Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcome Summer

Here are a couple photos that I made in the last week or so. Now that school is out things are really starting to slow down here assignment wise. This is pretty normal at small daily newspapers like mine. But these slower summer months offer good opportunities to start long term projects. Currently, I am in search of a good documentary topic to shoot. I'm always open to ideas and suggestions. My focus is turning to the end of this week when I will be headed home to Chicago for a week. Really looking forward to seeing some old friends and family. Thanks for stopping by. -M

Looking out for Nicholas

These photographs are from a last minute story I shot of a local family who have come together to help raise their nephew who has Down syndrome. I had literally about 24 hours to get this story shot while holding down the photo department as the sole photographer while my fellow staffers were absent either on vacation or injured. Things were kind of rushed to say the least. But considering the time constraints, I was pleased with the results. The power of family never ceases to amaze me. You can read the captions under each photograph.

Mary Eble, left, and her sister Martha, right, play with their nephew Nicholas Eble by encouraging him to box. "We try to introduce him to new activities and keep him moving," said Mary Eble. Nicholas requires a constantly present caregiver and that role is divided between his two aunts and his father.

Mary Eble struggles to convince her nephew Nicholas that changed plans for the evening mean that he must accompany his aunts to their boxing class instead of watching movies at home. "Routine is so important to him because their is so much in his life that he can't control," said Mary Eble, "It is a big comfort to him and when things don't go to plan, often times we have to work to find a compromise."

Nicholas Eble, 31, plays his Ghostbusters video game at his home in Fairfield. "Nicholas is in many ways pretty independant," says his aunt Mary Eble, "His ability to entertain himself allows us opportunities to get other stuff done around the house."

Meals on Wheels employee Gerald Madueno, left, accompanies Nicholas Eble as he delivers a meal to a Suisun City resident. "We want Nicholas to be intergrated like everyone else," says his aunt Mary Eble, "Since being laid off from his previous job, Nicholas has been volunteering for the non profit once a week."

Nicholas Eble works on his fist jab with with Jesse Lopez Jr., owner of J L Tepito Boxing Club Thursday evening during his aunts boxing class. Trying to keep Nicholas active can often be a challenge for his family and their work schedules so they push him to try activities they are involved in like boxing.

Excited over the news that he will spend Friday evening at his father's house, Nicholas Eble, 31, gives his father Nick a hug before accompanying his aunts to their boxing class.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sunburns and Summer Fairgrounds

I spent the better part of this week covering all of the happenings of the Solano County Fair festivities. Not the busiest fair I've attended in my career. I'd imagine that the organizers were frustrated about it too especially when they are competing against a Six Flags roller coaster park across the street. For my money the Ferris wheel just can't deliver. Still, for the few kids that did attend you could tell they were enjoying themselves. Like most fairs around this country, we had the 4-H livestock competitions. I was never in these events as a kid but watching them now it is pretty fun to watch the kids and their reactions during the events. You can tell that each has put in a lot of work to get here and they all take it quite seriously. Separate from the 4-H events, I stumbled upon a new event of pig racing. They were pure comedy. An uplifting end to what has been a very long and hot week here in California.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Solo June

June has, so far, proven to be a crazy month for me at my newspaper. For much of the time, I have been working solo due from a mixture of co worker's injuries, vacations, and departure from the photo staff. Between attending meetings and running around non stop shooting all of the assignments, I've had little time for much else. Oh wait I also shot my first wedding of the year. You can check out my images from it here. I knew there were more reasons why I've been busy. Now that school is out in Solano County things have started to cool down. It has been a month of big transitions for everybody around here. Me with my crash course into becoming a temporary one man band photo department and departure of a co worker. My photo editor Brad Zweerink and I said goodbye to a good friend and fellow shooter Chris Jordan after his decision to work freelance and shoot weddings got the best of him. I must say I was sorry to see him go. A great guy and and a solid photographer. I learned a lot from him. I wish him all the best. I still have half a month to go but here are some of my favorite images that I've made so far. Cheers. -M

Solano County High School Graduations 2010

Ahhhhh, Graduation week. That special time of year when working as a staff photographer feels a lot like the movie Groundhog Day. The same over and over again. One of the challenges that my fellow shooters and I bestow upon each other is to try to reinvent yourselves as the week goes on. Because on the surface, all of the graduations are so similar. Repetition in the ceremonies, the speeches, the celebrations, etc that it can quickly feel like you are taking the same pictures. This year I was assigned to shoot three of the five high school ceremonies. I tried to keep a look out for something different than the typical ecstatic hands in the air shots of the graduates. The class president of the student body offered that chance. My favorite photo from the week was the one of the girl with the monarch butterfly in front of her. The caption for the photo ran as follows:

Vanden High School graduate Heaven-Leigh Christensen, 18, center, is visited by a monarch butterfly during the Class of 2010 graduation ceremony Friday afternoon. Butterflys were released by class president Sharlayne Moynahan, 18, not pictured, as a symbol of hope and transformation into new beginnings.

This shot was made well after the release of the butterflies. I saw this moment happening out of the corner of my eye and turned to snap a couple frames before this rogue monarch flew off. I thought it was a pretty neat ideal to incorporate in a speech and a different twist on the graduation photo scene. It made me think back to all of the transitions I've had in my life since high school graduation. These kids are in for a wild ride. I wish them the best. -M

To view more photos from my graduation coverage of Vanden High and Fairfield High, click on their names.

Looking Back on May - Part Two

Looking Back on May - Part One