A Tale of Two Graduations: MVRHS (lots o’ photos)

Last year, I photographed the small nine-person graduation at the MV Charter School. This year I was instead assigned to the regional high school ceremony, which is about twenty times the size of the MVPCS one.

As always, a huge thank-you is owed to my cousin Texe, who helped me with names afterwards.

The principal broke out his guitar halfway through his speech and sang “Forever Young” to the graduates. Love it!

I got to go up in the sound booth at the end of the ceremony! This didn’t come out exactly how I wanted it to, but then again, I didn’t have a tripod up there.

Hooray for names being spelled right!

A Tale of Two Graduations: Harvard

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go on a Journalism Adventure off-Island. Tiffany Smalley, a Vineyarder and a member of the Wampanoag tribe of Aquinnah, was receiving her degree from Harvard; she’s the first Wampanoag to graduate from Harvard in 346 years. So the Gazette wanted a photographer there to capture her receiving the degree.

This assignment was without question one of the most stressful I’ve ever had in terms of pre-event coordination—it’s one thing to photograph a graduation and a whole other beast to document just one person (out of the thousands of people at Harvard)—but once I actually found Tiffany (who was fantastically chill about everyone making a huge fuss about her accomplishment), it was way easier. It just took a while to get to that point, since she was busy doing all kinds of pre-graduation things; there was a bit of phone tag for a while.

I think I did an okay job with this assignment, but I wasn’t as creative as I would have liked to be, and I wish I had more photos of Tiffany with her family. I am, however, extremely glad that I rented a 70-200mm f/2.8 to use instead of my f/4.

I also stuck around for the afternoon ceremonies, where Tiffany received a posthumous degree on behalf of Joel Iacoombes, who would have been the second Wampanoag to graduate from Harvard if he hadn’t died just before his commencement in 1655. Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, the President of Liberia, was the featured speaker for those proceedings, which was amazing (her speech was also great).

Spotted during the afternoon ceremony: Arne Duncan, Class Marshall. Harvard is the ultimate in the “Go big or go home” mentality.

Tiffany and Wampanoag tribe chair Cheryl Andrews-Maltais receiving the long-overdue degree.

Not Tiffany (she’s still on stage), but I like this photo anyway.

Podium picture. Couldn’t be helped.

Bruins, the Bruins what?

The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup last night! I’m very much a hockey bandwagon fan—I made it my New Year’s resolution a year ago to learn more about the sport—but even a newbie like me could appreciate this playoff series.

I got sent out to Oak Bluffs last night to do a scene story on people watching the game. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance writing a story with taking photos for the same story, although scene pieces are so much fun to write that I don’t mind the extra stress.

I took a bunch of reaction shots, one of which will probably be the one that ends up in the paper, but I like this photo, which was taken just before the game ended and Boston officially Won The Cup.

Boston Bruins fans Matt and Robyn Weston of Mashpee, Mass., watch the last seconds of Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals while at Seasons Eatery and Pub in Oak Bluffs, Mass., on June 15, 2011. The Westons were visiting Martha’s Vineyard on their honeymoon, and came out to watch the game with over 150 other patron at Seasons.

On Wednesday night, as the puck dropped for the third period of Game Seven in the Stanley Cup Finals, the streets of Oak Bluffs were, for the most part, quiet.

The real roar was inside Seasons on Circuit avenue, where the game was showing on no fewer than nine televisions and the nearing-capacity crowd had started cheering before the period had even begun, when the NBC broadcast flashed up second-period stats.

As the period drew on, the crowd pressed closer to the TVs, making it difficult to figure out exactly where the roar of the televised Vancouver fans left off and that of the in-person Vineyard fans began. The sound wasn’t consistent in nature—it rose in volume when Boston got a power play, and it made intelligible words (“MVP! MVP!”) when Bruins goalie Tim Thomas made yet another brilliant save—but it was always there.

By the time there were forty-four seconds left in the game, the roar was at delirium levels. There was no suspense left for the fans, or, for that matter, the teams; they knew exactly what was going to happen next. Boston had locked up the win three minutes ago with their fourth unanswered goal.

Time ran out, and the sound wave became a tsunami. A bottle of Corona was sprayed a lá champagne. In the back of the restaurant, a homemade Stanley Cup, crafted by Oak Bluffs resident Jack Holmes out of sauna tubes, tinfoil and “my salad bowl” was tossed around.

“Hockey’s just the most exciting sport, to me, “ said viewer Scott Carroll after the game, standing outside Seasons as the remnants of the volume explosion seeped out onto Circuit Avenue. Mr. Carroll had watched the first two periods from the comfort of his home, but came down to Seasons for the third because he “wanted to be in the crowd.”

“It’s just the atmosphere,” he continued.

Mr. Carroll wasn’t alone in wanting to soak up the feel of the evening. The Lombardo family—mom Carla and children Stefania, Giancarlo and Nadia—were visiting the Island for a weekend Chappy wedding, but came out to Seasons to watch history be made (the family made a quick run back home between periods to change into pajamas).

“We’re lifelong Bruins fans,” said Mrs. Lombardo. “To be here with my cubs [she paused midsentence to point out to this reporter her use of the word] is so important to us—you have no idea.”

Giancarlo, described his reaction to the win as “shocked.”

Mr. Carroll was less surprised.

“They worked so hard,” he said, “and the playoffs….”

He trailed off between sentences, searching for the right words, and the sound took over once again.

Newborn Piglets!

It’s baby season on the alpaca farm where I work, and as far as I’m concerned, very few things are more cute than an alpaca cria.

Except for piglets. Piglets will always win.

Here is a newborn piglet (it’s probably fifteen minutes old) from the FARM Institute in Katama!

And here is a minute-old piglet getting acquainted with its mom:

For more piggie photos, here’s a post I made last summer about the racing pigs at the fair last summer. They run through obstacle courses and jump into swimming pools!