Menu
menu
Mst. Sgt. Chris Lazar kisses his three-year-old niece, Keira Messinger, on the head after homecoming ceremonies for the 153rd Military Police Company at the Governor Bacon Parade Field in Delaware City, Del. on Saturday afternoon, September 28, 2013. The 153rd returned after nine months in Afghanistan assisting and training the Afghan police forces.
Mst. Sgt. Chris Lazar kisses his three-year-old niece, Keira Messinger, on the head after homecoming ceremonies for the 153rd Military Police Company at the Governor Bacon Parade Field in Delaware City, Del. on Saturday afternoon, September 28, 2013. The 153rd returned after nine months in Afghanistan assisting and training the Afghan police forces.

Continuing my path to catching the blog up, here are my favorites from September. I felt like I hit a bit of a rut in August, but September brought some good images and assignments my way.

A.I.'s duPont's Quadree Henderson, left, streaks down the sidelines through a patch of evening light as he's chased by Sussex Tech's Jawon Sivels, right, in the first quarter of a game at A.I. duPont High School on Friday night, September 6, 2013.
A.I.’s duPont’s Quadree Henderson, left, streaks down the sidelines through a patch of evening light as he’s chased by Sussex Tech’s Jawon Sivels, right, in the first quarter of a game at A.I. duPont High School on Friday night, September 6, 2013.

This frame from my first Friday night high school game of the season – actually my only Friday night high school game of the season now that I think of it – is one of my favorites. I watched as the gorgeous evening light started to fade while Sussex Tech’s band (seen in the background) played before the game started. The game looked like it would stat late and by the time it did, nearly the whole field was in shadows. I saw this patch of light and prayed to the photo gods, and they rewarded me. On the second play of the game Henderson streaked through it. Five minutes later there was no golden light left.

Emergency responders load 17-year-old Shyheim Buford into an ambulance after he was shot at 28th and Tatnall Streets in Wilmington, Del. on Friday night, September 13, 2013. Emergency personnel performed CPR on Buford at the scene, but he was pronounced dead at Christiana Hospital upon arrival.
Emergency responders load 17-year-old Shyheim Buford into an ambulance after he was shot at 28th and Tatnall Streets in Wilmington, Del. on Friday night, September 13, 2013. Emergency personnel performed CPR on Buford at the scene, but he was pronounced dead at Christiana Hospital upon arrival.

While covering a group of Wilmington residents holding a sit-in on the corner of one of Wilmington’s most dangerous neighborhoods, a shooting broke out at an equally dangerous neighborhood across town. A police cruiser streaked through the intersection I was working at, and since the group was wrapping up, I decided to follow. I arrived to find a crowd gathered, shooting photos with their phones, and emergency responders working to save Buford’s life. Unfortunately, he did not survive his wounds, and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

It was an odd scene, I guess because shootings have become so commonplace in Wilmington now. People gathered around, laughing, taking photos and videos while a man was dying just a few feet away.

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson hauls in a deep pass from quarterback Michael Vick in front of Chargers defensive back Shareece Wright (No. 29) in the third quarter of the Eagles 33-30 loss to the Chargers on Sunday afternoon, September 15, 2013. Jackson took the ball down the sideline for a touchdown on the reception and after the extra point attempt, tied the score at 20-20.
Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson hauls in a deep pass from quarterback Michael Vick in front of Chargers defensive back Shareece Wright (No. 29) in the third quarter of the Eagles 33-30 loss to the Chargers on Sunday afternoon, September 15, 2013. Jackson took the ball down the sideline for a touchdown on the reception and after the extra point attempt, tied the score at 20-20.

I covered my first regular season Eagles game, their home opener, on September 15th with Daniel Sato. We had to get their early for a second story we were doing on the cheerleaders and their new uniforms (I know, tough life) and had the task of shooting the game after. Because we were in the stadium early, we missed out on much of the outside tailgating photos common of the first-game-of-the-season assignment, but made up for with a good balance of action and crowd and atmosphere shots. The Eagles, unfortunately, seemed doomed by their own hand in the game. When they tied the game with two minutes left, thanks to their fast-paced “blur” offense, there was too much time left for San Diego to kick a field goal.

NASCAR Sprint Cup drive Ryan Truex rests against his car in pit road at Dover International Speedway before the start of the AAA 400 on Sunday afternoon, September 29, 2013.
NASCAR Sprint Cup drive Ryan Truex rests against his car in pit road at Dover International Speedway before the start of the AAA 400 on Sunday afternoon, September 29, 2013.

I shot the NASCAR race at Dover for the third time in my career in September. I realized then that it was REALLY hard to not keep making the same photos at a NASCAR race that rarely features a crash anymore. I made a nice candid frame of Ryan Truex before the race started, but most everything else, sadly, was something I’d done before. Maybe with more shooters there I could have experimented more, but with just Suchat and myself to cover the race, I had to make sure we had what we needed before I could take any risks.

Specialist Ed Graves Jr. gets poked in the nose as he holds his son Ed Graves III on his shoulders after homecoming ceremonies for the 153rd Military Police Company at the Governor Bacon Parade Field in Delaware City, Del. on Saturday afternoon, September 28, 2013. The 153rd returned after nine months in Afghanistan assisting and training the Afghan police forces. Graves Jr. missed the birth of his son on his second deployment, and most recently his son's first day of school on this deployment.
Specialist Ed Graves Jr. gets poked in the nose as he holds his son Ed Graves III on his shoulders after homecoming ceremonies for the 153rd Military Police Company at the Governor Bacon Parade Field in Delaware City, Del. on Saturday afternoon, September 28, 2013. The 153rd returned after nine months in Afghanistan assisting and training the Afghan police forces. Graves Jr. missed the birth of his son on his second deployment, and most recently his son’s first day of school on this deployment.

I covered the 153rd’s final training exercises at Fort Dix before their deployment this past winter, and I didn’t have a good feeling before they left. Not only is training the Afghan Uniformed Police one of the most dangerous operations in Southwest Asia now, but the team looked like they needed a lot more practice before they left. The training exercises didn’t exactly go smoothly.

The 153rd blew me away, though, when they completed their mission early and returned every member home safely to Delaware City. Covering their homecoming was awesome since I’d seen them the last time they were home, and right as they were returning. I couldn’t have been happier every one of them came back in one piece.

Stahl Post 30 third baseman Tyler Novak dives for a ball during the Legion Championship Series at Wilson Field on Friday afternoon, August 2, 2013.
Stahl Post 30 third baseman Tyler Novak dives for a ball during the Legion Championship Series at Wilson Field on Friday afternoon, August 2, 2013.

Continuing the month-favorite blog posts, here’s my August favorites together into one post in an effort to catch the blog up and hopefully get back on track again.

Tamu White, center, her daughter Amira White, left, and sister Temia Holloway, right, embrace after Tamu spoke at a vigil for Jermaine Goins Jr. at the corner of Madison Avenue and Fifth Street in Wilmington, Del. on Wednesday evening, August 7, 2013. Goins was murdered on that corner on Sunday, August 4th.
Tamu White, center, her daughter Amira White, left, and sister Temia Holloway, right, embrace after Tamu spoke at a vigil for Jermaine Goins Jr. at the corner of Madison Avenue and Fifth Street in Wilmington, Del. on Wednesday evening, August 7, 2013. Goins was murdered on that corner on Sunday, August 4th.

The vigil for Goins was a tough assignment all around. I spend the afternoon with his parents, interviewing them for an hour about their son and how they learned of his death after people saw photos of his body on twitter. After the emotional interview, I came back to the office to edit the video to find the mic cable had gone bad and I had no audio. It was crushing, but thankfully stills from the vigil saved the assignment somewhat.

Staff Sergeant Nicholas Hill keeps his seven-month-old daughter Zarah entertained as they wait for a chance to say goodbye to their friend Sergeant Brittney Poore after deployment ceremonies for members of the 150th Engineering Company in New Castle, Del. on Sunday morning, August 11, 2013.
Staff Sergeant Nicholas Hill keeps his seven-month-old daughter Zarah entertained as they wait for a chance to say goodbye to their friend Sergeant Brittney Poore after deployment ceremonies for members of the 150th Engineering Company in New Castle, Del. on Sunday morning, August 11, 2013.

The deployment ceremonies for the 150th Engineering Company were the first deployment ceremony I’d covered. While filled with the emotion of the homecoming’s I’ve covered numerous times, it was hard to interrupt families this time for names, knowing I was taking minutes with their loved ones away. When I made the image above, I was hoping Staff Sergeant Hill was leaving, and saying goodbye to his daughter, but instead he pointed me in the direction of Sergeant Brittney Poore, and her wife.

Sergeant Brittney Poore hugs her wife Bianka Desure, right, as they say goodbye after deployment ceremonies for members of the 150th Engineering Company in New Castle, Del. on Sunday morning, August 11, 2013.
Sergeant Brittney Poore hugs her wife Bianka Desure, right, as they say goodbye after deployment ceremonies for members of the 150th Engineering Company in New Castle, Del. on Sunday morning, August 11, 2013.

Poore and her wife Bianka Desure were embracing just a few feet away in the crowd. Admittedly, I thought I had heard something wrong when Hill said “she” was saying goodbye to “her wife,” and then it dawned on me that I’m an idiot. Not only had “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” been over for almost two years, but Delaware had also legalized gay marriage in May, with marriages allowed to begin July 1st. That’s when it hit me that just two years ago I couldn’t have made this picture.

Piedmont's Sean Regan dives into home plate as West Raleigh's catcher, Dominick D'Ercole, loses his handle a throw to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning of their Cal Ripken World Series playoff game on Wednesday afternoon, August 14, 2013. Regan was ruled safe, and Piedmont won the game 7-6.
Piedmont’s Sean Regan dives into home plate as West Raleigh’s catcher, Dominick D’Ercole, loses his handle a throw to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning of their Cal Ripken World Series playoff game on Wednesday afternoon, August 14, 2013. Regan was ruled safe, and Piedmont won the game 7-6.

The Cal Ripken World Series is a familiar event for me. Growing up in Maryland, just a short drive from Ripken Stadium, I’ve been to a few as a fan. My dad even helped with signage for a few of the tournaments when they were played in the main stadium, before the little league complex was built. Covering a Delaware team in the series was nice way to forget I wasn’t headed to Williamsport to cover Delaware’s Little League World Series team.

Honestly the baseball in the Ripken series is better. The field is bigger, so every double isn’t a home run, and players can steal. But what really made it exciting was watching Piedmont attempt, and successfully execute, a suicide squeeze to win the game in extra innings, when a throw to the catcher went over his head.

 Eagles wide receiver Russell Shepard (No. 11) can't reach a long pass on fourth down as he's defended by N.Y. Jets safety Antonio Allen (No. 39) in the fourth quarter of a game on Thursday night, August 29, 2013.
Eagles wide receiver Russell Shepard (No. 11) can’t reach a long pass on fourth down as he’s defended by N.Y. Jets safety Antonio Allen (No. 39) in the fourth quarter of a game on Thursday night, August 29, 2013.

Covering the Eagles/Jets final preseason game might sounds like a chore to a lot of seasoned photographers. No player you’ve likely ever heard of plays in the fourth preseason game. Most of the guys you’ll photograph won’t be in an NFL uniform again, and maybe a handful make the team. I’ll never complain about getting to shoot an NFL game, though, and getting to check another stadium off my list was awesome. I don’t know what the old Meadowlands stadium was like, but MetLife is a nice venue. They have a long way to go to get ready for the Super Bowl (the photo workroom isn’t NEARLY large enough, and internet connectivity is a challenge with just two dozen photographers) but the stadium has a ton of light.

United States fans react after Mikkel Diskerud put through a goal in the 84th minute to put the United States up 5-1 over El Salvador in the Gold Cup quarterfinals in Baltimore, Md. on Sunday afternoon, July 21, 2013. The United States moves on to the semi-finals in Dallas, Tex. on July 24th.
United States fans react after Mikkel Diskerud put through a goal in the 84th minute to put the United States up 5-1 over El Salvador in the Gold Cup quarterfinals in Baltimore, Md. on Sunday afternoon, July 21, 2013. The United States moves on to the semi-finals in Dallas, Tex. on July 24th.

It’s been months since I updated, again, but after layoffs hit the paper things have been far busier than ever before. Add in a new puppy at home and even outside of work, there’s always work to be done.

That said, here are some of my favorite assignments from July, with notes on each.

Lynchburg Hillcats first baseman Trenton Moses warms up in the on-deck circle during a game against the against the WilmingtonBlue Rocks on Monday evening, July 15, 2013.
Lynchburg Hillcats first baseman Trenton Moses warms up in the on-deck circle during a game against the against the WilmingtonBlue Rocks on Monday evening, July 15, 2013.

I love shooting baseball. I don’t care what level, majors, minors, high school, you name it. Most games happen in the evening in gorgeous light, the stadiums are rarely full anywhere I’ve worked (giving me ample opportunity to move around) and no matter how bad the game, there’s an opportunity for a nice image any time you go out. At this point in the season, the Blue Rocks were pretty bad. Any prospects had been promoted to the next level, and the team had no hope of making the playoffs. The light was nice though.

Major Troy Bockius hugs his daughters Kate, left, and Anna after he arrived at the Delaware Air National Guard base in New Castle, Del. from Southwest Asia on Sunday afternoon, July 7, 2013.
Major Troy Bockius hugs his daughters Kate, left, and Anna after he arrived at the Delaware Air National Guard base in New Castle, Del. from Southwest Asia on Sunday afternoon, July 7, 2013.

This image is one of my favorites from any homecoming. I didn’t realize it but I was stand next to these two daughters just before their dad came out from debriefing. They sprinted past me to their dad and I was left with a tough decision on which frame to use as the whole embrace was beautiful. Nothing makes you feel better than families being reunited after war.

Nate Kellar, 14, from Syracuse, NY, rides a wave on his boogie board at Rehoboth Beach on Tuesday afternoon, July 2, 2013.
Nate Kellar, 14, from Syracuse, NY, rides a wave on his boogie board at Rehoboth Beach on Tuesday afternoon, July 2, 2013.

This image came out of a “Fourth of July crowds at the beach” story. The waves were pretty rough in Rehoboth, at least by Rehoboth standards, and there weren’t many kids taking them on when I ventured down to the beach for some shots. Kellar showed no fear though, getting sucked under a couple waves but hopping right back on for more… right before he got enveloped by this one above.

Paul McCartney plays "Junior's Farm," at a concert at National's Park in Washington, D.C. on July 12, 2013.
Paul McCartney plays “Junior’s Farm,” at a concert at National’s Park in Washington, D.C. on July 12, 2013.

Covering Paul McCartney is one of the highlights of my career. When I saw he’d be playing ing D.C., and I’d be on vacation, I decided to take my own time to cover the concert. At McCartney’s age, it’s hard to say if I’d ever have the chance to cover him again. It was a challenge getting credentials, and even came down to the day of the concert before I was sure I was in, but the hassle was worth it.

 Joe Corona (No. 6) rushes over to hug teammate Landon Donovan after Donovan scored in the 78th minute for the United States against El Salvador in the Gold Cup quarterfinals in Baltimore, Md. on Sunday afternoon, July 21, 2013. Donovan was named the "Man of the Match," after putting the United states up 4-1 with his goal, and helping them to a 5-1 final score against El Salvador. The goal was Donovan's third of the Gold Cup tournament.
Joe Corona (No. 6) rushes over to hug teammate Landon Donovan after Donovan scored in the 78th minute for the United States against El Salvador in the Gold Cup quarterfinals in Baltimore, Md. on Sunday afternoon, July 21, 2013. Donovan was named the “Man of the Match,” after putting the United states up 4-1 with his goal, and helping them to a 5-1 final score against El Salvador. The goal was Donovan’s third of the Gold Cup tournament.

The Gold Cup was probably the most fun I’ve had in a downpour, but just getting to the game was probably the biggest challenge I’ve ever had. I had an earlier assignment in Southern Delaware at the State Fair and had to spring across the Bay Bridge and up I-97 to Baltimore to try to get to the game. Just like the last time I covered a soccer game in Baltimore (AC Milan vs. Chelsea FC in 2009) traffic was an absolute nightmare. I sat outside the stadium and listened to the roars from the crowd for 30 minutes of the first half of the U.S. taking on El Salvador. Luckily, I made it in for the second half, and Landon Donovan rewarded me. He scored a goal just to my right, and celebrated right in front of me.

Fireworks burst over the Rehoboth Bay as spectators watch from boats in Dewey Beach, Del. on Thursday evening, July 4, 2013. It was the first time Dewey Beach has held a fireworks show.
Fireworks burst over the Rehoboth Bay as spectators watch from boats in Dewey Beach, Del. on Thursday evening, July 4, 2013. It was the first time Dewey Beach has held a fireworks show.

I’ve let the blog fall behind again. I blame vacation and a busy work schedule again. It’s time to get caught back up.

Four the fourth of July I was sent down to Dewey Beach, Del. to cover the first ever fireworks the town had put on. Every year a much larger show in Rehoboth Beach, Del. overshadows anything in surrounding towns, and draws most residents and vacationers to Rehoboth’s beaches to see the fireworks.

Some enterprising club owners in Dewey, most likely tired of losing their crowds to another town, decided they would attempt to set a “world record” for most fireworks set off in a 10-minute period. The show was said to be a 10 minute finale.

I left for Dewey early, knowing parking would be limited in the small town that’s essentially just a small strip of land about four miles long and a quarter mile wide, between the Rehoboth Bay and Atlantic Ocean. I was lucky enough to find the last parking spot near the prime spot I wanted to set up. From there I waited.

Fireworks spectators relax in a cove near The Lighthouse Restaurant and Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach Delaware as they wait for fireworks to start on Thursday night, July 4, 2013.
Fireworks spectators relax in a cove near The Lighthouse Restaurant and Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach Delaware as they wait for fireworks to start on Thursday night, July 4, 2013.

I waited, and waited, and waited.

Finally, around 9pm, the fireworks started and began firing away.

I talked to former News Journal and National Geographic photographer Kevin Fleming earlier in the day to get some tips, as he’s produced amazing photos of the Rehoboth fireworks for years. His advice was invaluable, but with only a 10-minute show to look forward to, I didn’t have much leeway for trial and error to get the shots I needed.

Spectators line the balconies of the Marina View Condos in Dewey Beach, Del. as they wait for fireworks to start on Thursday evening, July 4, 2013.
Spectators line the balconies of the Marina View Condos in Dewey Beach, Del. as they wait for fireworks to start on Thursday evening, July 4, 2013.

It only took about one failed 30-second exposure to really get on track, but I only managed to get about half-a-dozen photos taken before the sky went dark. Only maybe four minutes had elapsed but that was it, the fireworks were over.

As the crowd dispersed most mumbles went along the lines of “publicity stunt.” That organizers were simply tired of seeing their profits go to Rehoboth and given the show didn’t come close to its billing, I can see their frustration.

Add on to that the massive traffic jam that had me stuck in the parking lot for four hours after the fireworks ended, and the traffic on Rt. 1 North that kept me from getting home until 4 a.m. and I think I can say I’ve had my fill of Dewey Beach fireworks for a while.

Fireworks spectators fill the beach in a cove near The Lighthouse Restaurant and Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach Delaware as they wait for fireworks to start on Thursday night, July 4, 2013.
Fireworks spectators fill the beach in a cove near The Lighthouse Restaurant and Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach Delaware as they wait for fireworks to start on Thursday night, July 4, 2013.
Melissa Etheridge performs "Shout Now" at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Del. on Wednesday night, June 26, 2013.
Melissa Etheridge performs “Shout Now” at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Del. on Wednesday night, June 26, 2013.

On Wednesday, June 26, 2013, The Supreme Court brought two big victories to gay rights advocates across the country. By ruling proponents of Proposition 8 in California did not have legal standing to challenge that the law should be upheld the court effectively re-legalized gay marriage in California. At the same time the court also struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, meaning the federal government would now recognize same-sex marriages across the country where they were legally performed. Before, while a gay couple might be legally married in Iowa, the federal government did not recognize their benefits for purposes of taxation, etc.

Melissa Etheridge, a vocal supporter of gay marriage, just happened to be performing in Wilmington the day the the decisions were announced. Etheridge announced that day that she planned to marry her long-time girlfriend, Linda Wallem, now that their marriage would be recognized.

Melissa Etheridge smiles as Equality Delaware supporters raise signs for the group and one that reads "Congrats," a nod to Etheridge announcing she plans to marry her girlfriend of three years, Linda Wallem, as she performs "Shout Now" at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Del. on Wednesday night, June 26, 2013.
Melissa Etheridge smiles as Equality Delaware supporters raise signs for the group and one that reads “Congrats,” a nod to Etheridge announcing she plans to marry her girlfriend of three years, Linda Wallem, as she performs “Shout Now” at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Del. on Wednesday night, June 26, 2013.

With so much good news coming for Etheridge that day, she turned the performance at The Grand Opera House into a party celebrating the newfound rights she, her partner, and millions of gays in America were afforded by the Supreme Court that day.

Dozens of members of Equality Delaware packed the front of the theatre and held signs of support for Etheridge, one even read, “Congrats!”

Much like the information of new rights was a surprise that day for Etheridge, covering the concert was a surprise for me. I had just done The Rolling Stones a few days before and was actually photographing a relief group preparing to leave for Haiti for another trip to aid those still suffering from the earthquake that ravaged the country years ago.

Melissa Etheridge performs "Shout Now" at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Del. on Wednesday night, June 26, 2013.
Melissa Etheridge performs “Shout Now” at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Del. on Wednesday night, June 26, 2013.

I got a phonecall from our chief photographer asking when I was leaving for “the concert,” to which I had no answer. Somewhere in the shuffle of the day, the assignment had gotten lost and never found it’s way to me. I rushed back to Wilmington with just 45 minutes before the concert was supposed to start and got a drive-by hand-off of a 300mm lens from Suchat in front of the Opera House right before the concert was set to start.

I only got to shoot the first song, but there wasn’t anyone policing the two or three of us there, and I was able to sneak a few shots of Etheridge reacting to the crowd and speaking about the ruling earlier in the day.

Melissa Etheridge talks about the Supreme Court's ruling on Proposition 8, a measure that banned same-sex marriage in California for five years before the Supreme Court upheld the law's overturn by a lower appeals court, as she performs at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Del. on Wednesday night, June 26, 2013.
Melissa Etheridge talks about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Proposition 8, a measure that banned same-sex marriage in California for five years before the Supreme Court upheld the law’s overturn by a lower appeals court, as she performs at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Del. on Wednesday night, June 26, 2013.