Mark McGwire.

"St. Louis Cardinals batting coach Mark McGwire adjusts his cap in the dugout during the start of an interleague basebaseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards Thursday, June 30, 2011."

Authors Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams famously identify Major League Baseball as a “Game of Shadows.” 

Here’s Mark McGwire, former baseball hero turned center of a steroids frenzy. He’s back in baseball as the Cardinals’ batting coach. 

To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t help but feel for him. I know absolutely nothing about his state of mind, so perhaps that’s an unfair statement coming from a 21 year old photographer seeing him for the first time. But from what I observed, he seems to consciously remain “in the shadows,” as invisible as possible throughout games. He certainly kept out of the way of cameras. His face looked older, his hair grayer. 

Watching him converse with his hitters as they belted home run after home run at Camden Yards all series just made me think. When you see someone in person, particularly someone involved in controversy, it’s not as easy to be so relentlessly unforgiving as we tend to be, say, when we watch a report on ESPN or listen to an interview. The human quality goes unaccounted for in our media world.

I don’t know a thing about any of these players, what they do or don’t do, or what kind of people they are. But simply seeing that they are, in fact, living, breathing human beings rather than objects on our TV screen is pretty powerful in and of itself. 

Jeep.

"A 2009 Jeep SRT 8 sits in front of M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland Tuesday, July 5, 2011."

I tooled around Baltimore a few days ago with my buddy in his pimped out new Jeep. He wanted to enter some photos into a Jeep of the Month contest, so we headed out in search of some good urban spots. 

Car photography is something I’ve never done before until now, and I have to say it was a lot of fun. We got some great looking shots without any extra lighting, fancy set ups, or any other bells and whistles. The car looked good enough as is. That being said, I think I could get more creative on future shoots. 

In retrospect, hauling through private driveways in the Ritz-Carlton harborplace apartment complexes and convincing a valet boy to let us drive right up to the water where cars don’t go likely weren’t the best ideas, but I venture that that’s what it takes to get some winning shots. 

I’ve got plenty of frames from the afternoon that are better than this one, but, in hopes of winning some contests, they can’t be published anywhere before being submitted. 

Mayor of Ashkelon, Israel visits Baltimore!

"Benny Vaknin, Mayor of Ashkelon, Israel, awaits his introduction at a reception promoting the Baltimore-Ashkelon partnership Wednesday, June 15, 2011."

Tonight I was invited to a dinner reception honoring the Mayor of Ashkelon, who is currently visiting Baltimore from Israel to continue growing the already strong partnership between the two cities. 

It was a nice gathering that brought me right back to my time in Israel and has me thinking of my friends from Ashkelon. Benny seemed to have a warm and calming personality, which made it easy to get some cheerful portraits like this one. He also happened to choose the seat right next to me, so I enjoyed listening to his Hebrew chatter over salmon and hummus. 

This dinner also reminded of my “camera as an extension of me” philosophy. It’s funny how people you haven’t seen in awhile recognize you simply because you’ve got your camera over your shoulder. 

Back to the O’s.

"Baltimore Orioles Centerfielder Adam Jones blows a bubble after hitting a home run Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland."

I was recently hired as a Team Photographer for the Baltimore Orioles for the remainder of the 2011 Major League Baseball season. My responsibilities will be similar to those I had during my 2009 internship, which you can read about here. Here’s one of my favorite shots from those days. 

I’m excited to once again work alongside and learn from the best professionals in the business. I’m poised to produce successful images, continue developing the photo archives, and do all I can to contribute to Baltimore Orioles productions. 

I’m extremely lucky to feel so energized by the work that I do. 

See you early Monday morning, Camden Yards.

Goucher College Video: Baltimore taxes not to be raised after $65 million budget cut

Here’s our first project for the production phase of a New Media class I’m enrolled in at Goucher College this semester. Our assignment was to shoot, edit, and produce a one-minute video newscast about Baltimore’s recent budget cuts proposed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

After we had our script finalized, production on this video went relatively quickly. It was nice to get away from Goucher’s campus for an afternoon and shoot footage in the city, and it was also a good chance for me to experiment with shooting video on my Canon still for the first time.

I took this as an enjoyable throwback to my summer multimedia internship at The Baltimore Sun, during which time I went out into Baltimore every day, shot videos like this, and prepared them for the web. The skills that I learned while I was there have been invaluable, not just for this project, but for the entire collection of multimedia work I’ve done since then.

Looking at this video with fresh eyes, I’ve caught a few minor details that could be tweaked, but this was a true group effort, and the results are superb for our first project.

New York City.

 

"Cars whiz around Columbus Circle as rush hour begins in New York City, New York Thursday, December 2, 2010."

I’m told that when I saw New York City for the first time as a little boy, I looked out the window and said something along the lines of, “What is this pile of junk?”

Obviously, my thoughts have changed since then.

Yesterday I was sent to New York City to speak on a panel for Goucher College. The reception was at the Museum of Arts and Design in Columbus Circle.

Amidst the crazy schedule I had, I found a few moments to walk through the streets with my camera. I wish I could have stayed out there and shot all night. The city is so alive. It’s got an energy that I sometimes feel Baltimore lacks.

So, I take it back. New York City is definitely not a pile of junk.

The Baltimore Marathon/Costume Parade

I went to the home of Rebecca and Christopher Bruce, who both graduated from Goucher College in 1992, last Sunday. Their row house on Guilford Avenue in Charles Village sits right along the 23rd mile of the course for the annual Baltimore Marathon.

Several Goucher alumnae/i were running in the marathon, so the Bruce family invited neighbors, friends, and other Goucher students and alumnae/i over to cheer those runners on.

I got some great shots of my fellow Goucher people, but I couldn’t help but snap photographs of the ridiculous costumes that many of the people had on.

I can’t imagine running 26.2 miles, let alone in a Mario outfit or a skin tight, one piece, green spandex suit.

Strategic default: Man walks away from his Baltimore rowhouse and the mortgage, joining the ranks of “strategic defaulters” – Baltimore Sun Video

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Although I didn’t shoot footage for this video myself, this was my last assignment a Multimedia Intern for The Baltimore Sun. I spent several days editing this footage from reporter Jamie SmithHopkins, who wrote about Wallace Farmer’s unique story. It can be read here in its entirety.

This was the most difficult yet most rewarding editing job I had during my time there. I’m proud of myself for making sense of over two hours of interview footage and condensing it down to a fluid short story.

Though I didn’t realize it then, I think the reason I’m so satisfied with this video is because, at the time I was working on it, I could relate to Mr. Farmer in a strange way: both of us were men walking away from something we loved. For him, it was a home that he hoped to spend many more years in.

For me, it was another incredible learning experience.

Under the guidance and expertise of the Multimedia department, I worked on numerous projects and had various responsibilities throughout the summer. Primarily, I shot, edited, and produced video and photographs for breaking stories in the news, features, sports, and arts sections of the newspaper. I conducted interviews and created and pitched story ideas to editors and reporters. Additionally, I updated the newspaper’s website with photos, videos, and multimedia slideshows.

I never felt like an intern. From day one, I was given significant responsibilities and assigned to cover newsworthy stories. I was included in news meetings and was always encouraged to contribute my thoughts.

I’m confident that the multimedia skills I learned will benefit me as I pursue a career in journalism. I was lucky to work alongside some of the best journalists in the business, and I’m thankful for all that I learned from them.

Most importantly, I thank my Mom and Dad, family, and friends. Without their love, support, and guidance, none of this would have been possible.

Thank you to Professor David Zurawik for helping me secure this internship, and for his inspirational teaching and unyielding encouragement and motivation.

Thank you to Mary Corey and Sam Davis for ensuring that I had an enjoyable and productive internship experience.

Thank you to the my Editor, Steve Sullivan, and the Multimedia Department, Chris Assaf, Kevin Richardson, and Leeann Adams, for showing me the ropes, breaking me in, giving me feedback and criticism, and involving me in their daily routines.

Thank you to my fellow interns Kirby Mills, Kate Klots, Gabby Siskind, Colin Stevens, and Kate Smith, whom I had the pleasure of getting to know, reporting with, and learning from.

And to everyone else who helped me along the way!

Inter Milan, Manchester City play in Baltimore — Baltimore Sun Video

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Last night, I covered the second consecutive international soccer match hosted in Baltimore. Inter Milan defeated Manchester City 3-0.

I wasn’t allowed to shoot video footage of the game itself, so I put together this scene piece on some of the fan activity throughout the stadium.

Although the game didn’t sell out and the stadium wasn’t full, people came out with loads of energy which I imagine was still built up from the World Cup several weeks ago. I’m satisfied with how that’s portrayed in this video.

It was refreshing to have some international flavor as well. This was my first time working alongside media from other countries. At one point, I found myself sitting in the press box, simply observing and listening as Spanish, English, American, and Italian reporters were all hard at work.

Ravens meet Manchester City soccer — Baltimore Sun Video

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Members of the Manchester City Football Club visited Baltimore Ravens training camp on Friday to throw and kick some footballs and soccer balls.

The Manchester players didn’t see to have any idea how American football works, but at the same time they seemed comfortable handling the football itself. They had absolutely no problems making field goals from 30 plus yards out.

It was also amusing to see some of the “small” Manchester City strikers dwarfed by Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and company.