Welcome Home, Mr. Halt

Colonel Michael Halt recently returned to the island from a 15-month deployment to Afghanistan with the Marine Corps Reserve (he had previously served for seven months in Iraq in 2007). Yesterday Mr. Halt, who is the principal of the West Tisbury School, was officially welcomed back by his students.

I WISH I had been more to the left for this photo. Oh well.

Foggy Track Meet

I used to do track in high school, and was pretty bummed to find out that the team here doesn’t compete in pole vault, which was my event (I was awful at it, but MAN was it fun!). But I still like photographing meets.

I’m not used to shooting in pea-soup-thick fog, though, and it gave the photos a strange look. Oh well.

I have yet to figure out how to get a decent tight shot of handoffs during the 4×100 (I did get *a* shot; it’s further down). The 4X400 is much easier to shoot.

Can you tell these guys train together?

Animal Planet Visits the Vineyard

Maui is an eight-year-old Bouvier des Flandres who lives in Edgartown with owner Leonard Fogg. He is also one of those dog heroes you always hear about but never actually meet in real life. And he gets to be on Animal Planet because of it!

Four years ago, Leonard and Maui were walking along the wharf in Edgartown when Leonard leaned over to check the price of a for-sale boat and fell into the water. He couldn’t reach the docks to pull himself back up, and, this being February, wasn’t likely to actually attract attention with calls for help because nobody’s around the docks at that time of year. Leonard’s also a diabetic, and the cold water was doing nothing for his condition.

But Maui started to bark like a crazy fiend after Leonard fell in…and all his noise managed to attract Peter, a bar patron who’d stepped out for a smoke. Peter came down to investigate, and the story ends exactly the way you’d want it to (you can read the original Gazette article here)

Somehow the producers of Dogs 101 (an Animal Planet show) got wind of this story (quite a few years later; this all happened in ’07), and sent a film crew down to do a reenactment of everything. (Leonard didn’t have to fall in again; they got a lifeguard from the YMCA to do the honors.)

Occasionally I’ll go to assignments where I just have a terrible time keeping a straight, professional face. This was one of them. Maui’s not a trained actor (although he was very well trained), and he would occasionally wander off to do his own thing. Also, he’s a big shaggy dog, and big shaggy dogs always make me smile.

Anyway, besides the fact that I had a ridiculously outsized grin on my face for this entire shoot, the only real problem I had was that Maui is not only a very shaggy dog, he’s also a black dog.If you didn’t already know what kind of animal he was, you might look at half of my photos and think “What is this furry creature? Maybe it should be with the other Ewoks.” It’s hard to see his eyes, for one thing (albeit a pretty important thing), and his shape just isn’t well defined unless it’s a full-on profile shot.

King of the Ewoks.  I doubt this one will make it into the paper as it doesn’t reproduce very well in b&w. Oh well.

At any rate, this was a welcome break from the election madness of last week (which will be the next post)! I’m going to have to get cable soon so I can see Maui’s television debut…

Girl Power: Lacrosse

I’ve photographed boys’ lacrosse twice, but yesterday was the first time (besides practice) that’d I’d shot the girls’ game. It’s…different. In a good way. It was easier for me to pick up on the flow of the game and follow the players around; it also helped that the varsity girls are a much more experienced team that the boys are and are scoring machines (the final score was 14-12, Vineyard).

Lacrosse puzzles me somewhat because on the one hand, it amazes me that the offense can score in such a small goalspace, and on the other, it seems like the goalie just doesn’t stand a chance once a shot’s coming at them. I can’t think of another sport with this strange balance.

(it went in)

(this also went in. the game was pretty back-and-forth…)

Sengekontacket Pond

My drive to and from work is, quite simply, awesome I take Beach Road from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown, half of which runs on a narrow strip of land that had the Sound on one side and Sengekontacket Pond on the other. I used to bike this route (it’s about eight miles each way) several years ago when I worked at a farm in Edgartown and had to be there at 7:30 a.m. (i.e. before the buses started running). It’s pretty special to me.

And it’s also gorgeous. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day it is or what the weather’s like. In the past week alone I’ve had to pull over to the side of the road on two separate occasions when driving back to O.B. just because the pond looked so pretty and I wanted to photograph it. I suspect this will continue to be a problem.

Sengekontacket at sunset (taken with a 70-200mm):

Overcast Sengekontacket (taken with a 20mm). Sometimes, you just want to use f/11: