Firefighting Couple

Firefighting Couple
Husband and wife firefighting duo Kenny and Julie Griffin pose in their turnout gear in the exercise room at their Lincolnton home on Monday February 13, 2012. Julie is employed full-time with the Charlotte Fire Dept. and Kenny is full-time with the Gastonia Fire Dept. 

I had an assignment to photograph this Lincolnton couple yesterday. I think if they ever decided to quit fighting fires for a living they could probably make it as interior designers. Their rural home was beautiful and game me a couple of excellent backdrops for photos. 

It was abundantly clear after spending half an hour or so with these guys that they love (at least) three things; each other, their careers and their dogs. 

I think the top photo sums it up, but as always, I think it's important to try to get at least two distinct shots from a portrait assignment, if possible. 

I also wanted to incorporate the red striped walls and vintage piano into a photo and have an option where they weren't in turnout gear. I ended up framing such that you can hardly tell they're at a piano, but I still like it as a more intimate compliment to the above photo.  

Firefighting Couple

Fire on the mountain

Fire on the mountain
Flames creep up the side of Crowders Mountain during a prescribed burn at Crowders Mountain State Park on Monday February 13, 2012. 

I got to see something pretty cool last night. 

An editor called and told me there was a prescribed burn taking place at Crowders Mountain State Park, so between two afternoon assignments I rode out there to take a look, but all I could see was a big cloud of smoke. 

One of the rangers told me they would be 'dropping fire' until at least 8:00p.m., and I immediately knew I wanted to come back at dusk or night and see what it looked like. 

I wasn't sure if I could squeeze it in, though. I had to turn in photos from an two assignments I had just completed, grab dinner and shoot two basketball games on the other side of the county, but I figured if the basketball games started on time and I was efficient I could do it. 

It came right down to the wire with making deadline, but it was worth it. The line of fire lit up the whole side of the mountain, stretching at least a half mile from end to end. It reminded me of photos I've seen of some of the massive wildfires out West. 

I would have preferred to see the cliff faces poking out through the smoke, but it was still a sight to see. (you can just see rock in the center of the bottom photo, click on it to view larger)

Fire on the mountain
The radio towers peek through smoke clouds rolling over the cliff faces of Crowders Mountain during the prescribed burn. 

Close Call

Close call
Justin Carver, 8, a third-grader at Rhyne Elementary, poses for a photo on Wednesday February 8, 2012. The boy's mother is angry at school officials for not following procedures to notify her after another student stabbed Carver below the eye with a pencil on the school bus. 

From the Archives

From the Archives - Mt. Mitchell
A small cascade at Mount Mitchell State Park. Taken summer of 2007. 

I decided this week, for the first time in years, to pull out my light box and rummage through all the slides I shot from the time I was a kid up through college.

I started doing photojournalism, even if I didn't realize at the time, in the 7th grade while shooting for the middle school newspaper, but for most of my life nature photography was my world.

I was struck by how lousy most of my work from college was. I think a pivotal moment in my development as a photographer was my senior year in college, in summer of 2007 to be exact.

I had been doing photography since childhood, and always thought I was good at it. But after largely ignoring my camera in favor of new pursuits like rock climbing, fencing and a social life, I picked the camera back up my senior year only to find that I wasn't as good as I thought I was.

And it made me mad, even embarrassed.

In my state of humility I decided to get serous about my passion and start honing my skills and learning how to see.

If I can look back 5-10 years ago and see such a huge difference, I wonder what I'll think five years down the line when I look back at the work I'm doing now?

I'm hoping the best is yet to come. =)

From the Archives - Black Mountains
Sunset over Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains, summer of 2007. 
From the Archives - Mine Shaft
Exploring an abandoned mine shaft into the side of Crowders Mountain. 2008. 
From the Archives - Jockey's Ridge
Sunset at Jockey's Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks.