Making Portraits

Arbor Park faculty in tee shirts
Arbor Park Intermediate School Faculty and staff stand in the shape of a heart in the school’s gym. The educators are wearing T-shirts in honor of reading teacher Kris Burns who died suddenly of heart failure in September. The teachers purchased the T-shirts or made donations which will be given to the American Heart Association in Burn’s name.

If you picked up a copy of the  Citizen or Enterprise newspaper last week you found it wrapped around our annual Washington County Progress edition. This slick covered publication is packed with 100 or so photos, not counting the advertising and nearly as many articles about the people and history of our county.  Progress always reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner – all that planning and preparation for a feast that it is placed before us and then consumed in one sitting with plenty of leftovers to return to later.

The planning for this 80 plus page section begins in October and much of the interviewing, writing and photography is completed before the new year begins.  I have the easy part, and I think the fun part which is making the portraits and producing images that matches and hopefully enhance the fine writing by my colleagues.  I enjoy accompanying my co-workers or going out on my own to meet these interesting and accomplished people and to find unique visual ways to tell their stories.

Last week the P-T and Citizen newspapers were also packed with stories and images chronicling performances by Washington County Athletes at the State wrestling tournament at Century Link in Omaha.  I was pleased to assist sports editor Grant Egger in capturing images that helped to tell the stories of our wrestlers’ performances at the state meet.  I can totally relate to Grant’s comments that sports writers attempt to capture, “The powerful moments that, unfortunately, not everyone can see up close.”  I try to do the same thing in pictures.

For the past 13 years I have covered state wrestling, first in Lincoln when the tournament was held at the Bob Devaney, and now at Century Link in Omaha. In my opinion, there is no other sports event quite like it. I am addicted to the energy and to the intense rollercoaster ride of emotion that erupts from the mats that fill the arena.

Another fun activity that I usually photograph in February each year is the K-2 Jump Rope for Heart.  Photographs of the kids jumping rope will be featured in the Classroom of the Week in the Enterprise.  The “Pie the Teacher” assemblies celebrate the efforts by students to collect money for the American Heart Association.  Some of the pictures of smiling students and their pie-in-the-face teachers are in the paper today. This year the combined total for the K-2 effort approached $17,000.  That is no small piece of change!

I get online comments once-in-awhile from people who think it is terrible that kids hit their teachers with pies, but the pies are more placed and smooshed than thrown, and always with TLC.  Teachers and celebrity staff members happily volunteer and literally stand in line to get pied.

And finally, I want to comment on the Arbor Park and Blair Community Schools fundraiser in honor of my wife Kris Burns. Arbor Park physical education teacher Sandy Moore contacted me weeks ago to tell me about the T- shirt fund raiser they had planned. Sandy knew Kris well, and told me that the tee shirt they were designing would be simple and a design that Kris might wear. And she was right.  On Wednesday, wearing my ‘Forever a Piece of our Hearts’ tee shirt I was in the Arbor Park gymnasium before school with assistant editor Leeanna Ellis to do my job and take the picture of the Arbor Park teachers standing in the shape of a heart.  The picture and the accompanying story are something I will always treasure.

There is an intimacy to my job that is incredible.  Whether I am working on my own or with co-workers I try to make portraits that capture the qualities and character of the people in Washington County.

 

State Wrestling Tournament

State Wresting finals
Sophomore Walker Moore works for points against Gretna’s Trevor Fauver in the class B 106 pound state championship match at CenturyLink Center in Omaha

A total of 18 Washington Count wrestlers – ten from Blair, four from Fort Calhoun and four from Arlington took part in the state tournament at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

 

 

 

2014-15 Blair winter sports team photos

Blair Winter Sports Blair Girls Basketball Front row, from left:  Maddie Kment, Taylor Stewart, Bailie Wakefield, Mollie Nickerson, Ali Rosenbaum, Kiley Goskeer, Serena Johnson,  Row 2:  Alex Rand, Sophia Kirwan, Dallas Roach, Morgan Schenck, Isabella Grantham, Jessica Schenck, Jayme Anderson, Joanna Sandvold, Ashley Jonas, Payton Daggett. Row 3: Alex Washington (manager), Morgan Gayer, Luella Johnson, Racherl Block, Justine Chiles, Michaela Ott, Sophine Rasmussen, Mikenna Zuhlke, Taylor Smith, Stella Sather, Sarah Serrano (manager.) Back row: Kelli Ray( frosh coach) , Matt Aschoff (asst. coach), Jon Small (asst. coach), Shawn Ekwall (head coach.)

2014-15 Blair Girls Basketball team
Front row, from left: Maddie Kment, Taylor Stewart, Bailie Wakefield, Mollie Nickerson, Ali Rosenbaum, Kiley Goskeer, Serena Johnson, Row 2: Alex Rand, Sophia Kirwan, Dallas Roach, Morgan Schenck, Isabella Grantham, Jessica Schenck, Jayme Anderson, Joanna Sandvold, Ashley Jonas, Payton Daggett. Row 3: Alex Washington (manager), Morgan Gayer, Luella Johnson, Rachel Block, Justine Chiles, Michaela Ott, Sophie Rasmussen, Mikenna Zuhlke, Taylor Smith, Stella Sather, Sarah Serrano (manager.) Back row: Kelli Ray( frosh coach) , Matt Aschoff (asst. coach), Jon Small (asst. coach), Shawn Ekwall (head coach.)
Boys Basketball Front row, from left: T.K. Loudner, Jacob Jones, Matt Brunkhorst, Vance Janssen. Row 2: Ethan Cox, Zach Dahlgren, Derek Andersen, Alex Wing, Nolan Kirwan, Damon Jorgensen. Row 3 Timmy Bennett, Cody Lambrecht, Brandt Radloff, Dylan Rahlfs, Jacob Sorensen. Row 4: Jacob Sorensen, Colton Wiemer, Evan Cada, Harrison Lane, Jake Mathiesen, Grant Lammers. Row 5: hayden Rech, Zane Tilson, Brendon Sagehorr, Brett Peterson, Colby Camelin, Dawson Kramer.  Back row: Mark Kwikel, Brian Slominski, Scott Flynn,  Chris Whitwer, Sam Nicholson.
B2014-15 Boys Basketball
Front row, from left: T.K. Loudner, Jacob Jones, Matt Brunkhorst, Vance Janssen. Row 2: Ethan Cox, Zach Dahlgren, Derek Andersen, Alex Wing, Nolan Kirwan, Damon Jorgensen. Row 3 Timmy Bennett, Cody Lambrecht, Brandt Radloff, Dylan Rahlfs, Jacob Sorensen. Row 4: Jacob Sorensen, Colton Wiemer, Evan Cada, Harrison Lane, Jake Mathiesen, Grant Lammers. Row 5: Hayden Rech, Zane Tilson, Brendon Sagehorr, Brett Peterson, Colby Camelin, Dawson Kramer. Back row: Mark Kwikel, Brian Slominski, Scott Flynn, Chris Whitwer, Sam Nicholson.
Blair Wrestling  Front row, from left: Layne Dossey, Andy Hinton, Casey Harper, Colton Gayer, Zach Barnhill, Paxton Sternberg, Riley Hancock, Matt Love, Kalvin Rosterman, Jared Carnell. Row 2: Tyler Thomsen, Branden Adams, Jacob Larsen, Rhett Fraser, Drew Lamb, Cory Harper, Carter Anderson, Devon Wormuth, Alec Krueger, Zach McDonald.  Row 3: Hayden Riley, Tanner Larsen, Connor Miller, Sam Brayman, Xach Sorensen, Nathan Peleska, Nate Rothlisberger, Zach Griffin, Humberto Almanza, Zach Orton. Row 4: Brandon Hoag, Trenton Kantor, Walker Moore, Hunter McClain, Dalton Lewis, Will Yost, Triston McClanahan, Chris Zanotto, Hunter Powers.  Row 5: Kendall Gibson, Payton Schroeder, Hope Siemer, Elisa Ellis, Berit Wulf, Paige Kyral.  Back  row: Trainer Mark Kwikkel, Coaches Terry Bellamy, Erich Warner, Eric Dolezal, Nick Sims. Not pictured: Josh Hook, Josh Andreasen, Dylan Larsen, Mason Kaeding, Cade Ewoldt.
2014-15 Blair Wrestling
Front row, from left: Layne Dossey, Andy Hinton, Casey Harper, Colton Gayer, Zach Barnhill, Paxton Sternberg, Riley Hancock, Matt Love, Kalvin Rosterman, Jared Carnell. Row 2: Tyler Thomsen, Branden Adams, Jacob Larsen, Rhett Fraser, Drew Lamb, Cory Harper, Carter Anderson, Devon Wormuth, Alec Krueger, Zach McDonald. Row 3: Hayden Riley, Tanner Larsen, Connor Miller, Sam Brayman, Xach Sorensen, Nathan Peleska, Nate Rothlisberger, Zach Griffin, Humberto Almanza, Zach Orton. Row 4: Brandon Hoag, Trenton Kantor, Walker Moore, Hunter McClain, Dalton Lewis, Will Yost, Triston McClanahan, Chris Zanotto, Hunter Powers. Row 5: Kendall Gibson, Payton Schroeder, Hope Siemer, Elisa Ellis, Berit Wulf, Paige Kyral. Back row: Trainer Mark Kwikkel, Coaches Terry Bellamy, Erich Warner, Eric Dolezal, Nick Sims. Not pictured: Josh Hook, Josh Andreasen, Dylan Larsen, Mason Kaeding, Cade Ewoldt.
Dance team: Front row, from left:  Drew Damme, Lexi Wulf, Kiah Shaw, Haley Devney. Middle row: Erika Swenson, Sarah Sheehan, Amber Roehrs, Bailee Fought.,  Back row: Chloe Martin, Carolyn Anderson, Ellie Myers, Sarah Parks.
2014-15 Blair Dance team:
Front row, from left: Drew Damme, Lexi Wulf, Kiah Shaw, Haley Devney. Middle row: Erika Swenson, Sarah Sheehan, Amber Roehrs, Bailee Fought., Back row: Chloe Martin, Carolyn Anderson, Ellie Myers, Sarah Parks.