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.

Ahhhhh, Graduation week. That special time of year when working as a staff photographer feels a lot like the movie Groundhog Day. The same over and over again. One of the challenges that my fellow shooters and I bestow upon each other is to try to reinvent yourselves as the week goes on. Because on the surface, all of the graduations are so similar. Repetition in the ceremonies, the speeches, the celebrations, etc that it can quickly feel like you are taking the same pictures. This year I was assigned to shoot three of the five high school ceremonies. I tried to keep a look out for something different than the typical ecstatic hands in the air shots of the graduates. The class president of the student body offered that chance. My favorite photo from the week was the one of the girl with the monarch butterfly in front of her. The caption for the photo ran as follows:

Vanden High School graduate Heaven-Leigh Christensen, 18, center, is visited by a monarch butterfly during the Class of 2010 graduation ceremony Friday afternoon. Butterflys were released by class president Sharlayne Moynahan, 18, not pictured, as a symbol of hope and transformation into new beginnings.

This shot was made well after the release of the butterflies. I saw this moment happening out of the corner of my eye and turned to snap a couple frames before this rogue monarch flew off. I thought it was a pretty neat ideal to incorporate in a speech and a different twist on the graduation photo scene. It made me think back to all of the transitions I’ve had in my life since high school graduation. These kids are in for a wild ride. I wish them the best. -M

To view more photos from my graduation coverage of Vanden High and Fairfield High, click on their names.