Panthers vs Buccaneers

Panthers vs Buccaneers Benn Touchdown catch
Tampa Bay wide receiver Arrelious Benn catches a pass pass in the end zone during the second quarter of the game against Carolina on Saturday December 24, 2011 at Bank of America Stadium. The pass was initially called incomplete, but on review was ruled a touchdown. 
Panthers vs Buccaneers Newton run
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton evades Tampa Bay defenders Quincy Black, left and Frank Okam during the first quarter. 
Panthers vs Buccaneers Williams run ALT
Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams breaks the tackle of Tampa Bay defender Ahmad Black during the second half. 


Only ashes
A family photo lies in the ashes of a mobile home on River Loop Road just outside Belmont that was destroyed by fire on Sunday December 11, 2011. Five people were seriously injured due to smoke inhalation. 

Solar is here!

Solar power is here
Freshly installed solar panels sit on the roof of the Gaston County building that houses the Gaston County Police Department and other services on Thursday December 1, 2011. 

I recently had the privilege of photographing what the owners claim is the largest photovoltaic installation on a government building in the Southeast.

NARENCO, a company that already has an installation on the roof of a local commercial building, the National Gypsum facility in Mount Holly, is installing 3,122 photovoltaic panels on the roof of a Gaston County building in Gastonia whose main tenant is the Gaston County Police Dept.

This installation is rated to produce 740 KW of power that will be sold to the local utility provider Duke Energy. That's enough to power over 250 average American homes.

It's a little more than a token gesture, but not quite enough to save the world.

Sustainable energy is being put onto the grid, which means less coal is being burned. That's a good thing for everyone. But this is a perfect example of how sustainable energy can be green in more ways than one.

The county is making money by leasing the roof to NARENCO, it isn't a ton of money, but it's money they wouldn't have had otherwise.

And this shining example of how sustainable energy can be a win financially for local government and business is right here in my hometown. The same hometown that is installing electric car charging stations at several of it's parking areas and implementing new recycling initiatives (or at least trying to, but that's another story).

It is, I think, a piece of the future. As the cost of traditional energy goes up and the cost to manufacture PV panels decreases there will only be more projects like this popping up on roofs of buildings everywhere, or perhaps even serving a dual role shading parking lots.

It's inconspicuous, clean, green, and profitable, and the public response has been, from what I've seen, overwhelmingly positive.

Best of 2011: Prep Football

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Prep football season came to a rather anticlimactic close for me a few weeks ago. Unlike previous years when it seems like I covered one or two teams extensively throughout the year, this year I was all over the place.

I saw a few good games (or first halves, anyway), got a few good pictures, but never felt really inspired. Maybe it's just that I'm in my fourth year of being a newspaper photographer and it's starting to feel like I've done it all before.

In any event, enjoy this slideshow of some of my best pictures from this past season.

ACC Championship

Clemson vs VT

I devoted a great deal of time during Saturday's ACC championship game to trying to find and get shots of one specific Clemson assistant coach that had local ties. He may or may not have actually been on the sidelines at any point during the game, but I did manage to get a few decent shots of game action.

And on another note, I dropped my stainless steel water bottle as I was getting out of my car (I had to park about five blocks away, just FYI), splitting it open at the bottom. Normaly they have free bottled water in the field media workroom (I've heard it referred to as the 'media lounge'), but today? All out.

So I had to ride the elevator up and down and all around, then walk half way around the concorse amid screaming fans just to pay $4 for a bottle of water.

At the end of the evening, I would say my day was better than the Hokies' but worse than the Tigers'.