Spring! At last!

Train of thought: We need a picture for the paper about how it's warm outside. Oh look, people napping on the Pentacrest! A boulder! With a person at its base! Hop on rock, shoot shoot shoot, thanks, enjoy your nap!


Friday at Gabe's

I pushed the limits of our 5dMkII this weekend covering Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy at the Gabe's opening. I think all of these were shot without flash, 6400 ISO. Yeah, I could've used flash, but.. I wanted to see what the camera could do with the meager available light, and, I wanted to capture what it really looks like in there. "Controversy" be damned, it was a good show. Photos from Saturday to come..

Megan McCormick opening. I should have gotten a CD, she's AMAZING. She was on tour supporting Daphne Willis -- but have several more shows coming up, catch them if you can.

It's DARK in the crowd. Jake was standing under one of the few lights.


first day of school, 2009

In honor of spring break, an outtake from the first day of school, 2009.


Airport duty

Pres. Obama was in town today to speak on health care reform. Brian Ray covered the event itself, and I covered arrival and departure at CID.

We get to the airport hours before landing. Shoot whatever's happening to pass the time. Below, measuring the stairs.

Media stands on a flatbed trailer at least 100 yards from the president and Air Force One. There are a few shots you know you'll get: the wave, walking down the stairs, and greeting any local officials. Unfortunately, I made a few mistakes: I wanted a wider shot that incorporated part of the plane, so I was using my 70-200... which happens to need a trip to CPS for problems focusing at a distance. So I missed the wave while my camera stubbornly held at a soft enough focus that it could never be salvaged by unsharp mask. So I sent this instead.

I should have switched to the 400mm lens for greeting the governor, buuuut I didn't, until after the hug and handshake. Live and learn. The thing about airport duty, too, is that it's pretty unlikely that any of the photos will be used in the next day's paper, since the best photos are going to come from the event. And the national media that travel with the president have a much better angle -- we're directly in front of the stairs, while the traveling media are sort of under the wing, from the side. The comparison, from photo editor pal Jon Woods as MSNBC, has my photo on the left, and a photo from AP's Charles Dharapak.

Motorcade leaves for Iowa City, and we all hunker down to file. And wait. And eat a Clif bar to tide me over a couple more hours. And wait some more. President returns, let's do it all again, but backwards! This time I was going to get that wave.

Stay on the tarmac til you can't see the plane anymore, just in case, and then call it a day.


Wellington Heights 2009

In cleaning out my "photos to blog" folder, I found a handful that were inadvertently skipped last year... next few posts are all catching up. I wandered my neighborhood, Wellington Heights, for a few days last August looking to illustrate a story on the impact of Section 8 housing on a neighborhood. It was a surprisingly difficult story to work on, and I ended up pretty frustrated. I would find great sources, only to have them deny giving me their name or let me photograph them. A cluster of National Night Out parties gave me a chance to at least capture some slices of life.

Bob and Donna Snyder (from left) and Angie Shultz gather on the 1500 block of 4th Avenue SE for one of several National Night Out parties in Wellington Heights in Southeast Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Aug. 4 2009. Shultz and the Snyders have both recently made improvements to their homes, which are in a part of the neighborhood with a high concentration of Section 8 properties. Any more than four vouchers within a radius of 1,000 feet starts to have a negative effect on property values, and there are 40 Section 8 vouchers within a 1,000 foot radius of the corner of Bever Avenue and 15th Street SE.

Sabian Owens, 8, left, and Abbigail Laughridge, 9, wait for Sabian's older sister to go back to one of several National Night Out parties in Wellington Heights

Picador 2006

Just a few days after starting my internship at the Gazette in 2006, I covered the opening of the Picador in the old Gabe's location in Iowa City. All I really knew about Gabe's at the time was what was on the photo request: been around for decades, gross bathrooms, reopening under a new name. This weekend, I'll be covering the re-opening of Gabe's, so I thought it an appropriate time for a flashback post. So here you go, Murder By Death and the opening of the short-lived Picador.