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
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.