Archive for December, 2013

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.)

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. An apatosaurus-like dinosaur is one of many lit-up attractions at Christmas Magic for the 2013 season. Christmas Magic, which opens the day after Thanksgiving, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in Rocky Ridge County Park. Chris Dunn — Daily Record/Sunday News

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Greater York Dance students Katie Harper and Jennah Motter perform as harlequin dolls as Morgan Strathmeyer plays another doll in a dance sequence from a party scene from “The Nutcracker” at the Capitol Theatre during Light Up Night on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. York City hosted its annual Light Up Night throughout downtown, with events culminating in the arrival of Santa Claus in Continental Square. Chris Dunn — Daily Record/Sunday News

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. York Revolution mascot DownTown greets Rodney Yeaple as he plays Christmas tunes on the bagpipes while approaching Continental Square during Light Up Night on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, in York. Chris Dunn — Daily Record/Sunday News

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Faith United Church of Christ member Pete Perez puts the finishing touches on his 10-year-old son Aaron’s shepherd costume before participating in the church’s first live nativity program on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. Chris Dunn — Daily Record/Sunday News

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Christina Abel, 6 of Jackson Township, picks out a poinsettia for her mother as she shops with her grandmother Sherry, not pictured, in Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in West Manchester Township on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. With three snowfalls in a week’s time, both shoppers and stores are being affected by the weather. Chris Dunn — Daily Record/Sunday News

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Brothers Carlos and Jorge Montalvo, along with Carlos’s daughter Karla, beat on las plenas (drums) as they and other relatives sing traditional Puerto Rican, parrandas-style Christmas music in Carlos’s living room on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2013. Jorge Montalvo and his brother Carlos came to York from Puerto Rico about 14 years ago, and have since lived in the city with their families. Every Christmas, their 12 other siblings and other relatives fly up from Florida, Puerto Rico and other areas to celebrate the holiday in a hotel ballroom that they rent to hold more than 100 people. The Montalvo brothers and their families also regularly gather at least twice a month for large family dinners featuring traditional Puerto Rican food. Chris Dunn — Daily Record/Sunday News

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Sister Ana Luisa Sanhueza plays the guitar as she and others lead parishioners in worship during mass while celebrating Las Posadas in a York home on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. Parishioners of the Church of The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in York participated in one of nine nights of Las Posadas — a Latino pre-Christmas tradition focusing on the journey of Joseph and Mary — at the house of Vicente and María Reinoso in York. Chris Dunn — Daily Record/Sunday News

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Santa Claus, played by Elmer Baker, opens up his bag in veteran Ryan Walton’s York Township living room as Walton’s son Ayden, 3, watches shyly on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. With the help of Santa and Mrs. Claus, CJ Hoffman and her nonprofit Feed the Vets Red Lion delivered an early round of Christmas presents, grocery gift cards and food to Walton’s family. Walton, who served in Iraq and was at Fort Hood at the time of the 2009 shooting, is currently hospitalized for renal failure and disintegrating spinal discs. Chris Dunn — Daily Record/Sunday News

Next up… my “Best of 2013” post.


After all, I didn’t get around to my “Best of 2011” until February 2012.

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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.

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Omega Horse Rescue director Kelly Smith bundles up hay feed for the following day, on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. Kelly Smith, director of Omega Horse Rescue in Peach Bottom Township, rescued a horse from a kill auction whose photo she posted on Facebook. A Massachusetts teenager recognized the horse as hers, and is now reunited with it. DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS – CHRIS DUNN

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:

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. One of Eric Thomas’s Belgian Draft horses approaches Rascal the barn cat on Thomas’s Springfield Township property on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. Eric Thomas and his family own five Belgian Draft horses, which weigh about 2,000 pounds each, and keep them and three other lighter horses on their 50 acres in Springfield Township. “As a kid, I wanted elephants, so this was the closest I could get into it,” Thomas said. The family got their first team of Belgians in 2000. DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS – CHRIS DUNN

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?

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Jason Holland wears his pilot’s uniform as he enters information from scores of business cards he’s collected onto his computer and social networking sites, as Sphinx cat Bailey nestles in his lap, on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Jason and Sandy Holland’s white-glove travel service, Travel Simplicity, has recently turned a profit. But Sandy Holland, who has been the primary provider since they started the business, continues to work her full-time day job even as she helps the company grow. DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS – CHRIS DUNN

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Bailey the Sphinx cat watches from a high chair as Jason Holland mixes up another batch of chocolate chip cookies, which he and his wife Sandy Holland serve to potential and existing clients at trade shows and during meetings, on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS – CHRIS DUNN

Gettysburg cat:

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Buddy the cat stands up to look out a window in the Shriver House Museum’s attic, which during the battle at Gettysburg served as a sniper’s nest for Confederate soldiers. Blood stains have been detected on the wooden plank floor, and bullets are still embedded in the brick walls of the house that is now a museum depicting civilian life during the Civil War. Private musuems in Gettysburg are starting to prepare for the 150th anniversary of the battle this summer. DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS – CHRIS DUNN

And, finally, spot-news cat:

© 2013 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Holding a Dora the Explorer blanket and a wet cat, a woman prepares to disembark a five-ton rescue vehicle after she, four girls and two dogs were rescued from a flooded Hellam Township mobile home park on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013. Chris Dunn — Daily Record/Sunday News

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.

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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!

© 2013. Layla rides a turtle? dinosaur? something? in a playscape near the Pozzuoli harbor.

© 2013. Emily and Layla along the river Tiber in Rome. This frame looks like I applied an Instagram filter, but this is real film, y’all.

© 2013. You can sit on ancient pillars inside il Colosseo. I think my mom might’ve had something over the lens, on the righthand side of the frame.

© 2013. Family photo in Montepulciano.

© 2013. Along the Pozzuoli harbor.

© 2013. At this point, I was trying to use up the rest of the roll of film, and Emily and Layla happily obliged.

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:

© 2013. We bought this bottle at the Maker’s distillery back in May, and I got to dip it in the wax. Jeff finally opened it to make bourbon balls, but before he did, I insisted on making this frame. Check that dynamic range!

And thus concludes my blog posts of photos I made while in Italy.

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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:

© 2013.

© 2013.

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 FirenzeThe 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:

© 2013. Il Duomo di Firenze, under heavy rainfall, as seen from Giotto’s Campanile (bell tower) on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.

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:

© 2013. Only minimally toned in post-production.

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.

© 2013. Il Duomo from the ground, in less-good light.

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