Oh the NC State Fair. It’s a magnet for every disease under the sun, the kind of people who think a pound of cotton candy in one night is normal, and kids who are somehow able to ride a mechanical bull for 10 minutes straight. With every step I took at the fair this year I could feel myself getting sicker and fatter. The State Fair is endearing, however, in all of its strangeness. I felt like I jumped into a world that hasn’t changed since the 20s. When our world turns to robots and flying cars, we will always be able to count on the State Fair to be running its 100% unsafe ferris wheel from the early 1900s and the greasy men with stained wife beaters serving oversized, hormone-infused chicken legs, only the legs will probably be twice as big. I wonder if everyone has the same moment of shock that I encountered when I went back to the fair 10 years after my childhood and suddenly all of the magic of the State Fair had vanished (except for that $6 Lemonade—now that will always hold its glam). It was so entertaining, though, that I quickly got over my “coming-of-age” moment and enjoyed the peculiarity of the whole affair.
On the photography side of things: we are still honing in on event photography skills. We are using the five photo design, which includes an overall shot, a tight face, a medium shot of people, a detail, and a “wild card” or whatever I choose to use as my 5th photo. My biggest challenge was finding moments to focus in on within the neon, chaotic whirlwind. I was pretty overwhelmed with the number of potential photos hitting me at all angles and felt hindered by my inability to pick out the best moments or scenes within the event. You live and you learn, though. There will always be a next year.
I drove to Boone, NC on a whim this past Sunday to visit family and friends and left with my heart so full. Every time I start to see the peeks of the mountains driving in, I wonder how I got myself to move away from them—could have been the worst decision of my life, except for the fact that I’m learning a lot about photography and life in Asheboro, NC right now (right?). I wanted to explore a new park that opened called Rocky Knob Park off of 421 when coming in from the Wilkesboro side, so I took my brother and sister’s dog, Willoughby, there to hike. In the short of it, it is a mountain bike park with mountain bike trails and mountain bikers. Although there are little example hikers illustrated on the trail map, what they did not illustrate is my brother having to snatch up the poor pup before getting trampled on by a biker flying by (he’s tiny). We looked like we were from Blowing Rock, embarrassingly. So although that was an ultimate failure as far as hiking goes, I was able to grab some photos of some bikers on the dirt as we were coming back down from the 10 feet of trail that we cleared. We just decided to go eat doughnuts instead.
When Ben and Deanne asked me to photograph their wedding I was both deeply honored and a little terrified. Ben is a very talented artist and photographer, so naturally you can see why photographing his wedding can be a little nerve-racking. But Ben and Deanne are so down-to-earth and warm and incredible that photographing their day was stress-free and such a blast. Their wedding was so fun and heartfelt and 100% about relationships and love for one another. It was simply a beautiful day. Eddie and I are so honored to have been a part of their wedding and we are looking forward to getting to know them more as friends now! Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your day. It could not have been more amazing.
Deanne’s dad gave her brother a hair cut right in the middle of the reception area as they were setting up. It was pretty awesome. Deanne gave Ben “Africa Mist” spray from South Africa (where she’s from). Deanne and Ben had their parents, grandparents, and close friends come pray for the during the ceremony. There is no better place than the Appalachian mountains to get married. It’s true. Ben and Deanne’s brothers and sisters gave the most heartfelt yet ridiculously funny speeches.
I helped my friend, Aleece, with photographing senior portraits of a great lad named Alex this weekend in downtown Asheboro. His friend Chandler came along for support and entertainment. Chandler got bored so he grabbed a longboard and tied a shirt around his neck and started skating like a superhero because that’s what boys do. It was fun hanging out with these kids for an afternoon and photographing the beauty of youth.
It’s event time in photojournalism now. I’ve been learning a lot about photographing events for a newspaper. The “formula” includes a wide-angle that sets the scene, a tight face of someone enjoying an event, a medium photo of people engaged, an iconic detail, and a “wild card” of anything else that helps tell the story. Eddie and I went to the Highland Games in Laurenburg, NC this past weekend and it was swizzawesome. Kilts and funnel cake–yeah. We had a history lesson on Clan Leary, which is where the O’Leary’s come from, so that was pretty awesome. It’s nice to get in touch with my roots by marriage. I think we’ve started an O’Leary October tradition.
Ashley and Scott Mason are an awesome couple here in Asheboro. I work with Ashley at The Table and have gotten to know Scott from him hanging out at the restaurant. Scott and Ashley met each other at a Krispy Kreme 5k race, which led to a Krispy Kreme donuts cake at their wedding. They are two energetic, fun, and incredibly loving people. Unlike the typical married couple in America, Ashley and Scott have been facing immigration issues because Scott is from England. Because the government wants to stop transnational marriages only to gain citizenship, they must go through an intense, long process involving much paperwork, interviews (to ensure their marriage is authentic), and time. They have been in a period of waiting: waiting for their papers to get pushed, waiting for Scott to be able to legally work, waiting to sign a lease without the chance of deportation, waiting for certainty. They are currently living in a house with sketchy plumbing, no working oven, little furniture, and packed away boxes. In exchange of free rent, Scott and Ashley are renovating the house for their friend who is trying to flip it. As the two of them work through a time of uncertainty and learning to simply wait, I hope to capture their unique story within a larger issue of immigration and transnational marriage.
My love for digital retouching/editing has been slow going. I have a hard time sitting in front of a computer for hours practicing my bad posture. Within an hour I begin having periodic moments of intense flailing in an attempt to fight off the insanity creeping in. BUT, I will say, that after putting in 10, 20 hours of editing and finishing an image, it’s worth it—for about a second. For our last assignment in Digital Imaging we had to make a composite using at least six different photos. I learned a whole lot about Photoshop trying to put this composite together. I was forced to learn different techniques to get the look I was going for. I can’t say I would want to create images like this a lot, but I am glad that I know I would be able to make it look like I was hanging out with my zoo homies if I ever needed an alibi.
I haven’t posted any sports photos on my blog thus far, and it’s probably because I’m not the biggest fan of shooting sports. As a photojournalism student, however, I’ve learned to somewhat enjoy it. Football has been fun to shoot, despite all of my efforts since I was a young one not to attend football games (things have changed after getting married to a former football player). I’ve enjoyed the people watching and the exercise. I’ve learned that you have to move around a lot shooting football in order to get good shots. We’ve moved on to soccer this week, which I’m pretty sure I like photographing. It’s easier, its during the day for the most part, and the action continues rather than stops every 10 seconds. Here is my first take from my first soccer game EV-VER.
This week’s theme for our photo-a-day project is shadows. I’v been trying to avoid the typical long shadow on the ground photo. I’ve always loved photos where the subject straddles the hot light and the shadows. Shadows create dimension and focus within an image that you just can’t beat. I’ve bombed a few days with awful photos from either lack of time or lack of creativity, but I’m kind of a big fan of this photo.