Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Photojournalist First

One minute you're sitting on the couch watching "Dancing With the Stars," and the next you're grabbing for anything you can get your hands on, hoping at least one item is a coat, as you flee from the burning structure where you live. Life happens quickly, and tragedy often happens quicker.

For the second time in less than a year, fire claimed an apartment building at the Hunt Club Apartments on 1111 Fox Hound Way near the intersection of Illinois and Hadley roads. I was watching TV when I heard the first wave of fire engine sirens buzz past my house as I live a few minutes west of the apartments. That's not unusual. But then came the second wave.

Although I work as a photographer and writer for the Sports desk at The News-Sentinel, I'm still a photojournalist first (well, I'm actually on vacation right now), so I turned on my police/fire scanner. When I heard the urgency in the voices on the fire operations channel, I decided to grab my gear and head out. I arrived at the scene to find the entire roof of a building on fire and a couple of ladder trucks battling the blaze. The burning building was situated directly across from the building that caught fire last summer.

In no way do I intend to make light of the situation, but it felt good to once again be in photojournalist mode. Don't get me wrong, I love shooting sports, and I'm starting to enjoy the writing more. But I do miss covering spot news from time to time. Well, that is until I have to deal with public information officers who would like me to believe that they are coralling me into one small section for my safety.

I do generally believe they are concerned for my safety. But honestly, if it was all about safety, the PIO's would move the hundreds of regular citizens who are standing within yards of the fire taking pictures with their own cameras and phones. If I'm standing in an unsafe zone, then surely the numerous onlookers are too. Is the fire department not concerned with their safety?

The reality is that I carry professional cameras and a press ID badge, and nobody wants to admit it, but fire and police PIO's do not want news media to see what they don't want us to see. Citizen journalists as they're called actually do have better access to emergency scenes than working news media. If they didn't already know me, I'd buy a smaller camera and just blend in. Enough ranting.

As I looked around the scene, I saw countless people crying, watching helplessly as everything they own burned. Other residents in surrounding buildings ran to get blankets for the evacuees as some were still wearing shorts and pajamas. I took pictures of them showing their emotions, and believe me, that is the really tough part of this job. I don't enjoy that part of it, but the story has to be told.

One girl on the scene with whom I talked said the fire started in the apartment behind her, and she was able to get out because she heard the fire alarms. She cried as she watched the destruction of her apartment unfold. The situation made me think, much as the countless car wreck scenes I've worked, as I headed back home. Although my wife and two sons were home sleeping soundly, I was concerned for their safety. I considered that it might be time to review escape plans with everyone and change the batteries in all of our smoke detector.

It's impossible to know when tragedy's going to strike. The best you can do is try to be prepared to deal with it when it does.

Check out the story by Rob Joesbury and Jeff Wiehe at

Friday, March 21, 2008

Up and running with Photoshelter

I am now a contributing photographer for The Photoshelter Collection, which is a relatively new stock phtography agency. My membership was approved, and my first batch of images is now up for sale on the Photoshelter site. I have a limited number of photos presently available for licensing, but more images will be trickling in as I look through my archives and prepare the high resolution files for uploading.

My Photoshelter page is located here.

As I mentioned, I am still organizing my stock images, which takes a considerable amount of time. New photos will start popping up on the page fairly regularly.

If you have a need for stock images of various types, please don't hesitate to contact me. I may already have what you're looking for. I'm actively seeking editorial and commercial assignments, and making myself available for stylized sports portrait sessions. These are great for anyone serious about their sport. Heck, they're great for anyone who doesn't take things too seriously either.

Contact me by email through this site or give me a call at 260.385.9448.

As always, thanks for stopping by to take a peek.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Mad Ants action

Here are a few photos from the Mad Ants' game on Thursday against the Sioux Falls Skyforce in NBA D-League action at Memorial Coliseum. Fort Wayne hung in, but Sioux Falls' Kasib Powell couldn't miss. He hit 10 of 11 threes and scored 46 points. For the Ants, Earl Calloway scored 27 and Rod Wilmont came off the bench for 23. Fort Wayne outscored the Skyforce in each of the last three quarters but couldn't overcome Sioux Fall's 13-point lead after the first quarter. Read sports reporter Nick West's story on The News-Sentinel Sports page.

March 6, 2008 - Fort Wayne, Ind. - Sioux Falls' Chris Alexander hauls in one of his 16 rebounds against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in Thursday's NBA D-League match-up at Memorial Coliseum.

March 6, 2008 - Fort Wayne, Ind. - Mad Ant's point guard Earl Calloway led Fort Wayne with 26 points in the Ants' 115-109 loss to the Sioux Falls Skyforce at Memorial Coliseum.

March 6, 2008 - Fort Wayne, Ind. - Sioux Falls' Chris Alexander, left, and Fort Wayne's Cheikh Samb battle for a rebound in the first half of Thursday's D-League game at Memorial Coliseum. The Mad Ants dropped the home game, losing to the Skyforce 115-109.

March 6, 2008 - Fort Wayne, Ind. - Jagger Surface of the Spiece Fieldhouse Wolfpack reaches for a rebound during an exhibition game held before the start of Thursday's Mad Ants game at Memorial Coliseum.

March 6, 2008 - Fort Wayne, Ind. - Sioux Falls' Carl Elliot, right, drives to the hoop as Fort Wayne's Corey Minnefield reaches in.

Photos by Chad Ryan of The News-Sentinel.

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