Farewell Photos, Part 4

Yep, there’s a lot of these. Starting to worry I shot enough of them that I’m going to disappoint whoever I forgot. Oh well.

My coworkers. Sally Neville, Delivery; Nancy Bible, Ad Sales; Natalie Berry (expecting young baby Berry near Christmas time. Woo-Hoo!), Classifieds, page design and a lot more; and Jennifer Lewis, circulation manager. Not pictured is Mike Linville, our sports editor. It’s not everyone I’ve worked with. There are some memorable folks missing who are no longer with the Advocate, but these ladies have been amazing to work with. I’m glad to call them my friends. They will be missed.

Yep. Pretty awesome coworkers. You want to know what they did for me on this, my last day there? Pizza, drinks, hanging out. Oh, and Jennifer baked this for me:

*Sniff* I’m gonna miss this place.

Chief John Nicholson of the Flora Police. The Chief has been good to the paper, always filling us in on what’s going on, as much as he can and still be doing his job, which I don’t envy. During the time I’ve been here, I’ve seen a full-scale SWAT demonstration, gotten to try a shoot/no-shoot electronic firearms simulator, and have gotten TASERed (willingly). They have given me some of the more fun stories I’ve been involved with. There have also been stories of tragedies that, necessarily, the police have been involved with as well. I may not remember these as fondly, but throughout it all, I’ll remember how Chief Nicholson and his officers conducted themselves: with courtesy and professionalism, qualities not all departments hold in such high esteem.

Marsha and Graham Dewsbury. Marsha and Graham are correspondents that write and shoot photos for our paper. They have been a joy to work with and most of the time, I end up blowing a lot of time chit-chatting with them. They’re really good folks. After one of the first assignments that I had them do, I came to the office to find a pen and a pin they had given me from the Shriners. I tried to give it back to them and they said, “Oh no, that’s for you.” It’s just the kind of folks that they are. Plus, Graham is a retired culinary teacher and gardener, so we always have a lot to talk about, including me showing him photos here on the blog of stuff I made.

Aubrey Eads. You’ve met Aubrey’s son and daughter before, here and here. Here’s there Mom. Aubrey is a single Mom working a full time job, who is trying to build her photo business too. despite all of this, she seems to have a better handle on things than Meghan and I do together, without kids. Well, without human kids anyways. Aubrey started out as “The red-haired chick at the Movie Gallery,” then became “The red-haired chick at the bank.” I actually got to know her when she took my class, and now shes a friend of Meghan’s and mine. She’s shot our wedding photos, and our anniversary photos as well. So basically, Aubrey rocks.

Kyle Shafer. Former Advocate-Press graphic designer, currently video game playing pal of Alex. Shaf’s da man. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to put this here, because though we’ll be further away, I WILL see Kyle some more. He’s my homeboy. Oh, and you’ve seen his art before too. Here, here, and here.

Here’s a little bonus for you. I sent that picture to Kyle. To show you how far it’s come along, here’s the original:

So I may have done a few things in Lightroom with it. Just auto-levels, really.

I sent him the final above and the original and then, I got this back. Can’t keep an artist down. Here’s Kyle’s “Banksy-ed”  version:

Skull house wants to eat you…

So that’s about it for my farewell pics. I’ve got two more I’m trying to schedule, so I’ll try to get those in. Thank you all for checking them out. Adios!

 

 

 

 

 

Don and George

Don Morris is a sculptor and carver and is one of the first people I met for a story when I moved down to Flora a little more than a year ago. Don is originally from Clay County, Xenia to be exact, but he lives in Rock Falls now. This is important because the town next to Rock Falls is Sterling, where my Dad grew up. So during my first week of work, my Uncle John calls me up and introduces me to Don, who comes down to Flora a short time later. I did a story on Don and I now catch up with him every time he comes back to town, which is at least once a year.

The reason Don is in the newspaper is that he’s the artist who made the statue of George Rogers Clark, a revolutionary war hero. Clark fought the Revolutionary War on its western front when he and a small group of soldiers (I think that there were about 100 of them) marched from Kaskaskia all the way across 18th Century Illinois to take the British Fort at Vincennes unaware. George also had a more famous younger brother, William Clark, who was famous due to his his expedition with Merriwether Lewis at the beginning of the 19th Century.

Don carved Clark’s form out of basswood and then had it cast in bronze using a lost wax process. The result is displayed in front of Flora’s newly rehabbed Old Depot. It is one of eight full-sized bronze statues Don has done. Since George, Don has been working with clay or synthetic carving materials instead of wood.

I’ve taken shots of Don by his creation before, but I have been on a bit of a kick to do some photo work for myself rather than for the newspaper and I thought to take a new picture of Don as a little project. This weekend, Don is in town for the Flora Academic Foundation’s Appleknocker festival. I had a him meet me at the statue at about 3 in the afternoon. It was a pretty overcast day.Previously, I did this photo with available light and this time I lit it how I wanted to.

Here’s the picture I chose:

Don is the guy in front. George is the bronzed historic figure in back.

Don is the guy in front. George is the bronzed historic figure in back.

Exposure was f8 at 1/500 of a second at iso 200 on the Nikon D70. I did adjust and spot the image in Lightroom too. Lighting Don was a 750 w/s Travelite with a 16 by 20 inch softbox set at 1/16 poser about 45-degrees of camera axis to the right. George is lit with the same light unit with a grid reflector. No grid for this shot, but I did some with a 10 degree grid spot. That light is directly to my left, about 8 to 10 feet away. That head is at full power, but it’s a much further away from George than the other is from Don and that bronze eats light.

I thank Don for letting me take the picture and I hop to see more of his bronzes in person in the future. Don retired relatively recently, after years of owning a septic tank business. Funny thing is, with all the statues and such, it almost sounds like he’s busier now than when he was a worker bee.

We might not agree on everything…

This morning (early for me), I shot a photo of a pair of Illinois politicians from our wide geographic area as a publicity image for the expansion efforts for U.S. Route 50. The gentlemen in the photograph are State Senator John O. Jones (R, Mt. Vernon) and former Secretary of Agriculture and retired State Representative Chuck Hartke (D, Teutopolis).

Illinois State Senator John O. Jones (R, Mt. Vernon) and retired Illinois Sec. of Agriculture and former State Representative Chuck Hartke (D, Teutopolis) have differing political views, but they both know that the expansion of U.S. 50 from two lanes to four would be a social and economic boon to southeastern Illinois.

Illinois State Senator John O. Jones (R, Mt. Vernon) and retired Illinois Sec. of Agriculture and former State Representative Chuck Hartke (D, Teutopolis) have differing political views, but they both know that the expansion of U.S. 50 from two lanes to four would be a social and economic boon to southeastern Illinois.

Since I’ve moved to southeastern Illinois, it’s been very easy to see that the single act that would have the most impact on this region economically would be the widening of U.S. 50 from two lanes to four. It’s not hard to come to this conclusion and there actually is a group of State and local leaders that wish to see a widening of 50 from Salem to Vincennes, Ind. become a reality.

One of these local leaders is a friend of mine, Olney Mayor Mark Lambird, who is also, coincidentally, my boss. I asked him if there was any way we could get two people that are well known in the region when I thought of this shot and he got on the horn and soon had the arrangements made.

Mark, a journalist that has some photographic knowledge, is no stranger to shooting with me, both as a second photographer or as an assistant. We scouted locations a week prior to the shoot and decided on Beard Road, just between the Marion and Clay County Line. There was a sign for 50 and standing on Beard Road looking west, 50 winds out behind the sign. The road is on the rise of an overpass too, so that helped with the look.

Morning of the shoot, we came out with a Nikon D70 and an NikonSB800 on a lightstand with a radioslave attached. It was about 8:20 a.m. when we were planning to shoot. Senator Jones was already waiting for us when we arrived, so Mark talked to him while I got the equipment ready. The strobe was nearly useless because we had strong direction sunlight pouring over the hill from the east. Shot a few sample frames and when Mr. Hartke arrived, I began to shoot. The two men spoke with each other and I shot images of them conversing until a truck roared by, when I had them look at me. They have posed for enough pictures that direction wasn’t really necessary. I don’t know if the flash even fired for the picture we decided to use.

Exposure was f9 at 1/500 of a second at ISO 200. flash was high and slightly to the right with no diffusion. Sunlight took care of most of this. I had thought about using a polarizer to darken the skies and dragging my shutter for a little blur on the truck but that would have taken more test shots. These men are busy enough and were kind enough to come to a spot on the road that wasn’t even near very many towns, so I didn’t want to make them wait for the shot. For something like this, vanilla was ok anyway and I think the image works for it’s purpose: as a promotional piece and as part of an ad.

When asked if Route 50 should be widened at a town hall meeting in Olney in 2006, President (then Senator) Barack Obama answered simply “Yes,” before moving on to the next question.

Those who would like to see US 50 widened would do well to voice their opinion to the representatives on a local, regional and state level. Members of the Route 50 Coalition would also likely be able to tell those who want this to happen where their efforts could best be used.