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
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.
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
December has always been a great month for me. Despite the obvious Christmas appeal, it also is the month I was born. So close to the new year and have taken to using the month as a time for reflection. This December was particularly nice due to the fact that I was finally able to have a vacation and be home with the family for the holidays. It just doesn’t feel like the holidays unless I am back in Chicago with the sleet and rain. It was a great time. I now am focusing my attention on the coming year. Changes are on the horizon. Big things to come. Can’t wait. Happy New Year everybody. -M
Yesterday I had an opportunity to spend the day riding along on a C-17 Globemaster cargo jet for a media day with the United States Air Force. The event was all part of a military training operation called HYDRA created to give contingency response units such as the 615th Contingency Response Wing of Travis Air Force Base the chance to train with other Air Force units and services on quickly setting up and coordinating operations between multiple small airfields. This training would simulate how well the participants would respond to getting humanitarian supplies into an isolated region struck by an earthquake. It was also a chance for the military to show off it’s capabilities to the working press.
I had only previously been in these planes during airshows growing up. Now the opportunity to fly in one while being in the cockpit (especially when they would be doing an in flight refueling) was too cool to pass up. We spent the whole day flying around to different dirt landing fields and dry lake beds throughout southern California. My job was to document it. A long but entertaining day.