Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ashley Schafer, continued (Post 2)

Shafer Christmas 4

Shafer Christmas 3

I wanted to post a few more photos today from the Schafer Christmas. I still have some more I am going through, but wanted to share these with you. More to come. I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday break! :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The story of Emmarie Truman

Emmarie Story

Family members describe Emmarie Truman as a 17-year-old with just enough sassy attitude, persistence, humor and God's grace to beat a life-threatening disease — all while smiling.
It is who she's become since overcoming cancer in early 2008, when she had a lemon-sized tumor removed from her brain.
It is who she'll need to continue to be to overcome her next fight: leukemia.

I was fortunate to be assigned this story on such an amazing girl. She truly inspires everyone she meets, I mean, I feel like she has such a fantastic attitude on life. Here is a link to the full story. A special thanks to the family who was so cooperative and to Citizen Patriot photographer Nick Dentamaro, whose photos are stunning. You did a great job Nick. Go team Maytamaro. This story was published in today's Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wish List 2009


Geno Burton, 84, left, smiles at Terry Peterson, a John George Home resident supervisor, after he told a joke about having his blood pressure and temperature taken, both with new devices off of the wish list. The John George Home received a new blood pressure pump and thermometers, as well as a number of blankets.


Nancy Naylor, left, laughs while holding three new pencils, assisting Bette Watkins while she sharpens the pencils with the new electric pencil sharpener that the Reading Writing Connection received from the wish list published in November. The organization also recieved a filing cabinet, hanging file folders and a three-hole punch.


Concord resident Don Keith, who works maintenance for disAbility Connections, stops to talk to a Jackson resident while salting the parking lot outside of the building. Bags of salt were among the items disAbility Connections received off of the wish list. "We get so many handicapped people coming in, many with one leg and crutches. If we don't salt it will be too slippery for them," Keith said. "It's a difficult task to keep it salted down, but we do what we can and this gift of salt helps a lot."

These were shot for the Jackson Citizen Patriot. They publish a wish list the day after Thanksgiving and then publish a wishes granted, and wishes still in need list Christmas day. These are the latter. It was a great assignment, getting to know people and hearing their stories.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ashley Schafer: An ongoing project

Ashley Shafer necklace Christmas gift

Merry Christmas everyone!

I spent the morning with an amazing family, the Schafers. I am at the beginning of an on-going project I will be documenting throughout the next five or six months. The project is about Ashley Schafer, a Mount Pleasant High School graduate who recently lost her sight in March after waking from a coma.

She has been going to therapy in Bay City for 15 hours each week, and last week, started a push to 21 hours a week. She spends the weekends with her family in Beal City. There will be more updates on Ashley as I continue to tell her story. She is a wonderful person, and I am glad I am given the opportunity to tell her story.

Ashley Shafer Christmas portrait

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Winifred Street fire



A firefighter walks out of smoke that billows out from a house Thursday on Winifred Street in Jackson, Mich. Here is a link to the story written by my girlfriend, Citizen Patriot Reporter Jackie Smith.

A profile on award-winner Alberta Thompson

Legally blind woman wins award

In today's edition of the Jackson Citizen Patriot, I had a story published as the A3 centerpiece. And the subject is Alberta Thompson, and she is a wonderful woman with one heckuva story to tell. Read it here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Caring to carol

Hospice Caroling 3
Eleven-year-old Amanda Harness, center, opens her eyes during a prayer session with other members of the American Heritage Girls Troop 3489 and Boy Scouts of America Troop 317 before singing carols throughout the halls and rooms Tuesday night at Allegiance Health Hospice Home. (Published in and property of the Jackson Citizen Patriot)

I was given the opportunity to both shoot and write a story for the A3 centerpiece in today's Jackson Citizen Patriot. The story is about a group of young carolers singing for residents in the Allegiance Health Hospice Home in Jackson, Mich. I had one heckuva great time hanging out with these carolers, made some images I enjoyed and was able to tell their story. Here's a link to read the story online.

The first two photos in this post are the two that published in print for the package. The last photo was a nice moment of a woman I quoted in the story. She was very moved by the carolers performance.

Hospice Caroling 2
Allegiance Hospice Home resident Barbara Alexander listens to a group of about 30 carolers sing four holiday songs surrounding her bed Tuesday night. The two troops gathered to sing as a service project. (Published in and property of the Jackson Citizen Patriot)

Hospice Caroling 1
Allegiance Hospice Home resident Ruthann Tilden, 65, of Brooklyn, smiles at the carolers as she listens to four holiday songs and sings along with them. "What they just sang, that, oh yes, that was marvelous," Tilden said, who cried during their performance. The carolers sang through the songs for her twice. (As shot for the Jackson Citizen Patriot)

Special thanks for the assignment from Dave Weatherwax. What a guy! You'll do great in Jasper, my friend. He and fellow photographer Nick Dentamaro shot a local funeral for state representative Mike Simpson, who died Friday after suffering a heart attack. Check out their photo gallery.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Geno Burton, a portrait

Geno smiles

Geno Burton, 84, smiles after telling jokes to a resident supervisor of the John George Home where he resides in Jackson, Mich. Since 1949, John George Home has been providing a safe and independent living environment for elderly gentlemen like Burton.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An Allen family Christmas

Children's Christmas Shopping Spree

So I was assigned a wonderful, feel-good story about a Children's Christmas Shopping Spree in Jackson for needy families. About 30 students were selected by teachers and counselors to participate, three of which were from the same family.

Read the story here. I also was able to spend my morning at the assignment with Citizen Patriot Photographer Katie Rausch.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Granary Restaurant and Christ birth recreation

Granary Restaurant story

Above: The Granary Restaurant reopened under new ownership. The story played as the A1 centerpiece, and Citizen Patriot Photographer
Katie Rausch has some really nice images. Three played in the paper. I highly encourage you take a look. Just wonderful.
Read the full story here.

Below: A quick turnaround story on a local church's efforts to recreate Jesus Christ's birth in a 10-minute drive-thru fashion. It was on A3.
The story is below, but here is the link in case you prefer to read it in online format.

Christ birth recreation story

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Rap at Queen's

christmas rap
I wrote a story that was published in today's Jackson Citizen Patriot. Read the full story and see work by Citizen Patriot Photographer and friend Dave Weatherwax. My favorite part of the rap is the chorus. Just look for the paragraph that begins "J-J-J-Jesus the Lord ..." (Story and photos property of the Jackson Citizen Patriot)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jackson City Council meeting

Jackson City Council

State Rep. Martin Griffin, left center, speaks with area residents as they watch the City Council meeting on a television just outside of the City Council chambers Tuesday night. The Jackson City Council is going forward with its city manager search against the wishes of leading local business people. The council plans to bring back Robert Hillard, city manager of Allegan, and Frank Peterson, city manager of Springfield, for a round of second interviews in the next two weeks. (Shot for and property of the Jackson Citizen Patriot)

This is one of the first two photos I had published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot. See the other at the story link below. Thanks to J. Scott Park for giving me the chance to shoot this assignment.

Read the full story by Citizen Patriot Reporter Keith Roberts.

I also wrote a story, working with Citizen Patriot Photographer Nick Dentamaro. Santa Claus visited the John George Home. Needless to say, Nick and I had a blast. Read the story and see Nick's photos here.

gifts for john george home

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pie a Republican

Pie a Republican

College Republicans member Vanessa Oblinger, a Grand Rapids sophomore, smiles after Clinton sophomore Tim Snell smashed a pie in her face Wednesday outside of the Charles V. Park Library during a "Pie a Republican" fundraiser. "It's for a good cause," she said. "Plus, when it hit my face, it felt good, nice and cool. It was sweet and sticky, and he was gentle." (Property of Central Michigan Life)

Here is something I shot in mid-November. Fun image, and the quote is hilarious. She even laughed after saying it.
Here is a link to the story on

Monday, December 14, 2009

Graduation: A photo essay

I was able to make images at Central Michigan University's December commencement ceremonies on Saturday. I shot alongside Sean Proctor and Libby March, both very wonderful people, for Central Michigan Life. I even saw two great friends graduate, Neil Blake and Sihang Zhang. I wish you both the best in your future endeavors. I know you will be successful. A special thanks to Ashley Miller for the go-ahead on this assignment. So happy I was given this opportunity.

Though my photos are posted above, I encourage everyone to see the full gallery of images made by Sean, Libby and I.

Friday, December 11, 2009

An officer and a funeral

Bill Yeagley
Above: Central Michigan University Police Chief Bill Yeagley talks to university officials on his cell phone as two firefighters prepare to enter Dow Science Complex to contain the contaminated area Aug. 28. Read senior reporter Jake Bolitho's full story on Bill Yeagley.

Also, here is the story I wrote on the chemical exposure for the Web site as it happened.

Right: Jason Denslow solemnly holds the American flag given to him after a funeral for his son, Det. Sgt. Dan Denslow, who served at the Isabella County Sheriff's Department for 34 years. He died Aug. 4 in Lansing at Sparrow Hospital of internal bleeding complications following a surgery. He was being treated at the facility for two months, and was in serious condition the last five weeks. “He was always smiling, always trying to get people to laugh with a very welcoming personality and never had a bad thing to say, only kind words. That’s Dan,” said Bill Yeagley, Central Michigan University Police Chief.

Here is a link to the initial story I wrote before his funeral. I also wrote a followup, but it seems to have been lost in the Web site transition. Hopefully, it comes up soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Orchesis: 40 years in the making

Orchesis Dance Theatre

Above: Livonia senior Mallory Stempin dances in in April on the stage of Bush Theatre at Central Michigan University during her final performance with the Orchesis Dance Theatre Company. The dance company celebrated its 40th year during their annual spring show.
Below: Stempin looks up at Grand Rapids senior Korey Brown during Orchesis Dance Theatre Company's spring show. Stempin said the company has been based on a variety of dance, solidified in its use of ballet, jazz and even modern dance as well.

These are a few images I made for a class project last spring. Here is a link to the home page. There is a story, photo gallery and video.

The origin of its name comes from the Greek word meaning “the place on a stage where the action takes place.” This definition is not far from the truth of the word’s meaning at Central Michigan University, but the origin of Mount Pleasant's group tells a much different story.
More than 40 years ago, it started as a nameless dance club. And stayed that way until 1969, two years after Orchesis Artistic Director Yvette Crandall and a group of students gave it more of a purpose. That year, the club was renamed into a “company.”
“It was not performance-oriented. The students just watched other university’s dance concerts. It was nothing like it is today,” said Crandall, a fine arts professor. “The students wanted more … they wanted to dance on stage."
Crandall arrived in Mount Pleasant in 1967. The students desire to dance built higher within one year, and in 1968, held lecture demonstrations with Crandall where she would tell them of her college dance experience.
She said she shared stories with them about different dance styles she learned while studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a company she danced with called “Orchesis.” Click here to continue and read the full story.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Observe and report

Board of Trustees 02

CMU Trustee Brian Fannon stands in an observation room at the Education Building while he and other Board of Trustees members receive a tour of the facility Thursday afternoon. (Shot for Central Michigan Life)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bowtie with a smile

Board of Trustees 01

Interim Medical School Dean Cam Enarson smiles in the crowd of observers Thursday at the Board of Trustees meeting in the President's Conference Room. (Shot for Central Michigan Life)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A presidential welcome

George Ross was named Central Michigan University's 14th president today at the Board of Trustees meeting. It was quite a day. Here's a photo gallery I created for Central Michigan Life of his announcement and first day filled with meetings thereafter.

Here are the links to the stories by an amazing team of reporters.
University Editor Sarah Schuch's story: Former VP of Finances to take over CMU presidency in March
Senior Reporter Brad Canze's story: President-designate George Ross comes from rural background
Staff Reporter Connor Sheridan's story: Many surprised, happy with the choice of George Ross for CMU's president

Monday, November 30, 2009

Last home game of the season

Central Michigan University's football team played its last home game of the season, seeing of senior quarterback Dan LeFevour as well as many other graduating seniors. The team won the game 45-31 against Northern Illinois University. (Published in Central Michigan Life and on Nov. 30)

Read the story by Sports Editor Andrew Stover. I will post more links to the stories later today as they will publish online this morning.

I shot the game alongside fellow photographers Ashley Miller and Sean Proctor. Here is a link to a gallery of photos by each of them as well.

Antonio Brown TACKLED me! And I'm OK with it.

OK. So this is just a funny story to tell. Yes. I, in fact, was tackled by Antonio Brown on the sideline. Sean Proctor describes it as though he mauled me, but it may be a bit over exaggerated. Here's how it went down. I was at the 20-yard line while Dan LeFevour and the rest of the offense lined up at about the 9-yard line. So if they were going to get a first down, I was in good range to make some images.

LeFevour hiked the ball and immediately passed it to Brown along my sideline. Awesome. As I watched him through my viewfinder, I was excited as I shot. He came closer and closer and that's when I threw the camera to my stomach and cradled it like a newborn in my arms, shielding it of course from the mack truck heading my way. A Northern Illinois defender pushed him out of bounds and he wasn't about to stop.

Just before the play started, a CMU medic on the sideline told me he was thankful for me kneeling behind the media line. He said too often has he seen a photographer get injured because they are not behind that line. Well, needless to say, he and the woman behind me were gone in a flash when it came to Brown charging forward for extra yardage. Ironic.

So there I was, kneeling before Antonio Brown headed straight for me at full speed. I braced, and took the hit. It was hard not to, as the woman behind me pushed me forward to protect herself. I learned I can take a hit from Antonio Brown today, and if I take nothing else away from it but a good story, I am fine with that. I definitely enjoyed shooting the game. Oh, and as for Sean Proctor, who watched all of it happen as he stood next to me without socks on with poorly insulated shoes? Brown's cleats penetrated his foot, especially his toes. These are our battle scars. Plus, hey ... if Brown goes Pro, what a cool story to tell people.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Miller time!

Mike Miller, CMU wrestler

Junior 174-pounder Mike Miller enters the season ranked first nationally in his weight class. He finished runner-up at NCAAs last year. Miller took on UTC freshman Jake Young for the first match this season. A pinched nerve in his shoulder was scheduled to keep Miller out of the match, but he won the match on a 3-1 decision. (Photo published in Central Michigan Life on Nov. 13)

Read the stories by sports reporter D.J. Palomares.
Miller enters wrestling season a marked man
Miller gets start at 174 pounds

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jump the rock wall

Bike Jump 11-24-09

Matt Montei, an Akron senior, jumps over a rock wall Tuesday evening in front of the Charles V. Park Library. He and two of his friends look for new trails and obstacles to ride through and jump off of on a daily basis. "It always looked at this and thought it would be too high off of the ground," Montei said. "I've wanted to do this for three years. I finally did it and it was awesome."

My girlfriend and I

Girlfriend and her glasses

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Traverse City memories: Special Olympics Michigan 2009

So I went to Traverse City this weekend, and the first thing that came to mind was Special Olympics Michigan. I've covered it twice for Central Michigan Life — once as a reporter in 2007 and once as a photographer in 2009. I love the city, though there isn't much up there but a mall and numerous wineries. Anyhow, these photos are from January 2009. I wanted to dig them up after reminiscing about it while around the city this weekend. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Protesting Gov. Jennifer Granholm

American flag, Gov. Granholm protest

Macomb senior David Grabowski waves the American flag Thursday on Preston Street to passing cars in front of the Charles V. Park Library. Grabowski, along with about five others, protested Granholm's appearance and speech Thursday at Central Michigan University. "I disapprove of the seven years of Jennifer Granholm so far," he said. "I can't wait for Jan. 1, 2011. That's the day she is no longer in office and I can sit back, relax and enjoy watching college football." (Shot for Central Michigan Life) Read the story by Senior Reporter Brad Canze.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm on campus

Jennifer Granholm 01

Gov. Jennifer Granholm spoke Thursday morning at Central Michigan University. I was fortunate enough to be assigned to cover her speech in the Charles V. Park Library. She discussed the Michigan Promise and her efforts to "keep the promise." Read the story published in Central Michigan Life. Other politicians were in the crowd, as were university officials. Thus, Interim University President Kathy Wilbur and Rep. Bill Caul, R-Mount Pleasant, seen in these photos, which I shot for Central Michigan Life.

Jennifer Granholm 02

Jennifer Granholm 03

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Clowning around

clown graduation

Mount Pleasant resident Caden William Locktosh, center, stands amongst a group of about 10 clowns at the Isabella County Commission on Aging, 2200 S. Lincoln Road, in mid-October during at their graduation and commencement ceremony. Each also was given a clown name. Locktosh goes by "Jingles." Each clown performed a routine. Some used props, some slapstick humor and each dressed in absurd clown-life fashion. "It's my first time being a clown," he said, laughing at the size of his bowtie. "My grandmother has been a clown for years, and now she is teaching me to be just as funny."

A salute to Central Michigan women's soccer

CMU Soccer against Buffalo

The women's soccer team did a phenomenal job this season. The team clinched the Mid-American Conference championship and played two games in the NCAA tournament. That's a feat. I applaud their effort, as did the editorial board at Central Michigan Life. Staff Reporter Matthew Valinski did an excellent job writing through their season. You can view his work here.

Check out some more fantastic soccer photos by Central Michigan Life Photo Editor Ashley Miller and Presentation Editor Matthew Stephens in these galleries of games throughout the season: MAC Championship, Western Michigan University, Toledo

Also, see photos from the championship game in Monday's edition of Central Michigan Life by Sean Proctor.

Above: Senior forward Amanda Waugh shoots the ball as Buffalo senior goalkeeper Amy Coron dives in front of her for a save. Waugh had one assist in Central Michigan University women's soccer team's 4-0 victory against Buffalo on Oct. 4. Her assist helped to score the fourth and final goal. It was the team's seventh-straight win.

Right: Central Michigan Junior midfielder Valerie Prause earned one goal and three assists on the season after defeating Buffalo in the early October game.
Photos published in Central Michigan Life Oct. 5 and Oct. 9

Monday, November 16, 2009

Receive a laugh

CMU Board of Trustees

Interim University President Kathy Wilbur, left, shares a few stories with Trustee Stephanie Comai, right, SGA President Jason Nichol and SGA Vice President Brittany Mouzourakis after the Trustee-Student Liaison meeting last Wednesday afternoon. Nichol discussed the Michigan Promise at a September meeting. (Published in Central Michigan Life on Sept. 23)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Aerials: Color or Black and White?

Soccer aerial color

Soccer aerial black and white

'Some Pig'

The Pig Photo

Shepherd resident Greg Arnett turns on the lights and fans in one room of his pig barn on Sept. 25 as about 60 pigs scurry around his feet. The barn holds about 1,100 pigs total, all of which were delivered that same afternoon. Each pig was delivered weighing between 35 and 60 pounds. "Every pig will be about 300 pounds in 90 days, give or take," he said. "These are feeder pigs. Each is worth about $250 after all is swaured away. Now that's a pretty penny." (Published on Oct. 4)

This is another single from a photo story I shot for Kent Miller's JRN 422 class in September. It was my first photo story this year, and it is by far my favorite photo class I have taken at Central Michigan University. It's pushed me to grow tremendously. Thanks to everyone in that class and Kent for really pushing right alongside me. If I could, I would take this class again and again.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

I am football (IM FOOTBALL)

IM Football 10-29-09

Bill Suits, a Houghton graduate student, looks onto the field at Kelly/Shorts Stadium before the intramural co-rec football championship game Thursday night. “It’s good to just get away from school sometimes,” Suits said. “This is that for me. It’s a way to relieve stress in a competitive, constructive atmosphere.”

IM Football 10-29-09

Canada graduate student Kelly Watson, left, and teammate Caitlin Colwell, a Canton graduate student, smile and laugh with one another after receiving T-shirts for winning the game.

The Intramural Co-Rec championship football game was Thursday night at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, and it was a close one. Check out the audio slideshow I produced with some help from a great team of young journalists. Audio was collected by Staff Reporter Maryellen Tighe and Staff Photographer Jeff Smith. Jeff also made images alongside me, while Senior Reporter Joe Borlik wrote the story. Please click here to read Borlik's full story on Central Michigan Life's Web site.

Sports Weekend: Wrestling, field hockey and volleyball

CMU wrestling 01

Central Michigan University hosted its annual intersquad wrestling match on Friday at Rose Arena. Click here to read the story by Senior Reporter D.J. Palomares.

CMU Field Hockey vs. Missouri State

CMU's field hockey team continued a winning streak this weekend after beating Missouri State on Saturday afternoon in Mount Pleasant. Click here to read the story by Staff Reporter Jacob Lougheed.

CMU volleyball vs. Kent State 02

CMU's volleyball team celebrates at the end of a set against Kent State University. The team won three straight sets to win the match on Saturday night. Click here to read the Central Michigan Life story by Senior Reporter D.J. Palomares.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A few rake takes


The Monohans rake the front lawn of their Chippewa Street home in Mount Pleasant, Mich. on Tuesday afternoon. Each has their own technique on how to pick up the leaves. Lily, 8, is the oldest sibling of the three. She rakes with large brushing strokes against the grass, throwing leaves on top of one another to form one pile. Abby, 6, is only two years younger and said she can see the length of the yard with her glasses. She swoops down, hands out, to grab the leaves and throw them into the wheelbarrow. She isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. Andrew, 3, is the lone boy of the three. He is just excited to run the wheelbarrow around the yard and out to the road. (Photos shot for Central Michigan Life. The last shot published today, Oct. 28)