This was from an assignment I shot the other day about a elderly Fairfield couple, Jim Davis and his fiancee Barbara Gregory, who met over the Internet and were now getting married. They had me over for a tour of their home and to tell of how they met. Jim is the biggest pack rat I have ever seen. Collections of stuff was everywhere. Antiques galore from floor to ceiling. Both of them loved to talk and flirt with each other. They reminded me of a couple of high school students; laughing and giggling the entire time. They were a riot. I had them sit at there dining room table and tell stories of how they met online. “I knew I would marry him when he cleared a wall for my photographs,” said Barbara about the wall behind her fiancee. I thought it was cute that after all this time, they had finally found each other and I felt that this shot really captured their relationship. Ah, the power of the Internet.

After these last couple of weeks shooting high school sport playoffs, my arms have developed a tan line that a farmer would be proud of. The job has been keeping me busy. Here’s a long overdue update.

One of the nice things about working at a newspaper is that the assignments tend to be very random. This past couple of days definately fit into that mantra. It started off with a story on a women’s whale boat rowing team. These women were training in the Bay for an upcoming race paddling 80-year-old whaling boats with massive oars. They were pretty intense and a lot of fun to shoot. Grunts and all. From there I ended up shooting some portraits of retiring teachers/coaches and a preview picture for the upcoming Wizard of Oz musical opening up this weekend in Fairfield. Baseball season is in full swing. Top off the list with a wine ‘n’ dine, an airforce spouse home makeover and a kids fishing derby. Never a dull moment in the news biz. Things are going well. -M

Every once in a while at my job, an assignment comes up where all the elements fall into place and I get to make a really creative portrait. Such was the case with this photograph. This was for a story on 17-year-old Danielle Burmudez who was recently awarded membership to the National Society of High School Scholars. To earn such an award a student needs to not only have good grades but also to be involved with their school activities and community. Burmudez was on the swim team and also created her own non profit program with two school mates to raise money for the Foundation for African Medicine and Education. She collects plastic bottles and then cashes them in for money that is then sent off to children in need. Already she has raised almost $300 through bottle donation.

She showed me her mountainous collection of bottles in her garage. I think one of the elements that go into making a good picture is getting your subject to hop on board your idea. This can be achieved many different ways but mainly through your enthusiasm, attitude and convincing argument for its purpose. The quicker you can establish trust with your subject the better your photos will be.

So for this shot I saw the bagged, plastic bottles all bundled up nicely and told her that I wanted to bury her in them. Swimming in the success of her achievement. After promising to help her clean up she agreed and we got started. I think that really made all the difference. Here is another version of the picture showing how I lit the image. I had a strobe on the upper left side of the image balanced on stacked boxes about 4 ft tall and another strobe in the lower right corner illuminating her feet. The top strobe was bounced off the poster board at right to give a little fill light to the right side of her face. I was pleased with the results.