Panthers vs Raiders

Panthers vs Raiders: Dockery defense
Carolina cornerback James Dockery, right, breaks up a pass intended for Oakland receiver Rod Streater in the second hald during the NFL game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Sunday December 23, 2012. 
Panthers vs Raiders: Smith TD
Carolina receiver Louis Murphy, right, congratulates Steve Smith after he caught a touchdown pass in the first half. 
Panthers vs Raiders: Almost intercepted
Oakland linebacker Miles Burris, left, breaks up, and nearly intercepts, a pass intended for Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams. 
Panthers vs Raiders: Leinart pass
Oakland quarterback Matt Leinart throws a pass to running back Mike Goodson. 


Photo of local woman Kayla Coley for a story about people with tattoos being discriminated against when applying for jobs. 

Holiday lights

McAdenville Christmas
Oliver Lara-Bennett, 1, plays with light-up snowmen and penguin figures in McAdenville on Tuesday December 4, 2012.
Christmas at DSBG
Holiday lights decorate Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, above and below, on Thursday December 6, 2012.
Christmas at DSBG

East Lincoln, 2A State Champions

2A State Championship
Tarboro defensive back Aaron Moore, left, breaks up a pass intended for East Lincoln receiver Jesse Earnhardt in the end zone during the NCHSAA 2A state championship game at Wake Forest University on Saturday December 1, 2012.
2A State Championship
East Lincoln receiver Tyler Brock reacts after catching a touchdown pass in the second half during the championship game.
2A State Championship
East Lincoln receiver Jesse Earnhardt outruns a host of Tarboro defenders.
2A State Championship
East Lincoln receiver Jesse Earnhardt catches a pass as Tarboro defensive back Najee Brown takes a tumble.
2A State Championship
Jack Rhodes congratulates his son, East Lincoln linebacker Justin Rhodes, after they defeated Tarboro.
2A State Championship
East Lincoln running back Marquis Pharr dives into the endzone past Tarboro defenders Radja Bobbitt, left, and Quentin Roberson.

Football Highlights 2012

Football 2012: Bessemer City vs Cherryville
Cherryville defenders Darius Harris, left, and Ryar Davis attempt to intercept a pass intended for Bessemer City's Asante Sanders during the game at Bessemer City on Friday September 21, 2012. The pass was incomplete.
Football 2012: South Point student section
South Point fans cheer the Red Raiders during the game at Ashbrook on Friday September 28, 2012. 
Football 2012: South Point vs Crest
Crest defensive back Michael Smith attempts to block an extra point attempt from South Point kicker Aaron Camp, with Diontrea King holding, during the game at South Point on Friday November 9, 2012. The kick was good, but Smith was able to successfully block an extra point attempt later in the game.
Football 2012: Ashbrook fans
Ashbrook students do the wave as Assael Mendoza runs by with an Ashbrook flag during the game against South Point at Ashbrook on Friday September 28, 2012.
Football 2012: South Point vs Crest fans
South Point fan Drew Sprinkle, 7, does his signature dance move, the 'Sprinkler,' during the game against Crest at South Point on Friday November 9, 2012.

Nothing to do but watch

Nothing to do but watch
The driver of a Toyota pickup truck, who declined to be identified, watches the vehicle burn on the side of Southbound U.S. 321 near the Hardin Road exit on Sunday November 25, 2012. The man pulled over and helped his two children and their mother out of the smoking truck before it became engulfed in flames.

Operation Wedding Gown

Operation Wedding Gown

Zina Thornton, from left, and sister Cherrelle Thornton look on as employee Sara Alenduff helps their friend Diana Song, from Fayetteville, NC, choose a wedding gown during the 2nd Annual Brides Across America Gown Giveaway at Poffie Girls bridal and formal boutique in Gastonia on Sunday November 18, 2012.

Forty two brides who serve in the U.S. armed forces or are marrying a service member received a free package of a designer dress, tiara, veil, shoes and one piece of jewelry with a combined retail value of over $2,000.

Abbey Volleyball

Abbey vs King 1
Belmont Abbey's Kay Schellenburg, left, and Caitlin Hankins jump to block as King's Summer Kremer spikes the ball during the Conference Carolinas Tournament quarterfinal at Belmont Abbey on Saturday November 10, 2012. 
Abbey vs King 3
Belmont Abbey's Kay Schellenburg jumps to block as King's Lauren Willoughby spikes the ball during the Conference Carolinas Tournament quarterfinal.

Crowders in Color

Crowders in Color II

The fall color seems to just keep hanging around at Crowders Mountain, even when most of Gaston County has already dropped it's leaves. I was driving down Linwood Road on Wednesday between assignments and I had to pull over and take this picture. 

I keep wanting to get out and enjoy the picture possibilities while it lasts, but things keep coming up on my days off. Crossing my fingers for Thursday.

More soccer highlights

Double Header
Ashbrook's Austin Johnson, left, and Fred T. Ford's Kenan Ruffner head the ball simultaneously on Saturday November 3, 2012 at Ashbrook.
Conference Carolinas Championships
Pfeiffer's Kaitlin Sampson jumps over her keeper Britt Polly as she dives on the ball ahead of a charge from Belmont Abbey's Ananda Gebreyesus during the Conference Carolinas Championship match at Belmont Abbey on Saturday November 3, 2012.
Abbey wins
Belmont Abbey players Abby Walton, from left, Ashley Minda and Juliana Stalzer celebrate after their 1-0 victory over Pfeiffer in the Conference Carolinas Championship match at Belmont Abbey on Saturday November 3, 2012.

Scared Stiff

Scared stiff
Performer Mac Hawkins jumps out and scares visitors on a tour of the Haunted Mill in Belmont on Sunday October 21, 2012. 
Creepy Clowns
Performers John Bailey, right, and Ben Longstreet clown around for a photo while waiting on 'fresh meat,' the term the crew uses to refer to visitors, at the Haunted Mill in Belmont.

Fall Waterfalls

Linville Falls
Linville Falls on October 23, 2012.

I've been suffering from a bit of nature deficit disorder as of late, so over the past few weeks I set out to remedy the situation with some hiking around the North Carolina mountains.

I re-connected with an old hobby of mine, namely photographing waterfalls and chasing fall foliage color. All the places I went to were favorite spots of mine, but it's been a while since I've payed them a visit. It was like meeting an old friend I hadn't seen in years. 

Incidentally, I also did in fact meet an old friend I hadn't seen in years. One of my roommates from Brevard College was out fly fishing below Tripple Falls and we met up afterwards in Brevard to catch up.  

Despite going to school in the area for four years, there are still a lot of trails I haven't ridden, falls I havent photographed and rocks I haven't climbed. 

My next trip will probably be with a bike rather than a camera, but I have some plans in the works to explore some of the more remote areas that aren't as over-loved as the falls pictured here. The next waterfall photos I post may be of Windy Falls on the Horsepasture. Stay tuned.

Hooker Falls
Hooker falls in DuPont State Forest on Monday October 29, 2012. 
High Shoals Falls
Lower part of High Shoals Falls in South Mountains State Park on Thursday October 25, 2012. 
Triple Falls 2
The middle drop of Triple Falls in DuPont State Forest, above and below, on Monday October 29, 2012. 
Triple Falls 1

Get well soon

Vigil for E. coli patients 1
Emma Bowen, 6, from left, Maylee McNair, 5, Alexandria Bowen, 9, and Mallory McNair, 11, take turns writing on a large card for all the victims of a recent outbreak of E. coli infections, including the McNair sisters' cousin Jordan McNair who is still hospitalized, during a prayer vigil for the victims at Firestone Wesleyan Church on Union Road in Gastonia on Saturday October 20, 2012.

At the time of the vigil, 106 individuals, including one toddler who passed away, have been diagnosed with the illness after visiting the Cleveland County Fair. 
Vigil for E. coli patients 2
Rita Welch, left, and Veronica Gibson offer support to Bennie McClannon, seated, as Christopher Bridges and sister Renee Bridges light candles during a prayer vigil for Jordan McNair, McClannon's grandson, and other E. coli victims at Firestone Wesleyan Church on Union Road in Gastonia on Saturday October 20, 2012.

Soccer Action

Abbey downs North Greenville
North Greenville's Brooke Domingo reacts as Belmont Abbey players celebrate a goal by Ananda Gebreyesus during the soccer match at Belmont Abbey on Saturday October 6, 2012.
Abbey vs Lees-McRae
Lees-McRae goalkeeper Kaitlyn Briggs dives for the ball as Belmont Abbey's Ananda Gebreyesus attempts a shot on goal during the soccer match at Belmont Abbey on Wednesday September 26, 2012.

The Woman in Pink

The Woman in Pink
Two-time cancer survivor Kim Beverly, founder of The Woman in Pink, poses for a photo at It's A Girl Thing Salon on Second Ave. in Gastonia on Thursday October 4, 2012. The Woman in Pink, which she runs with two partners, works to donate wigs to women suffering hair loss due to cancer treatment. 

Biker Church

Biker Church 3
Husband and wife Jewel and Jimmy Stiff with the Christian rock band Apprehended Ones perform at Biker Church at The Homestead Lodge on Stowe Road in Gastonia on Sunday September 30, 2012.
Biker Church 2
Scott 'Shoes' McCurry joins other motorcycle enthusiasts and their families watching Apprehended Ones perform.
Biker Church 1
The Rev. Ben Smith speaks during Biker Church. He says he tries to avoid getting too 'preachy' with the alternative service.

Reptile Day

Reptile Day 3
Joshua Graffeo, 9, holds a hog-nosed snake during Herpetologist Ron Cromer's Snakes Alive show during a reptile day celebration at the Schiele Museum on Sunday September 9, 2012.

I can say fairly authoritatively now, after seeing him a few times, that when herpetologist Ron Cromer brings his 'Snakes Alive!' tour to a town near you, you can expect to get lots of good feature photos.

Reptile Day 1
Cromer shows an iguana named Tarzan to the audience.

DNC 2012

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Last week was possibly the longest of my career as a photojournalist, in terms of hours worked, but I wouldn't have traded the assignment to cover the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte for anything.

There were so many things to see and pictures to take that it was impossible to take it all in. With something like 10,000 members of the news media present not much went on without being captured on camera, and each day I would look at slideshows from other publications just to see all kinds of things I missed.

I don't have the skill (or interest, if I'm honest) to put down all my thoughts in words. My brain is DNC-ed out. So enjoy this slideshow of some of my favorite DNC photos while I try to recover.

Legion baseball wraps up

ALWS: Game 8 winning run
Brooklawn, NJ runner Pat Kane slides in safe at home past Bellevue, WA catcher James Sinatro to score the winning run in the 10th inning of game eight at the American Legion World Series in Shelby on Sunday August 19, 2012.

Here's a few of my best photos from the last few weeks of American Legion baseball playoffs.

I don't consider shooting baseball to be one of my strengths as a photographer, but looking over all the high school, Gastonia Grizzlies and American Legion baseball I shot this summer is boosting my confidence a bit. I think for the first time in my four-year career I can say without hesitation that I'm proud of the work I did.

I can't take all the credit, of course. No matter how good you are as a sports photographer, you're always at the mercy of what's actually happening on the field. With baseball that is often extreme boredom and monotony punctuated by moments of dramatic and decisive action, such as the play-at-the-plate above.

All things considered, this year I felt like there was simply more action, and I can't complain about that.

Over-the-fence catch
Hickory Post 29 left fielder Tanner Dillard reaches over the fence to rob a Gaston Braves batter of a home run during game four of the American Legion playoffs series at South Point High in Belmont on Thursday July 19, 2012.
Hats off to double plays
Cherryville Post 100 second baseman Brett Huff knocks off Gastonia Post 23 runner Trevor Bridges' helmet after forcing him out at second and winding up to throw to first for the double play during the American Legion playoffs game at Sims Legion Park on Wednesday July 4, 2012.

Everything's better with Butter

Eric "Butter" Hurd 2
U.S. Olympic Team member Eric 'Butter' Hurd poses in his paddling gear at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte on Tuesday June 26, 2012. Hurd and his teammate Jeff Larimer will be competing in the tandem canoe slalom event in London this week.
Eric "Butter" Hurd

I have the unique privilege this year of pulling for one of my friends, Eric "Butter" Hurd, who is competing with teammate Jeff Larimer in tandem canoe slalom at the London Olympics this week. 

I took the photos above a few weeks ago before he left for London (Jeff lives in Atlanta and wasn't available) and the photo below is from U.S. Team Trials at the whitewater center earlier in the summer. 

U.S. Olympic athletes don't get much support, unless they play basketball or they're an attractive female. That sounds rough, but it's essentially true. It doesn't help that in North America NBC has a monopoly on using the Olympic Games to fill space between commercials. As long as that practice is allowed to continue, only the popular sports will generate lucrative sponsorships for a few select athletes that make good talking points.

In any event, I'll be pulling for Butter this week, and if you want to show your support he has T-shirts on sale for a small donation with a design based on my photo below. I think they look pretty cool. (Disclaimer: I receive no profit from the sale of the shirt. The screen printing company is taking a chunk, but most of it goes straight to Hurd). 

Olympic Team Trials - Hurd / Larimer