I’m a little late with getting this good news posted but I was thrilled to learn that a couple of big projects I worked on while at my last newspaper, The Daily Republic, was recently recognized by the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Better Newspapers Contest. Reporter Barry Eberling and I won first place for our year-long documentary series on the Suisun Marsh which looked at the culture, people and environmental impacts that were going on around the popular outdoor recreation area. In addition, I was stoked to see that I won first place for a multimedia project I did on Bob Waller, a finish carpenter who when the economy tanked took it upon himself to go another direction and tap into his life long love of surfing and skateboarding by blending the two and making his own custom longboard skateboards. I was also recognized in the Art/Nature Photo category for my coverage of a local duck hunting club and our photo department as a whole was honored for our Lifestyles coverage. I did a lot of growth while working at the “DR” and I’m proud to get a non for all the hard work we put into those stories. You can read the article about it on the Daily Republic website here.
Here are some recent images I’ve made for the newspaper in the last week or so. So much of the assignments I’ve been doing lately are for upcoming magazine articles. I can’t show them yet but more photos are on the horizon. Thanks for looking. -M
Blink an eye and you realize summer is almost over. Crazy. I’ve been keeping pretty busy these days traveling nearly every weekend out of town for magazine assignments for upcoming Montana Quarterly articles and traveling to California for my wedding business. The combination of the two, has left me little time for much else. Though exhausting at times, luckily, I’ve been enjoying the journey. Here are some of my favorite images I’ve made at the newspaper during the last month. Thanks for looking. -M
Here’s a collection of images I made for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle over the past couple of weeks. Thanks for looking! -M
One of my favorite things about my new position at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle is the fact that in addition to providing daily photos, we also publish numerous high quality, in depth magazines that allow us photographers an opportunity to produce long form documentary photo stories. With the state of the newspaper industry these days, it’s rare that a news organization can support this type of investigative journalism. In many ways it feels like I’m working for a bigger metro paper because usually only the bigger news organizations have the budget to produce this type of content. For a photojournalist and storyteller like myself, it is an incredible opportunity and one I relish.
About a month ago, I traveled east to the border of Eastern Montana and North Dakota on assignment for the Montana Quarterly magazine, to spend a couple days documenting the happenings of the oil boom that is sweeping the edge of the Great Plains. While national debate argues over the best direction for future energy consumption, be that green technology or our country’s dependence on foreign oil, the rush to mine the Bakken’s huge, expansive domestic oil deposits through a controversial method of hydraulic fracturing drilling are in full swing and are severely impacting the way of life, both good and bad, for these small Montana and North Dakota towns. In all aspects, it is becoming the new industrialization of the Great Plains. As a result, these towns struggle to maintain their small town culture while trying to support the wave of workers that are flooding in from all across the country looking for work. Their basic services and infrastructure (trash clean up, housing, road systems, sewage and water treatment, etc.) can barely keep up to support this boom. For the locals who own land or property, they are getting rich but for many other non-oil related businesses, the boom is crippling or eliminating their small businesses due to their inability to compete for employees with the high wages given from the oil companies. Many small businesses are collapsing as a result.
My assignment was to document how these drastic changes are effecting the local culture while giving insight to what the conditions are like for the traveling journeymen and oil rough necks (often living out of their cars or run down “Man Camps”) seeking to cash in on the oil boom out on the Bakken. Work there is abundant if you possess the right labor skills but more often than not, the lure of big oil brings a mixture of violent and sexual offenders mixed with honest folks trying to support their own loved ones elsewhere. For many of them, the Bakken is a chance for them to run away from poverty. Having only a couple days to get the story, I was limited in how deep I could immerse myself into the scene. These images are what I was able to take away from the experience. The story recently published in the Summer issue of the Montana Quarterly magazine and is on newsstands now. Reporting on the developments of the Bakken Oil fields are just beginning and it will be interesting to see how the ongoing debates develop over our country’s thirst for domestic energy and to see what the future holds for the Bakken and the people in it. You can read the entire story via pdf by following this link Money from the Earth. Cheers, -M
I spent last week chasing down old veterans for our Memorial Day coverage here at the newspaper. In my line of work, I meet a lot of veterans and I’m always impressed with the stories I here from them. Having not been raised in a military household, I have always struggled in separating my views as a 2012 citizen regarding the military and understanding the role and sacrifice these brave men and women have given to serve to protect this country in the past. Now, as a much older and wiser journalist, I’ve come to really appreciate them. Chronicle reporter Whitney Bermes and I spent hours with these interesting men and walked away with a better understanding of what they had to go through during a different time in this country. Fascinating guys. I had a lot of fun making these images. -M
Well, life has improved ten fold now that my second photographer Adrian has begun to settle into his new digs. It’s allowed me to make more time to hangout on my recent assignments and hopefully make better images. I must say I am still adjusting to being back in a mountain climate with it’s sporatic weather patterns. One day it will be 80 degrees and sunny the next day it will snow. Alas, I’ve rediscovered that spring comes slowly to Montana. The good weather will be here soon enough. I’m looking forward to it. Here are some favorite photos from the past couple weeks. Cheers, -M
Well I just got through a two week bender being the sole photographer here at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Needless to say I am in need of a proper weekend of relaxation. But our new hired gun/photographer my friend Adrian Sanchez Gonzalez has arrived in the Big Sky and I’m looking forward to working towards making our photo department the best in the state. Confidence is high. Here are some of my better images from the last couple weeks of working solo. Thanks for looking. -M
A couple weeks ago, I decided to spend the afternoon documenting the traditional end of the ski season pond skimming event at Big Sky Ski Resort. You’ll find events like these all over the Rocky Mountain West of skiers and snowboarders going big off a jump into an awaiting pool of water. It’s quite the spectator sport. Here are some of my favorite images from the day.
Whew! What a month. Between the start of my 2012 wedding season and the workload of being the only photographer at the newspaper, things have been go go go here on my end. But I’ve never been happier. Here are some of my favorites from the past couple of weeks.
So one of my favorite things about my new staff photographer gig at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle is that the newspaper also publishes 20 or so magazines and tabloid papers throughout the year. This is awesome because they often times present an opportunity for me to think of cool concepts for portraits or dive into a long term photo story about whatever featured topic we are covering. It feels like working at a big metro newspaper except our photo department has more of a say with how the photos are laid out. In the latest issue of Balance, I had the opportunity to photograph a local writer here in town for the release of her new book. The editors and I were kicking around ideas for conveying that she is a humor writer (and sometimes columnist for our paper) and that her first book was like launching into a new direction for her career. I came up with an idea of using paper airplanes made of newsprint. With the help of my sister Katie, we folded over 300 airplanes. They gave the desired effect. With me lucking out with the writer’s beautiful home and window light, I made numerous images I was really happy with. Below is how we ended up running the story. Thanks for looking. -M
I love Montana! I’ve been having a blast this past month exploring the Bozeman area. Here are some of my latest images I made at my new staff photographer gig at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The snow is melting and spring is slowly settling in. I’m looking forward to what’s around the corner. Thanks for looking, -M
I recently completed my first multimedia piece since starting at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. My reporter Amanda and I had heard a rumor that there was this goose and donkey at a nearby farm who had developed a friendship. Sure enough, we found just that when we visited Barbara Kurk on her farm. My editors were pushing for a multimedia piece about the pair so I brought along an old handicam video camera. Time was short to produce this video. In all I had about three busy days to collect the footage and then put it all together in one 13 hour day. I was happy with how it turned out. Thanks for looking! -M
One of the cool things The Bozeman Daily Chronicle does is have a weekend page dedicated solely to photography. They call it there “Viewfinder” section and it serves as a blank canvas to fill with pictures of whatever the photo department wants. This past weekend was my first time being in charge of it and I decided to head over to a local foundry here in town where my friend Ty works. Tucked away in Bear Canyon just outside of Bozeman, Montana, a small handful of metalworkers and artists make up one of the top bronze foundries in the country. The Northwest Art Casting Company has quickly become a go to destination for high end artists across the country looking to have their sculptures enlarged and casts in bronze. I decided to spend the day doing a visual study of the place and to document the process of making bronze statues. It was pretty awesome. Here are some of my favorite images from the day. For more information about their process or to take a tour of their facilities, visit there website at www.nwartcasting.com
This was a cool story I worked on last week. I got the opportunity to head out to Moonlight Basin Ski Area to document inventor/skier Bob Kolesar along with his wife Ellyn Murphy and their concept Ski Bikes. Basically ski bikes are a high end mountain bike design with modified skis instead of wheels. Bob started making them after Ellyn sufferred a severe head injury back in the 1980’s when the cliff she was hiking on collapsed and she fell 35 feet. The injury has left her having servere weakness on her right side which makes it near impossible for her to enjoy one of her favorite pasttimes of skiing. As a remedy, Bob starting making these awesome bikes for disabled individuals so that they could enjoy the slopes together again. My reporter Jodi and I spent the afternoon trying these things out and had an absolute blast with them. They are awesome. For the full story check out the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. -M
In the blink an eye, I’ve realized that it has been almost a month now since I’ve been living and working in Bozeman, Montana. I’ve been settling into my new position at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle here quite nicely. My transition from the busy world of California into the calm wild openess of Montana has been a surprisingly quick and painless journey for me. It’s a place that already feels like home. Like all newspaper gigs, I’ve had a gamut of different things to photograph lately. The one major difference has been the change in temperature. Where in California I would consistantly be shooting out in 100 degree heat, I was quickly re-introduced to the polar opposite of Montana’s winter and trying to operate my camera and my numb fingers in the daily snow storms here. In all, I’ve been having a great time photographing in a place and culture that fuels my soul. I feel like I’m just racing out of the starting gates. I can’t wait to see what awaits around the corner. Here some of my work from the last couple of weeks. -M
Note: I’m trying to figure out why my work computers are making my images look all flat when I save them for web. I’ll work on the annoyance. Thanks for looking.
I’ve been settling into my new surroundings quite nicely here in Bozeman. I’ve been surprised how quickly I’ve adapted into this new mountain lifestyle. After my first full week at my new staff photographer job at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, I decided to take up an offer from a new friend to cross country ski in Yellowstone National Park this past weekend. Not having XC skis of my own, I opted to rent some from the local Chalet Sports in downtown Bozeman and then met up with a new buddy Megan and made the 1 1/2 hour drive south towards Gardiner and the Mammoth Hot Springs for a day out in the mountains. We never made it to the ski trail. Megan had heard from a fellow park ranger that some wolves had been seen in a couple areas of the park recently and that we would have a good chance of seeing them. We decided to check out one of the sights on our way to the trail. Pay dirt. The first spot we saw about 5 wolves laying on a hillside and then stumbled across 10 more at a second location. We ended up scraping the skiing idea and spending the whole day watching the pack through the viewing scopes from the hardcore watchers who were helping out the resident wolf researchers. I have never seen wolves in the wild before. In one day we watched them play, breed, watched how they responded to the alpha males and females, and watched them cross a road in front of us to feast on a fresh buffalo carcass in a field. It was a surreal, fascinating day to watch how these often shy animals think and operate. It was rare treat. Kicking myself for not bringing a larger lenses, I had to settle to photograph them with a 200mm lens. Here are a couple that I liked including a lone bull buffalo cruising along the road. Loving Montana! -M
My mini vacation/moving road trip has come to an end. Tomorrow I start my new job as a staff photojournalist at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle newspaper in Bozeman, Montana. As I was leaving California, I managed to squeeze in one last steelhead fly fishing trip with my buddies Kara, Allison and Ryan for a two day mission to the Eel River and Redwood Creek. As you can tell from the photos, we did a lot of walking this trip. It was slow on the fish catching front but overall we had a great time in the beautiful northern California scenery of giant redwood trees. Here are some of my favorites.
Well the final hours of my last day as a Daily Republic staff photographer have come and gone. I’ve had a great 3 1/2 year run covering the Solano County community here near the San Francisco Bay Area. I did a lot of growth here as a shooter and now I look to the horizon towards my new staff photographer gig at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle working in the mountainous paradise of Bozeman, Montana. Four words: Epic Fly Fishing Country! I’m pretty excited about it. Montana is where I began my journalism career and I’m looking forward to returning to it with lots of experience under my belt and excitement to document the culture that I love so much. I’m already thinking of some great story ideas to tackle out there. Here’s to new beginnings! -Greener
It’s never too cold to fish. Back in December I headed up north for another weekend steelhead mission with my friends Ryan and Rich. I am not a morning person but when there is an opportunity to float on the Rogue River, I somehow find the motivation. Coffee helps. We left Ryan’s house early in the morning for the long drive north into Oregon and met Rich stream side as he was putting the boat in the water. I love how different a river can look and feel in the middle of winter. The color palettes stream side take on pastel hues and there is this cold, beautiful stillness to the landscape. It was a nice change of scenery. In between swinging assassin flies on our spey rods, I took the time to photograph the guys fishing. Being out there in the cold was worth it. After years of steelhead fishing in northern California and Oregon, I finally ended up catching my first adult steelhead. Thanks for looking, -M