU?

Who would have thought this picture I shot of him on the last day of spring practice would possibly be the last of him in a BYU uniform?

I don't think anyone was expecting it. But he made the decision to withdraw as a result of a violation of the BYU honor code.

Unga, a 6-foot, 237-pound running back, is the school’s all-time leading rusher with 3,455 yards gained over his first three seasons in the Cougar backfield. He led the Mountain West Conference in rushing last year while garnering first-team All-MWC honors after a third consecutive 1,000-yard season.

Not really sure I completely understand this "honor code" but from what I am told, many students follow it and it has a more or less a tattle-tale form of regulating. You see someone breaking it, you rat them out. So who knows what happen in this case.

Alas, I thought this picture from practice was ironic. A way of saying, all eyes are on you. All the time. Don't break the rules.

Monday, April 19, 2010


"A man reads "The Review" during a reception for UVU employees retiring this year at Center Stage in the Sorenson Center on the campus of UVU, Tuesday, April 13, 2010."

Was shooting a retirement party the other day.

The only problem was that the reporter and I showed up about an hour late. Our press release said the gathering started at 2:30 p.m., but it was actually 1:30 p.m.

I had to work fast as there were a couple retirees still lingering around. To my luck, I got a nice frame of two women sharing a joyful, smile filled hug.

But as I was leaving, this guy reading the paper caught my eye.

I think I like it because of all the crap on the walls.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Superman outtake

"Kyle "Superman" Collinsworth, of Provo, stands for a portrait at Provo High School Thursday, April 1, 2010. Provo's all-around star was named 2010 Player of the Year."

I mentioned a week or so ago, but I helped ghost write and assist Mark in some sportraits. He did all of the all shooting, as I assisted and gave him input along the way.

You can see them here.

I think they got better as we went along, well, the subjects got more willing and were more open.

Our first subject wouldn't open up for us. The next guy was willing to do anything, but was a bit quite. And our last subject was nothing but smiles and extremely cooperative.

Anyways, on the second shoot, I was trying to test some lighting modification when our subject moved oh-so-slightly off my back light.

This accidental frame was a James Bond-esk appearance that happened in result.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Need a lift?

"Headed up the backside of the mountain, skiers wait to reach the peak of Sundance Ski Resort in Utah, Sunday, April 4, 2010."

Haven't skied much out here, although every time I do, I am itching to get back on the mountain the following day. I always have a blast.

Since I wasn't back east with family for Easter, I ventured up to Sundance with some friends.

There was a fresh seven inches, although by the end of the day, the front side of the mountain was hot and slushy. But we still had fun.

I only took about 10 frames on my Canon G9, and despite this being nothing short of revolutionary, ground-breaking (I kid, this has probably been done a millon times) I thought I'd throw it up anyways.

Thanks again to Detrick for allowing me to borrow an abundance of gear, which includes by far the best pair of skiing gloves for photographers.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Road less traveled

"Dust blows across a dirt road somewhere west of Simpson Springs, Utah on Sunday, April 11, 2010."

Last Sunday I ventured out west - way out west.

After driving miles and miles on graded and ungraded dirt, rock roads, listening to good tunes and laughing with friends, it came to a time to turn around.

But the drive made me realize something.

I came to realize the true meaning and found a respect for the term "in the middle of nowhere."

All my life I used the term loosely when describing my location and travels. I think I've found what it really means last week after being far from civilization.

It was energizing and surreal.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mr. Bruins

"Mountain View's Alex Carlson (3) talks to teammates between innings against Lehi at Mountain View High School, Tuesday, April 6, 2010."

Let me preface, excuse my lack of color of lately. Not sure what my deal is. Sort of how I've been seeing and feeling. This one actually was littered with color, but I went back to the mono.

Moving on, the weather in Utah in funky. It's April and the temperature fluctuates everyday.

Just the other day I was in shorts riding my bicycle downtown. That night it was raining. By morning, I had a couple inches of wet snow on my car.

From what I understand, this is normal for spring in Utah. You know, 40 degrees one day, 70 the next.

Whatever the case, I found myself off guard at a high school baseball game the other night.

What was suppose to be a fairly mild day turned into a freezing cold afternoon.

Luckily my trunk in stock piled in clothes and other essentials for the most bizarre situations, weather.

But I will say, the first couple innings before heading back to the car for more layers and two layers of gloves was cold. Very, very frigid.

Alas, the action was mediocre, despite my co-workers liking my tag at home frame. So I tried to stay warm by staying excited by shooting non-action.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Geo bee in the beehive

"Elliot Goble (far left) looks to the scoreboard as Justin Warnick, Thomas Martineau and Kylie Pearson dreadfully wait their next chance to answer questions in the preliminary round of Utah's 22nd annual National Geographic Bee in The Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Friday, April 9, 2010."

When I was in fourth-grade, I remember participating in a geography bee. I don't think I made it very far, but oddly enough I remember my good neighborhood friend Brad winning the entire thing.

I am not sure what he won, but that was the last time I even remember attending or talking about a geography bee. And the more I think about it, I wonder why I never majored in geography. I love learning new things about the world and I love traveling.

Anyways, fast forward more than a decade later, here I was at Utah's 22nd annual National Geographic Bee in The Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.

I wasn't too thrilled to be there although it seemed to be the hot assignment in the state. Other shooters from the other pair of newspapers in town talked about how they had requested the assignment.

The first part of the morning was dull and slow. I did my best to try and answer the questions (quietly in my head obviously) and capture the anxiety of the contest.

As the day progressed, the emotion vanished. I thought it would have been more heartbreaking to lose in the final round than the preliminary one. Yet that wasn't the case.

So most of the frames I moved were from the first round.

On a side note, the winner (not pictured) had trouble getting out of a room at one point of the day. Announcing aloud that he couldn't get the pull door open. It was a push open.

Conversely, he could answer just about anything relating to geography.

Ah, the irony.

Monday, April 12, 2010


"Jamie Lynn Schultz watches as Lacey Elliston, both of Ballet West for Kids, performs for children at Cedar Ridge Elementary, Monday, March 22, 2010. The school-wide assembly included a student-participation piece where the kids were shown how their normal movements can be ballet moves."

I have had a lot of dance and ballet assignments of late.

This was obviously no exception. Other than instead of hiding in the shadows, I had about 2,000 children at an elementary school watching my every move.

While I included frames of children getting to learn some ballet moves, and winching at every kiss or physical interaction of the dancers, I liked the above.

Too bad I was a bit too tight and cut off eyes and toes.


Sunday, April 11, 2010


"BYU's Aaron Powell hits the sand hard as he competes in the long jump during the BYU Cougar Invitational Track Meet, at BYU, Friday, April 2, 2010."

I was told I could start my shift early in order to give me more time to shoot, but I didn't listen.

Instead of taking my time shooting the BYU Cougar Invitational Track Meet...I rushed.

Motor-driving everything, I speed through the assignment because I had to get down to Springville to help Mark with a series of portraits.

I had been helping ghost write and assist during the shoots. In this case, we were photographing "Wonder Woman" at Springville High School.

Not sure how I feel about the above, but I feel torn. Mark needed help, I had been helping him with this series of portraits, but at the same time I was only at the track meet for maybe an hour and know I could have gotten much better.

Maybe there will be another track meet sometime soon where I can camp for a bit.

Friday, April 09, 2010

So you think you can dance?

"Orem dancer, Allison Holker from season two of "So You Think You Can Dance," choreographs Kiana Rhodes (not pictured) during a private session at Center Stage Performing Arts, Wednesday, April 7, 2010. Holker has been named as an All-Star returnee for the upcoming season of the reality dance show."

The answer to that question is simple: No. I don't think I can dance. Actually, I know I am a horrible dancer.

But that doesn't mean local, Orem dancer Allison Holker can't. She can and it's simply amazing.

For a guy who can barley do the robot, Holker makes dancing seem effortless, fun and exciting.

She is from season two of "So You Think You Can Dance" and will be making a return to the program this May on the All-Star cast.

I got to spend an hour with her as she choreographed a student. Aside from hearing the same song on repeat for an hour, it was fun. I don't know if I could ever be a dancer though.

Aside from hearing the same song over and over (and over) while nailing my routine down, I don't think I could look at myself in the mirror all day long either.

It's sort of like my pictures. I love them, but after looking at certain ones time after time, I begin to despise them.

Back on track, it was a bit tough shooting with mirrors everywhere. I even made a post in jest about a photographer (read: myself) showing up in all my frames.

What I ended up doing was laying on the ground below the mirrors to get something filled with layers and reflections.

But in the edit, this frame kept catching my eye.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


"Air Force's Mike McLain (33) tries to pull in a rebound against BYU in the first half during an NCAA basketball game at the Marriott Center on the campus of BYU, Saturday, Feb.13, 2010, in Provo. BYU won, 91-48."

It was sort of like Easter the other day. But instead of finding an egg, I found an old, yet recent, photo. Well, I guess I didn't find it, my editor did.

She called to see if I wanted to enter a contest on a super-tight deadline. I opted to save us both the stress and decline since my images would be due to her by 5 p.m. (I believe it was around 3 p.m. when she called).

Not only was it my day off, had guest in town, but I hadn't been home all day and wasn't planning on being any time soon.

But despite me not wanting to enter, the big-dog editor wanted me to still enter, so my editor got stuck putting something together for me.

It looked great, and this image was sprinkled in the edit. I totally forgot I shot and thought I'd share.

I'll also share that I am glad basketball season is over. Now only if spring would come to Utah.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Wrong side of the field

"The United States national team celebrates its go-ahead goal against Mexico by doing snow angels during the second half of a friendly match at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy Utah, Wednesday, March 31, 2010. U.S. won, 1-0."

I lost some sleep over this (above) great moment, celebration happened on the opposite side of the field.
I shot the entire second half from an elevated position hoping, waiting, wishing for a unique jubilation following a goal.

I knew I probably wouldn't shoot another soccer game in the snow for a long time and knew that if either team scored, the snow would be a major factor.

Well, at the 60th minute, U.S. put one away. But they ran to the far end of the field and did snow angels. I shot away, but I knew had the celebration been on the west side of the field, and not the east, I would have had an amazing image.

Nothing I can do to change that now, but wow, what an awesome moment that could have been even more amazing had I been in the right place or it was in front of my position.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Big plane

"Visitors check out Liberty Foundation's B-17 at the Salt Lake Jet Center FBO, Monday, March 29, 2010. The public can buy 30-minute rides in the plane. During the flight one can actually visit the cockpit, glass nose and all other crew positions to get a feel for what this historic aircraft was like during the war."

When I was told I’d be going into an airplane on assignment on Monday I was excited. Whenever I get a chance to see the community I live in from a different angle, a vantage I rarely see from, it’s a real treat.

What I didn’t know until Monday morning was that the aircraft was a 65-year-old World War II B-17, other wise known as, the Liberty Bell.

This historic, four prop engine “protect or destroy” aircraft was simply amazing. Seeing it from the outside I was intimidated and couldn’t get over the massive size.

From the painting, graphic on the outside underneath the cockpit, to the guns peering out the windows, it was astonishing to think of the history of these aircrafts.

While the Liberty Bell never served any missions during war, more than twelve-thousand B-17 airplanes flew thousands of missions during World War II.

Once inside, I got a chance actually visit the cockpit, glass nose, as well as, all crew positions to really get a feel for what this historic aircraft was like during the war.

Sitting at the glass nose and peering out the “sunroof” is something I’ll never forget.

I’ve been in many aircrafts in my life, but nothing like sitting beneath the pilots with a clear 180-degree view of what was in front of us. In addition, I’ve never been in an airplane where I could stick my head out into 150 mph winds from a “sunroof” cut in the top of the plane - Simply mesmerizing.

While my initial thoughts were that the plane was enormous from the outside, the inside was anything but that. It was small, loud and uncomfortable. It quickly became apparent that this aircraft was not manufactured to be luxurious. It had a mission to be served.

What an awesome flight.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Dancing with the hat

"The Utah Valley University ballroom dance team performs a dance during its spring concert at The Ragan Theatre, Monday, March 29, 2010. Some of their dancers may compete on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" in May."

I hate to go to "shows" and I am certainly not a fan of "Dancing with the Stars" on television.

However, I was thoroughly impressed and enjoying myself when over at Utah Valley University shooting their ballroom dance team perform its spring concert at The Ragan Theatre.

From the moment I walked in it was pure visual entertainment. The dancing was superb, the lighting was dramatic and the music was energetic.

The only down side was that I didn't have that much time to shoot as I had to get the pictures (from this assignment and another) in before my deadline.

But I thought the entire show was something worth mentioning and I wish the dancers the best of luck in their competition to get on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" later this year.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Modern cliche - iPhone blog

"Lexi Eaton poses for a portrait as Patrick Smith and Mark Johnston photograph in a classroom, Friday, April 2, 2010. (Photo by K)."

Inspired by friend and shooter Trent Nelson, I decided to make an iPhone photo blog last night.

I don't take that many iPhone pictures, but I do take a lot of humorous pictures on it. Not to mention, this blog is a lot of my daily work, not the daily things I see.

So my new blog "Modern Cliche" is a more lighthearted, see it as I pass it type of blog. Whether it's a funny sign, a view of my current location or something else random, you can find it there.

It's short, no more than a couple words, and pictures all taken with my iPhone.

What are you waiting for? Go over and check it out.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


"A delegation from the Ukraine is given a tour and pictures of a nearly-completed energy smart home, located at 279 South 600 West in Provo, Tuesday, March 23, 2010. The delegation is in Utah County this week, and met with the Orem City Council as well as Provo City Energy Department Director Kevin Garlick."

According to this thing called the Internet, "bitajemo" means "welcome" in Ukrainian.

I attempted to say it to my subjects, but I either told them something inappropriate or just botched it, because they all just smiled and giggled.

My assignment was to photograph a delegation from Ukraine. It seemed awfully boring and I wasn't very excited. Had I been in the Ukraine, it may have been different.

The story was about these Ukrainians being among the throngs attending caucus meetings Tuesday night in Orem.

Basically, the Ukrainian group was learning about local politics in Utah during a their eight-day visit.

Why on earth they came to Provo was beyond me. Why they wanted to learn about energy saving homes was also a hard concept to grasp.

Whatever the case, I pulled something from nothing (in nothing I mean them literally standing in the same spot for 30 minutes nodding their heads) and liked it enough to post here.

The phrase goes, "Make chicken salad out of chicken shit." That's pretty much this assignment.