We’re in the midst of sweaty, humid, buggy summer, so it’s high time I shared my favorite photos from a Spring Forward fashion show I photographed back in April.
You can view more photos here.
We’re in the midst of sweaty, humid, buggy summer, so it’s high time I shared my favorite photos from a Spring Forward fashion show I photographed back in April.
You can view more photos here.
For my last eight working days in June, I put down my camera and became a reporter.
It was the first part of a “cross-training” experiment of sorts, wherein another reporter and I traded jobs for eight days. I’m told there’ll be more cross-training in the future, between other departments, but as far as I know, my part in the experiment is done.
I first started this blog in January 2009 for two classes I was taking at the Missouri School of Journalism: Advanced Techniques in Photojournalism, and Advanced Reporting. One class had me working on weekly assignments to improve my ability to use different lighting for photos. The other had me reporting on state politics out of the Jefferson City statehouse three days a week.
So I’m no stranger to reporting, but it’s also been a few years since I’ve done it on a near-daily basis. If anything, my eight days as a reporter were varied. There were days I was handed a press release and told to make an actual story out of it. There were other days I was given a vague story idea and instructed to turn it around into something meaningful. Sometimes, these leads didn’t work out, but more often than not, I was able to find a story and write about it.
Here, I share the stories I worked on, roughly in the order in which I wrote them:
My first assignment was a hot weather story, but I found out that we weren’t even going through a heat wave, technically. Still, it was hot. Determined not to go to a water park, pool or lake, I went to a baseball game where I found a bronze-skinned umpire just dealing with the heat.
Thanks to modern satellite technology, Jimmy Buffett was to give a concert at about 90 drive-in theaters across the nation. After talking to the local drive-in’s owner on the phone and doing some research, I pre-wrote about half the article before I arrived at the drive-in around 5 p.m., at which point I did some more interviews for color. As activities wound down, I wrote up the rest of the story in the projection room before the concert began, and planned to end the story with some more color from the first song. Then, the satellite signal was disrupted, fans complained and I had to rewrite the whole story.
We received a press release about how the grown children of a train-loving man planned to take his ashes for a ride on a local Civil War-era replica train. For this story, I ended up talking to three of the man’s sons and learned a lot about their father, who had grown up alongside steam engines during the Great Depression and, years later, built a U.S. Navy-commissioned satellite to track the newly launched Sputnik’s path.
A quick-turnaround brief I jimmied up toward the end of my shift… after checking my own bank statement, that is.
Another quick-turnaround brief that happened near the end of my shift.
Yet another quick-turnaround story also resulting from a press release. I tried to liven it up with some detail about one video in my lede.
Interviewing kids is hard. I’ve long known you’ll get better, more genuine quotes from kids if you just follow them as they tour a fire station, and keep the recorder app on your phone rolling. But then you have to make a note at which point a kid said something awesome, or else listen to the whole recording later at the office.
I’ve covered the Senior Games in some capacity every year since I’ve been here. This year was the first I did so as a reporter. But it’s always fun to watch people having a good, competitive time, and this was definitely another instance where I just stayed with folks I’d already interviewed and kept the recorder app rolling.
I was a little nervous about covering the USA-GER World Cup match, even though I was just putting a local spin on it and not actually reporting from Brazil. Thing is, I know pitifully little about soccer. I played it in P.E. in grade school, but the day I blocked a hard pass with my sternum was the day I quit caring about the sport.
Fortunately, at Buffalo Wild Wings, I found a group of visiting Germans who happened to be passing through York on a three-week vacation to the U.S., brought their Deutschland jerseys with them and set up a little American flag on their table. Also fortunately for me, Germans tend to speak very good English. They basically saved my story.
A local blogger tipped us off that her neighbor has been upset and preoccupied by the gift of a $50 from two young girls. So, before I headed to Buffalo Wild Wings for the World Cup, I interviewed Joe Sheetz in his home. Later, I was able to get in touch with the president of the Pay It Forward Foundation, a California-based nonprofit, who gave me some background on the concept of paying it forward.
I wrote that article almost as if it were a column, largely because it was practically a single-source story. Joe was a very sweet man, and I hope he finds the answers he’s looking for, and the end of the story that he’s seeking.
This past week has been my first week back at my own desk, with a camera in my hands. I enjoyed working alongside other editors and journalists in the newsroom, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to tune up my reporting skills. But I’m also glad to be back in the photo department and telling stories the way I love most.
In my 3.5 years in York, I’ve never known the West Manchester Mall to have even half of its storefronts leased out and occupied. Let’s hope that its de-malling brings good results.
I didn’t attend my college graduation because I had better things to do. But, having photographed four high school graduations and one college graduation in the past two weeks (including three ceremonies in as many nights, in a row), I’ve probably heard “Pomp and Circumstance” enough times now to atone for not walking in my own commencement.
Without further ado, my favorite pictures from the 2014 graduation season:
I didn’t intend for all of my favorite pictures from the next graduation — William Penn Senior High School’s — to feature one particular senior, but it just turned out that way.
Congratulations to the Class of 2014, and best of luck to everyone!
When I first made plans to fly to Houston for my grandfather’s funeral, I had no intentions of bringing a camera. When my brother made plans to fly himself, my sister-in-law and my niece to Houston, I packed up my cameras, both digital and film.
As I previously wrote, exploring our childhood home through the eyes of my niece, then almost 20 months, was a lot of fun. Without further ado, I present pictures of the world’s most important toddler:
Earlier this month, I returned to Houston for my grandfather‘s funeral, but I was hardly the most far-flung traveler: My brother, sister-in-law and almost-20-month-old niece flew in from Italy.
Not since Christmas 2010 had my two brothers and I been together under the same roof, so while we had gathered to pay respects to our grandfather, we had fun being siblings again and exploring our childhood home through the eyes of Layla, who is now a very confident toddler.
Making pictures of a constantly/unpredictably moving target is a lot different from making pictures of a babe who is either being held or lying relatively sill, but it’s also a lot more fun. Unfortunately, editing down pictures of a toddler who is rambunctiously touring her new domain is pretty difficult. How can you say no to this face?
…Or to this face?
Layla isn’t quite ready to put nouns and verbs together to form sentences, but she is very capable of understanding directions and making pout faces. The pictures in this blog post wouldn’t have made the final cut for what I’ll ultimately share, but I take my responsibility as family photographer* very seriously and believe that not sharing these pictures would be akin to committing a serious transgression.
Obviously, there will be more Layla pictures to come.
* Apparently I was always the family photographer: While looking through photo albums for pictures to submit for my grandfather’s obituary page, my uncle Doug discovered this picture:
Uncle Doug was very proud of this discovery. I am very excited about this early evidence that I’m better behind the camera than in front of it.
We’re currently enjoying spectacular weather here in Pennsylvania, which certainly wasn’t the case even last month when April dared to hurl hot days, cold days and snowy days at our faces, as if the snow-laden winter hadn’t been brutal and long enough.
In January, my editors sent me to a local pet daycare where dogs can indulge in the luxury of two heated swimming pools. It was a fun assignment made better by the caring and energetic dog handlers. My only advice to anyone photographing swimming dogs: Wear rain pants. I’m glad I did.
I wouldn’t call myself a sports photographer by any means, but when you photograph as many sports as we at the Daily Record do, you can’t help but consider the immense variety of humanly physical achievements these athletes are attempting via any amount of training or number of techniques.
Take, for instance, javelin. Javelin is but one sport in the all-encompassing term “track and field,” but it’s similar to shot put in that both involve an athlete manipulating his/her physique in order to manipulate physics in order to propel an object as far away from him/her as possible. Yet, if you observe different javelin athletes, you can’t help but notice each one is using completely different techniques to attempt the same basic objective.
And that’s just javelin. Shot put has the same basic objective, but it’s achieved completely differently. And again, each athlete has his/her own techniques to that end.
Maybe I think too much about these things. But these are the types of things I think about when I’m sent to cover two very different track assignments in one day.
Track and field…
…and sprint car racing:
Yesterday was the first of two days of PIAA District 3 track and field championships at Shippensburg University. Track and field is a good sport to cover if you want to stay on your toes, because it comprises so many different types of sports (and, in the case of track, different events) that are all photographed differently.
Yesterday was also the World of Outlaws’ season debut at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg. Sprint car racing is a good sport to cover if you don’t mind partial hearing loss.
Anyway, when you cover these different sports in one day, it’s hard not to marvel at what the human body (plus the occasional gears, wheels and oil) is capable of doing.
I’ll stop babbling. Photos:
Cue the obligatory kick-in-the-pants. Like many other photo-bloggers, I’m guilty of falling way, way behind in posting current — or even old — photos.
It’s my personal rule to share pictures I made for the paper only after they’ve been run in the paper. I actually have a number of photo stories — some dating back to 2012 — that I haven’t yet blogged. I’d like to think I’m a mercilessly efficient and adept photo editor, but the reality is that I still struggle to edit many of those photo stories in a way that I’d be comfortable sharing. That said, I hope sometime this year to finally post a few of those stories.
But for now, a fun photo from an off-the-beaten-path story that reporter Rebecca LeFever (soon-to-be Rebecca Hanlon) and I covered last summer:
My grandfather — my father’s father — died earlier this month. Tomorrow, I’m flying to Houston to spend time with family and attend his funeral.
My grandfather led an enormously productive life (as you can read in his obituary), but my brothers and I mostly got to know him better after he retired in 1997 and settled with my grandmother in a house 10 miles from our own home. A significant language barrier lay between my generation and him, but I knew him as a stern yet benevolent patriarchal figure who was largely content to spend his retirement in peace and to observe us quietly as we grew from rambunctious, bickering kids to generally functioning adults.
Every Sunday night for years, we’d drive over for family dinner. Every Christmas, Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year, my father’s two brothers would fly down and join us for a food-filled celebration. These were rituals that we could count on. At first, as an oblivious, sometimes bratty kid, I resisted particularly the weekly dinners, for which my grandmother often cooked up seven different Chinese dishes from scratch. But over the years, I learned to appreciate these times and, especially once I went to college, my grandmother’s cooking. I therefore made a point of visiting my grandparents every time I was in town during college and afterwards.
My grandfather won’t be present at Jeff’s and my wedding — one reason we booked a Texas venue was so my grandparents could attend — but it’s okay. He served his country for 54 years in three (I think) different countries, and earned his long, quiet retirement. He lived to see one of my generation get married and to meet one of his two great-granddaughters, and he liked Jeff and knew of our engagement.
In Chinese culture, it is important to honor your elders, and in addition to attending his funeral and spending time with family, writing this blog is the best way I can honor and remember my grandfather.
Rest in peace, Grandpa.
I think we may have just had our final snowfall of the winter — well, I sure hope so, anyway.
Whenever people here in Pennsylvania find out I’m originally from Texas, their next thought is usually the assumption that I’m not used to snow and real winter weather. What they often find out next is that I went to college in Missouri, where the first Midwestern snowfall I experienced was a 16-inch dump that canceled classes. So I’m not entirely a snow baby.
That said, I am absolutely done with snow and winter for now. Everyone in this stretch of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic is. We’ve had nearly 20 winter storms involving ice and/or snow since December, which means area students have had something like a week’s worth of snow days, municipalities have run out of rock salt and everyone is ready for spring.
In the hopes that the 1-inch pittance we just had is this winter’s last hurrah, here are just a few of the wintry-weather photos I made since December:
We watched the Academy Awards show last night, and I’ve just now been thinking about costumes and pretty dresses, and then I remembered that I never shared this photo. So, here we are and there you go.
It’s 20-something degrees outside, and we’re about to get this season’s 17th winter storm, and I’m not sure that we’ll ever see warm weather again, so it is time that I posted photos of people having fun in the sun, even if only to remind myself of what summer is. (That said, come summer, I’ll almost wish for winter weather again. Almost.)
Last summer, I went to every miniature golf course in York County — eight! there are eight! — and made pictures at each for a project at The Daily Record/Sunday News. You can view all the photos and read my snippet of an article, but here’re some of my favorites:
If you took Yoda (non-combative, original trilogy version), Obi-Wan (mostly Alec Guinness’s version) and Gandalf the Grey (pre-White) and mashed them together, you’d get Grant Kalivoda.
Grant wasn’t an awards-amassing ivory tower type, nor was he a lofty-minded artist, nor was he a Jedi (I think). But he was a whiz at camera, darkroom and printing technology who dreamed of organizing Segway tours of his beloved Santa Fe and who had a hearty appetite for New Mexican food and good conversation. He was the “New Mexico hippie [who] put a medium-format film SLR camera into my hands and told me to have fun” who is mentioned in my biography on this blog.
Grant passed away earlier this week.
I’ve mentioned Grant before on this blog, but only once, apparently. Which is absurd now that I think about the extraordinary impact Grant had on my life. So, I now belatedly attempt to correct this oversight.
Rewind to 2006. I had applied for several different summer jobs at Philmont Scout Ranch in northeastern New Mexico and, on a whim, included a CD of pretty craptastic photos I’d taken on my first digital camera, a Canon point-and-shoot. For whatever reason, Philmont offered me a job as a photographer. I accepted, even though I knew nothing about photography and was terrified of learning how to use real cameras and the darkroom.
Enter Grant. Grant, a photo and printing specialist out of Santa Fe, had for years been training Philmont photographers how to use the gigantic Pentax 6×7 cameras, how to develop C-41 film with the Jobo processor, how to use the enlargers and the Kreonite print processor for individual prints and how to use the Noritsu print processors for prints en masse. As the only photographer on staff who’d never manually exposed or developed her own film before, I was at a distinct disadvantage, but Grant treated me just as if I were any of the other photographers. All I needed was a bit more mentorship, which he provided.
Under Grant’s instruction, I didn’t botch up my first-ever roll of film (which I still have), nor any roll of film I shot that summer. I fell in love with film, hard. Being in complete control over every step of the process never ceased to awe me, and I was hooked. I happily lugged the heavy Pentax gear up and down mountains, relished the thudding sound of the heavy shutter and voluntarily spent many late nights developing film and printing.
This said, I was still an awful photographer. I’m not sure that the ranch was able to use most of the pictures I produced for marketing purchases that first summer. But I sure did have fun.
In fact, I had so much fun that when I went to Mizzou that fall, I slammed the brakes on my aspirations of becoming a reporter, and instead worked my tail off to become a photojournalist.
And now here I am.
I came back to Philmont for two more summers: In 2007, I was one of the only returning photographers from 2006 to help transition the department from film to digital, and in 2008, I headed the ranch’s weekly staff newsletter. Grant provided training during both those summers, albeit at a diminished frequency compared to 2006. Still, I loved seeing my old friend whenever he made the drive from Santa Fe, and was greatly reassured that he was only a phone call away.
When Jeff and I made Santa Fe our destination for our 2010 spring break road trip, I made sure we saw Grant. It only made sense to introduce two of the most important people in my life to each other, and of course it was great to see Grant again. We met up for green chile burgers at the now-defunct Bobcat Bite and ended the night at Grant’s house, where we ate ice cream and played dominoes.
After that trip, my contact with Grant was limited to a few emails here and there. I’d occasionally catch a recurring mountain fever, but finances and time kept me from making another trip to my beloved Sangre de Cristo mountains. Then, last spring, a friend contacted me with news that Grant had Parkinson’s and arthritis and wasn’t doing too well.
That changed everything.
Three months after I emailed Grant to check up on him and one month after he replied, I was on a plane to New Mexico. I stayed three days in the Land of Enchantment; the only times I wasn’t with Grant and his girlfriend Charlotte were when I took a quick driving tour of Santa Fe and made a half-day trip up to Philmont. But we spent two days eating lots of good food, taking driving tours, sharing old memories and puttering around their home on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Usually when I make trips, I produce lists of things to do and eat, and every day is planned out to the max. But this trip, I had no agenda except to be with Grant and Charlotte. I don’t think Grant ever believed me on that — several times, he tried to guess why I really came from Pennsylvania to New Mexico — but my earlier revelation that Grant might not be immortal made me realize I wanted to share more time with him.
Earlier this month, I got mountain fever again and started babbling to Jeff about booking another trip to Santa Fe. This trip, I’d want to make a few hikes, but seeing Grant and Charlotte was definitely at the top of my list, too. Unfortunately, a few hours after I got off a 12-hour overnight shift today, I received word that Grant wasn’t immortal after all.
Lessons I learned from Grant Kalivoda, many of which he may not have known he taught me:
The thing is, I’m just one of countless people who learned from Grant and became a better person for it. I have no clue how many summers he helped train Philmont’s photo department, and he also had a sizable presence in the Santa Fe community. The man’s influence was and is far-reaching. He helped me realize where I wanted to take my career, and I’m positive I’m not the only one who so benefited from his instruction, patience and kindness.
The Philmont and Santa Fe communities owe much to Grant Kalivoda, whether or not they realize it. For myself, I’m learning that there’s never enough time in the world to spend with those who matter most to you, but I’m no less grateful for the time that we did share.
Rest in peace, Grant. You are dearly missed.
Last week, while washing out my Tupperware in the office’s break room, I mentioned to reporter Rebecca how I’ve known Christmas is coming up, yet I could hardly believe it was next week. She then said something that completely explained that phenomena: We at the paper have been covering Christmas-y things for so long that Christmas just feels like a marathon now, not a sprint.
I’m not sure if that makes sense written out, but it makes sense in my head.
Here are pictures from pretty much all the Christmas-y assignments I’ve had, starting in… November! I also covered at least three – maybe four? — retail/business stories focusing on Christmas shopping, so I’ll spare you most of those, too. (Whew. End-of-year holiday coverage truly is a marathon.)
Next up… my “Best of 2013″ post.
After all, I didn’t get around to my “Best of 2011″ until February 2012.
I’ll scrabble together a “Best of 2013″ — and maybe “Best of 2012,” since I didn’t get around to it last year — at some point, but for now, let’s talk about cats.
I love cats. I do. Unfortunately, I’m pretty allergic to cats. This means that every time I’m on assignment and a cat is in the vicinity, that cat finds a way to rub up against my legs. In return, I find a way to get that cat in a picture.
And then I manage to get that picture published.
According to some people in the photo department (my editor, and Kate), six published cat photos (out of nearly 1,500 published photos in 2013) is a lot.
I guess it is.
Here they are.
In my defense, two of the six photos involve barn cats, which are basically the most bad-ass domestic cats around. I mean, check out Rascal:
And I’ve also been working on a three-part series about a married couple who operate a white-glove travel agency, and they work out of home, and they have a naked Sphinx cat. A NAKED SPHINX CAT. How could I not make sure to get photos of a naked Sphinx cat?
And, finally, spot-news cat:
But even my cat-loving editor says she’s getting tired of my cat photos, so I guess I’ll have to seek out a new favorite animal for 2014.
Thanks to warehouses and shipping and other forces beyond my control, I won’t get to send Christmas presents to my brother, sister-in-law and niece in time for Christmas. So, Matt, Emily and Layla, here are some analog photos from Italy (and a bonus frame) as an early Christmas present to make up for the belatedness of your package!
Aaand now for a bonus frame — the last frame on the roll, which I took during one of three snowfalls we had in a week back in York:
And thus concludes my blog posts of photos I made while in Italy.
Sunday, it snowed a few inches and then melted down a bit. Today, it snowed another six inches on top of what we already had, so after I shoveled out three cars and then some, and after Jeff helped a neighbor shovel her driveway, we took snow pictures. I might have made us wait 20 minutes for the sun to come back out so we could get this shot of me:
The snow picture pertains to my Italian vacation and Il Duomo di Firenze (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower, which is topped with Brunelleschi’s Dome) because there, I too waited a while for good light.
Like, an hour.
Here’s what happened. Best sister-in-law ever, aka Emily, and I left Matt and my mom in Galleria degli Uffizi so we could climb il Campanile di Giotto in time for sunset pictures of il Duomo di Firenze. The sky was pouring rain on us the whole way from Uffizi to il Campanile, and it was still coming down when, 414 steps later, we reached the top of the bell tower. But we’d come so far, so we stepped out into the rain anyway, at which point another man in the room thrust his open umbrella at us, which we obviously accepted.
This is what il Duomo and the rest of Florence looked like under heavy rain:
Emily, who has never known me to be without a camera, graciously accepted that we would be waiting at the top of the bell tower, just to wait and see if the sky would ever break up and if the light would ever improve. So we kept baby Layla occupied and checked outside every now and again. When the rain stopped, we stepped back out. The sky was definitely clearing up in the west, but I still waited. Finally, just over an hour after I’d taken the photo above, the sunset cast an amazing orange glow over the city, and quality of light was almost Rembrandt-esque.
So, here’s my best Duomo shot:
Moral of the story: Real photographers wait for good light. (Unless, of course, you have two or three other assignments to complete and can’t afford to linger.) And, the quality of light can truly make or break a photo. Just take another look at that rainy-sky Duomo photo.
Thank you, best sister-in-law ever, for understanding this and being patient.
Penn State ended its 2013 football season on a high note tonight, but here’re a few action-feature photos from the two regular-season games I shot this year. (I did shoot the spring Blue-White game, and did video for a third regular-season game.)
When my mom and I visited my brother and his family in Naples, Italy, Matt and Emily made sure we saw the sights. For one thing, I’m pretty allergic to cats, and Emily wanted to minimize my exposure to their cat by getting us out of the apartment as frequently as possible. For another, we were in Italy — and who knows when or if we’ll be back?
So the photos below — a mix of landscapes, food and cute baby — are largely in chronological order of our travels around southern Italy and then our four-day excursion to Rome and Florence. Enjoy!
Our first outing took us along the Amalfi Coast, where the views and seafood are ample.
Matt and Emily generally feed Layla “real people” food. She’s not allowed extremely salty things like prosciutto, but she can handle Indian food and a variety of other cuisines, and Emily always cuts up small samples of the meal for Layla to eat. So, nobody was surprised when Layla grabbed one of the lightly fried sardines that Matt left on his platter…
…but everyone — including Layla herself — was surprised when she ate the tail end of the fish:
…and we discovered that Layla, who previously hated gelato for its frigidity, is okay with it as long as she’s holding the spoon:
It’s easier to say Matt and Emily live in Naples, but they’re a bit removed from the city itself. Anyway, Emily took my mom and me into downtown Naples to check out some old churches (including Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo di Napoli and Museo Cappella Sansevero) and, of course, eat true Neapolitan pizza.
We learned that verace pizza napoletana (“true Neapolitan pizza”) is taken pretty seriously. There’s even a sort of governing body that inspects and approves pizzerias that produce verace pizza napoletana. Matt was a big fan of L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele — until he found out that that’s where Julia Roberts ate pizza in the movie Eat Pray Love. (Awful movie.) Since then, his loyalty lies with Pizzeria di Matteo (whose website includes an entire section about Bill Clinton’s visit there), where Emily took us:
It was pretty tasty.
Matt and Emily spent their fourth wedding anniversary in Rome… with their baby and the in-laws.
And then the restaurant where we ate dinner (I had carbonara) had a pretty teeny bathroom, so Emily had to change Layla’s diaper in a dark alley between parked Vespas. Typical.