Recently, I took a dive back into some older film scans and found a few frames from our Colorado trip that I hadn’t blogged. Coincidentally, their composition and subjects are pretty similar. Here we go:
At some point in the past year, I put my film cameras down and, more or less, forgot about them. I could blame our move in January or our wedding in May or a general lack of inspiration since I’d last used film (in Colorado). Whatever/regardless of the reason, my film cameras sat in the closet and stayed there.
Then my friend Zach got a Mamiya C220, like mine. And he and his wife had a beautiful baby girl. And he began taking exquisite frames of their everyday life and sharing them, and inspiring me to pick up my damn cameras again.
So, here’s some film from my mother-in-law’s birthday lunch of steamed crabs in Essex, Md. — and there’ll be more film to come.
And thank you, Zach for getting me out of my rut.
Between being gone for two weeks, covering the U.S. Women’s Open and working on various other smaller projects, I wasn’t sure how much material I’d have for my third annual “Children of Summer” blog post. Nevertheless, I decided I’d share whatever I had by the time most schools in York County started.
Then I was assigned to cover a local team‘s appearance in the Little League World Series. And they won. And they won again. And then they lost, in the very end. Their incredible run delayed this blog post by a few weeks but also provided even more photos, which appear toward the end.
Now even the Red Land Little League players — U.S. champions and all — are back in school, so it’s time to share “Children of Summer”:
A few months ago, I spent a morning in All About Pets Too, a small pet store in Red Lion. It’s a small shop, but it offers supplies for all kinds of pets and is home to three roaming cats, three squawking birds and a small pond of fish, plus other animals that are for sale. In the short article I wrote to accompany the pictures I made, I compared the store owner, Tammie, to an American Doctor Doolittle, as she spent most of her daylight animals surrounded by animals.
Here are a few of the pictures I made:
You can view more photos here.
As the seasons change, so do the sports. Each time I shoot a sport for the first time that season, it’s a big refresher course: “Oh yeah, that’s how baseball works.” “Okay, now I remember the best way for me to shoot wrestling.” And etc.
But if you’re covering Penn State, it’s always football season.
Just a few short months after the end of the Nittany Lions’ 2014 season, I’ll be returning to Beaver Stadium this Saturday to cover the Blue-White spring scrimmage. Just two months ago, I was in State College to shoot the second annual Signature Event. Here are a few pictures from the signing day festivities back in February:
You can check out more photos from the Signature Event here!
The high school winter sports season ended not too long ago, but with spring games getting canceled left and right due to inclement weather, I’m a little nostalgic for the days of photographing sports exclusively indoors.
Earlier in the winter season, reporter Steve wrote a feature on New Oxford’s swim team, which meant I had the rare opportunity/freedom to photograph a swim meet without worrying about getting action shots of certain swimmers. Here are some photos from that assignment (you can view more here):
Not too long afterwards, I was assigned another swimming feature — this time, at the 36th annual South Western Relays.
Fun fact: Between the ages of roughly 6 and 11, I was on my neighborhood’s summer swim team. This meant every morning, five days a week, my brothers and I were shipped off to the neighborhood pool for two hours of swim practice. Saturday mornings were spent at the pool again, participating in more specialized clinics. On Mondays, our team would compete in a swim meet against another neighborhood team (there were six or seven teams in whatever league had been formed).
At first, I hated swim team: It subjected me to my first experiences as a victim of bullying and made me feel completely inadequate when, try as the coaches might, I never did learn how to dive properly. Once I became pretty decent at backstroke and butterfly at age 8 or 9 and got moved up to heats 2 and, occasionally, 1, it was all right. But definitely the best part of swim team and the meets was the downtime between races, which was when I’d eat whatever I wanted — especially since my mom would always volunteer to work the concessions booth, and would pay for my Airhead candies, pizza slices and flavored shaved ice.
Photographing the South Western Relays took me back to those swim meets, in a good way, especially once I discovered that even high school swimmers get their races Sharpie’d onto their arms and also pig out between races.
Just a few photos from that assignment (here are more):
The city of York faced a budget crisis last year that resulted in cuts to the fire department, effective Jan. 1, 2015. This meant reporter Teresa and I spent much of Dec. 31, 2014, shadowing one of the four laid-off firefighters on his final shift. Clifton Frederick IV was gracious to let us follow him right up to the end, and I wish him all the best.
We also caught up with another firefighter on his final shift (the other two who were laid off had already worked their last day):
But we spent most of the day with Frederick, who went out on a medical call, installed smoke detectors and took in his last hours as a York City firefighter.
Last month, South Western hosted its 36th annual diving competition. I wasn’t able to arrive on time to photograph the girls, but I did photograph every single dive performed by the boys later in the afternoon. Some favorites:
A few years ago, I blogged a series of summer heat pictures. Now that there’s a wind chill of -2 degrees Fahrenheit, I’m almost ready for summer again. Almost.
Unrelated: I forgot to submit my January entries for the National Press Photographers Association’s monthly clips contest, so over the next few days, I’ll be blogging many of the pictures that I probably would have turned in.
One does not simply cover a bowl game.
At least, not if you’re The York Daily Record.
In the weeks and days ahead of the 2014 New Era Pinstripe Bowl, I was involved in one formal planning meeting and at least a half-dozen informal others. The main points were these:
- It’s Penn State’s first bowl game in three seasons, following the NCAA’s lifting the sanctions enacted after the Sandusky scandal erupted, so this game is important for the players and the fans.
- It’s in New York City, which is weird because bowl games are usually played in nice, warm places, but New York is also iconic, so pictures of Penn Staters — who usually tailgate in the rolling hills of rural, central Pennsylvania — wandering or partying in the concrete jungle are paramount.
- It’s my first bowl game to cover for the paper, so it’s crucial I’m on my A-game.
To be fair, the third point was never actually uttered, but it stood.
So, the day after Christmas, writers Frank and Lizi and I boarded the Amtrak to Penn Station, and got to work immediately upon our arrival in Manhattan. The only chances we had for relaxation and/or exploration were in the late evenings after we finished work on Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday morning before we departed for home. We made the most of these limited opportunities, and had a nice Roman-Jewish dinner, a hoppin’ late-night Korean dinner and a hearty Sunday brunch.
(The Korean dinner was particularly memorable: Not only was it weird and delicious, it also followed an unintentional 12-hour fast during which I was so busy covering festivities, the game and the celebration that I didn’t have time to eat anything, including the provided meal for media.)
As for the actual festivities, game and celebration? Check out some pictures:
In two days — the day after Christmas — I’ll be covering the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium, where Penn State will meet Boston College in the Nittany Lions’ first bowl game since the Jan. 2012 TicketCity Bowl.
This will be my first-ever Penn State bowl game, and only my second-ever college bowl game. (My first was in 2010, when the Navy defeated Missouri in the Texas Bowl.) This will also be my first time in Yankee Stadium.
I’m ready for it. But first, I’ll finish out my Christmas Eve shift and enjoy Christmas Day. In the meantime, here are pictures from the Penn State football games I’ve covered this season:
Tomorrow is officially the first day of winter, so naturally my mind is turning towards warmer, summery topics. I’ve also been reviewing the pictures I’ve made in 2014, which reminded me just how many summer nights I spent at William Grove Speedway. (Three — which isn’t that many, but definitely more than any other YDR photographer this year.)
This job has a way of flinging me out of my comfort zone, with the expectation that I’ll make it out not just alive and relatively unscathed, but with some decent pictures as well. Four years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined being able to navigate my way around a dirt track, but now I’m hailed as a familiar face by crew members and push-truck drivers. The more time I spent with these folks, the more I appreciated how the races are just a big family reunion.
Here are pictures from three of those reunions, or races:
Jeff and I went to Colorado for a friend’s wedding in Snowmass Village, where it was autumn and the aspen leaves were in their golden prime. Then we spent the next day and a half at Rocky Mountain National Park, where it was winter and the snow crunched under our boots.
When you go to a big, epic place like Colorado, you need to take a big, epic camera. So I brought my Pentax 6×7 and all three lenses, plus a few rolls of Portra 400. Enjoy!
I never thought about it til Penn State football beat reporter Frank brought it up, but I’ve covered three different head coaches in as many years as I’ve been with The York Daily Record (about three and a half years).
My first season photographing Penn State football turned out to be Joe Paterno’s last (2011).
Bill O’Brien took the helm for the next two seasons, but signed on with the Houston Texans basically as soon as he possibly could (2012-2013).
And now, we have James Franklin (2014).
I photographed the Blue-White Game in April, which was technically Franklin’s first game in Beaver Stadium. Tomorrow, editor Eileen and I go to cover the game against Akron, which will be his first regular-season game in State College.
Another season, another coach. This’ll be fun.
When I was younger, summer always seemed to drag on. Don’t get me wrong: It’s not as if I was anxious to get back to school. But after we finished swim practice in the summer mornings, my brothers and I were ushered off to the babysitter’s house for the rest of the day, and frankly, I’m not sure how we passed the time besides rereading the same old books and watching the same old TV shows and reliving the same old arguments. (I’m sorry, former babysitters.)
Now, probably because I have a year-round job and no three-month vacation, summers seem to fly right by. But most York County schools are opening up this week, so it’s time to share my second annual “Children of Summer” collection:
In March 2013, I covered the 2013 YAIAA Cheerleading Championship, where I made this picture:
Little did I know that Q’ajaniyah — whose name her teammates were unable to spell out for me — and I would cross paths again.
The YAIAA would host yet another 2013 cheerleading championship that took place in the next school year, in December. Sports reporter Matt Goul was covering a William Penn basketball game later that day, and happened to be chatting with their scorekeeper, who was upset that the William Penn cheer squad had lost their division title by a mere half-point. The conversation then revealed that one of the cheerleaders had had a particularly rough year: Q’ajaniyah had been caught in some crossfire in June and struck through the hip, yet recovered in time to rejoin the squad in the fall.
Matt relayed this information to me in January or February, and mentioned he was interested in pursuing the story. I encouraged him to dig a little deeper and to include me in the coverage.
The longer we worked on the story, the more we learned.
We learned that Q’ajaniyah’s father had been shot and killed two days after Christmas 1999, when she was 3.
We learned that her mother moved them to Brooklyn two years later and studied to become a police officer, but another tragedy prompted their return to York.
We learned that Q’ajaniyah, profoundly affected by her father’s death and perhaps influenced by sitting in on her mother’s law enforcement classes, was determined to go to college and study criminal justice.
We learned that she is the oldest of her siblings — two brothers, ages 6 and 2, and a now 10-month-old sister — whom she helps care for, and for whom she strives to set a good example.
We also learned that she found strength in cheerleading, where she made friends with other girls who had lost their fathers to gun violence.
Over the course of several months, we worked with Q’ajaniyah, her mother and her friends, and incrementally learned new tidbits that would shape or completely change the story. The weeks before Q’ajaniyah’s graduation presented a tough time for all involved, as she wasn’t sure whether she could afford to go to Penn State and we weren’t certain how we should end the story.
In the end, I’m grateful to Q’ajaniyah for opening up to us, and glad that we all put so much of ourselves into the story. And I’m excited for her as she starts classes at Penn State in the next few weeks, and I wish her all the best.
When I went to Houston in May for my grandfather’s funeral, I brought not just my digital camera, but also my Mamiya C220. I shot an entire roll of just family time in the backyard, but this one’s my favorite.
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.