Thursday, May 31, 2007


A quick shot as I was leaving a bike shop today.

I was just talking with someone in the newsroom about what people expect or think of when it comes to Arkansas. I imagine some guy playing banjo in front of a shack-like building just perpetuates some people's assumptions about this place. I promise Arkansas isn't as backwards as you may think (at least in Northwest part of the state).

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I arrived late to an American Legion baseball game today and saw this:

I freaked out at first, practically jumping out of my car with my camera. I thought some kid had been severely injured and was being flown to the hospital. If only I had been there on time, I thought. I soon realized no one was injured. The field was just wet after a brief, but heavy downpour. What better way to dry it off then with a helicopter.

City Limit Saturday

OK, so here's my attempt at starting a weekly music feature for the summer. The goal is really to get my siblings and I prepared for the annual Austin City Limits music festival in September by going through the lineup and getting to know some of the acts I'm unfamiliar with. This way we will get the most mileage out of the three day event. Hopefully you will find something you like as well.

The first installment will not disappoint. Disco punk act LCD Soundsystem has been blowing me away all week. Fronted by New York producer/singer James Murphy, the music is electric and fun while mostly avoiding the dance hall/techno vibe. It is rockable electronic music at its best. These two are from the self-titled, two-disk debut CD, which I highly recommend. Their newest CD, "Sound of Silver," is great too, but with only 9 tracks on the album it feels incomplete. The first album is the better buy.

Preview Tracks: Daft Punk Is Playing At My House.mp3, Thrills.mp3
Artist Website:
Hear More Music: LCD's MySpace, The Hype Machine
Buy Music: LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver

Friday, May 25, 2007

In the Dog House

I love dogs, but it was crazy walking into this woman's doggy day care facility yesterday. I was almost knocked to the ground several times by a pack of peppy pooches. And that was just in the "little dogs" pen. When I left my pants were wet and stained with paw prints and dog drool. Good times.

By the way, last night I was one of two featured guests at a small SPJ gathering (the other was our paper's entertainment blogger/podcaster Joe Askins). We were brought in to talk about online media. It didn't go so well, at least on my end. The good news was they had excellent green salsa and chips. Here is a small transcript of the event, or at least how I remember it...

Moderator: Tell me how you first became aware of blogs and how you use them.
Me: (Damn, that's good salsa...oh wait) Uh, I like blogs.
Moderator: How much time do you spend looking at blogs and other online media?
Me: (Um, only, like, my entire work day...don't say that) A lot I suppose. Like, hours even, maybe.
Moderator: What are some of your favorite blogs?
Me: (I really should have checked my bookmarks before coming here) There's that one, you know, with the photos...I like that one. That overseas one is cool. The Guardian, or whatever.
Moderator: What impact will blogs and podcasts have on newspapers?
Me: Interesting questions. Joe, what do you think...

Yeah, public speaker I am not.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Child's Play

Yesterday I finally got around to editing some photos from a day in the life of a kindergartner assignment I shot last week for features. I'm not always a fan of the "day in the life" concept, but it was kind of fun following this kid around for the day. Here are some of the photos I liked.

Friday, May 18, 2007


I had to shoot a Hooked on Fishing, Not On Drugs event today. The second one this month. Same event, same location, just different kids. The summer slow down begins.

This time out I just wanted something scenic, serene and not sucky. This is the best I came up with.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Water Hazard

I have to say, I love the steeplechase. In fact, I don't understand why they don't have water hazards in more track events.

The calm before the storm
Splash down
Although after a few laps you start to feel a little sorry for the runners, who are forced to jump through water pits and then slosh through the rest of the course with wet shoes.

An official on the sideline told me that the first year they included the steeplechase in SEC events, the bar was the same height for men and women. Only after watching girl after girl struggle to get over, roll over into the water and then crawl out of the pit did someone think to lower the bar for the women.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Baseball Music

UA/Bama action. I'm still not sure if Arkansas won, but this is the photo I gave them for lead anyhow. Plus I enjoy turning in as many home plate shots as I can these days.

So the other day another photographer and I were at a baseball game talking about music. Well, we were kind of making fun of some of the song choices blaring over the loud speakers. At the Arkansas home games, each player gets an introductory song of their choosing as they walk up to the plate to bat. After mercilessly denouncing the "Summer of '69" choice by one player (Bryan Adams? Really?), she asked me a question. If I had to choose a song at bat, what song would it be? I couldn't come up with something right away, and I think if I could I'd probably rotate every so often just to throw something totally random out there. But now that I have had some time to think, I've narrowed it down to two songs. I think to pick a good sports intro song its got to be something either classic or current, edgy yet inoffensive, and definitely something upbeat and masculine for a game like baseball ("Push It" by Salt N Pepa doesn't cut it, Casey Coon). As much as I'd like to choose some Aqualung or maybe throw down a little Goldfrapp, they break about every rule. So I give you my at bat song intro choices, courtesy of Muse and Wolfmother. What would your song be?

Supermassive Black Hole.mp3
by Muse
Joker and The Thief.mp3 by Wolfmother

Fun With Colors

Even though I'll have a busy evening running between the SEC Track Championships and the UA/Bama baseball game next door, I did have a little down time earlier in the afternoon. What better way to spend it then digitally altering photos? I like how her nail polish kind of matches her javelin. I wonder if she planned that.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Today's assignment put my motivation for being a photojournalist to the test.

After my first year of college I was on the fence about my future. I had gone into J-school dead set on being a top reporter. I had excelled at my beginning reporting class, and I was getting ready to start my first semester as a writer for the college newspaper.

Then I went to Band-O-Rama.

Well, let's be honest. It wasn't the only factor. I had also just finished my required photojournalism class all reporters had to take, and I loved it. There was something freeing and wonderful about photography, and I suppose I wasn't horrible behind the camera.

Cut to Band-O-Rama, the annual end-of-year concert held at my former high school. I had performed in the event every year when I was in band, and now I was attending as a spectator to hear my younger brother play. It was the typical high school band event until Todd Yates walked in.

Yates was a photographer for the local paper, and for some reason he grabbed my attention. The entire time he was there I just watched him as he worked the event. I could see some of his shots and angles in my head, and watching him compose them in front of me was captivating. I keep elbowing my sister, "look what he's shooting now," or "that's such a great angle." I'm sure my sister thought I was nuts.

As I walked back to the car with my family, I though to myself, "Even if I end up shooting some local high school band-o-rama the rest of my life, as long as I was taking photos I think I would be happy." Looking back on it now it was a completely naive and idealist thought, but when I got back to the car I announced to my family I was changing my major. I'm sure they thought I was crazy.

So here I am, almost 9 years later, covering a local high school's equivalent of band-o-rama. Since I started at this paper I always seem to get this assignment, and that's OK by me. Because with all that's wrong with the newspaper business and how much I complain about my job, overall I am happy taking photos. It's nice to be reminded of that every once and a while.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


I had a college graduation to shoot today, and my plan was to hit it early and run. But there was something different about this graduation, and I'm interested to see what other people think.

I was set to shoot students getting ready before the ceremony when the college president gathered them together and announced that one of their classmates had died earlier this morning after what sounded like a hunting accident. The college is small, and I'm guessing a close knit, religious school, so some of them took it hard. I shot this photo during a moment of silence. My shutter cut through the gym like a sledgehammer to me, and I wondered whether I should be shooting this at all. I shot about three frames and couldn't bring myself to shoot anymore. But the journalist in me knew it was probably significant. I tried to get more information from the president and other officials, but none of them wanted to talk about it.

So the question is, do I turn in the happy graduation photo for tomorrow, or the somber photo of students mourning the death of one of their own?
I'm not sure I know the answer to this one.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Little Crafty (or A Lotta Feisty)

I don't get the big draw that the local craft fair explosion brings this time of year.
Maybe I'm not the only one who's a little bit confused.

So today's photo is more a less a front for me to ramble on about music. I picked up a new CD Tuesday, and this artist has a particular significance to me. Canadian indie darling Feist flew completely under my musical radar until about a year and a half ago when I saw her video "Mushaboom," play in a local music store. Not only was the song great, but the video was super cool. I'm pretty susceptible to visual stimulation, and this one surprised me and made me take notice. Although the rest of the CD didn't stick (I remember thinking it was kind of boring and somewhat Norah Jones like...BorahJonesie, if you will), in my search for more of her music I stumbled on The Hype Machine. That site, coupled with my acquisition of the Garden State soundtrack, completely altered the type of music I listen to today. Well, Feist is back with a new CD, a new music video, and an almost completely not boring set of songs. Much of the mood is light, punctuated with playful hand claps and simple yet engaging song structures. Here are a couple of samples for you to enjoy.

One Two Three Four.mp3 by Feist
Sea Lion Woman.mp3 by Feist