Friday, June 22, 2012


     Back when I was a kid -- about two decades ago -- summer school wasn't considered to be fun. If you had to go to summer school is was because you had failed a class or needed some extra help in it. Back then the only subjects for summer school were math, science, English pretty much.
     Flash forward to now. After dropping off my own kids at summer school on Friday I decided to stick around for a bit to head into a few classrooms for some photos for The Shawano Leader's weekend edition. I stepped into the office and asked what classes would be good for images.
     Here are the four they gave me — Hogwarts, Messin' with Clay, Tool Time and High C's. First of all, Hogwarts? Really? A class about Harry Potter? Messin' with Clay is just what you imagine it being, a class where you work with clay. Tool time is where you learn how to build bird houses, gumball machines and more and High C's is wall climbing.
     Some other classes offered at summer school this year are football, Go Fish (where you learn about fishing), several cooking classes, card games, how to build robots and several drama and dance classes.
     Why couldn't summer school be like this when I was kid. Now days kids want to go to school in the summer months!
     Overall, I think my best images of the day came from the Messin' with Clay class. It was fun seeing the kids working with the wheels for the first time or seeing them concentrating on the details of their projects.
     My favorite shot was of a young girl putting some details on her hut that she was making. You can tell she's really into it, so I decided to break out the big lens and zoom right in tight on her face and the project she was working on. Turned out pretty nice.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


     If you're in the newspaper business, you know what "wild art" is. It's pretty much when you realize you need a photo for the paper and you have to go out searching for that art for the paper.
     I ran into this on Thursday. An assignment fell through and I had to find art for both page 1 and page 3 of the paper. I took a drive around town at about 2 p.m., but came up with nothing. Frustrated, I drove back to the paper and began putting together some of the news pages.
     At about 4 p.m. I decided I would give it another try. A quick tour around town and my usual "hot spots" for photos didn't turn up much ... nothing really worthy of the paper. Finally, I decided to take a ride around a usual quiet neighborhood in Shawano -- around Kuckuk Park.
      I hit gold on Thursday night by going to Kuckuk Park. First, I ran into some kids who were running through a sprinkler at their grandma's house. It was a pretty warm day out Thursday. I snapped a few frames -- including one of a girl in mid-air going through the sprinkler. Bingo...there was page one.
    Now, it was on to find some page 3 art. I jumped back into my car and make a quick turn around the block and began to drive my the park when I noticed three young men hitting each other — with boxing gloves on — in the middle of the park.
   I pulled in and found out they were training for a kickboxing event coming up in a month. After talking with them a few minutes I made some quick photos of them kicking each other, punching each other and there was my page 3 art.
   Just proves that you shouldn't give up in trying to find a photo. There is always something out there. It's my first time in my 11 years at the paper I've seen kickboxing in a city park!

Monday, June 11, 2012


     It was one of those weekends where it just seemed like everything was going on.
     Saturday kicked off with heading to Wittenberg to shoot some of the Tuff Truck competition at Wittenberg Community Days. Usually this is a pretty good event, trucks flying high, smashing into the ground and vehicle pieces flying off. This year, however, there was a low turnout of drivers -- just four. While it made for a quick assignment, I didn't get what I wanted out of it, but still walked away with a decent photo.
     On my way back to Shawano from Wittenberg -- about 20 minutes -- I decided to turn the scanner on in my car as there was nothing on the radio to listen to. After turning it on, I realized there was something going on near Pulaski, on the other side of the county from where I was. After listening for about five minutes it finally became clear there was a barn fire in that area.
     While driving down the highway I took out the GPS in my glove compartment and got it all set up for the address of where the barn fire was -- not advisable while you are driving to be doing this by the way!
     It took me about 30 minutes to get to the fire where fire engines were running up and down the small country road and first responders were directing the traffic along the highway. Luckily I have a pretty good relationship with the area's emergency responders and they allowed me to drive right up to the scene.
     The barn was a total loss and several animals were killed in the fire.
     After about an hour there capturing photos and getting information for a story, I jumped back in my car and cruised back home to get ready for a ride along with the local police department.
     From about 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. I spent doing a ride along with the police department's K-9 unit for a project I am working on.
     Here are some photos from the weekend. Enjoy!

Friday, June 1, 2012


     Clowns were smiling, tigers roaring and elephants parading around the arena at the Crawford Center in Shawano on Monday, May 28 as the Beja Shrine Circus put on two shows for the community of Shawano.
     The Beja Shrine Circus, produced by the George Carden Circus, drew large crowds for both of the shows Monday with the fan favorite of the show being Bo -- the world's largest circus performing elephant at 12,000 pounds.
     The circus poses some issues when you are covering it for photographs. The lighting is horrible with the house lights turn off and only colored spotlights roaming around the arena. While the lighting isn't perfect for photos, it can also create some neat effects.
     The key to covering the circus was showing up early -- about an hour -- and talking to Nina Carden, a showgirl and manager for the circus. She gave me a great interview and also allowed by all the access I wanted ... which is rare these days at events you are covering.
     The highlight to my day covering the circus was getting outside during the show as the elephant trainers were prepping the four elephants for the show -- spraying them down, getting them costumed up for the rides and the show and just seeing how the circus folks care for the animals. They were treating them very well.
     Elephants are remarkable creatures. They big, but still very gentle on their feet.
     Along with this blog, I've included some of my favorite photos and an audio slideshow I put together following the circus. Enjoy!

Here is a link to my circus slideshow.