Archive for January, 2011

This morning, I headed out the door at 6:45 for my first weather feature in Pennsylvania.

The entire northeast region of the U.S. received a blanket of snow last night, and York got about 3-4 inches. As the early-shift photographer, I was assigned to get some snow-related art around my apartment complex before the paper went to press. (The York Dispatch is an afternoon paper, remember.)

I was able to catch the guy who plowed, salted and shoveled an entire section of the complex before he left.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Justin Myers shovels sidewalks at the Apartments at Waterford early on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011. Myers, who owns his own landscaping and installment business, said he has been plowing, shoveling and salting roads and sidewalks at the apartments and at another nearby business since 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

(I, uh, really need to control my camera tilt when using an off-camera flash. This is not the one I submitted for print, though.)

And photographed another guy brushing and scraping his car.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Ryan Wenrich, an engineer at Adhesives Research, scrapes and brushes off his car at the Apartments at Waterford on Wednesday morning, Jan. 12, 2011.

Then, before I had to go back inside to file photos, I traipsed around some more and admired the sky.

Natural vignetting. Natural sky (underexposed).

Then I went inside, thanked the powers-that-be that I have excellent snow boots and sent my photos to the paper.

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The Pennsylvania Farm Show opened in Harrisburg on Saturday, and my editor Randy, his wife and I went to check things out.

The annual show, now in its 95th year, is the culmination of all the county fairs and is essentially Pennsylvania’s state fair. (Given the time of year, everything is indoors in the massive Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex.) Agricultural produce and stock are judged and auctioned, there’s a rodeo, local vendors set up booths, etc.

I’m going back today, and later I’ll blog more photos from Saturday and today, but here’s what’s running on today’s A1 in The York Dispatch:

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Lawson Neutzel, 6 of Seven Valleys, sits in a pen with two of his family's Yorkshire pigs at the 95th annual Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. The Farm Show will run through next Saturday, Jan. 15.

I’m glad this is A1’s photo — because a pig ran me over while I got this shot.

More precisely, the pig, which of course weighed more than I did, barreled me over while I was talking to Lawson’s mother for the caption. Neither she nor I saw the fat porker coming. I guess it escaped from its handlers en route to its pen or the auction ring.

I’ve never covered a county fair or anything involving so much livestock — besides a few rodeos — but if getting run over by a pig is the worst thing that happens to me, I’m completely okay with that!

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For photographers, theatre tech crews and many other folks, gaff tape is what holds the universe together. Not duct tape.

Gaff tape, for those of you who may not be familiar with this essential item, is like duct tape but better. It’s a strong adhesive tape and can be ripped easily at 90-degree angles. Unlike duct tape, it doesn’t leave a residue, and its backing is a durable cotton cloth. Whenever I’ve had to borrow gaff tape, it was often either to tape ripped-up garbage bags around my equipment to protect it from rain or to secure a loose lens hood.

As of last week, I finally have my own gaff tape. How have I used it so far? Leaving notes for people.

The first time was when a reporter and I knocked on the front door of a homicide victim’s family and received no answer. The reporter wrote a note to slip under the door; I offered some gaff tape.

The second time was today at the Pennsylvania Farm Show (about which I’ll blog in more detail later). Trying to find people from York County at what’s basically a big state fair on opening day was pretty difficult — but eventually I did get in touch with Emily (through other means) and receive a call from another girl for whom I also left a note.

Thank you, gaff tape. So glad I finally have you in my life.

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I went to Silver Spring/Washington, D.C., for the day yesterday. One thing Jeff and I did was return to the National Building Museum to try to see the LEGO exhibit.

I really, really, really love LEGOs. When we were growing up, my younger brother and I were at peace only if we were drawing together or playing with LEGOs. Then, for about two years in high school, I devoted my free time (what little I had after schoolwork and the newspaper) to writing and producing a stop-motion LEGO movie. A friend/co-producer and I got so far as to record the full 100-something-page script with a cast of 30ish students, but the actual filming never took off.

Anyway. I really, really, really love LEGOs.

Unfortunately, the LEGO exhibit stipulates that tickets cannot be sold on-line or over the phone — and only so many tickets can be sold per hour. So when Jeff, his brother and I arrived at the museum in the late afternoon on Dec. 28, the tickets were sold out.

On the plus side, it was a beautiful day:

The National Building Museum, as seen from the Judiciary Square Metro station on Dec. 28. This photo was taken with an iPhone and processed with the ShakeIt app.

When Jeff and I returned yesterday, we were successful in getting tickets, admiring the LEGO sculptures and playing with millions of LEGO pieces available at the end of the exhibit.

On the minus side, it was an ugly day:

The National Building Museum, as seen from the Judiciary Square Metro station on Jan. 7. This photo was taken with an iPhone and processed with the ShakeIt app.

Long story short: Weather affects light, which affects mood, which affects photos.

(I really wish I’d been able to complete at least some decent footage for that LEGO movie.)

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This morning, I walked out to my car — and for the first time since I’ve had it, its windows were frosted over.

The front windshield, from the outside.

Of course I’ve seen frost before, and of course I’ve had to scrape car windows. But that was my roommate’s car several years ago, and when I had my car in Missouri, I also had covered parking for it.

The front windshield, from the inside of the car.

I’ve also never seen frost so light and pretty and snowflake-y.

The back windshield.

So yeah, I had to snap a few shots before I scraped it all off and drove to the newsroom.

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It’s been almost a year since I last shot basketball, but on the evening of my second day at The York Dispatch, I tagged along with John to photograph a high school game.

This was my first time…

  1. shooting high school basketball
  2. using my new full-frame camera to shoot sports
  3. having a lot of mobility and access during a game

For example, there was a wheelchair-access space cut out in the bleachers right in front of one of the baskets. Because no one in the crowd had a wheelchair, a photographer could sit there and shoot. So I did.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Central York's Jalil Ford attempts a shot during the third quarter against Red Lion on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2010.

A drop-down curtain separated the full court from a half-court, so that made for a nice, clean background on one side.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Central York's Corey Hartz attempts a shot against Red Lion on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2010.

The gym also featured a track that ran above and around the entire court. I spent most of the first quarter up there, and wished the whole time that I had at least a 300mm lens.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Red Lion's Eric Althoff unsuccessfully attempts to score at Central York High School on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011.

One thing I’ll have to wrangle: how to avoid back-/front-focusing with my new full-frame. I’ll be experimenting with different focus modes and techniques every chance I get.

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I spent Monday and Tuesday shadowing the York Dispatch‘s two staff photographers. Monday was a series of wild-goose chases — checking this out, looking for features… you know, the typical newspaper photography experience.

Tuesday morning, a fire destroyed two homes in nearby Red Lion. It was later ruled as arson, and John and I were sent to follow up on it in the afternoon. Three men were on-site, boarding up windows of the duplex that housed two families. I figured out that two of them were hired by one family to cover up one side of the duplex, and the other was hired by the other family. So John followed the two men, while I followed the single one.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Blake Cooper hauls a piece of plywood to board up a lower-story window of 136 W. High Street in Red Lion on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. Cooper, who works for Major Restoration Services, said the fire damage at this duplex was among the worst he has seen.

In such a disastrous scene, there were beautiful colors and beautiful light. I did my best with both.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Blake Cooper screws in a piece of plywood to board up a lower-story window of 136 W. High Street in Red Lion on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. The fire, which was called shortly after midnight Tuesday and was later ruled as arson, was caused by trash bags filled with gas that were thrown onto the porch of 136 W. High Street and ignited.

It’s a horrific thing for the two families who lost their homes — and for those whose neighboring houses sustained significant fire damage — but I think I did all right with these photos. As Cooper said when I spoke with him, “One man’s loss is another man’s gain.”

Coming up next: high school basketball!

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YORK, Pa. —

It’s the eve of my first day of my photo internship with The York Dispatch. I’ve spent the past two days getting set up in York, so here — belatedly — are some shots from New Year’s Eve with Jeff’s family in Maryland.

First, what’s New Year’s Eve without a mini-bonfire in the backyard?

Jeff's dad lit up the charcoal/wood grill to keep us warm. When the gas grill flaked out, he ended up toning down the fire and cooking our steaks on the wood grill.

Next: the NYE lobsters, which we began cooking/eating just before midnight.

Lobster: alive.

Lobsters: still alive.

Lobster: dead.

Lobsters: really dead.


And, happy New Year!

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