Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Ok, so his name is not really Rudy, but it might as well be. His name is mike and for anyone who has actually seen the movie Rudy (if you haven't, you should) this guys story couldn't be closer to the film. It was always Mikes Dream to be a part of Notre Dame athletics. His father graduatd from Notre Dame, and his son wanted nothing more than to follow in those same footsteps. There were however several problems blocking his path. The obvious, an most paramount of his obstacles was his severe muscular dystrophy which pretty much sealed his fate as far as becoming an athlete. The second was being actually accepted into Notre Dame. This didnt happen immediately, so he attended Holy Cross (which is right across the street from Notre Dame, and the same pre-fighting irish path the Rudy took.) Still striving to overcome these hurdles he found a spot on the Notre Dame rowing team as a coxswain, the person who rides in the boat and calls out commands. He was a perfect candidate for this because of his small, compact, lightweight body structure. And finally to complete his goal, he was accepted at Notre Dame and will now officially become a Notre Dame athlete, just like Rudy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


"You cannot build up character in solitude, you need formed character to stand solitude."
~Austin O'Malley

Friday, July 20, 2007

National Geographic

On my way to the office i stopped to take advantage of some nice light. I know there arent any people in the pictures, but great light is great light. I think ill be calling national geographic.

A Day on the River

This was one of the coolest assignments that ive ever had. I spent the whole day kayaking down a river with a group of volunteers from the Huron River Watershed Council. A lady named Liz was swimming the length of the river ( about 120 miles) and yesterday she swam the part that passed through Monroe county. She is swimming the river to show that a once polluted river is now clean and should be utilized for recreation. I had an amazing time both kayaking the river and spending time with a fun, passionate group of people. So to sum things up i got paid to paddle down a river all day. I feel like i should act unhappy about this, because one day someone will figure out that its wrong to have so much fun on assignments, and theyll just stop paying me.

My Kayak (I want one!)

Several other voluteers go alongside liz and watch for underlying debris, depth, and check the current to make sure its safe.

The water she is swimming in is clean, but not that clean.

When the water is too shalow, Liz has to use her floatie. Shot from a bridge.

Liz gets out of the water after swimming almost 5 miles.

Just a fun shot.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Harry Potter

In celebration of the newest book, downtown Monroe threw a Harry Potter festival. I think its interesting that an entire downtown celebrated something like this, something based not on a holiday or day of rememberance, but rather on something commercialized like a book or a movie. There were spell casting competitions, costume competitions, and themed menu items at area restaurants. After a few hours of feature hunting i came across this rather sad looking Harry. I just like this particular kids disposition in general.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I had to stop by a newly built funeral home today and take portriat of its owner. Brian was a pretty cool guy. He built the funeral home to be as warm and cozy as possible, and it even included a "coffee house" and a smoking room. brian has been embalming people for almost a decade and he feels as though its his calling from god. His way of preaching. Here is one of the portriats i shot of him that i liked.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New name

Everything good needs a catch, right? I mean afterall, its not like George Bush became president because of his staggering ability to lead a nation (I think it was the religion thing). So, I decided to change the name of my blog to "beyond the caption." Simply because, its the best part of my job. The best part of working for a newspaper is the people we meet and the experiences we have. However, because our readers dont want to hear about our experiences we limit our captions to necessary information. But so much more happens on assignments that never get told (see post "Innocent") . I noticed that almost all of my posting so far have a story with them. At first i did this so that people who arent photographers ( hi mom) would know what we experience while on assignments, but i think ill keep it going. After all, its my blog and where else can i share my observations and opinions? Let me know what you think!

Monday, July 9, 2007


The longest assignment ever.

Today i went to David's house to photograph him with his grandson. David babysits his grandson everyday while his mother is at work. This was for a story about local township supervisors and what they do on their time off since they their job doesnt require full time status.

My first encounter with David didnt go so well. After he opened the door, i could tell he wasnt to happy with me coming to his house. So, i figured i would just smile and be nice. My smile was interrupted when he actually asked to see my press pass. he said, "Dont you have some id on you or something, they told me you would have id on you." Now, normally i dont have to show my press pass to come inside someones home, but apparently he was paranoid about something. And he wasnt too happy that i left my press pass in my car. So, after proper identification was established was granted entry into his humble farmhouse. This step was important to make certain i wasnt no radical muslim or nothin. ( he actually used this phrase later on in the day).

This assignment took me almost five hours to complete. Maybe because the first 2.5 were spent in a tiny poorly lit basement watching his grandson play computer games, as i was asked questions as to the nature of the story we were writing about him. However, we did eventually venture upstairs to the kitchen, then to the living room, and then to put his grandson down for a nap. I will say it was an extremely interesting day. David eventually warmed up to me and we got along fine. He talked alot about hunting, fishing, computers, buying american products, christianity, and "Liberals." So, i didnt say alot in return, but instead listned to him and asked question ( and hoped he didnt ask my political views). Even though we couldnt be farther on the social spectum, everything worked out fine.

I will say that in the end, he was a nice guy, and a great grandfather. Even though he did give me hell for driving a toyota. I guess some people just take five hours to warm up to you.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Hippotherapy Finished Product

This is a small story that i did my first couple of weeks of my internship. I heard about this program through someone at another assignment, and decided to check it out. Originally it was just going to be multimedia, but we decided to run a photo story in the paper. The page ran today, and the first photo below ran 6 columns on the front of the Living section so i has happy about that. Since i was the only one working on the project, i also wrote the story to go along with it. I posted the story, a few of my favorite pictures, and a link to the multimedia. Let me know what you think.

Each week Kyle Krohn rolls his wheel chair into the Stepping Stone riding facility and comes face to face with one of the greatest challenges in his fight against Cerebral Palsy, getting on a horse. Every week for ten weeks he has faced this challenge and met it with perseverance and determination.
Kyle is a participant in the Hippotherapy Program put on by St. Vincent Mercy Children's Hospital out of Toledo, OH. Each week a physical therapist and occupational therapist come up from Toledo and hold sessions at the Stepping Stone riding facility in Frenchtown Township in Monroe. Hippotherapy, which comes from the Greek word "hippos" meaning horse, uses the movement of the horse to help disabled children facilitate their balance and movement challenges. Unlike traditional therapy involving horses, Hippotherapy does not focus on teaching disabled people to ride horses, but rather uses the horse as a therapeutic tool. The horses walking pattern mimics that of a human's walking pattern, and the side to side movement and starting and stopping of the horse works muscles in the pelvis and legs that a child in a wheelchair would normally never be able to experience under their own power.
Hippotherapy works under the recommendation of a medical doctor prescribing physical or occupational therapy for the patient. After the patient has met with the therapist, a treatment plan is formed and goals are set. Children with cerebral palsy, autism, brain injury, cerebral vascular accident, brachial plexus, neuromuscular disorders or sensory processing dysfunction may benefit from hippotherapy.
When Kyle first started the program, even the idea of having to climb up on a horse was enough to frighten him. Now, ten weeks later, getting back on the horse, is like, well, getting back on the horse. Kyle is able to decide how fast he wants the horse to go and when he wants the horse to stop. Not only has Kyle improved in a physical sense, but the improvements in his abilities strengthen him emotionally as well. "His legs are holding up longer under him and he straightens up in his chair more," said LaVonne Krohn, Kyle's grandmother, "it's amazing the confidence he's getting to try other things and new things, and it's helping him a lot."

Link to Multimedia: HIPPOTHERAPY

Friday, July 6, 2007

Clyde Evans

This gentleman will be turning 77 on 7-7-07. Happy Birthday Clyde!

Ron Drager

I followed around a guy tonight who owned a race track in Toledo. He wasn't doing too much, just walking around the track checking on things. I have to admit, i kinda expected to meet some big shot business man who wore a cheap suit and was going to try to pose for pictures all night to make it look like he was doing something. Ron however was very quiet, extremely humble, and not at all the businessman i expected to meet. Instead he was just a simple man with a passion for being at a race track who also happened to own one. I will also add that i have never met anyone who did a better job of ignoring my presence than him. From the word go he forgot i was there and never looked back. It was refreshing to actually feel like a fly on the wall for once. Now if everyone could understand that, my job would be a lot better.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Captions only tell so much about a photograph. They give us necessary information such as who, what, when, and where, but often times we are unable as photographers to tell the story of what really happened while we were there. What we saw, felt, and understood as we took the picture. The following picture has a story a little deeper that i could put into the caption. It ran on the front page this morning, but without the following information.

The girl in the picture is Sabrina. The person who isnt in the picture is her father. To paint a picture for you, her father was wearing a cutoff t-shirt, jail tatoos, long greasy hair, acted like he was on coke, and talked like his brain had been damaged by too much LSD, he was trash. He was the standing next to the box that was projecting the light show, that Sabrina and a couple thousand other people gathered to watch last night. However, i could tell there was something different with her that set her apart from the children that she was standing next to. They were jumping and laughing with nothing greater on their minds than trying to catch the little beams of light that shot through the air. However, Sabrina stood perfectly still. I moved in and sat infront of her and snapped a few frames, and she didnt seem to notice or if she did she didnt care. I put my camera down and just watched for a minute. I watched her and the kids around her. Within a second or two, her fathers hand shot out from the corner of my eye and he grabbed her on the arm with far too much force. This immediately got my attention. She tried to brush him off, all the while not making a sound. He grabbed her again. This time he forced her to turn around and look at something behind her. He placed his hand on her neck to do this, hard enough to hurt her. She tried to brush him off. It worked this time, and she stood silent and still and tried her hardest not to cry. He continued to grab, squeeze, and yell at her for no reason over the next 10 minutes or so. No matter where she stood, it was wrong, no matter where she looked, it was wrong. He would grab her and move her. He couldnt keep his hands off of her. At one point she stood in front of a bigger boy, leaning back against him, close enough for him to be her big brother, as if he was guarding his little sister. But he wasn't, he was just another kid watching the show. And her father quickly grabbed her away, and held her infront of her. She continually tried to brush him off. I could tell she was terrified of him. The look on her face was not one of anger, like a child who has been punished. It was instead a look of pure disgust. She was trying to look away from her father so he wouldnt see her cry. She stood so still that i was able to shoot this picture at 1/6 of a second. So when i see this picture, i cant help but get the same feeling that i got when i shot it. I cant help but see this girl as anything but purely innocent, and helpless. I dont know if this story adds to the picture, or not. And my writing doesnt do it justice, but the whole night left me with a sick feeling in my stomach. Feel free to leave comments please.

Candid Portriats

Here are a couple of pictures that i guess would quilify as candid portraits. They are from the Pinks drag race that my last post was about.

The wife of the driver that my multimedia piece was about.

Guy taking bets on the race. Gotta love awesome pockets of light.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Im going to try to type intelligent things this morning, since i now have been up since 6:00 am yesterday, and its noon now so here we go...

Yesterday the SPEED channel brought their whole reality TV show called PINKS to the Milan Dragway here ouside of Monroe. The premise way that 400 cars would compete for 16 final spots to be on the tv show and go head to head with each other. Each round someone would be eliminated and someone would win 1,000 dollars. Each round thay had to bet part of that 1000 (for the sake of tv drama) and continue to the next round. Well, i go tthere at 5:00 and there were 30,000 people packed into the dragway. Which made it hard to shoot and even harder to move around. Im not a big fan of general even coverage, but i need more practice at it, so i set out to find some nice feature. I came across a bunch of black guys from the east AND west side of Detroit, as they informed me,, who were betting on the races. I hung out with them for a while, got some nice images and audio, and set off on my way. (ill post those pics later today) I shot some more random features and i decided i should probably go interview a driver while they werent doing anything so i could have some audio from a driver. Well, heres the kicker. The First guy i walked up on was from Temperance, MI (Thats one of the few counties we cover, so it was great to get audio from a local guy because most guys were from Detroit) named Jay. He was driving a really old plain looking Ford Fairmount to which someone later said, "Hey, My grandma drove one of those!" Basically its the last thing youd expect to see on a drag strip, so that was cool too. Oh, and the guy and his wife were extremely nice, affectionate with his wife, and most important, willing to let me follow them around for a while and get some audio (if you cant tell no, i was working on a multimedia piece) and stills. So a few minutes later, he pulls his car up to the starting line to race against something very loud, very big, and very yellow. The guy drops his arms (old school racing style) and they're off. Well, Jay started just a bit slower and was about a car length behind for most of the race. Oh well, i though he lost but its cool, cause i still have some nice images and audio. Well, the results came back and he actually beat the guy on down the track. Thats when i though, wouldn't it be cool if this randon guy i picked won the whole thing. Well, 4 races later he did. He won it all. 10,000 bucks plus other stuff. So, i ended up with all images an audio from him and his family. I posted the slideshow below.

Looking back at the end of the night driving home, i realized that this is why i love what i do. Its all about people, emotions, and stories. Its not about going to the race track and finding some cool pictures of cars, that just isnt what drives me. Finding a story full of moments and emotion and showing what it was like to be there through someone elses eyes. Its being able to document the most important event in someones life, and most importantly being able to share in their excitement, even if its only on the inside. Thats what its all about.

I will say though that i had a bit of trouble with the audio. People talking and loud muscle cars didn't seem to compliment each other especially with the microphone i was using, so please forgive that

Click HERE for Slideshow