Friday, May 25, 2012


      Many of our high school sports went into the postseason this past week and because of so much going on, I was able to get out and shoot a few of those assignments.
      My week kicked off covering a WIAA Division 2 track regional in Oconto where I saw probably some of the best athletes in our area. Several of those athletes went on to do well in sectionals to qualify for state later in the week.
     As I covered the track regional, I decided I would try a motion-blur shot and it turned out pretty good. It's of a Bonduel relay runner taking part in the 3200-meter relay.
     Normally my favorite photos to experiment with at a track meet are the long jump and hurdle events, but the motion-blur photo is probably one of my favorites this season.
     A few days later on Thursday I covered the Shawano softball team as they hosted Marinette in the first game of Division 2 regionals at Martzke Sports Complex in Shawano. The Hawks won the game 10-0 with the middle innings being the best.
     Shawano scored three runs in the third inning and four runs in the fourth. Shawano pitcher Roberta Ponfil wrapped up the game by hitting a 2-run homer in the sixth to win by a 10-run rule.
     There's still plenty of weeks left to the spring sports season as the postseason continues, so here's hoping to more of those assignments.
      Enjoy the weekend!

A Shawano runner steals home plate in the fourth inning of their game May 24 at Martzke Sports Complex in Shawano. Shawano won the game 10-0 and the Shawano runner was safe at home with the Marinette catcher dropping the softball.

A Bonduel track athlete runs the first leg of the girls 3200-meter relay at the WIAA Division 2 track regionals in Oconto on May 21.

Friday, May 18, 2012


     It's been a busy week, but not for shooting photos. The only photos I took this week were of our Schools Spotlight piece in our Thursday paper where we highlight one area teacher. It's been fun doing those the last several weeks -- getting into the classroom and focusing on the teacher as he or she instructs the students.
     The students have been awesome ... no one jumping in front of the camera or yelling for me to take their photos.
     The week kicked off on a good note. This past Saturday, May 12, I ventured down to Milwaukee to attend the Wisconsin News Photographers Association (WNPA) convention. It was inspirational to say the least.
     Besides seeing fellow photojournalists from throughout the state, we were also treated to four seminars by some very talented individuals.
     We heard from Detroit Free Press photojournalist Eric Seals, VII's Erin Trieb, Sports Illustrated photographer Damian Strohmeyer and NPPA general counsel Mickey Osterreicher.
     Seals spoke primarily on video and slideshows, Trieb spoke on her veteran project and of her career covering the war in Afghanistan, Strohmeyer showcased some of his work and Osterreicher spoke on the relationship between photojournalists and police officers.
    I picked up quite a bit from all of the speakers and look forward to putting it to work for me now over the next few months.
    Overall, it was a great day put on by the WNPA!
    If you want to check out some of their work or read more about them, here are the links:


MAY 2, 2012
     Another sure sign that the summer months are quickly approaching is the sound of bats clinking, kids cheering, parents yelling words of encouragement and dust flying as a kid slides into home plate. Yep, it's the start of the youth league season in our area.
     Shawano Youth League opened its season Sunday evening with T-Ball -- my daughter players on the Sand Gnats team -- while the other age groups all opened on Monday evening.
     The regular season runs through the end of June, but then July is filled with tournaments nearly every weekend.
     Youth baseball is a treat to photograph. Unlike high school baseball, you have nearly unlimited access to the diamond, players and coaches. You get some pretty neat close-up images of kids mingling with teammates, getting talked to by the coaches and being congratulated by the parents.
     Here is a soundslides show I put together after the opening day of the Shawano Youth League season.Just click on the image to view the slideshow.


April 14, 2012
    Who doesn't love the card game known as "Go Fish?" Look at it this way, its easy enough for you to play it with your kids and it's a fast game.
     That is how I felt this past week at the paper ... the week went by fast and I got to spend some time with the kids showing them outdoors-type stuff -- especially the fish this week. You see, Shawano is known around this time of the year for the sturgeon spawn. Every April the prehistoric fish make their way into Shawano to spawn.
     This spawning draws hundreds of fish to the Shawano dam and just as many spectators to Sturgeon Park in Shawano to view them. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is also around pulling the fish from the river, tagging them, collecting the eggs and sperm from the fish and then releasing them back into the river.    
     These sturgeon can live well over 100-years-old. Shawano even made history this year. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin DNR captured its largest ever sturgeon -- a female closed to 7-feet, 3-inches long and weighing 240 pounds. According to DNR fisheries supervisor if the female sturgeon hadn't just spawned, she would have been about 270 pounds!
     The DNR estimated the huge fish to be about 125 years old.
     By Wednesday, the spawning activity on the Wolf River near the Shawano dam had begun to wind down, but I was still able to make some nice images looking down from the walking bridge onto some onlookers searching for the sturgeon. Some of my favorite photos this week were of this.
    On Thursday I learned that a local organization -- Walleyes for Tomorrow -- was releasing fry into Shawano Lake -- the fry hatched from the eggs the group was collecting for the past several weeks -- 4.7 million egs collected. WOW!
     Friday I met up with a group of folks from Walleyes for Tomorrow and boarded a boat with them and went to the middle of Shawano Lake to begin releasing the fry. We released about 60,000 of the tiny fish no bigger than a fingernail. It took about an hour to release them.
    Here are some images from a fishy week. Enjoy!


March 8, 2012
     It's been a little less than a month since my last blog post. Time sure does fly. In the past month it's been quite busy with a school fire in Oconto Falls, car accidents, a murder in our county, a winter pow wow by an area tribe, two snow storms and now spring-like temperatures.
     While I would like to post all those photos on this blog, it would be way too much, so I've picked out two of my favorite images over the past month to share.
     The first one is an image I took while at the Menominee Tribe's 2nd Annual Winter Welcom Pow Wow at the end of February. I got the opportunity to bring my son, Jeremiah, along with on this assignment. I thought it would be good for him as his social studies class had just discussed Native American culture. He was amazed by why he saw with the colorful outfits, the drums and the entire atmosphere.
     The most difficult part of the pow wow, however, was the lighting. It was in the Menominee Casino Resort and while it's a beautiful building, the lighting isn't the best for still photographers. I like this photo because you have the young one drinking out of his cup while watching the grand entry.
     The second image I'm posting here from the past month, I actually just snapped this week. It is of a construction worker welding steel frames together for an expansion at Reinhart FoodService, Inc. in Shawano. The skies were gloomy, but the sparks coming from the welder and the man's orange shirt pop out.
     Enjoy the warm temperatures!


Feb. 12, 2012
     I've participated in many ride-alongs with the Wisconsn Department of Natural Resources officials in my 10 years at The Shawano Leader. I've gone on a ride-along with a DNR fire ranger during the spring fire season and this past summer I rode along with the DNR fisheries folks while doing a fish survey on Shawano Lake.
     This past week I decided to spend a day with a DNR crew conduction a deer capture near the Shiocton and Navarino areas for the department's Fawn Recruitment and Buck Mortality Studies.
     On Wednesday, Feb. 8, I drove to Shiocton to meet up with DNR research scientist Christopher Jacques and his crew. We spent the better part of the day checking the 40 traps set up near Shiocton, Deer Creek and Clintonville. By the day's end we had captured two adult does and one doe fawn.
     It was interesting seeing what the DNR do with the deer once they are captured. After an animal is sedated, the adult does go undergo a series of tests -- ultrasound, blood work, ear hair gathering, body measurements, tooth extraction and finally fitted with a mortality sensing collar.
     You can read about the entire process through my two articles on The Shawano Leader's website, via the links here:
(Story on the DNR deer capture studies)
(My first-person account of the ride-along)


Jan 29, 2012

     It was a first for me on Sunday, Jan. 29, as I covered a bridal fashion show at the Menominee Casino Resort in Keshena for the newspaper. I have never covered a fashion show in my 10 years at the paper.
     The lighting wasn't the best, but those of you who know me know that I prefer to shoot natural light rather than flash photography. The natural lighting in the fashion show area as a dim yellow light with purple lights going around the room ... looking pretty cool.
     The dresses the models wore were vibrant colors for the bridesmaids dresses and bright white for the bridal gowns.
     I cranked up the ISO on the camera to 2000 and shot at about 60 for the shutter speed. For the most part the photos turn out pretty nice because there wasn't a lot of fast action going on.
   One of the other things I learned pretty quick was how fast paced it was. The models were non-stop moving in and out of the show, going back stage to get into their next dresses in under five minutes. The crowd watching the show was energetic, jumping around trying to win prizes and even having a mini dance-off for a prize.
    Who knows, maybe this is the start of my fashion photography career!  :D
    Enjoy some of the photos!