Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hot fun in the summer time...


It's pretty cliche I know, but kids playing in sprinklers is always a fun shot to take. This was shot during a United Way event that was taking place all across the city. It was nearly 100 that day and I was tempted to run through the sprinklers with the kids. The slip-n-slide they had looked like even more fun!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Meet Zane Grey Caddell, and his "other" side


One of the fun parts of covering the high school rodeo is some of the crazy competitions they have for the participants beyond the normal rodeo events. Like, the "Rodeo Olympics" a series of three events, goat dressing... a team of four compete to see who can put socks, shorts and "brush" a goat's teeth the quickest. Or the boot race, a team of four run to the other end of the arena, find their shoes, put them on and run back the first team back with their shoes on wins. While those two seem normal enough (Goat dressing normal? Maybe I've lived in Texas too long), the highlight of the night is the Cowboy Queen Contest.


Yep, 10 rough and tough cowboys dress up in dresses and evening gowns and compete for the crown. Including an interview and singing Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel like a Woman." This year's winner was Zane Grey Caddell, from La Grange, Tx. Who it turns out was also competing for a trip to the national high school rodeo finals in the bareback bronc riding competition. He finished fourth in the competition and qualified for nationals... so I guess the question now is will he bring his dress with him? 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

High School Rodeo Finals...


Even though I live in Texas shooting rodeo is rather rare. In fact, I only really shoot two rodeos a year here on a regular basis. One of them, probably the biggest is the Texas High School Rodeo finals. And with my D3 I can actually shoot some of the action that happens inside the coliseum (the above photo was shot at 5000 ISO).


And while it is nice to finally be able to shoot real action in the cave-like Taylor County Coliseum. The most fun is walking around the Expo Center grounds working the light and meeting some really nice people who appreciate your hard work (someone actually told me this!). The grand entries by the regions is always a good way to find nice images for the paper. Because, the rodeo starts right about the time that the sun is going down, so you get the nice light of the evening, and some nice light coming into the horse barns to shoot with. It makes it easier for me, all I need to do is show up and find some kids painting their horses!



Saturday, June 21, 2008


One assignment I end up shooting every year is graduation. It's just inevitable when you work the evening shift. And, after shooting the graduations for the local schools pretty much every you I've noticed something... they never change. The only thing that is different from year to year is the students names. That's why I try to make it a point to try to get something before the start of the ceremony. This is especially true with Wylie (the only school's graduation I had to shoot this year), since it's graduation is on Friday night, so the earlier I can get photos in the happy the page designer is who is putting the page together. There are two people I work with I try to never piss of, page designers and the maintenance guy (you'd understand why on the latter when you are sitting in the office working on deadline and ever notice a river flowing out of the bathroom at 9pm!).

Just because my goal is to get my shot before the ceremony doesn't mean that I won't be sticking around at least for the start, you never know what is going to happen. This year, however, nothing exciting happened... it was just like most years, rather dull and long. But, since I knew I had a useable shot before the ceremony started I was able to leave early. It's a nice feeling getting out ahead of the traffic and knowing your not going to have a page designer breathing down your necking waiting to send a page because of you. Not to mention being three-quarters of the way through the graduation and still wondering what you're going to use for the paper b/c you showed up at the start of the graduation ceremony. It happens, this is after all a newspaper and unscheduled news happens. Luckily, this year it worked out well, and I'm happy with what I got.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

State Softball


I always enjoy shooting the high school state tournaments. I know I can always be assured of a few things: 1) The level of competition will be about as good as you can find, even in the lower classifications.


2) This will be the only assignments I have to concentrate on, which will allow me to exercise maximum creativity.


3) The access, while more limited than the regular season games, is still a lot better than you'll find for pro or college sports!


This year was the first time I covered the state softball tournament. In the past we either didn't have any local teams in it, or because of staffing issues (usually vacations) we weren't able to send a photographer. I was skeptical about going down there this year mainly because of what I had heard about limited access, lack of photo pits, and the boxes drawn out for photographers were not exactly made with photographers in mind, rather they were put there out of convenience... to everyone except photographers.


They key to dealing with all these problems is making the best out of what you are given. The two teams I was supposed to be covering were in Class A and 2A... the smallest classifications in the state. Which during the regular season doesn't make for ideal shooting conditions, at this level there is still talent even in the smaller classes.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wheat Harvest


The wheat harvest has started, from looking at some of the fields I didn't think it would be all that great, but I guess looks are deceiving. Even some of the farmers I'd spoken to while shooting the story told me they didn't have real high hopes back in February, but weekly rains over the past few months seem to have made it a success. One of the farmers I shot harvesting told me he was get about 32 bushels per acre, which I'm told is good.

I only wish that could mean cheaper food prices but, I guess with fuel prices as high as they are nothing will help that anytime soon.

I only wish I could have spent more than one afternoon working on the story, there were a lot of fun photos to be had. I enjoy agriculture stories, I think because I'm a city boy and it is something new for me.


Monday, June 2, 2008

"Do I need a shirt for this?"


So, we were doing a story about the graduating class of Hermleigh High School. Hermleigh is a small town about 70 miles northwest of Abilene. The whole high school only has about 40 kids in it, this year's graduating class has seven kids... all boys.

Most of the time when we call or show up at a small school in our area they are more than happy to help. This time was different. And after meeting them, I guess I can see why. I'm not going to say these were bad kids, they just weren't the "model students" that schools usually want us to write about. This made plenty of sense to me when I showed up to one of the kids' house and was asked, "Hey do I need to wear a shirt for this? Because I'll need to run home and get one if I do."

I actually had a really good time hanging out with them, I don't think they were that bad, they were kids. Honestly they kind of reminded me of myself when I was in high school (I wasn't exactly a model student either).

Check out the story here, a great read written by my coworker Kyle Peveto: Hermleigh Class of '08