Sunday, August 29, 2010

Robert Green

"Timpview goal keeper Nisha Bindraban (1) watches as a Mountain View shot from a direct kick bounces into the net during the second half at Mountain View High School, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2010. Timpview lost, 4-3."

I should preface, blog posts will be slow this week.

This past week, following an injury playing soccer myself, I visited the emergency room. Unfortunately, I have a disc herniation in my lower back. This has left me basically immobilized and in serious pain since Tuesday.

With that, I will be traveling back to Maryland for treatment and will be out of work until I fully recover.

As for this picture, it reminded me of Robert Green, the England goalkeeper who let a rather simple shot by the U.S. in the World Cup to slip through his hands and into the goal.

The only difference being that this shot got by the goalkeeper completely, untouched and was from a high school girls game.

Funny what life can resemble sometimes.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Small victory

"BYU wide receiver O'Neill Chambers (4) gets a gasp from the crowd as he pulls in a one-handed catch during practice on Friday, Aug.13, 2010 on the campus of BYU in Provo."

Everyday is a challenge in photojournalism.

Every morning I find out what I am shooting, but there is no guarantee that those assignments will stick.

Even if they do, the ways of assignments change. Such as BYU football practice the other day.

I am not sure what changed, but I wasn't allowed inside the ropes at practice the other day.

Every time I slipped under, a field enforcer would tell me I wasn't allowed to be where I was. I even explained many times who I was shooting for and that I was out of the way of spectators.

I became frustrated. I did my best to seek out the best vantage points behind the ropes and still do my job.

That's when I saw our video guy where we normally were able to be. So I ran out next to him. But since we're are only allotted around 30 minutes to shoot, I was running out of time on the field.

Despite being on the wrong side of this play, I felt good to get something this visual and the talk of the day of practice in such a short period of time.

A small victory for the assignment, day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


"A student makes her way around the campus of BYU in Provo on Monday, Aug. 16, 2010."

Last week, I was assigned to venture over to BYU to shoot education week.

My instructions were straight forward: find a nice moment on campus.

The only problem, most people were in classrooms or lectures simply gazing at the speaker. It wasn't very visual.

So I roamed. And walked. Then searched some more. I couldn't find anything that lent itself to being a moment per say.

I spent just over an hour on my feet seeking something worthy of a feature for education week.

At one point, I started shooting any and everything. Trying to get my creative juices flowing. The above being something I liked, but obviously not for the paper.

In the end, I found a girl quietly reading in the hallway, next to a big sign that asked those outside the lecture to, well, be quiet.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rain is a good thing

"In an attempt to stay dry, a young girl ducks underneath a carnival game as heavy rain falls during the first day of the Utah County Fair at the Spanish Fork fairgrounds, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010. The fair is open daily through Saturday. The fair hosts events like the Miss Utah County Scholarship pageant, horse and junior livestock show, 4-H and open class exhibits, antique car show, and more."

It doesn't rain much in Utah.

When it does, it's usually brief and then dry within the half hour. I certainly haven't seen a full days rain like back in Maryland.

That changed for the first time since I've been out here. Last week, it literally rained all day long. The sun never came out. It was dark and wet from the minute I rolled out of bed.

As the day went on, it got worse. By the time I ventured down to the county fair for a feature, it was hailing and flooding.

But I took advantage of the weather, slapped on my raincoat and hat, covered the camera with my Aquatech and ventured through the fair.

Despite feeling soggy afterward, I had fun. The above was my favorite frame of the afternoon.

As for the title, "Rain Is A Good Thing" is a song by country singer Luke Bryan. They kept playing it over and over (or so it seemed) at the fair.

It only felt fitting.

Monday, August 23, 2010


"Orem Owlz catcher Drew Beuerlein (10) shows the umpire that he didn't drop the ball after he and Great Falls Voyagers' Ryan Hamme (18) collided at home plate during the fourth-inning at Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem, Monday, Aug. 16, 2010. Hamme was called out on the play, which ended the inning."

One good thing about the high school sports season starting? Baseball has to almost be over. Maybe?

I am not sure what the schedule looks like for the local minor league baseball team - the Orem Owlz - but I am glad it has neared the end.

While I've had a fairly good season shooting baseball of all levels, I am ready for soccer and football every other day.

The other night I decided to change up my normal shooting positions, which led me to some clean backgrounds in the outfield.

But go figure, the last inning of the game I returned to my favorite spot and ended up grabbing a decent play at home.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

First hit of the year

"Pleasant Grove tight end Bryon Bingham (46) is hit by a pack of Timpview defenders in the first quarter at Pleasant Grove High School, Friday, Aug. 20, 2010. Pleasant Grove was defeated, 24-7."

It feels good to be shooting some action-packed sports again.

With the return of Friday night lights, otherwise known as, high school football season, I know I'll be shooting some fun action while on night shift this month.

While I shot the same exact home-opening game last year, I was still pumped.

Tensions ran high as the season opened up and I had a great time shooting the first game of the new school year.

I only wish the nice light lasted more than two quarters. It will slowly dwindle as the season progresses.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The curse lives on

"Timpview's Ulysses Bradfield (13) tries to focus before the season opening game against Pleasant Grove at Pleasant Grove High School, Friday, Aug. 20, 2010. Timpview, the 2009 defending state champions, defeated Pleasant Grove, 24-7."

Last year, Trent discovered a Utah high school football curse: Deny a photographer access to the locker room and you just might lose tonight's game.

Well, it looks like Timpview learned their lesson from last year.

I was granted access to the locker room, or in this case, the grassy knoll outside of the locker room, by all around good guy and coach, Louis Wong.

And well, they started the season off right - they won.

Now only if I started off right it would have been a great night. I was killing it from the minute I showed up. The light was great. The access was granted. The weather was perfect. Then my great mood and shooting went to, well, shit.

Decided I had more than enough after the first half and went to my car to transmit. But as I dumped my cards - one is corrupt. First time in my life its ever happen.

I then realized I have no roster because I shot the roster on the corrupt card. So I run back in and they are out of rosters.

Well, I didn't have my phone, so I shoot them on a friend's iPhone and e-mailed them to myself.

Then I tone my photos. Deadline is close. Time to caption. I can barely read small roster print from the iPhone pictures. But I got it done. Correctly.

If that wasn't enough, the FTP was down, so I start e-mailing to the copy desk and sports; and it's super slow. I start freaking out. I am responsible for A1 and sports front.

I call the desk to see if they have them. Surprise. No internet at office. So I have to drive the opposite way of home and back to Provo.

If that wasn't enough, my card won't dump on sports desk. Try again. It works. I let out a large, but deserved, sigh of relief. Then I hit traffic...twice.

But I made it home. Alive and still sane. I had a good shoot. Now if I can only uncorrupt (is that a word) my one memory card.

Welcome to football season!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


"Easton Franz, 3, of Santaquin, patiently waits for the Santaquin Orchard Children's Parade to begin in Santaquin, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010. Participants up to 12-years-old decorated their bikes, tricycles and wagons as they paraded down to the local park. Hundreds of kids showed up and many fun awards were given out. "The best part is getting people in the community out to ride their bikes and decorate them," council member Filip Askerlund said. "We tell the kids it's a parade every year, and it always turns into a race."

I work at a community paper. Despite the size of Utah County, our coverage area is relatively small.

Often I run into the same people, same families and I would presume a lot of folks know who I work for when they see me due to our small photo staff.

With that, there isn't much hard-hitting news out here.

In a way Utah County reminds me of Japan. In Japan, you are taught to respect your family and never bring them embarrassment. What I am essentially saying is - it's safe.

Why it may not be true, I believe the concept is the same here in Utah, but with the focus on not demoralizing the religion.

Don't color me ugly, there is nothing wrong with living in a safe community, it just can be at times a bit of a bore with no "real" crime or news. I grew up in Baltimore. I like chasing news. I like corrupt politics. I like big time sports. I like things fast.

And I see all that in friend's photos. I look their images from major metros and I am jealous. Their photos have deep meaning and tears, they're from in-depth stories, groundbreaking issues, and other fast paced news. And again, I am not saying it's not out here, it is, just not in bulks.

But I don't let that bring me down. I still have a job to do and I do it with passion.

And while it may not include sadness over a death, a slaying in the city or high crime, I've learned out to seek out photos that still tell the small stories, the lighter side of things and the moments that matter to those that live here - And I do it with pride.

I love this job - big or small - exciting or not - because in the end, it's all about telling the story truthfully, honestly and visually.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


"Patrons walk through the Museum of Ancient Life during "Two Dollar Tuesdays" at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010. Every Tuesday in August is "Two Dollar Tuesdays" at Thanksgiving Point."

Let's face it, some assignments just sound as boring as they are.

We sit in the office minutes preceding or in bed the night before trying to visualize moments that will never come. We try to think of the lighting that will be nowhere close to what it is. And we try to convince ourselves that we'll come away with something spectacular.

I used to do that a lot when I first started shooting. I'd literally stay up hours on end trying to conceptualize what I was hoping to see. But I quickly found out that I was always setting myself up for disappointment. Nothing is ever how we picture it before hand. It's life.

So why I decided to over-think this essentially mundane assignment is beyond me.

From the minute I stepped onto the grounds of Thanksgiving Point, fundamentally a large museum and petting zoo, I was down on myself. Granted I had some other worries on my mind at the time, nothing seemed to pan out.

My images of children petting animals bored me. The angles were wrong. The light was harsh. I was being too critical of my images.

Instead of dwelling on this aspect of the assignment, I put my camera in my car, and walked into the museum. I had to look without any pressures of my camera.

It's amazing what I saw. I simply meandered through the gallery of artifacts as a visitor. I wasn't forcing myself to take pictures or find moments.

After one walk through, I returned to my car, grabbed my camera and made maybe 40 frames.

I think it's a good exercise to see without your camera. And sure, it's not always ideal with tight deadlines and multiple assignment days when time is tight. But hoping to run into something great is not going to happen everyday. Sometimes it just has to be a no pressured scavenger hunt.

"Photojournalism is an adventure that falls somewhere between cultural anthropology and a scavenger hunt." -Don Bartletti, LA Times

Monday, August 16, 2010

Helper, Utah

"A cutout of Marilyn Monroe leans against a window of a business on Main St., in Helper, Utah, Aug. 1, 2010."

Driving back from Moab a couple weeks ago I wanted to stop in a couple small towns.

The problem, which turned into a blessing in disguise, is that I missed the usual turn toward home.

In turn, I drove up an alternative route toward Helper and got to see a couple various small towns.

Helper was the last town I stopped in. Unfortunately, the main road was under construction. So I made 36 frames in a 10 minute stroll up the block.

Friday, August 13, 2010


"Alayna Garrity of Highland auditions for the Highland dance contest at The Pointe - Performing Arts Academy, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010."

From a dance competition.

The funny thing is that everyone there seemed to be more worried about me than the dancers.

They kept asking me why I wanted to shoot outside the room when I was allowed inside. But at one point a woman asked what I was doing, and another responded, "He likes shooting the window."

I wonder what they thought when they saw this in print. I wonder if they got the picture. Literally.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

End of summer

"Photographer James Roh pedals around barefoot in Salt Lake City, Sunday, July 24, 2010."

What can I say? Summer is just about over. Well, I guess I don't really consider it over until I can stop swimming.

But when I was in high school, once fall sports began, I considered it over.

While I still expect one last end of summer bash with friends, I found the going away party of friends Beth and Ramin a great excuse to finish off a roll of 120 film I had sitting my Holga camera for three years.

With some luck, all 12 frames came out correctly exposed. I was banking on light leaks galore and over exposed film. But as I mentioned, it all came out perfect.

This was my favorite frame of the roll. Now I need to get some more film.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Pura vida

"A worker attempts to untangle branches and wires following a rain storm near Quepos, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 6, 2010."

Last month I ventured to Central America for the first time.

I landed in Costa Rica and traveled around as much as possible in the 10 days I had.

The minute I touched down it was an adventure. From trying to comb through the cobwebs when it came to speaking Spanish again, to navigating at times impassable roads, and trying to not gain 10 lbs., a day eating rice and beans, it all made the journey unforgettable.

The trip began in San Jose, then traveled northwest to Monteverde, northeast to La Fortuna and then southeast to the Manuel Antonio area before heading back toward the San Jose for the last day.

Each town featured their own natural wonders; from a cloud forest, to an active volcano, to lovely beaches and national parks.

Not many downsides to the trip aside from it being rainy season. But when you live in the high, dry, desert like Utah - rain is nice. Humidity is another thing.

Overall, without dabbling into much detail, Costa Rica is a friendly, eco-tourist rich place to visit. While I didn't pick my camera up as much as other international travels, it's worth revisiting and recommending to others.

Like any other travel, I want to shoot pictures - show others a world they've never witnessed for themselves.

But I believe we as photographers have to sometimes see things without a camera. And while I still had my camera with me everywhere we went, I opted to take things in more than worry about making frames.

So the above is a very rough, way too many, out of order edit of some of my favorites from the trip. From the small towns to the large rain forests - this is what I encountered. I'd love to hear what images you like the best.

And one last thanks to friends, photogs David Hobby, Glenn Fawcett and Justin Kase Conder for the tips and lodging suggestions.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Facing south

"In front of Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City, a man stands motionless facing south as the sunsets, Friday, Aug. 6, 2010."

I miss the real city. Salt Lake City isn't much of a city per say, but it does the trick.

Every time I am on foot trekking through the city, I remember how much life and how many characters there are on the streets.

Tonight I was shooting a work related assignment downtown, which is rare. It wasn't that exciting, but after my shoot, with no deadline, I found myself clicking pictures of strangers - Street strangers as I call them.

I am not sure why this ended up being my favorite from the evening.

Other frames I have are in the face of complete randoms. They are, well, closer and had more interesting faces. This is neither.

But this kept catching my eye again in the edit. Maybe it was the fact that I passed this guy on the way to my real assignment and he was still there on my way back?

Nonetheless, I need to spend more time on foot, less time on bicycle and by car, shooting those in my new city.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


"A visitor stops to take in the view of one of many windows at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, Saturday, July 31, 2010."

This image is nothing to write home about, but I visited Arches National Park in Moab last weekend.

I had been to Moab once before to mountain bike and explore a little, so it was nice to get back and do two new things.

One obviously being Arches National Park. Yet that wasn't the purpose of the trip.

The main reason for the pilgrimage down south was to skydive for the first time.

I could litter this post with useless words and sentences, so I'll sum it up the best I can:

Best thing I've ever done in my life; so far.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Keep your eye on the ball

"A young fan is struck with a foul ball during the Orem Owlz Vs. Casper Ghosts game at Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010."

On a lighter note than my last post, foul balls have the potenetinal to get the most of people.

I haven't shot sports in about a month, which has been a bit odd. So to say I was a bit rusty is an understatement.

But last night this foul ball kept me laughing and having a good time. I saw the fan get up, so I don't think there were any serious injuries, umm, down there.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Tragic accident

"On Wednesday, Chris Curtis and another griever visit the scene where his cousin Brandon Curtis, a Springville High School football player, was fatally injured in a rollover accident at the high school on Tuesday. Curtis was later taken off life support and died Wednesday afternoon. Photo taken, Wednesday, July 28, 2010."

It's never easy as a photojournalist to cover an accident - especially when it's fatal.

On Tuesday, I heard the talk of multiple injuries in Springville. Brandon Curtis, 18, and three other Springville High School students had been hurt in an accident on campus.

According to police, all four were injured in a Jeep rollover in the parking lot. The police said the teens had been “spinning doughnuts,” but not at a high speed.

On Wednesday, the talk was that Curtis was at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Curtis, a football player and wrestler, had spent more than 24-hours in critical condition and on life support.

Surrounded by his family, he was later taken off life support and died Wednesday afternoon.

Shortly after, I was called by my editor to head to Spingville High School to help tell the story visually. As one could expect, the tensions and emotions were extremely sensitive at the school.

I had to work fast to help the community understand the heartbreak, sadness and loss for everyone involved.

I tried to show my condolences to staff of the school and students I encountered. But after a couple frames, I, and the other media that were beginning to enter the parking lot, were all told to leave the campus.

This made my job difficult to tell story. But I understand that it also gave emotional students more room to grieve. I hope my images helped others in the community understand the pain everyone went through on this very sad day.

My heart goes out to the family, friends, teammates, and everyone who knew Brandon Curtis.