Wednesday, April 25

holy schmoly it's almost may. eeek.

these next few weeks will fly by and then i'll be bound for the florida sun. there's still things i want to accomplish here. now i have a clock ticking to keep my feet to the fire. still on the list of things to-do:

- shoot a few video pieces
- finish photo stories in progress
- drinks at the billy goat with strazz and chicagoland apad crew
- more fun in the sun at wrigley

i was creatively stunted today. bad weather day for feature hunting and zero assignments. i spent 4 hours looking for something interesting to shoot. i'm trying not to take it personally.

Monday, April 23


local korean churches held a candle light vigil for the virginia tech victims on sunday. it was very emotional for the congregations and for me. weird thing was, except for a few lines here and there, the entire thing was in korean. i didn't understand what was being said, but i could hear the emotion in the voices of the speakers, in muted cries from people in the pews, in the korean rendition of amazing grace. i cried throughout. the language of grief needs no words.

i know a few photographers who have been covering VT since the shootings. i've heard many people cry foul at the media for too much coverage, at NBC for showing the videos, at everyone for using the Korean spelling of his name or for not using the Korean spelling of his name, for pointing out what made him different, for blaming guns, for blaming parents, for blaming the university, for blaming police, for blaming his deranged, ill brain.

there have been calls for better gun laws, and campus alerts, and mental health reform, and strict immigration policy, and student screening, and limits to how many gun clips one can buy in a given week off e-Bay. i have heard the term "lock-down" more in the past week than i ever want to hear again.

and it's not that all the anger and outcry is inappropriate.
there are things that could change to help stop another tragedy of this scale. but we can't stop it all. we can't put our lives on lock-down. it seems to me that what cho needed was less protocol, less distance, less top-down bureaucracy, and more empathy, more touch, more connection with others. you can't pass a law for that. you can't demand it from school administrators or gun sellers or bullet manufacturers. you have to live it.

and for all the talk about how completely senseless these killings were, there was some rationale in his mind, however twisted. instead of dismissing that, i think we need to take from it what we can and learn something.

day of rock

got to shoot at the chicago school of rock last saturday. the features department seems kinda slow to get on top of things. i had just seen this come across sports shooter the day i got the assignment. oh well. that guy covered the little kids and i got the teens.

i brought a home-made ringflash i made on a slow day (you can find a recipe here and try your own) worked decent enough. i might try making another one with some improved specs.

the story is on the kid in the middle, the only one who lives in the suburbs. another kid was sick so i go back tomorrow to shoot him. maybe i can improve on these portraits a bit.

the school of rock is working on a led zeppelin tribute show. they're pretty good musicians so i got to listen to 4 hours of some of my favorite music. rad. it was a rocking afternoon.

my next assignment, not so rocking.

i shot christina aguilera from the nosebleed section. argh. why are some people nuts about controlling the press? i'm lucky i had a 300mm in the car or i would've been screwed.

i can't post shots of ms. thang because of a contract we all had to sign. more argh. this is a shot of the pussy-cat dolls who opened. they had crazy strobes and i wanted to see what i could bring back from the ether just for kicks.

i can't show ms. thang, but i can show her fans. there were more fake tans, high heels, and random bling than an mtv beach party.

Thursday, April 19

15 minute sports coverage

not much this week but sports. i love shooting them, but i hate having only one inning before running off to the next one. i like finding the moments and emotion that come with staying the full game.

the opposing team was an hour late, so these girls played a game to pass the time.

double play action.

soccer is awesome to shoot with moments happening all the time. so far i haven't been able to spend more than 20 minutes at a game. in this kind of light i could stay for hours. maybe i'll get the chance next week.

some friends from UT rolled into town last weekend and we got to reconnect over beers. i studied abroad in italy with these women. our stories and memories brought back so much from that tuscan hilltop town. i will go back someday.

this was the photo a waiter took in the indian restaurant, a few minutes before i found my busted window. after he dropped the camera (not mine) once, he took this photo which i find hilarious. even with the damn screen on the back he managed to perfectly but off me and nicole. too funny.

i've been thinking about risk taking since my last post. it's not a switch i can easily throw, but something gradual i can work into my day-to-day. david called it "managing the boundaries of the work you find important". i can either stay within the confines of what i'm given or push for what i want my work to be.

i've always been comfortable exceeding expectations in a controlled environment (read: school), but have been more unfocused in the structure-less world of "my vision." i don't just want to do my job well, i want to contribute something, create something, say something, give something.

i have to risk not doing what's expected to contribute something truly original and heartfelt. in a sense, i have to risk leaving the predictable boredom of the usual to make something - maybe better, maybe worse - but at least unpredictable. and when i put it like that, it doesn't seem so risky. it just seems more alive.


Tuesday, April 17

from sunday's cubs-reds. i still haven't seen a chicago team win a game.

april 15th will now be known as jackie robinson day in MLB. it was neat to be at the first. 7 people wore the #42 jersey during the game, which made captions challenging. i think i need a #42 jersey. i am a robinson afterall.

strike out city, USA - the current residence of alfonso soriano

boredom and layers.

the ball grazed his hand during his swing. the ump calls strike three. he's a bit pissed.

i saw this game as another missed opportunity for good multimedia. historic ceremony, vibrant history, and everyone loves baseball. ideally i would like to find someone who was at that first game robinson played and do an interview, find historic photos, find people at this game who are moved, interview them, get #42 features, game action, little ambient and voila, something that might connect with readers. bah. this paper needs a multimedia editor to take the long-term view of assignments. i'm sure i could hustle more and put something less-than-perfect together in addition to daily coverage. i'll step it up next time.

i'm still in that "i hope i get this assignment right" mode. i have ideas on how to make better frames or more compelling content, but those involve taking risks. i need to reframe the purpose of this internship. instead of proving how i can be a regular staffer, i need to see it as an opportunity to take those risks and be a better-than-regular staffer. sometimes those risks will fail, but hey, it's an internship, right? stuff doesn't always pan out in "real life" either, but there's something about practice, practice, practice that applies to risk-taking...

Monday, April 16

cubs: 0
car vandals:1

sigh. it was a good weekend for baseball but a bad one for my little echo. some jackass broke in on saturday and took the only things in it. a long wool jacket and the camera gear i forgot was underneath it. some of it was DH owned, some of it mine. it's all insured but i have to pay $200 for the privilege of getting my stuff ripped off. what a fabulous present. thank you car vandal. rot in hell.

another big neighbor piece ran on sunday. this isn't one of the stories i'm working on, but a good daily piece i brought to the DH's attention. i find myself saying all the time "i wish i had more time to work on that." same goes for this. if i knew how much space they were giving it i would have insisted on spending more time. as it shook out, they let me design the page at least.

Friday, April 13

Friday the 13th with the Cubs. This should give fodder to the Cubbie conspiracy theorists...

i watched a pitcher go from solo home run jube...(and really, when do you ever get to see a pitcher do that?!)

to falling apart in the 5th inning allowing 4 runs out of nowhere...

after another pitcher gave up two more runs (jersey #13 on friday the 13th!!) this guy was called in to crank out three outs pronto. i liked the catcher's imperative body language. "get us outta this."

tag without a ball

do shortstops get a manual for being weird?

and the cleanest shot to second base in the league. sigh. why can't all stadiums be this ad free?

Wednesday, April 11

lovely spring weather, eh? we got 5 inches today. blah. this is my backyard.

Tuesday, April 10

before the freezing baseball game i was assigned a preliminary pageant for Miss Illinois 2007. Two local Ms's would be crowned and move on to the final pageant this summer. I asked the organizer if I could go backstage. She looked at me like I asked her if she could teach calculus in Japanese. No way in hell. So I had to entertain myself at the front of the stage. They had a crooner to entertain the crowd with Sinatra favorites in between competitions. The red gels on his spotlight were making cool shadows, not quite sharp enough to sing, but i loved the color play.

and i was really hoping to see a brand new side to beauty pageants. alas, they were just as bad as ever. and why is there such an attraction to obscure broadway show tunes for a talent act?

yesterday i had an artist's reception on the agenda. gah. i usually hate these things, but this artist was very talented and engaging to talk to. i worked the only daylight in the florescent lit "gallery" in a fitness center to make a portrait. why don't the reporters think to schedule something at the artist's studio instead of the reception? maybe i can get out to his studio to make something better before it runs.

Monday, April 9

shot my first sox game yesterday and froze my fingertips off. with 2 layers of long-underwear, 2 sweaters, a down jacket, rain jacket, scarf, and hat, my body was doing ok, but the gloves couldn't handle the 20 degree temperatures after the shadows crept across the photo pit. burrrr.

by the top of the 9th the sox were down 2 runs with two men on. there was a long hit out to left field and the tribune photographer and i groaned at the possibility of having to stay through the bottom of the 9th. luckily the prevailing winds turned it into an easy catch and we were released from the 6th ring of hell.

and we weren't the only ones who were cold. game action was slow and what little there was i missed. it was a day for pitcher shots. d'oh. i still enjoyed being there, for the first six innings anyway. haha. maybe next time it's that cold, jack frost could at least spit out some snow flakes.

Friday, April 6

the history of prom fashion spread finally ran on thursday. they only botched one photo, but played the best one big, so i'm happy.

holy week. it's not over yet, but so far my favorite part has been the devil. i covered a palm sunday procession in a downpour. i've been trying to shoot wider recently. i think i might be too tight (of the tight-is-right mentality) more often than not. i'm making an effort to strap on the 20mm and make a frame on each assignment.

this guy was my favorite part of the procession. i just missed him and the guy playing jesus embracing for a family member's camera. that would've been a sweetly ironic photo. d'oh.

this virtuoso conductor has combined all of his private lesson students into a chamber orchestra. the layers are almost clean enough for my taste. i was shooting from the floor for this, so maybe it wasn't possible to clean it up all the way.

these dudes are organizing a high school car show. i had an umbrella off to the right to pop them out of the dreary day. there wasn't enough power and punch to pop them out as i envisioned. i think i need "real" lights for that, a la bob croslin. might be fun to cover the car show and set up a mini-studio for the kids and their rides.

and then some bulls action. nothing SI worthy, but damn i have fun shooting the pros. so much drama and ego and sometimes even good game action. haha.

LeBron = le brawn