Meals in the Meadow, part two

I don’t usually turn my 20mm vertically, because of the distortion factor. But as David Rees says, distortion can be a good thing when it’s used with a purpose…such as, for instance, emphasizing just how big a huge one-ton ox (who kept trying to eat my camera) really is. This photo was taken at the Meals in the Meadow dinner last Saturday.

I wish there was a little more space between Adair’s arm and Jaeli’s head, but overall am pretty happy with the way this photo turned out (are you at all bothered by the feet (and hooves) being cut off? It kind of bothers me, but not enough to kill the overall image).

Long live the wide-angle (-:

Meals in the Meadow, part one

I’ve been going to more than a few fundraisers on assignment this past week. This one, the FARM Institute’s annual Meals in the Meadow dinner and auction, was my favorite. The dinner auction itself didn’t offer much photographically (despite the fact that Michele Norris of All Things Considered was a speaker), but the pre-meal happenings definitely did.

Then again, this might just be because I like taking photos of farm critters and the whole pastoral scene.

Just Plane Fun

There’s an exhibit going on right now at the MV Museum that features oral histories from World War II veterans- on Saturday I went to the Katama Airfield to take photos of an airshow the museum had set up in conjunction with the exhibit. Three WWII-era planes flew in for the day, along with several other vintage planes. Turnout was excellent; older people and kids alike were so excited to see the planes and talk to their pilots.

I’ve never photographed planes before (except from within one), and had a lot of fun at this assignment. The vintage planes are especially good for trying interesting frame and compositions.

On a personal note, I was thrilled to (for once) not get a sunburn despite being out in the sun from noon to two. Success!

The Sound of Music

I love my summer job, but I think the men of the Vineyard Sound might have an even better deal that I do (the Cape Cod Leaguers probably have the best job, to be fair).

The Vineyard Sound is an all-male a cappella group made up of college guys from around the Northeast. They come out here in early June and then…basically spend the whole summer performing in concert around the Island. That’s it. That’s their summer job. I mean, wow.

I actually went to this shoot as a backup measure- it hadn’t been assigned specifically but the Gazette usually does a huge feature on the Sound each year, and I wanted to make sure we had photos from their big Midsummer Concert, which was held at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs (same place where my cousin’s graduation was). (I also wanted to hear them sing, because I love a cappella music).

I’d really like to do a multimedia piece on the group eventually (I suspect it would be very similar to the Hickman band piece I already did, but I don’t care). I’m not sure that I’m the, um, right gender to get the necessary access and do the piece justice, though. But maybe I could pull it off. You never know.













Portrait Collection

I have to do an environmental portrait about once a week—usually on the weekends, usually of farmers or gardeners, and usually at ridiculously early hours because farmers and gardeners operate on schedules that are foreign to me.

20100703_0010West Tisbury resident Simon Bollin with one of the several vintage tractors he has restored.

_MG_1575_karenWest Tisbury backyard gardener Karen Overtoom in one of her four garden areas. In addition to her prizewinning tomatoes, Overtoom also grows zucchini, cucumbers, onions, melons, blueberries, lettuce, and herbs.

_MG_1556_editEdgartown backyard gardener Paul Jackson pulls fresh carrots from the ground during a reporter’s visit. Since he began work on his garden, Jackson has had to haul in new soil each year to cover over the nutrient-deficient sand that dominates the area’s growing zone.

Sometimes I shoot pseudo-portraits that have nothing to do with the actual article being run, and which will thus never be published. I take them anyway.

_MG_1566_editEdgartown backyard gardener Paul Jackson talks pet beagle Lily through a trick in her backyard pen. Lily has been Paul’s sole home companion since his wife passed away in April.

Sometimes I get about five minutes to do the whole photo thing. (No, that’s not a weird vignette- it’s the roof shadow):
Marc Rosenbaum, self-described Systems Engineer and Energy Guru for the South Mountain Company in West Tisbury, on the front porch of the company’s headquarters. Founded in 1975, South Mountain is a design and construction company focusing on the creation of environmentally and architecturally sound buildings, a process that starts with the exclusive use of local materials.

Oh, and here is Louie Larsen with a giant lobster. Because giant lobsters are awesome.

Louie Larsen, owner and founder of The Net Result fish market in Vineyard Haven, with an 8-pound lobster. The Net Result celebrated its 25th birthday on July 4.

Cape League IS Baseball

I have a Chatham A’s shirt with that slogan on the back. I’d say it’s pretty accurate- the Cape Cod Baseball League is a summer collegiate league, and it tends to attract some of the best talent in the country. About a third of the guys I saw play last Thursday had previously been in Omaha for the College World Series.

When they renovated the high school ballfield here six years ago, they made sure it was built to CCBL specifications, so that Cape League games could eventually be hosted on the Vineyard. For the past three years, they’ve recruited two teams to come over and play a day game (most games are at night). This year it was Falmouth and Hyannis (both of which are teams that are close to ferry ports. Makes the trip a little easier).

I saw the sign for the Cape League game when it was first posted a month ago at the high school and jumped all over that assignment when it came up at the news meeting. I wrote the article for it, too (all of the articles I write are in the subscriber-only area of the Gazette, so I can’t link to them), but was way more excited about getting to play with my other new lens, a 70-200 f/4.


The best part about Cape games, especially if you’re a little kid, is the accessibility to the players. In college parks, the players are in their dugouts the whole time, which are separated from the fans. In the CCBL, everything happens at recreational ballparks, so all that’s between the players and the fans is a chain-link fence. And because the league has such a reputation for producing future MLBers (David Aardsman, Lance Berkman, Jason Varitek, David DeJesus, Casey Blake, Ben Sheets, Jeff Kent, Tim Lincecum, Nick Swisher, Barry Zito, Ryan Theriot, to name a few), kids spend a lot of time getting autographs. You never know when you might end up with something signed by the next Nomar Garciaparra.






Tugging the Heartstrings

A couple weeks ago I went to an affordable housing lottery in Vineyard Haven. It was wonderful.

I didn’t realize how wonderful it would be when I got the assignment; all I could think about was how terrible the lighting is in the town hall and how I really didn’t want do deal with that again. But once I got there and watched everything unfold, I had tears in my eyes before I knew it.

Martha’s Vineyard is an incredibly expensive place to live. There are almost no homes available for under $250,000 (Islanders have to compete with summer people for those that are), and cost of living beyond that has also skyrocketed in the past few years. This is mostly because it costs more to get things over here on the ferry (or the plane), and partially because businesses can afford to have higher prices due to the lack of competition from places like Wal-Mart and large grocery chains (Stop and Shop is the cheapest place here, and it’s still kind of pricey there).

IAH (Island Affordable Housing) closes the “affordability gap” for families, meaning they make up the difference in the exorbitant prices such that a mortgage will only cost a family 30% of their income (as opposed to 50% or more). The housing lottery is the first step in the process. This year four homes were awarded to families.

Benton Coulter brings a squalling daughter Madeleine to the front of the room to drop his number in the lottery box. The Coulters, who have entered the lottery three times, finally had their number drawn last Tuesday for a 3-bedroom home in Vineyard Haven.

Marie Meyer-Barton embraces her son Matthew after learning that she has won the right to purchase an affordable home in the Vineyard Haven housing lottery. Meyer-Barton has entered the past seven lotteries and did not come up lucky until last Tuesday.

I love feel-good stories.


After Streetball I trucked over to the other side of town to the Featherstone Center for the Arts to do a piece on a music festival being held that day. The Featherstone campus is beautiful- tall oaks shading everything and little nature paths all over the place. Of course, once I got there all I wanted to do was pass out under the trees after five hours of in-the-sun basketball shooting, but photos come first.

(The festival was technically called the Best Festival, but I liked merging the words much better).





Oh hi, flash! Thanks for helping out- you’re pretty great sometimes!

Streetball Saturday (belated post)

I got my 20mm lens last Friday (finally), which happened to be just in time for me to cover the Vineyard Streetball Classic the next afternoon. I really can’t imagine trying to do the assignment without the wide-angle…I was sitting right behind the hoop and even then I wished I had a 14mm or something, because I kept cutting off hands and feet when kids jumped in and out of the frame.

The kids, it should be noted, played from 10:30am to 3:30pm. The founders of the tournament (3-on-3 half-court ball) started it to promote physical activity, and I’d definitely say they were successful in that respect.

I got insanely sunburned that day, because I had only planned to go for an hour and a half or so, but heard whisperings that Ray Allen might make an appearance later on. And so, because I am a good journalist, I stuck around for the whole thing (not bothering to put more sunscreen on…), but Mr. Allen never showed (he was busy golfing elsewhere. Oh well. At least I’ll have a wicked tan for a while.
This light post is ruining my potentially artsy picture.