Archive for July, 2012

If you include internships and college experience, I’ve been in this business for only a few years. But I learned early on about the strange cocktail of emotions that floods your brain as you leave what you thought was going to be a less-than-average assignment with better-than-average-assignment pictures.

The first time I experienced this was in Atlanta. It was for a story about unemployment, and the reporter wrote in the assignment that I should just hang out with this unemployed man at his family’s home and see what happened. Expectations were low.

But it was the first time I was a fly-on-the-wall in someone else’s home at an important time in his/her life. It was the first time I spent substantial time with anyone in a “nothing’s really happening” setting. And it was the first time that — as I was driving out of the neighborhood and phoning the reporter that it had actually gone well and I’d made good pictures — I heard someone (the reporter) say, “Wow. Sounds like you made chicken salad out of chicken shit.”

It might seem callous to think of an assignment as “chicken shit.” But as any journalist knows, there are assignments that seem completely awesome on paper, and others that seem just ehh. The key is to have an open mind and make the best pictures you possibly can, no matter the circumstances. Still, when a recent assignment in a Gettysburg-area nursing home seemed very ehh on paper, I was surprised by the pictures I was able to make and humbled by the openness of a man despite his less-than-ideal situation.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Raymond Hernandez, 55, breaks down into tears after talking on Thursday, July 5, 2012, about how he misses his five dogs and several cats that were sent to the ASPCA after he was carjacked in Oct. 2011. Originally of York, Hernandez now lives in a Transitions Healthcare nursing home outside of Gettysburg after he was carjacked and shot in the back, resulting in paralysis from the waist down, in Oct. 2011. Hernandez, who had been waiting to pick up his housemate’s grandson from school, was initially suspected of being involved in a drug crime because he was sitting in his car in daylight. Hernandez has since been cleared of any charges and is also cleared for at-home care, but his York house is too small to accommodate his wheelchair.

A carjacking. Paralysis from the waist down. Drug charges that were later dropped. Transferal to a nursing home far from home. Separation from loved ones. The disposal of beloved pets. Illiteracy.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Back in his room, which he shares with another Transitions Healthcare nursing home resident, Raymond Hernandez, 55, offers bubble gum to his medical power of attorney, Genevieve Ray, on Thursday, July 5, 2012.

Reporter Emily did a fantastic job reporting and writing Raymond Hernandez’s story, which is so complicated and strange that, when I tried to describe it to my boyfriend, he incredulously said it sounded like something out of a movie. Emily and I returned the next week, when Raymond’s housemate and her grandson came to visit.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Gladys Alicea and her grandson Taurean Christie, 6, stand in Raymond Hernandez’s room in the Transitions Healthcare nursing home outside Gettysburg on Saturday, July 14, 2012. Alicea shared a York home with Hernandez, who was waiting to pick up Christie from school when he became the victim of a carjacking in Oct. 2011.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Taurean Christie, 6, sits on the lap of Raymond Hernandez, 55, as they watch TV together in Hernandez’s room in the Transitions Healthcare nursing home outside of Gettysburg on Saturday, July 14, 2012. Hernandez is in a wheelchair due to paralysis from the waist down after he was carjacked while waiting to pick up Christie from school in Oct. 2011.

And this is the photo that ran main on the front page of the Sunday paper:

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. His attention momentarily broken from the television in Raymond Hernandez’s Transitions Healthcare nursing home room, Taurean Christie, 6, shares a moment with Hernandez, 55, who used to live with Christie and his grandmother Gladys Alicea in York. Hernandez had been waiting to pick up Christie from school in Oct. 2011 when he was carjacked and shot in the back.

Be sure to read Emily’s article for much more information about Hernandez’s story.

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Go to a York Revolution game, and get splashed at.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dan Moore of Windsor Township shakes an open water bottle over the young children he was chaperoning from End of the Rainbow Day Care during the sixth inning of the York Revolution’s game against the Bridgeport Bluefish on Wednesday, July 18, 2012, at Sovereign Bank Stadium. The Revs lost 8-4.

FWIW, I may have been sweating off my sunscreen during this game in the 102-degree heat index, but this was definitely not the most miserable baseball-shooting experience I’ve had. That distinction belongs to an American Legion game, during which I sweated off my sunscreen AND sweated through my shirt.

Regardless. I wouldn’t trade this job for anything.

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Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Craig F. Walker, of The Denver Post, visited us at the Daily Record newsroom today. It was pretty neat to hear him talk, look at his other bodies of work and ask him some questions. It was also pretty neat to have photojournalists from three other area newspapers join us.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Craig F. Walker, of the Denver Post, speechifies to the York Daily Record/Sunday News staff on Thursday, July 26, 2012.

Check out our YDR Insider blog for the recap as well as a full video recording of Craig’s talk (hell yeah we livestreamed it).

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Mitt Romney’s bus rolled into town… without Mitt Romney.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, besides a bus without Mitt Romney (hence my #RomneylessRomneybus hashtag).

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Debbie Mascaro of Bucks County holds the door open as her granddaughter Emily Augustine, 3, jumps out after touring a Romney Mobile HQ campaign bus outside of Brown’s Orchards and Farm Market on Wednesday, July 25, 2012. Mascaro and her husband Richard said they annually make the two-hour drive to Brown’s “for peaches.” Asked if they support Romney, Richard Mascaro answered, “Maybe?”

I also didn’t expect my fully-charged camera battery to die, but I still cranked out a video.

Check out Ed’s article for what exactly happens when a Romney-less Romney bus rolls into town!

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My younger brother claims that the Batman theme (“da da da da da da da” or however many “da”s there are) was his first sentence. I refute this because (“da” x [number of “da”s]) + “Batman” does not constitute a sentence.

(Also, my boyfriend says the theme song consists of “na”s. Since I rank higher on the geek index than he does, I think I’m right — but I could be wrong?)

Anyway, so the Batmobile the Tumbler made an appearance in York yesterday — all the way from Michigan…

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Jaycob Abate, 4 of York, poses for a picture in front of a full replica of Batman’s “Tumbler” vehicle from “The Dark Knight” on Thursday, July 19, 2012, at Frank Theatres in York Township.

…and built from scratch by a guy who makes movie props.

© 202 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Bob Dullam of Kalamazoo, Mich., squats inside the cockpit of the Batman “Tumbler” vehicle he built, before exiting the vehicle, outside Frank Theatres on Thursday, July 19, 2012. Dullam, who builds movie props for his living, worked on the Tumbler off-and-on for five years using raw materials worth more than $50,000.

Dullam said the vehicle is capable of hairpin turns, is built to go up to 150 miles per hour (he’s only done 75), can shoot flames 20 feet long and four feet wide and uses surveillance cameras in lieu of rearview mirrors. Oh yeah, and it drives as smoothly as a Lamborghini.

Suffice it to say… quite a few of the adults in the crowd were far more captivated than the young ones were.

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The celebration didn’t end with the Bulldogs’ infield pile-up after they clinched their first-ever state championship win.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. West York baseball players Brandon Kinneman, Kaden Hepler (with trophy) and Jerrin Toomey share a moment during the assembly held in honor of the team’s PIAA Class AAA state championship win on Thursday, July 12, 2012. West York Area Senior High School honored the baseball team’s win with a parade around the borough and an assembly in the gym.

Something I’ve observed and come to appreciate about West York athletics is its close ties to the community. I’ve only shot a few of the program’s different sports, but at the conclusion of every game — win or lose — the West York fans line up as close to the playing field as they can get, and the players and coaches come to them to give each fan a high-five or hug. This tradition can be really exciting to observe when they win, or really heart-wrenching to see when they lose, but either way,  it’s something I’ve never seen anywhere else, and I now look forward to it each time I shoot a West York game.

As befitting a team that won state and a community that stands proudly behind its team no matter what, West York threw its champions a small parade and hosted an assembly in the gym earlier this week. Check out the video I produced, which features some Wes Anderson-y editing in one section:

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The best light is always after a storm.

© 2012 by Chris Dunn.

Or, sometimes, during.

© 2012 by Chris Dunn.

But when you see it, you have to be quick: That quality of light fades fast.

I sure hope my herbs (in the first picture) are happy now.

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Hot dogs gotta stay cool. So should you.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Max Clarke, 13, holds a misting hose to cool down six-year-old Rudy, a dog available for adoption through the York County SPCA, during First Friday on Friday, July 6, 2012. York County SPCA volunteers brought six dogs available for adoption to downtown York for First Friday on North Beaver Street on Friday, July 6, 2012.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Led inside Camera Center of York to cool down for a few minutes, 6-year-old Rudy eyes Nikon advertisements featuring Ashton Kutcher on Friday, July 6, 2012.

(Also, anyone who considers buying a Nikon camera just because creepy Ashton is swooping and sweeping creepily around in those commercials should probably sit down and rethink his/her life.)

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I’ve shot fireworks a few times, and most of them have been memorable. In 2007, my friend Greg and I once royally peeved our friend Kevin by each taking photos of fireworks over Eagle Nest Lake in New Mexico and comparing our individual frames… during the show. Two years later, I had perhaps had a bit to drink and tried to take fireworks photos… without a tripod. Worst fireworks photos, ever.

But, provided you’re sober and have a tripod, taking fireworks photos isn’t difficult at all.

Taking fireworks photos with a human element — that’s a different beast.

But, I did it.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion hosted its Fourth of July fireworks show around Horn Field and the high school on Tuesday, July 3, 2012.

And here’s another Fourth of July-y picture:

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Chase Hart, 18 months of York, reacts as to sparklers held by his mother Melissa, left, and friend Ashley O’Brien outside Horn Field before Red Lion’s fireworks show on Tuesday, July 3, 2012.

If you want to laugh at the failures that are some of my SOOC (straight-out-of-camera) frames from last night — or if you want some tips about shooting fireworks photos — head on over to our staff photo blog!

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Summer means baseball, and in these parts, that means a) the York Revolution and b) local league ball.

I’d never shot at Stewartstown’s field before, nor had I ever seen a similar setup. The playing surface is maybe six feet below the ground on which the nearby community building stood, and the fence serving as the backstop extends all the way to the dugouts, whose roofs rise about three feet above ground level. So, after securing the home team manager’s permission, I camped out on their dugout roof while I covered the game.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Taken in the bottom of the seventh and final inning. That red thing on the dugout roof marks roughly where I sat.

With that vantage point and some gorgeous evening light, I got to make baseball pictures I’ve never made before.

For example, twin dirt clods:

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion’s Eric McNeil gets home for a run as Stewartstown’s Adam Allshouse waits for the ball in the third inning on Thursday, June 28, 2012, at Stewartstown.

Evening light was insanely nice. And the game was moving at a pace where I felt like I could relax and make pictures, not just shoot-shoot-shoot.

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Red Lion’s Austin Hinkle lets a ball past him in the fourth inning against Stewartstown on Thursday, June 28, 2012, at Stewartstown.

I’d never shot on a field with such nice, selective light on a pitcher:

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News.

The sun soon faded beyond the horizon, and the light evened out on the playing field. Then I noticed that the pitchers — from both teams — had dug quite a hole into the pitching mound. Never saw that before, either:

© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News.

So, combined with the nice angle-of-light and the higher vantage points possible, I’m excited for the next time I shoot at Stewartstown.

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