Monday, August 27, 2007

D-Making of D-Mac

With Arkansas' football season just days away I thought I would post these photos I shot for a story published in TMN last weekend about Darren McFadden's family life growing up in Little Rock. Sports writer Alex Abrams and I spent about five hours in Little Rock in mid-July interviewing and photographing McFadden's family members. The woman in the lead photo above is McFadden's mother, Mini Muhammad. Miss Mini, as she is known by friends and family, is a really nice lady and was fun to visit with for the hour-and-a-half we spent with her.

McFadden's grandmother, Helen McFadden, and father, Graylon McFadden, hold the star Arkansas tailback's Doak Walker Award in Helen's living room in North Little Rock. McFadden left the trophy with his grandmother for safe keeping. The solid bronze statue must weigh 20 pounds. I can tell you she is just touching the trophy and McFadden's father is actually holding it.

Mini Muhammad sorts through a box full of Darren's awards and newspaper clippings dating from the present back to his high school days.

Darren's sister, Medina Johns, talks about her younger brother while styling a clients hair at Q's Barber and Salon in east Little Rock. "He was definitely a star. He was runnin' all over them boys," Johns said of Darren's days playing football at Oak Grove High School.

Only 6 more days til football season kick's off.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Recent Work

Here are a few features I've shot over the past couple of days. The lead photo is from the second day of school in Bentonville. I was off on Monday, so for once I didn't have to shoot first day of school stuff. I figured I would head down to the bus barn and get a photo of drivers returning at the end of the day. This man is a retired truck driver who decided to drive a bus-load of kids five days a week. Not really my idea of retirement. He had some good quotes and the cowboy hat was a bonus.

This is a class of Citizens Police Academy students waiting for a flash-bang grenade to go off in the room with them during a demonstration by the Bentonville Police Department's Special Response Team. This was a fun assignment, guns and grenades. The flash-bang grenade actually went off about eight feet directly behind me seconds after taking the photo. I had earplugs in so it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

If you've ever shot for a newspaper in Northwest Arkansas then you've probably been assigned to shoot the Washington County Historical Society's annual Ice Cream Social in Fayetteville. It's been going on for 37 years. This was the second or third time for me to shoot it. Wheeee!

Nine more days til football season starts.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hawgs Illustrated: August Issue

Hawgs' August issue hit my mailbox yesterday. A lot of sweat went into the photos in this issue, literally. August football practice has been brutal this season with temperatures hanging between 95 and 100 degrees.

Now go check out the new issue.

Just 14 days left til football season starts.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I Hate Baseball!

Not really. I'm just burned out on baseball. I like to shoot baseball, unlike other shooters I know. But it's August now and I have been shooting baseball since the end of February. It's just too hot outside to be standing, or sitting on a camp stool in my case, in the sun for several hours when it's 100-degrees outside. Even the shade is ridiculous. These photos are from the, get this, week-long Babe Ruth 16-year-olds World Series that kicked off today in Bentonville. The championship is next Saturday and yours truly will probably be shooting that too and updating with another rant about how I'm burned out on baseball. At least I shot well today.

Members of the Worcester, Mass., team leave the field at Phillips Park during opening ceremonies for the Babe Ruth 16-year-olds World Series in Bentonville.

Bentonville Mayor Bob McCaslin throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the Babe Ruth 16-year-olds World Series. The mayor's got good form. Looks like he could've been a pitcher in his day.

The Northwest Arkansas All-Stars bow their heads during the opening prayer at the Babe Ruth 16-year-olds World Series in Bentonville.

21 more days til football season

Random Hogs Photo: Felix Jones Is Ruthless!

A photo of Felix Jones I shot at practice last night. I like it. He looks statuesque. I didn't notice the "Ruthless" written on the band of tape on his arm until I edited the photos at the office. Wonder what that's all about?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Catch Of The Day

I woke up this morning and found this critter in the live animal trap next to the garden in my backyard (It's a possum to all you big city folk). With the high price of gasoline and the impending inflation on our economy I decided I would get a head start on armageddon and begin living off the land. Do you realize the variety of potentially delicious animals that are roaming around in our own backyards throughout the day? Especially here in Bella Vista. Possum pie, armadillo soup, squirrel on a stick....the possiblities of culinary delights are endless.

Yes I'm joking. I borrowed the trap a few days ago from a friend to catch whatever the hell has been eating the tomatoes and eggplants in my garden. I've lost more tomatoes to critters than I've harvested to this point. They keep eating the big beautiful ripe ones before I get a chance to pick them. I'm at my wits end. I don't think this possum was the culprit, it's the squirrels that are robbing me blind. Haven't caught one yet, but I will. My friend also gave me a pellet rifle. To be honest I don't want to kill any animal. If I trap a squirrel, I'll relocate it and let it be someone else's problem. But if I'm on my deck chillin' with my pellet gun nearby and a squirrel has the balls to try and steal from me in broad daylight, it's gonna be lights out you wrascly varmint.

Juno enjoyed the possum. The possum didn't enjoy Juno. My mom named it "Pete the Possum."

Goodbye Pete! Don't come back or next time you'll be possum pie.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

TMN Float Trip: Elk River Missouri

Employees of TMN, and former employees of TMN (Neemah), hit the Elk River in Missouri on Sunday for their second float trip of the summer. I didn't make the first float several weeks ago, but thoroughly enjoyed myself today. Outgoing TMN photographer and canoeing buddy Michael Zamora really had the most fun of us all, for about the first half of the float that is. The photo above is of yours truly and Michael about an hour or so into the float.

Sunday's trip drew 21 people which amounted to a floatilla of 10 canoes and one kayak.

Michael really seemed to enjoy himself.

Nathan Allen splashes a bare-chested Ryan Malashock with his canoe paddle during a break in the float. It's a sports writer thing I guess. Kinda silly if you ask me.

At one point Michael felt compelled to take off and leave the rest of the group. He didn't get far. I think it was one of those "cry for help" type things.

Neemah shoots a still life of a used diaper along the bank of the Elk River. I guess it's a new photo series he's working on. Freelancing does these things to shooters.

Michael had a freakin' awesome time. He had as much fun as four or five of us combined. He also felt no pain, really.

TMN writer Pablo Bello....nuff said, Man!

If fun was a country then Michael was China on Sunday. The man was a fun-havin' machine. He had fun whether he was conscious or unconsious, paddling or slumped over in the canoe. The only downer to the whole trip was knowing this was the last float trip Michael would probably be on before heading off for his new job in Texas. Look out Corpus Christi, Michael's coming to town. I'll miss you dude.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Razorbacks 2007 Season: Day One

Arkansas kicked off their 2007 football season with practice today in Fayetteville. It was pretty darned hot. So when the media was told to leave (in a nice way) after an hour and a half of shooting I was more than happy to retreat back to the bureau and its wonderful air-conditioned environment. Unfortunately I can only show you this small selection of photos that were published in TMN and Hawgs Illustrated. The lead photo is Alex Tejeda, a freshman kicker from Springdale high school. From what I heard he had a pretty good practice. Arkansas needs a good kicker. Seems like the Hawgs have lived and died by their kickers over the past few years. Let's not even talk about their OT curse.

A lot of attention was on the class of freshmen quarterbacks at today's practice. Brian Reader (4), Nathan Dick (10), and Joe Chaisson (14) were already hard at work trying to impress offensive coordinator David Lee.

Of course Darren McFadden was the star on the practice field. McFadden worked on the Wildcat Package with offensive coordinator David Lee and his threat of running talent Peyton Hillis (pictured), Felix Jones and Michael Smith.

The defensive secondary had several fresh faces within its ranks on Saturday. Freshman Jermaine Love of Garland, Texas runs through drills with defensive coordinator Reggie Herring.

And you can't end a first day of practice post without a photo of coach Houston Nutt. You know he had to have been thrilled to be out on the field focusing on football and not dealing with all the OTHER issues that have plagued the program since the end of last season.

Go Hogs!

Wishing This Was Me

I'm getting ready to head out to Arkansas' first football practice of the season and it's in the mid-90's outside. Add in the humidity and it gets even more hellish. Here in about an hour I'll be wishing I was this kid from a feature I shot yesterday. I'm ready for football season, but not August football practices. It's gonna be a long, hot month.