As the saying goes, better late than never. Here are a handful of favorite images from 2016, the majority of which I shot while working on stories primarily for Minnesota Public Radio. Granted, I already posted some of these images in a previous blog post, but after editing through work from the past year I enjoyed revisiting them and decided to include them as part my favorites from the collective body of work from 2016. But in reviewing my work, I realized I didn't pursue enough personal work and therefore my goal for 2017 is to do more personal projects and photo stories.
The Photo Dork
Minneapolis freelance photojournalist Tom Baker likes to share stories about the stories he shoots. This photo blog is where he'll say a few words and share some photos about the work he does.
I saw photos today that crushed me. They're the work of Aris Messinis, a photojournalist who works for Agence France-Presse. He was recently on a rescue vessel off the coast of Libya as rescue workers worked to save hundreds of African migrants from boats that were bound for Italy. Messinis's work has been published all over the world, and I saw it on the New York Times' website in an article entitled 'Stepping Over the Dead on a Migrant Boat'. The photos are sad, devastating, powerful, revealing, gritty, haunting, and real. After reading the article and spending time with the photos, I wrote the following in a Facebook post:
"For those who think refugees/immigrants are a nuisance, are looking to come to your country and take over your communities and steal your jobs, are terrorists, are disrespectful of any culture but their own, are less than human due to their skin color, their language, or their religious beliefs, then you need to spend time with these photos. Study them, let your emotions take hold, learn to see what is happening. Bear witness to their struggle and what they endure to flee their countries; not because they want to but because they have to. I am grateful for Aris Messinis's photos. They are necessary. These are the types of images that can change the world."
Please, take a look Messinis' work. This is a problem we must learn about and act upon:
As a freelancer, work can sometimes be hard to come by, especially when your true passion is photojournalism. Sure, I photograph portraits and weddings and the occasional event or corporate gig (visit www.manitouweddings.com to see my work), but telling a story with my camera is what truly makes me feel alive. That’s why I feel so fortunate to have a contract with Minnesota Public Radio News to provide photography and multimedia for mprnews.org. Since my last blog post (where did the time go?), I’ve covered a gamut of stories, with most recently being the Golden Valley Pride Festival and a vigil held in Minneapolis, both on the day of the recent shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. I’ve pulled a selection of favorites for this post and have included captions for info about the story.
I held off on doing a blog on my site for quite a while until now. I feel that I'm shooting often enough now to have regular and, more importantly, interesting content to share. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a blog with way too many photos. I will not post an overwhelming amount of photos each time. Instead, I will share a handful of images that I feel represent the essence of the shoots that I do and if the work is published, include a link so you can check it out if you want to see more.
To kick things off for my first post, I wanted to share about a shoot I did last week for Minnesota Public Radio Online News. For a long time now, I've wanted to photograph a significant bird migration. I finally got my act together this year and contacted the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in southeastern Minnesota to find out when the tundra swans making their annual migration from the Arctic would be coming through. Due to an unusually warm fall, the migration started late this year and the birds came through just last week. So this past Friday, I got up at 3:30 am to drive 2 1/2 hours south from the Twin Cities to Brownsville, MN, on the Mississippi River to witness 3,000 swans congregating in a small bay. As the sun came up along with their calls, the river bathed in golden light, I was able to create some beautiful images.
Now, I don't own a long lens (longest I have is a 70-200mm) and I didn't have time to rent a lens since it was a last minute effort to get down there. It was a challenge to say the least to get anything good of the swans who were a ways out in the bay. Luckily, there was a retired couple there taking pictures and we go to talking as Minnesotans do and they asked me who I was and what I was doing there. After learning I am a professional photographer, they bombarded me with questions which I gladly answered (I teach photography classes so I love educating other shooters). I commented on their 600mm lens and how I am looking at a new Nikon 200-500mm for myself soon and they offered for me to try their long glass as a thank you for the advice I gave them. Who was I to say "No?" As a result, I was able to get some photos I would have otherwise missed out on.
Here's a selection of a few favorites from that cold November morning. For the full gallery and story, visit http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/11/21/photos-migrating-tundra-swans-pause-for-food-rest-along-mississippi-