Month in Review - Best of June, 2019

It’s already been a month since I’ve been interning with the News & Observer and what a month it has been. Assignment work is fun yet challenging, especially when trying to find the balance between photo and video. Over the past month, I’ve really been trying to hone on my daily video skills, applying all that I have learned in the past year.

Every day is different and that’s what I enjoy the most. Here are some of my favorite videos and images from the month of June:

Beaver Queen Pageant

Video: This year’s Beaver Queen Pageant had a Damilton theme. That’s a play on Hamilton, the wildly popular musical, and dam, like beavers make. As usual, the fundraiser was marked by humor and outrageous costumes.

Young members of the crowd watch one of the acts at the 2019 Beaver Queen Pageant on June 1, 2019 in Durham Park.

2018 Beaver Queen, Flat Tail Fanny, walks through the crowd on June 1, 2019 at the 2019 Beaver Queen Pageant in Durham Park.

The Islamic Association of Raleigh celebrates Eid

Members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh walk into prayer to celebrate the the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting observed by Muslims worldwide on June 4, 2019.

Members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting observed by Muslims worldwide on June 4, 2019.

Video: Members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh celebrated the end of Ramadan with over 8,000 people at the Exposition Center on the North Carolina Fairgrounds on Tuesday, June 4, 2019.

Garner graduates return to roots

Video: Garner Magnet graduating seniors who attended the Timber Drive Elementary school returned for a student clap-out in which they were celebrated for their achievement.

'They call me the Walrus' says racquetball champion Brent Walters

Video: Raleigh’s Brent Walters holds the national record for most racquetball state open championship wins. Recently, at the men’s open singles national championship he won his 14th and 15th national titles.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson sets his sights on Tokyo 2020

Video: U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson trains to compete in the Angel City Games, an elite adaptive sports competition. This is one of a few events he will compete in as he prepares to qualify for the paralympic games in Tokyo in 2020.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson prepares for practice on June 6, 2019 in Raleigh, NC.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson warms up before his practice on June 6, 2019 in Raleigh, NC.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson poses for a portrait in Durham, NC on June 7, 2019.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson receives final instructions from his coach before his race in Durham, NC on June 8, 2019.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson regulates the pressure in his prosthetic leg before a race in Durham, NC on June 8, 2019.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson warms up before his race in Durham, NC on June 8, 2019.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson poses for a portrait in Durham, NC on June 7, 2019.

Flooding in Wake County

Ryan Brown, 43, crosses a submerged portion of Highway 96 in Zebulon Saturday afternoon after heavy rains caused flooding in northern Wake County.

On rehab assignments, two NY Yankees all-stars face the Durham Bulls

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge signs autographs after batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC. Judge was playing with the RailRiders on a rehab assignment.

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge signs autographs after batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC. Judge was playing with the RailRiders on a rehab assignment.

New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton during batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC. Stanton was playing with the RailRiders on a rehab assignment.

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge watches batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC.

New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton walks out of the batter's box after completing batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC.

New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton signs autographs after batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC.

He went missing in Korea nearly 70 years ago. Now, a soldier’s body is finally home

Funeral Director Hubert D. Pope waits for the remains of Army Pfc. William H. Jones to arrive at RDU Airport in Raleigh, NC on June 20, 2019. Jones went missing-in-action during the Korean War on Nov 26, 1950.

The U.S. Army Color Guard salutes as the remains of Army Pfc. William H. Jones arrive at RDU Airport in Raleigh, NC on June 20, 2019. Jones went missing-in-action during the Korean War on Nov 26, 1950.

Army Pfc. William H. Jones remains arrive at RDU Airport in Raleigh, NC on June 20, 2019. Jones went missing-in-action during the Korean War on Nov 26, 1950. Several decades passed before his body was recovered after North Korea turned over 55 boxes containing the remains of American service members killed during the Korean War.

Family members of Army Pfc. William H. Jones commemorate him at RDU Airport in Raleigh, NC on June 20, 2019.

North Carolina Secretary of Veterans Affairs Larry Hall, Brigadier General Arnold Gordon-Bray and members of the U.S. Army honor guard commemorate U.S. Army Private First Class William "Hoover" Jones at the North Carolina State Capitol on June 21, 2019. In 1950, Jones went missing-in-action during the Korean War. Last year, North Korea turned over 55 boxes containing the remains of American soldiers. He was one of them.

North Carolina Secretary of Veterans Affairs Larry Hall, Brigadier General Arnold Gordon-Bray and members of the U.S. Army honor guard commemorate U.S. Army Private First Class William "Hoover" Jones at the North Carolina State Capitol on June 21, 2019. In 1950, Jones went missing-in-action during the Korean War. Last year, North Korea turned over 55 boxes containing the remains of American soldiers. He was one of them.

A hope for reclamation and preservation at an old African-American cemetery in Durham

Video: The Friends of Geer Cemetery hosted a Reclamation Celebration at the Geer Cemetery and part of the event was dedicated to re-erecting a gravestone that was toppled and buried long ago.

Opening Day in Syracuse

It’s Opening Day for the Syracuse Mets - previously the Syracuse Chiefs - and on this #ThrowbackThursday, I want to share a photo story on Rafael Bautista that I photographed two years ago, as well as some of my favorite images from the 2017 season.

During my junior year at Syracuse University, I knew I wanted to work on a baseball story, but in Syracuse, we don’t have a Major League Baseball club. I started brainstorming story ideas and thought it would be interesting to document one of the players who was projected to be called up during the season.

I did some research before Opening Day and found that Dominican centerfielder Rafael Bautista was one of the top prospects expected to play in the big leagues during the season.

I reached out to the Syracuse Chiefs and they were very accommodating in allowing me to talk to Rafael and giving me a season pass to photograph as many games as I possibly could.

Rafael was awesome and he had a great season with the Chiefs. One day, he called me and lets me know that he was about to go to the mall to buy a suit in case he got the call. I picked up my camera to document the moment. Seven days later, he makes his debut for the Washington Nationals.

Starting this year, the Syracuse Chiefs are the Syracuse Mets - the Triple-A affiliate to the New York Mets. The Triple-A team for the Nationals is now the Fresno Grizzlies, where Rafael hopes to play after he recovers from a season ending injury that he sustained last year.

My time photographing Rafael and the Chiefs is one of my fondest memories of my time in Syracuse. The organization is all class, and I am so appreciative of the opportunity they gave me. 

Most importantly, I will always be grateful because they helped me surprise my dad with the throwing of the first pitch during one of the games. It was a special day.

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Thinking Like a Visual Storyteller: Seeing Light

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Back in October at the Eddie Adams Workshop, Visual Journalist Tom Kennedy gave a presentation in which he said, “photography is writing with light.” Though I knew light was the most important element in photography - because without light, there is no photo - I had never thought about it so poetically.

In the last year, I’ve been documenting light any time it catches my attention. This has made me appreciate it much more while also learning new and interesting ways in which it interacts with objects and people. 

To do this, I’ve been using one of my favorite Instagram features - Stories - where I am able to quickly share snapshots of light when I see them. Doing this over a period of time has helped me build a mental archive, allowing me to control light in my professional work.

I was recently talking to a professor who told me that what he appreciates most about photography is that it taught him how to see light, and in-turn appreciate the world in a different way.

Even if you’re not a visual storyteller, I would challenge you to start paying close attention to light everywhere. The intensity, the color, the shape it creates, how it interacts with the world. There is gratification in understanding this small part of life.

Here is my current light journal, which you can also find on my Instagram page:

Back at it...!

For a while now, I've been wanting to update my blog with some of the work I've been doing. These are photos that I am doing for assignments or personal projects that I would like to constantly share. 

I'll start by posting the game I covered at Madison Square Garden that featured the Syracuse Orange vs St. John's.

You can find the whole shoot at The Newshouse: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thenewshouse/albums/72157662210831402

Here are some of my favorite takes from the shoot: