Graduations, Ballgames and a Daredevil

Stunt motorcyclist Doug "Danger" Senecal, 53, in his garage with his bikes on Thursday, June 4, 2015. He will attempt to jump 22 cars on Evel Knieval's 1972 Harley-Davidson at the Buffalo Chip amphitheater in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Stunt motorcyclist Doug “Danger” Senecal, 53, in his garage with his bikes on Thursday, June 4, 2015. He will attempt to jump 22 cars on Evel Knieval’s 1972 Harley-Davidson at the Buffalo Chip amphitheater in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Spring has come and gone and we are well into the summer heatwave. Worcesterites were eager for the changing of the seasons after the dreadful winter we had so features came easy as folks took every opportunity they could to enjoy the fresh air. The graduations were plentiful. I lost count but I’m pretty sure I covered at least 15. I would have to say the highlight of my spring, was meeting and photographing professional daredevil Doug Danger. Doug has faced near-death experiences from wrecking on stunt jumps and most recently in his battle with Stage 4 cancer, but he has survived it all and is planning to pay tribute to his hero, Evel Knieval, by jumping 22 cars on his 1972 Harley Davidson in August. Mr. Danger has a matter-of-fact approach to taking on this challenge. He doesn’t appear fazed by his age, previous injuries or brushes with death. To him, this is simply his passion and it’s only natural that he would accept the offer to break another record, when given the chance. I put together a video of Doug performing some practice jumps for a crowd in Brimfield. Take a look, if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oae8yy5TI1c I also posted a gallery below of some favorites from the past couple months.

They say it’s spring…

Yachira Dejesus, 22, dressed as the Statue of Liberty, walks past Sena's Cutting and Styling reminding passers-by that tax season is upon them on Friday, March 27, 2015.

Yachira Dejesus, 22, dressed as the Statue of Liberty, walks past Sena’s Cutting and Styling reminding passers-by that tax season is upon them on Friday, March 27, 2015.

It has been one hell of winter out here in the heart of Mass. The snow came in heaps and it has been slow to melt but as I drove around today I realized that I’m finally starting to see more patches of grass and puddles than piles of slush. The pace continues to be brisk here at the T&G and my days are often unpredictable–the one constant being the weather, of course. I’m looking forward to getting to know the city better in the warmer temperatures. The above photo is one of my recent favorites. I was driving around, killing time before an assignment, and I saw Miss Liberty there timidly promoting her employer’s business. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind if I took some pictures of her and she agreed. A near-by elementary school just had dismissal so I was hoping to capture some kids interacting with her. Well, they all mugged it up for the camera and sort of spoiled that idea so I went across the street to try shooting long. She seemed a little uncomfortable that I was hanging around occasionally snapping pictures but I waited. I had to wait for the right moment and I think my patience paid off. I can’t really put my finger on it, but there’s something about her glimpse that really draws me in. It’s a little curiosity and coyness. I hope I didn’t bother her too much but sometimes you just know the picture is there and your stuck waiting for it to emerge.

Katie Duncan, 25, of Ashford, hunches over during the fourth session of her leg sleeve from Johnny Nobody of New York City during the Mass Tattoo & Arts Festival at the Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center on Saturday, March 28, 2015.

Katie Duncan, 25, of Ashford, hunches over during the fourth session of her leg sleeve from Johnny Nobody of New York City during the Mass Tattoo & Arts Festival at the Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center on Saturday, March 28, 2015.

Friendly House coach Steven Green and his players watch the game from the bench during the Friendly House basketball tournament on Saturday, March 7, 2015.

Friendly House coach Steven Green and his players watch the game from the bench during the Friendly House basketball tournament on Saturday, March 7, 2015.

Worcester Sharks Gus Young, left, and Dylan DeMelo celebrate the tie breaking goal in the second period on the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday, March 6, 2015.

Worcester Sharks Gus Young, left, and Dylan DeMelo celebrate the tie breaking goal in the second period on the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday, March 6, 2015.

Patty Rux of South Grafton, holds a giant jungle nymph, surrounded by many of the insect displays she creates in her home on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. She is a personal care attendant and pet sitter and said she enjoys insect art because it keeps her busy and helps her cope with stress.

Patty Rux of South Grafton, holds a giant jungle nymph, surrounded by many of the insect displays she creates in her home on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. She is a personal care attendant and pet sitter and said she enjoys insect art because it keeps her busy and helps her cope with stress.

District chief Timothy Gardell, left, and other firfighters inspect the damage from a dryer fire at Lincoln Street Coin-op Laundry on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015.

District chief Timothy Gardell, left, and other firefighters inspect the damage from a dryer fire at Lincoln Street Coin-op Laundry on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015.

Parker Szumowski, 19, of Plymouth, N.H.  flips over a stump on his snowboard at Elm Park on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.

Parker Szumowski, 19, of Plymouth, N.H. flips over a stump on his snowboard at Elm Park on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.

Shrewsbury junior Maddie Konz performs her balance beam routine during the MIAA South Sectional Gymnastics Tournament in the Hudson High School gymnasium on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015.

Shrewsbury junior Maddie Konz performs her balance beam routine during the MIAA South Sectional Gymnastics Tournament in the Hudson High School gymnasium on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015.

Danny Gunns, a tattoo artist at Secret Society, walks past a sign put out by the people who are opening Wycked Java in the Canal District on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015.

Danny Gunns, a tattoo artist at Secret Society, walks past a sign put out by the people who are opening Wycked Java in the Canal District on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015.

Keith L. works on clearing the roof of Thai Binh Jewelry on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. His friend owns the building and wanted to help him out.

Keith L. works on clearing the roof of Thai Binh Jewelry on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. His friend owns the building and wanted to help him out.

Holy Cross' Danny Lopez and RIT's Brad McGowan slam into the glass startling young fans on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015.

Holy Cross’ Danny Lopez and RIT’s Brad McGowan slam into the glass startling young fans on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015.

 

Almost two months on the job

 

The intersection of Park Ave and Chandler Street on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. This is an area that many motorists try to avoid during rush hour.

The intersection of Park Ave and Chandler Street on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. This is an area that many motorists try to avoid during rush hour.

I’m approaching the 2-month marker on my new job at the Telegram & Gazette. One of my most recent assignments was, quite appropriately, to report on the shortcuts locals take to avoid long lights and traffic. The newest reporter and I were put on job, presumably because the editors figured we could benefit from a little schooling in navigating the city. We collaborated on a short video too. You can see it here: http://bcove.me/cmzrxs02

Below is another smattering of my favorite pictures from the past couple weeks. Another run of the gamut: scenics, sports, spot news and poltics

A Christmas tree at the end of the dock at Sunset Beach on Lake Quinsigamond on on Monday, Dec. 22, 2014.

A Christmas tree at the end of the dock at Sunset Beach on Lake Quinsigamond on on Monday, Dec. 22, 2014.

Dawna Norum of Holden and her son, Trevor, 10, watch the First Night Worcester fireworks explode over Belmont Hill from the sixth level of the Major Taylor parking garage on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014.

Dawna Norum of Holden and her son, Trevor, 10, watch the First Night Worcester fireworks explode over Belmont Hill from the sixth level of the Major Taylor parking garage on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014.

Worcester Shark Willie Coetzee and Manchester Monarch Andrew Crescenzi go stick to stick at the DCU Center on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.

Worcester Shark Willie Coetzee and Manchester Monarch Andrew Crescenzi go stick to stick at the DCU Center on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.

A man smokes a cigarette in a block of sunlight on a mural of the Blackstone Canal on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.

A man smokes a cigarette in a block of sunlight on a mural of the Blackstone Canal on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.

Shrewsbury Colonial forward Joseph Buduo drives past Algonquin Tomahawks Lucas Bautz, left, and Tom Ackil on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015.

Shrewsbury Colonial forward Joseph Buduo drives past Algonquin Tomahawks Lucas Bautz, left, and Tom Ackil on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015.

Gov. Charlie Baker fist bumps Kevin O'Sullivan, president of Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, during his visit to Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015.

Gov. Charlie Baker fist bumps Kevin O’Sullivan, president of Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, during his visit to Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015.

Shrewsbury's Matthew Ward and St. John's Brendan Doherty catch some air in the heat of the competition on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015.

Shrewsbury’s Matthew Ward and St. John’s Brendan Doherty catch some air in the heat of the competition on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015.

Judy Belezos of Dudley comforts her friend, homeowner Ron Martel, on the scene of a chimney fire at 27 Wayne Ave in Dudley on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015.

Judy Belezos of Dudley comforts her friend, homeowner Ron Martel, on the scene of a chimney fire at 27 Wayne Ave in Dudley on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015.

Homeowner Ron Martel, front, walks away after surveying the damage as firefighters overhaul on the scene of a chimney fire at 27 Wayne Ave in Dudley on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015.

Homeowner Ron Martel, front, walks away after surveying the damage as firefighters overhaul on the scene of a chimney fire at 27 Wayne Ave in Dudley on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015.

Holy Name Napoleon Mairead O'Sullivan puts up a shot over the outstretched arms of Wachusett Mountaineers Hannah Everidge, left, and Mackenzie White on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015.

Holy Name Napoleon Mairead O’Sullivan puts up a shot over the outstretched arms of Wachusett Mountaineers Hannah Everidge, left, and Mackenzie White on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015.

Police gather evidence from a trailer behind a GMC truck parked in the driveway at 16 Cumberland Street as part of an ongoing investigation on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015.

Police gather evidence from a trailer behind a GMC truck parked in the driveway at 16 Cumberland Street as part of an ongoing investigation on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015.

More recent work from Wormtown

Worcester police officers escort a man who had barricaded himself in his residence at 25 Cargill Ave to an ambulance on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014.

Worcester police officers escort a man who barricaded himself in his residence for hours threatening to harm himself to an ambulance after he allegedly assaulted his pregnant girlfriend on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014.

Just a quick roundup of my favorites from a very busy couple of weeks at the T&G. Lots of sports and lots of spot news. Yeah, I was the night gal.

Moving on to Woostah

Due to a major recent transition–changing jobs from staff photographer at the Cape Cod Times to Worcester Telegram & Gazette–I have decided, yet again, to revive the blog. It all happened so fast! One week I was wrapping up a 6-month long project at the Times (more on that later) and then the next I was in the interview process for the position and then within two weeks my boots were on the ground in Wormtown. I barely had a moment to catch my breath between looking for a new apartment and tying up loose ends in Plymouth. On top of all that, I started the new gig on a very busy news week. My first day of shooting was the first major snowfall in the county, which was also the day before Thanksgiving, and yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the tragic Worcester Cold Storage & Warehouse Co. fire that claimed the lives of 6 firefighters in 1999. It has certainly been a whirlwind but I am really enjoying the new environment and the different opportunities the city presents. Click the thumbnails below to see a gallery of my favorite photos from my first days.

Worcester Fire Department Lt. John Elliott looks out a window and is reflected in a photo tribute to the Worcester 6 at Fire Department Headquarters on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014.

Worcester Fire Department Lt. John Elliott looks out a window and is reflected in a photo tribute to the Worcester 6 at Fire Department Headquarters on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014.

Another Manic Sunday

FALMOUTH — 081113 — Kristin Kmack of Albany, far right, cheers as her husband passes by near the finish line Falmouth Road Race with Zoey Kmack, 10, front and Hayley Kmack, 14.

There was a time when my Sunday shift was a quiet day when I would feature hunt for the majority of my shift, catch up on emails and even work on self-motivated projects if I got really lucky. This summer has changed all of that. Almost every Sunday this season has been jam-packed with assignments and breaking news. It has certainly been an exercise in keeping me on my toes. On the other hand, these busy days have also been tremendous lessons in patience as well. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the hectic chaos of fast-paced day but often I have to calm myself down when I realize that a situation has the potential to become a decent picture. Then, I must for the moment to come together. I saw these gals with their pom poms and knew they were waiting for someone special. But waiting with this group of people amidst so many competing moments was a big test for me but I was glad that I stuck with it. On top of the Falmouth Road Race, I also responded to a train verses pickup truck accident on the way back  to the office and then had to cover the Pops By the Sea concert that evening. This particular Sunday ended up being a 14-hour day when all was said and done. To add insult to injury, on my way home I was met with traffic backed up to exit 5 on Route 6 at 9:00! Luckily, I know the back roads and at least my laptop hard drive held out yesterday and only decided to fail this morning, phew! I wonder what next Sunday’s adventure will be…

Finally, a parachute!

Medicare Cuts

FALMOUTH — 032113 — Dee Lawrence and Margaret O’Hara swat at the ball during a therapeutic exercise session with a parachute at the JML Care Center. Federal cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates will impact nursing home facilities on the Cape.

I always hoped that in my career of community news I would eventually come upon a parachute scene. Us photographers, we are suckers for big graphic shapes with bright, vivid colors. I figured I would find my parachute picture in a kindergarten class or an after-school program, but I never envisioned I would be blessed with as glorious of a scene as this. I was curious when I heard the laughing and general amusement coming from the room as I photographed two other ladies painting paper mache Easter eggs. The PR person urged me to check it out. It was clear that he was proud of himself for being able to offer such an enticing opportunity for a photographer. I took one look around the bend and a huge smile stretched across my face. I whispered some sort of hurried, “Awesome! Thank you!” to the PR person and rushed over to the circle, suddenly panicked that this activity might be ending soon and I might not have a lot of time to work it. Once I fired off the nervous spray of initial shots, I slowed down and tried to imagine what I was really looking for — what I had been waiting to find for years of seeing friends and colleagues come back with these exciting, colorful moments from preschools. You see, sometimes when I come across something that already has a lot of visual potential, I freeze up and forget to strategize about making the best picture possible. I’m not sure that I made that happen in this instance but I’m happy with it overall because I enjoy the essence of it. I know that there was a lot of joy in the room in an otherwise often depressing place. So, for sure, this image was the highlight of my week perhaps even the whole month, who knows, maybe it will be my favorite photo of the year.

A New Pope

Pope ReactionHYANNIS — 031313 — St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School fifth-grader Kevin Simpson, 11, looks back at other students as they watch the CNN coverage of the naming of the pope in an after-school study hall.

I wasn’t expecting to get much when I walked into the newsroom after shooting three back-to-back assignments, driving 0ver 100 miles only to be informed that I was being sent out with a reporter to capture the local reaction to the naming of 266th pope. I was pleasantly surprised when we found some prep school students with their attentions fixed on the CNN coverage AFTER school had already been dismissed.  I realized I liked this photo as I was editing it mostly because it looks like Pope Francis is patting this student on the head or blessing him but I have to admit I didn’t conceptualize this as I was firing away.  The classroom was dark so the projection of the news feed could be viewed better but this complicated actually showing the students. I made some frame of kids heads silhouetted against the screen and then Kevin turned around. I wasn’t sure if the picture would be more effective if he was in focus and the pope was in the background of vice versa. There’s no way to really know until you go back and look at your take so I tried to make different versions as quickly as I could and hoped for the best. I thought the back-focused ones would be more effective but, to my surprise, the frame with Kevin sharp worked much better. What do you think?

SNOW MORE!!!

Snow

HYANNIS — 021713 — Jake and Lily Atwell, 4 and 7, try to remain patient while their dad, Dan, shovels the walkway for them before they get to run around in the fresh batch of snow.

I am posting these two snow features in the hopes that I will reverse the curse. So far, a significant snow falling has occurred every Saturday for the past two weeks and it’s forecasted again for tomorrow. You’ve made your point, Mother Nature, but, please, we have had enough. In all seriousness, snow work days are good in the sense that photo opportunities are everywhere but so are car collision close calls car. This is often quite stressful because I will see a scene I’d like to photograph but can’t find a safe way to pull over and park for a bit or it takes too long to turn around and the moment is gone. It’s a challenge but it’s yet another occasion to go out there and give it your best shot but for 2013, I’m all set. Let’s move on to spring.

Snow

BUZZARDS BAY — 021713 — Donald Grassi of South Plymouth wipes snow off of his car after having breakfast at Leo’s Resaurant on Main Street in Buzzards Bay. “This is normal,” Grassi said of the snow.

Department of Forgotten Features

Standalone feature

DENNIS — 010713 — Northside Marina detailer Nate Severdija runs his fingers along the the side of the 45-foot pleasure boat, Dolce Vita, as he buffs out any imperfections in the gunwale, the upper side of the vessel. The boat owner told the marina that he wanted it “spotless.” It will take Severdija most of the winter season to complete the task. The marina stores about 400 boats in the winter. “On the cold days we work in the bays and on the nice days we work outside,” general manager Dan Schadt said. “Before you know it, it will be March 1st and we’ll be recommissioning boats.”

It’s never ceases to amaze me how quickly things can change when planning to fill a daily newspaper. This picture represents a little bit of that chaos to me even though in and of itself it is a quiet moment. The day that I captured this particular picture was a slow one. I didn’t have any set assignments but was trying to find a family sick with the flu for a photo to accompany a tamiflu story. After hanging out in some family medicine waiting rooms and pediatrician’s office parking lots without success, I decided I needed to come up with a feature of some sort so I didn’t arrive back the ranch empty handed.

Sometimes I find I have better luck making features by injecting myself into a situation indoors somewhere rather than driving around aimlessly. This was one of those days. After driving around for a bit, I pulled up to this marina and vowed to myself that I wasn’t leaving until I made a picture.  So, I walked in and amazingly the man in the store who greeted me quickly ushered me into the back where he said guys were working and he didn’t think twice about it. This could be because I have come to this marina in the past for a feature and he remembered me. I explored the bays in the back and didn’t find much of anything aside from a guy waiting for some varnish to dry. Still, I tried to stick to my vow and did another sweep around the cluttered areas. Then I saw Nate and knew immediately that he and the million dollar yacht he was detailing would do just fine. I was really proud of the photo because it was born out a fair bit of sticktoitiveness so I was disappointed when it didn’t run. The next day was also slow and at one point an editor was going to pitch it as a page one picture. This isn’t how it all rolled out but I had hoped it would find a home some where tucked away in regional or in biz but sadly it just got passed over. I’m not necessarily complaining, it happens sometimes and it’s just part of my job, but I think it’s interesting that a photo can go from being considered for page one to being blog only material within a day or two. The most important takeaway for me is that I turned out a worthwhile photo on a slow, Janaury day on the Cape. A photo that I can live with and happily display on my blog. So here it is. Hope you enjoy! Also, if you have further ideas for standalone photos on the Cape in the winter please let me know. : )