Marine Homecoming

I’d never photographed a veteran coming home until this week (though I photographed one returning to work back in April, which remains one of my favorite assignments ever). Chris Brown, a Marine when he’s in combat and a special police officer when he’s back home on-Island, came back from his second tour on Tuesday. Every police department on the Vineyard came to meet him at the ferry docks, along with his family (of course) and many, many representatives of the veteran groups here.

Stormy Weather

Y’know when you get fantastic, amazing light?

Right before a massive thunderstorm. I can’t wait for the September nor’easters to get here.

Have you ever seen clouds like this before? I hadn’t. It was like a river in the sky—so pretty.

The clouds aren’t as defined in this one. But they’re still there, and still beautiful.


Yesterday I went along with our reporter to photograph David McCullough.

This was at once a fantastic assignment and a crushing one. It was fantastic because I very much admire David McCullough; I think we need more writers like him to make history more accessible to people. But it was crushing because all I wanted to do afterwards was tell my grandfather, who loved history in general and Mr. McCullough’s work in particular (particularly the John Adams book and miniseries) that I got to go on this assignment and see the house and the backyard shed where David McCullough does most of his writing (on a typewriter from the ’40s)…and, of course, I couldn’t.

David McCullough talked about his own grandchildren during the interview; he described being a grandfather as tasting a new food you’d never had before and realizing it’s the best thing in the world. And he also talked about how there is no such thing as the foreseeable future, a thought that I found comforting, even though on the surface those aren’t very reassuring words.

The interview was, needless to say, one of the best and most thought-provoking I’ve had the privilege of sitting in on, which was a good antidote to being completely overwhelmed by emotion during the hour or so we were there. David McCullough’s grandchildren are lucky, just like my cousins and I were (and are).

On a lighter note, I now hope to one day also have a neat little shed in my backyard where I can work on projects.

Win/Lose Diptych

Or, studies in body language:

Jonathan Grigull collapses on the tennis court of Niantic Park in Oak Bluffs after his team won in triple overtime during the quarterfinals of the Vineyard Streetball Classic, held July 3, 2011.

Nainoa Cooperrider falls to the ground after being tagged out at first for the final out of the Little League Championship Game on June 25, 2011 at Veira Park in Oak Bluffs.

Happy Birthday, America!

The Fourth of July weekend here is insane. I think it’s the biggest tourist weekend of the season, although the four-day extravagaza of the fair, the August fireworks, and Illumination Night later in the summer might give it a run.

But still, there are a ton of people here soaking up the Americana–and the sun, as the weather was absolutely gorgeous (my friend Erin stopped by for the weekend on her way back to Michigan, and spent most of her time at the beaches because I was running around like a maniac).

The parade in Edgartown, which is the main event of the holiday craziness, is generally kind of nightmarish to shoot because it’s impossible to get the names of anybody on the floats. I tried to work around this this year by shooting a few floats and then running ahead to the elementary school where the parade ends. But of course, by the time I made it back to the school, the floats I needed to have names for had already dispersed. Oh well. I had enough group shots and spectator photos (much easier to get names) to make it work (and we had another photog on duty).

I shot the entire parade with my 70-200mm, which was a change from last year when I was working with a wide-angle. In a way I felt like I was cheating because I wasn’t getting Close to the subjects, but I much prefer the look of these, with their nice separation, to last year’s. Some day I’ll be able to afford a wide-angle that can give me that (dream big!).

Edgartown becomes even more of a mess after the fireworks show, so Erin and I went to State Beach just outside of town to watch it. Then we spent most of the time messing around with long exposures. The photo I liked best was, of course, the first one I took.