Farewell, Rocky Mount

Rocky Mount
A CSX train moves through downtown Rocky Mount on Friday as seen from the roof of the Davis Furniture building.  

It's been real, Rocky Mount. Just over a year ago, after being a stringer at The Gaston Gazette for a year, I moved to the little crossroads in Eastern North Carolina to be one of two staff photographers at the Rocky Mount Telegram.

It feels like that year has gone by in a flash.

But a lot has changed in that time. I've learned some hard lessons, I've won a few awards, I've enjoyed the freedom of having a nice apartment to myself, and I've continued to stretch my creativity.

All things considered, I am much better for the experience. The Telegram has been a great place to work, and I have nothing but kind words about the company and my former co-workers.

But I want to advance my career, make enough money to be independent and financial stable, and live in a place close to friends and the activities I enjoy.

Rocky Mount was not such a place, so when a staff job opened up a few weeks ago at The Gazette I looked into it. A few weeks later and I'm back in Gastonia and looking for a good apartment.

It's been a whirlwind of activity. I put in my two week notice at the Telegram, and our other photographer took a planned vacation while I was still there. Gobs of overtime and nary a day off before my last day on Monday, then packing and a drive on Tuesday before my first day at The Gazette today (Wednesday).

And I still have to find an apartment and actually move in the next week or two.

I'm busier than a one armed man trying to hang wallpaper!

In the long run, all the hassles of moving will be worth it, though. I'll be picking up mountain biking and hiking on a regular basis, and making trips to see friends in the Western part of the state now that I live much closer.

I also have a nifty new Canon ID Mark IV and a set of brand new lenses to use. I'm not one to obsess over gear, but this is probably--no, this is the first time I've been equipped with current state of the art gear that hasn't been abused by previous users.

In all honesty, though, a Mark IV isn't that much different than the Mark II bodies I've been using. It performs better in every possible way, especially in low light, but when the light is good there isn't much difference between the two--except for that video thing.

That's a game changer. Good bye crappy handicams, hello 1080p HD video. I'm sure I'll have fun with that.

I'm gonna' stop there and continue my apartment search online. Lots to do...

Firefighter Saves Puppy

Firefighter saves puppy
Rocky Mount firefighter Frank Bandy tends to a puppy rescued from a burning mobile home on Biltmore Place early Sunday. After more than 15 minutes of effort, Bandy and other first responders were able to revive the motionless animal.

Baseball Action

Legion Baseball
Helms makes the throw to first for the double play as Kinston Post 43's C.J. Bradshaw slides in to the bag.
Legion Rundown
Post 67's Stephen McKinney throws the ball to home as he runs down Post 58's Mike Smith on July 19. Smith was tagged out at home.

Body Image

BodyImage Illustration
'A girl may be at a healthy weight for her height, but is that what she sees when she looks into a mirror?'

Photo illustration for a story about body image.

Sunset Crash

Sunset crash 2
Fire and EMS personnel attend to individuals injured Tuesday in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Sunset Avenue and South Pine Street.

According to police at the scene, a white Chevrolet Blazer occupied by three adults and two children was believed to be traveling on Sunset Avenue when it ran a red light and was struck by a red Chevrolet Cavalier occupied only by the driver. Several individuals were transported to Nash General Hospital with unknown injuries.

Sunset crash

Polaroid Porch


Happy Fourth!

Gastonia Fireworks 2

4th of July fireworks in downtown Gastonia, NC.

McGruff takes a bike out of...birthday cake?

McGruff Dance
Rocky Mount Police acting Community Services Supervisor Yvette Jones, right, dances with McGruff the crime dog on Thursday during McGruff's 30th birthday party at the Imperial Centre. Below: Zachary Harrell, left, and Reagon Folger, both 6, watch as McGruff opens his presents. The two were part of a group of 91 children from the Wilson County Schools Summer Adventures program on a trip to the Imperial Centre.

McGruff Kids

Wilkins Shooting

Wilkins Shooting
Tammy Batts, center, is comforted by friends after the body of her friend Tony Wilkins, 41, was brought out of an apartment at 520 Cascade Avenue where Wilkins was shot and killed Wednesday.

Hit & Run

Hit and Run
An N.C. Highway Patrolman records evidence at the scene where a man was struck by a vehicle shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday on Greenway Street in Alamance County. Witnesses at the scene said a woman in a white Mazda hit her boyfriend and drove off. The victim suffered head injuries and was flown by rescue helicopter to UNC Hospital.