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.
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
The final hours are counting down for 2011. What a year. For me it was a rebuilding year both professionally and physically. I started out the year with being hit by a car while out on assignment for my newspaper and the result has been an intensive year of doctors visits, pain management and rehabilitation. I’m finally starting to feel better but my recovery is far from over. The car accident was a pretty derailing experience for my year and it has taken me a while to get back on the tracks. My priorities this year have been to heal my body and continue to form the foundation for my future in the business of photography. Right around the time of my accident, I had a series of pretty intense/ego bruising photo edits from some very talented and respected editors in the journalism industry. It’s always good to have that reality check to put you in your place and make you re-evaluate what you are doing with your craft. It forced me to do a lot of soul searching with how I approach my photography and my maneuvering through the rapidly changing journalism industry. It was good for me to hear and I think down the road I will be a stronger photographer for it. I still haven’t quite figured it all out but I can say confidently that I made some progress this past year and that I have high hopes for 2012. I’m looking forward to it. Happy New Year everyone! -M
Man where did the year go? To tell the truth I’m glad to be over with it. It has been a long year of doctor visits and general soreness with my injuries from my Christmas 2010 car accident. I’m looking forward to the new year. Looking back on my work for December I feel like I got enough good photos to end on a high note for the year. I’ve been shooting a lot of “Day in the Life” mini photo stories that are slated to run throughout the holiday weekend. The concept for them is that I follow around a person in the community for a couple hours and try to show what it’s like to live a day in their shoes. It’s been a lot of fun for me. So far I’ve spent time with a cab driver, a preschool teacher, a specialty cake maker and a special needs school bus driver. They have been a nice change from the avalanche of holiday stories that tend to come with the December month. Overall its been an enjoyable month. -M
Yesterday evening I covered a tear jerker of a story for my newspaper. We found out late in the day that a Travis Air Force Base military dad was going to be surprising his 4-year-old daughter and wife by coming home early and show up at the daughter’s dance recital here in downtown Fairfield. His plan was to sneak into her recital and then once she finished, he would walk out from the crowd and go to her on stage. I decided to camp out behind the curtains stage left and then when the moment came, rush out onto the stage to make my frame. It was pretty special to watch the daughter finish dancing then see her eyes grow big and tear up as she yelled out “Daddy!” and ran to hug him. Soon after, wife came up on stage too and there was a great family moment with the crowd applauding. I knew going into it what side of the stage he would likely walk up so I set up a strobe on the overhead balcony shooting down to the steps. I was thinking the moment could happen either on stage or down in the crowd. I compensated by aiming my flash so it would hit both. I got lucky that they were facing away from the audience and towards me. I think it worked out pretty well. I like how I can see the crowd in this image. The first image in this post is from when the daughter stopped her initial hug to look her father in the eyes. I think she was a bit stunned. Rightly so. It ran big on the front page of our paper this morning. You can read the accompanying article here. The local broadcast stations covered it as well. The rest are some other images from the event that I liked. It’s times like this that I feel really lucky to be working as a journalist. It warms the soul to see a young military family like this getting to spend Christmas together. Happy Holidays everyone! -M
Upon my return to work recently after my bout with pneumonia, I was given a fun, but hasty assignment by my photo editor. Often times planned scheduled stories won’t work out for some reason or another which leaves the management to scramble to fill the void. Such a time came a week or two ago, when our planned photo package for our Sunday Living section of the newspaper fell through. My boss turned to me to come up with a filler story. We’ve had an exceptional extended fall here in Northern California and my assignment was to go out and document the fall colors through a photo essay within three days. I must say I really enjoyed doing it. Although it was a rushed story, I took the opportunity to slow down and really study the scenery I was photographing. I was pleased with the results. Crazy to think we are just a couple weeks away until Christmas. These warmer California “winters” are messing with this midwesterner’s head. Is it weird that I want to see everything covered in snow for the holidays? Thanks for looking. -M
Here are some of my favorites photographs from November at my newspaper staff job. I had a rough November. For two and a half weeks I was sick at home with pneumonia. I must say it was a well needed rest and I’ve been feeling much better both physically and mentally. I’m incredibly backed up with photo posts and I’m playing a little catch up with them. More to come. Thanks for looking. -M
Yesterday went from a pretty lax assignment day to a full on spot news intensity over a six alarm fire at a plastic factory in Fairfield, California. I wasn’t thinking much about it as I made my way out towards Travis Air Force Base. Nine times out of ten fires around here are small or just smoke from a faulty kitchen appliance. As I made the turn off of Texas Street and headed down Air Base Parkway in Fairfield I immediately saw that this was no ordinary fire. I saw a huge towering cloud of black smoke billowing on the horizon. I’ve never seen a fire so big. I arrived at the scene to see fire crews from Fairfield and surrounding agencies working to put out a massive blaze that was burning stacks of polypropleyne packing bins at Macro Plastics, a local plastic factory located in an industrial area near Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. It literally blocked out the sun and bore an eerie resemblance to the pictures I saw of burning oil fields inIraq during Desert Storm. I was at the scene for over three hours as emergency crews tried to the contain the blaze. There wasn’t a whole lot that they could do. Here are some of the photos I made during my coverage of the fire. You can read the whole story of the blaze on the Daily Republic’s website here. Crazy day. -M
June has always been a point in the year where change comes about in Fairfield. Schools are letting out for the summer and the daily work at my newspaper shifts from the sports and education reporting into a more laid back summer mode. It’s a chance to divulge more time to long term stories. I welcome it. Lately I’ve found myself shooting a lot of assignments from a high vantage point. I recently accompanied airmen from Travis Air Force Base up into a KC-10 Extender for a military mid air fueling exercise. It was pretty cool to be 40,000 ft up in the air in the tail section of a military jet looking down on a huge cargo plane. Likewise I also had the chance to document a young team of rescue first responders practicing their evacuation of a victim from the view point of their large training towers. This July marks my third year anniversary working at the Daily Republic newspaper in Fairfield. It’s crazy how fast it has all past by me and still to this day I am pleased to find myself still experiencing new situations and covering new stories. It also makes me step back and think about how much I’ve grown both photographically during my time here. I’ve been quite busy developing my wedding photography business. My role documenting weddings has quickly become a huge enjoyment for me. One that has caught me off guard at times. I think some good changes are on the horizon for me.
And I’m back. I took a little break from the blog this month. So much has been going on in my neck of the woods. Here are some of the images I made this month that stood out to me. I felt pretty good about the images I made. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching in my photography this year. The year started out pretty rough for me with beginning it with being in a car accident and then getting some heavy portfolio reviews from my mentor Alex Garcia and legendary photo editor Mike Davis. The result of these encounters is that the first half of this year has been a big period for growth and reflection both mentally and photographically. I feel like I am finally regaining my rhythm and have started making some nicer images. All for the better. Both of those guys opened my eyes to a lot of things and I am very grateful for their honesty and time. I’ve been working really hard at getting my Greener Visuals Wedding Photography business off of the ground and it is starting to bare fruit. I’ve got five weddings lined up this year and am working on securing a couple more. Things are good just incredibly busy. Always a good thing. Thanks for looking. -M
Howdy guys. Well, it was a pretty slow April around the newspaper. But I wanted to share some of my favorite shots from this past month. Thanks for looking. Cheers to warm weather. -M
March was been a busy month for me. In addition to working at my staff position at the Daily Republic newspaper in Fairfield, I have also been developing my wedding photography business on the side. Between meeting other wedding vendors in the area, getting a new wedding photography logo and building up a new wedding website, I have had little time for anything else. It is a strange notion to me that I have to now plan out my weekends with friends often three weeks in advance. I guess this is what it’s like being an adult.
Well despite the workload, I’ve been enjoying myself at my staffer position. March lent itself to a lot of great photo opportunities. The weather here in California has been gorgeous and with it, people are coming out of their winter shells and are being active again. I’m looking forward to what April will bring. Here are some of my favorite images I made this past month. Thanks for looking. -M
I feel like I am starting to get back into my photo groove at my staff job here at the Daily Republic newspaper. My back has been feeling a lot better and with it I have been going out a lot more on my own to feature hunt and explore the area. I’ve been pretty busy both at work and at home. Wedding season is on the horizon and I have been working with wedding planners and talking to brides no stop. Overall, February has been a lot of fun. If any of you haven’t had a chance to check out my wedding work, I encourage you to do so. Especially if you know of anybody needing a wedding photographer. I travel. Thanks for looking. All the best, -M
Patricia Armet, right, kisses her 9-month-old Blue Nose American Pit Bull Terrier named Precious as she hangs out under a North Texas Street bus stop Monday afternoon. Pictured in the background is Michael Greene, left, and Tom Love.
Vacaville resident and country singer Buck Ford, 21, practices with his band at his Vacaville home Tuesday evening.
Sam and Lydia Katchmar have been married for 21 years and they said the success of their marriage is based off of their shared love of polka dancing.
Rowland and Wanda Spaythe ran away to get married at the age of 16 together and have spent their lives seeking adventure together. For ten years they lived and traveled on a boat sailing around the world.
Employee volunteers from the North Bay Medical Center socialize between video takes of their promotional rap video Friday afternoon in Fairfield. The event was part of the U.S. Department of Health Social Services promotional video aimed at informing women about heart attacks.
Umbrellas were out in full force outside the Solano County Government Center in downtown Fairfield Thursday afternoon as rain continued to pour down most of the day.
Rick Watson practices navigating with his white cane through the upper level of the Westfield Mall Friday morning in Fairfield. Watson has a degenerative eye disease that is quickly causing him to go blind.
The student section at Armijo High School’s Girls Basketball game cheer on their team during their Tuesday night during their Sac-Joaquin Section playoff game against Merced High School in Fairfield.
Armijo High School players Erica Bossett, left, and Chloe Dawkins, right, battle for ball pocession against Merced High School’s Brittany Scott during their Sac-Joaquin Section playoff game in Fairfield Tuesday evening.
Little leaguers Dylan Martin, 6, Joseph Hernandez, 7, Ernest Turner, 6, and Armando Hernandez, 5, left to right, learn how to field a ground ball during their Fairfield Pacific Little League Single A Giants team practice at Woodcreek Park in Fairfield Wednesday afternoon.
Here is a multimedia video I just completed about a finish carpenter that defied the failing economy by turning his childhood fun into a modern-day longboard skateboard venture.
I’m pretty excited about this post. For the past month I have been working night and day on this multimedia project. I found Bob Waller, of Waller’s Woodys, by chance while working on another story for my newspaper. Bob is a high end finish carpenter here in Fairfield who for the last 25 years has been doing high end custom woodworking and carpentry throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. As he puts it, “I was a cake decorator for a house. Doing beauty for the sake of beauty.” When the economy began taking a nose dive two years ago, Bob watched as his business dwindled from being booked six months out to a near trickle. It was that point that he realized he needed to go another direction. A phoenix rising out of the ashes. Through the encouragement of his sons, he decided to harness the life-long love of skateboarding and started a longboard skateboard company based off of the old 1960’s Woody panel wagons.
This story meant a lot to me in that it was a very personel project. For the past couple of months I had been frustrated with the stories that I was producing mostly due to the fact that my newspaper always gave me very limited time to development and work on one. I wanted a project that I could do on my time at the pace I wanted to develop it at. A pace that favored quality over quick deadlines. Waller’s Woodys was my answer. Bob and his family were gracious enough to open their door and let me into their lives. Through their patience and trust, I was given full reign to experiment and try new approaches to telling a story. Most notably my use of video. I’ve done little video work as a photojournalist throughout my career and I saw this project as a great opportunity to give it a shot. I had a great time with it. I am grateful to them for allowing me play and to step out of my comfort zone as a journalist. Check out the video, let me know what you think and spread the word. Best, -M
I’d like to dedicate this story to a friend and insanely talented photographer Monica Lopossay who recently helped me to refocus my approach to my photography. I am forever grateful.
Last week I was sent out to Travis Air Force Base to photograph the arrival of the California National Guard’s 49th Military Police Brigade after their year of deployment to Iraq. This isn’t the first time that I’ve documented a troop arrival. But this time was a bit different in that our fair Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would be in attendance to shake the hand of each troop as they got off the plane. This changed my approach to photographing the event in that my access to roam around was limited by the numerous “Secret Service” aka California State Troopers who are his body guards. I decided to really study the crowd and try to absorb the mood of the place. The impatient excitement of the family members was everywhere. I realized that for all the stresses I might have during my work day, none hold a candle to the military family members that must wait around for their loved ones to return home from a war. This became apparent to me when I started to watch the faces of family members as they saw their loved ones, their streaming tears of joy and then watch them embrace on the windy, military tarmac. What a release. What a relief to have your daughter, your son, your mom or your dad back save and sound. It was a pretty cool event to witness. -M
It was pretty incredible. June seemed like such a busy month for assignments and then July came around and instantly there was almost nothing. It has been a blessing and a curse. Good because I have been avoiding going out into the 100 degree heat of Fairfield and have instead been devoting my time to revamping my Shopping for Dynamite book. It has been bad because I haven’t been shooting much photos. Hence the lack of July posts. I figured I would post some of my favorites of the month here.
Here is a recent documentry project I finished up here at work. I have included the page layout from how it ran in the paper too. Best, -M
Artificial light allows Solano County residents to continue doing the tasks of daily life long after the sun sets. But the luxury of light comes at a cost – it dims the starry grandeur of the night sky and, when used improperly, wastes energy. Light pollution foes advocate using only the amount of light that is needed and focusing it on the areas where it’s needed. As Solano County continues to grow, communities must decide how much light is needed for safety, advertising and other hallmarks of modern life. They must decide how much is too much.
Well the weather here in Northern California is finally clearing up. We have had a ton of rain and it has forced a lot of my photo sessions indoors. Over the last week or so many of my assignments have revolved around individuals learning something new. The first two images were taken of a local grade school gym teacher who was gearing up for his first MMA fight. I spent some time out at a local wildlife refuge where I photographed docents in training for a biology tour. The winter sport seasons are winding down with the state basketball tournament happening this weekend. I look forward to changing things up. The basketball photo here is of these grade schoolers who went undefeated in their winter league season. The last two images are from a story on the increased use of cell phones in grade schools. It was crazy to witness all these little kids pouring out of school with a phone up to their ear talking with friends or calling for rides home. It was one of my first “old” moments where I remembered back when I was their age we used payphones and usually had to just hope the rides would come. So much has changed since that time. Crazy.