Friday, December 17, 2010


I've been progressing in my portrait work and recently did engagement photos for two of my good friends, Melissa and Brady. We caught the last of the fall leaves for this outdoor photo shoot. Any trees with color grabbed my attention as we walked through Wyomissing Park.

There were plenty of great spots around the park, with wooden fences, a long stone wall, some old stone steps, and the creek.

In addition to the smiling portraits for the newspaper announcement etc we had some fun. I asked Melissa if there was any specific photos she was looking for and she said some walking photos.

They are a fun loving and goofy couple so I told them to just be them, and the outcome was perfect.

As we headed back to the car I saw this red barn and we snapped a couple near the doors.

The shoot was a great success, they loved the photos, and even are using some for save the date cards.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


It was a week of college and high school basketball, filed with terribly lit gymnasiums. We used to complain about the lights in the BJC but I know realize I was spoiled covering Penn State basketball. Gymnasiums in small colleges and high schools are difficult to work with, especially since I currently don't have the abilities to use my own lights. For all the games I covered this week my ISO was up at 2000 and my shutter speed at 1/250 to stop the action.

I was glad to talk to the reporter at the high school game I was covering and he encouraged me to take some photos of the coaches. It's always a good reminder and keeps me on my toes when the reporters are looking for more then just action photos. And coaches are sometimes just as entertaining as the game is.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Music Awards

Last night I was assigned to photograph the Lehigh Valley Music Awards. The concept of the show is pretty neat, honoring musicians and bands from the area in an awards show style like the Grammy's. The show ended up taking hours and they were way behind schedule but it was fun to cover with some interesting people there and some great music.

This year was the first out of the 12 years of the awards that a dance company performed.

Sid Bernstein, who is 92 years old, was a special awards winner and honorary guest. This is the man responsible for bring the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to America, in addition to being the first person to book rock concerts in sports stadiums.

Kevin Mackie just got nominated for a Grammy last week. He is the brains and producer behind an album of spoken word to raise money for healthy foods in schools. The album is geared for children and adults.

Wailing Waters, with lead singer Tyler Grady were the big winners of the night. With how far behind schedule the show was I was pushing deadline waiting for their performance. I hung out with them for a while backstage as they warmed up so I would have some photos as backup. Luckily I got to wait for the performance which I was very pleased about since the warmup photos were taken in a prop closet. The guys are a little younger then me and were very friendly to work with. Tyler Grady was recently a finalist on American Idol.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Craft Show

I am going to take part in my first craft show on Saturday. I am hoping to sell some prints I have in addition to talking to people from the community and getting my name out there. Here's a sneak peak at some of the photos that will be for sale!

Penn State football favorites

Around Penn State's University Park.

Several images from around Berks County. These photos have been collected over the last few years and I'm hoping to add more photos of unique places around the area.

The Wilson Music Boosters Craft Show, Saturday December 4, from 9-3 at Wilson Southern Middle School.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fall Portraits

Several weeks ago while spending time at my aunt and uncle's house the topic of portraits came up. They mentioned how they hadn't had a family portrait taken since their kids were young. It was a great opportunity for me to work on my portrait skills and learn how to direct my subjects, which was a lot more comfortable to get used to doing with family. We had the perfect morning with great fall colors to round out the photos.

My uncle had his hip replaced which makes some sitting positions uncomfortable and difficult to stay in. To try to eliminate his pain, and make his smiles more natural we tried a few standing poses.

Close up of the kids for a little something different then the standard school photos.

Haley was a great model, with a natural smile and very easy to direct.

They are pleased with the photos and I was happy to have another portrait session to learn from. My grandmother will be happy too, she has some photo Christmas presents on the way.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I became a photographer because I found it to be one of the things I was good at and enjoyed at the same time. I became a photojournalist because I liked the excitement of it, something new and different everyday. Some days I try to find ways to make a difference in the world. Then there are days like today that, to some individuals, I made a difference in their world.
Today I photographed a closure ceremony at a church who had their last worship in their old sanctuary. The congregation had memories of the times they've spent in the current sanctuary but were filled with excitement for the new sanctuary to open it's doors next Sunday for the first time. Their excitement overflowed towards me. Every person I talked to from the moment I arrived till the moment I left was thrilled that I was there to help document and tell their story. When I went to ask the pastor if I could photograph through the worship there was no hesitation to a yes. Many people came up to me to ask when the pictures will be in the paper or just to say thank you for being there. Usually I would be bashful to photograph during a time of worship but it was such a positive atmosphere that it made the situation comfortable and enjoyable.

Days like today help remind me that it doesn't have to be world breaking news to be important and to help make a difference in the lives of others.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today I was sent to cover an event at a small park in the middle of a city block. A group of college students are working to improve the park, with the help of the kids who spend their afternoons there.
Since I had a large amount of time I could spend at the park and I wanted to make interesting photos I thought about some suggestions from the critique I had at the end of my internship. One of the suggestions I was given was that I could be edgier with some of my photos, to be more daring about how I shot them. I always am looking for unique angles but today I tried to think about taking it to the next level. I tried more angles, played with light, and in camera crops.
This photo I really like the angle but I'm not positive on the crop. I unfortunately don't have any more of the boys head which would help to complete the image.

I liked the colors of the mural on the wall as several of the boys raked the leaves. I didn't submit this photo for the paper because I couldn't make a decision on how I felt about the photo since you can't see the boys face.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Sunday I photographed a marching band competition for the Morning Call. The competition went all day but there was only one local band that I needed to cover. Till the band arrived and started their warmup the sun was setting. As I watched the band warm up the color guard behind them caught by attention. I choose one of the color guard members who was away from some of the other girls and was warming up with one of her flags.
As I photographed I moved where I was positioned to eliminate as many distractions as possible, including an instructor to the left of the girl and a light post to the right. Once I found the cleanest background and best angle to feature the setting sun I dropped my shutter speed to silhouette the girl. As she focused on her routine I fired away, not knowing what kind of turns and moves she would do next. Once she had completed her routine I flipped through and found this image, which I was pleased with.

Unfortunately till it was the bands turn to compete the sun had set over the horizon and the stadium lights didn't make for any unique photographs as the natural light did.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Vocal Headshots

I was recently contacted by a friend from high school who was panicking that she needed some photos done as soon as possible. She's applying to grad school for vocal performance and part of the application is a headshot and full body shot. Growing up around the performing arts I knew what kind of photo she was looking for and was pleased for the opportunity to keep improving my portrait skills.

We both were unsure of the full body photo and decided to work through that pretty early in the shoot. It was hard to find a pose that was natural and showed off her physique and personality. Her dress had pockets which helped her to fall into a natural stance.

It took me a while to figure out exactly how I wanted to light her but once I got comfortable with a set up I added some color to show her off more and hopefully pop out from the background.

For the headshot I was looking for something tight, clean and with her face well lit to show off her features. Went through a whole set of images not pleased with my light. When I laid a mirror down on the table that she was gently leaning on it brought helped the light to fill in some features I felt were missing. We both loved the result.

She had mentioned during the shoot that she liked her blue eyes and was hoping her blue dress would bring them out so a blue gel was the perfect addition to many of my images. Here's my favorite image.

It was another adventure in my portrait work and I am starting to get better at vocalizing what I would like my subject to do and where I need the lights for the look I'm going for. Anxious to try again.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! (sorry it's a day late)

I've decided that Halloween and I have a love hate relationship.
Earlier in the month I had to photograph several haunted attractions in the area. Including one that is ranked #1 haunted attraction in America. That day, I decided I hated Halloween as it was impossible to think about my job and making photos amid jumping and screaming.

Yesterday I loved Halloween. The annual Halloween parade in Allentown was full of cute kids in costumes and excited faces as they scrambled for free candy. I found it difficult to photograph the parade because getting names meant I had to awkwardly march along with them down the parade route. I was glad that before the parade I headed to the meeting spot for all the groups and was able to capture the last minute costume details.

Leroy Piggy was not pleased with his owners choice of costume, but he can smell drugs on a person, or even underground, and has 14 vocalizations to let humans know what he smells.

As the parade kicked off the grand marshal had a great expression, I'm curious as to what was so funny.

What's a parade without the shriners and their tiny honking cars?

I ended up walking almost the entire 2 mile parade route as I followed certain groups in the parade and looked for great costumes watching the parade. It was a tiring assignment as I hiked back to my car, but filled with some great smiles.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Emotion 2

As I was hoping I was given the opportunity to cover one of the high school championship games. Mid afternoon on a beautiful fall day for boys soccer Colonial League Championships and to continue my focus on the emotion that goes into the game. The game was high intensity with some dirtier playing then I'd seen earlier in the season. This was perfect for what I was working with since the players were constantly right against each other fighting for the ball. I'm having a hard time deciding which photo I liked the best for intensity but the flying of the shaggy hair in this made it a favorite.

Where the game was played also helped greatly with my photos since there is a wooded area that lines the majority of the one side of the field. I was pleased to see how the dark trees in the background drop off and helps the focus on the faces and expressions of the athletes.

With three minutes left to go in a tied game Southern Lehigh scored and celebrated within a clear view of where I was positioned. I had several photos in the sequence as more players ran over but I think this one shows the excitement the best, and the face of the kid who scored the goal, #10.

I was slightly disappointed when the team didn't pile up in celebration on the field at the end of the game, but was still pleased with another game that led to some great expressions.

I am pleased with my action and reaction shots lately and am planning to start shooting more overall scene setters at sporting events. I'm thinking some photos of the crowd, coaches and bench will help to round out my story, so stay tuned.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


As I've been working on updating my journalism portfolio and website for job applications I've been gathering tips from other photographers to figure out the things that I am missing. These little things I've been trying to think about more, because they could set me above of other photographers.
Earlier this week I was called to cover high school playoff sports for the Morning Call so I decided to focus on the emotion and reaction of sports teams. High school athletes, especially those in the playoffs, would be perfect guinea pigs to try to capture their intensity and emotion.
I started out at girls field hockey as the sun was starting to set. I was disappointed to not get as many facial expressions here since their heads are often down looking at the ball. The two goals that occurred while I was there had minimal celebration so again disappointed. My favorite shot from the day has some emotion but most of all my eye was drawn to the angles that are created in the image.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to stay through the end of the game to see if the winning team celebrated, I had to run to edit and get to soccer.
When I got to soccer it was dark out, and the stadium lights cast some strong shadows depending where you were standing. Found a spot that was better for the light and like the expression I captured as the goalie made a save.

Emotion during the plays is important along with the emotion of when something good or bad happens to a team. I was pleased with this shot to show the good and the bad, one team celebrates the goal as the other slumps in disappointment.

Due to my impending deadline I had to leave to edit and missed the reactions of double overtime and penalty kicks. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity in the championship rounds to stay through the end of the game for more celebrations and emotions.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday Night Lights Overrated?

Why can't all high school football games be played on Saturday afternoons? Last night, at 7 o'clock, with fluorescent stadium lights and too muddy of a field to kneel. Not to mention that it was in the low 50's, with winds so strong it ripped the cheerleaders poster before the team did. With the the poor lighting and the majority of the players not looking up very often it resulted in many dark faces and difficulty in stopping the action.

Luckily quarterbacks have to look up to find an open teammate to pass to so I had enough light on his face to make for a cleaner photo.

Now in contrast to last night's game today was perfect. Gorgeous sunny fall afternoon. Game started at two so the sun wasn't directly above the field anymore which gave nice light depending on the direction of the play. The ground was a lot better today so I could kneel for a better angle. (and almost get run over) Also I got to test out my teleconverter that I bought a few weeks back but haven't had the opportunity to use because at night games I couldn't afford to loose two f/stops.

My favorite shot from today's game and the play that if I would have taken two more frames I would probably be in a lot of pain writing this...

So in the end I think Friday night lights isn't as great as all those movies make it sound and more teams should start considering Saturday sunlight more.