A month in pictures: July

Richard Brunst, Mayor of Orem, wipes his face as he and other attendees walk through one of the splash pad's waterfalls during the grand opening of Orem's splash pad Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at Palisade Park in Orem, Utah.


July didn't really feel like July.


Sure, several of the photos in this blog post are pretty representative of what I think of when I think of July (fireworks, kids playing at the pool, patriotic concerts, outdoor recreation, etc), but those sort of summertime cornerstones were relatively few and far between this month. One Utah summertime jewel that's new to me (rodeos) has eluded me so far this year - I hope that changes soon (cowboys and beautiful light sounds so, so lovely). July, like June, was another slow month for news - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. School's out, people on are vacation, and thus there isn't as much organized activity to make pictures. I've spent my past few summers at different newspapers learning how things go in various communities, and also how things are done at different newspaper, so I suppose I've been preoccupied with more logistical issues most summers. These slower days make me romanticize about October evenings shooting football and other sports while school's in session. But, I'm sure when those more tightly-packed days come I'll think, "man, I miss those feast-or-famine days of July" because the grass is always greener on the other side, isn't it?


Personally, I've been feeling in need of some change this past month. Thankfully, I'll be getting a good amount of change when I move up to Midvale (a suburb south of Salt Lake City) this weekend. Provo's been good to me, but I think moving up towards "the big city", as well as a spot near a few folks I know, ski resorts and night life will help me be a bit more in-tune with my personal life.


Next month will mark my one-year anniversary at the Daily Herald. I certainly feel like I've been here a while, but a full year in a community I've never experienced before working full-time at a newspaper has been a new adventure for me that has pretty well preoccupied me. I'd certainly say working at the Daily Herald and living in Utah has been an extremely productive venture with a lot of personal growth. Though, I'll save my sappy reflections and realizations for next month (I'll try and keep it short).

Lucy Taylor, 7, has her hair sprayed another color by Vicki Wallace, both of Alpine, before Stadium of Fire on Saturday, July 1, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.

The Rockwell Airtime Skydivers make their entrance over the crowd and into the stadium during Stadium of Fire on Saturday, July 1, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.

Kristen Randle, of Provo, checks out quilts during the Steel Days Quilt Show on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at the American Fork City Senior Center in American Fork, Utah.

Matthew Johnson, owner of Our Backyard Greenhouse, stretches the roofing material of the greenhouse over its roof supports during a greenhouse-building demonstration Saturday, July 29, 2017 at the Provo Community Garden in Provo, Utah.

Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Kamel Greene (10) stretches using a track hurdle during BYU football's fall camp Thursday, July 27, 2017 on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Guy Hansen rides his mountain unicycle through a patch of snow along Mount Timpanogos Trail on Thursday, July 13, 2017 in American Fork Canyon outside of American Fork, Utah.

John Thill watches a movie with his children, from right, Zeke, 6, Elsie, 4, and Elijah, 7, as his wife, Cayce, far left, plays with their daughter, Daviana, 5, on a slide during the Thill family's movie and pizza night Friday, July 7, 2017 at their home in Orem, Utah. The Thills have 20 children. Two of them are biologically their own, 18 are adopted, and of those 18, 16 of them came from foster care. 

Scott Gridley, left, and Andrew Hampton, both of Pleasant Grove, paddle their boat on Utah Lake on Monday, July 17, 2017 at Utah Lake State Park in Provo, Utah.

John Curtis, Mayor of Provo and a candidate for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District seat, poses for a portrait Friday, July 14, 2017 at the Daily Herald in Provo, Utah.

Tanner Ainge, a candidate for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District seat, poses for a portrait Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at the Daily Herald in Provo, Utah.

Aleisha McDaniel wipes a tear from her eye as she holds her son, Camren, 7, while they listen to a speaker during a celebration of life for Michael Sproul on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at Cascade Golf Course in Orem, Utah. Camren was one of the children with autism that Michael worked with through his job at Vivint Gives Back.


The last pictures are a quick, three-picture combo from a one-day shoot for a story I wrote about a local fireworks company. The full story can be read here: http://provodh.com/h4onu .

Spectators watch Firestorm Pyrotechnics' fireworks show during Mapleton's Pioneer Day Celebration on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Ira Allen Park in Mapleton, Utah. During the show, Firestorm Pyrotechnics shot off approximately 6,000 fireworks. 

Brent Parkin, of Salt Lake City, scratches his head with his hat as he and other technicians finish up setting up the fireworks during Mapleton's Pioneer Day Celebration on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Ira Allen Park in Mapleton, Utah. Preparations for the pre-Pioneer Day show took a crew of about 20 people approximately 14 hours over two days to set everything in place and wire all of the fireworks together.

Baylor Owens, of Provo, hops out of the back of a semi-truck trailer as he helps pack discarded boxes of pyrotechnics away during Mapleton's Pioneer Day Celebration on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Ira Allen Park in Mapleton, Utah.

A month in pictures: June

The women of the Henderson Nevada Lake Mead Stake pull their handcarts without the help of the men as they complete the Women's Pull on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at the Mosida Handcart Trek Site near Elberta. The site brings youth, typically ages 14-18, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints closer to their families, faith and also themselves through reenacting handcart experiences, like the first Mormon handcart pioneers that came to Salt Lake City from Iowa City beginning in 1856.


June was an odd mix of personal and professional experiences.


Professionally, I got to work on a photo essay on something that really interested me and also got to know the ebb and flows at a newspaper during summer months.


For my Monday Close-Up this month I followed along with LDS youth reenacting what it was like to be the Mormon handcart pioneers of the 1850's crossing the United States west to Salt Lake City. This took place at the Mosida Handcart Trek Site, which is about a 50-minute drive into an exceptionally rural part of Utah County (a few miles north of Elberta). The site aims to build communal and spiritual bonds in the youth through the reenactments of what those pioneers of the past might have endured. The story is made up of the picture above and the 12 following below. Should you be interested in more of the story, the captions of the photos will elaborate more, and the full story and photo gallery can be seen here: http://provodh.com/yskqf.


It seems during the summer months at a newspaper that it can be feast or famine in terms of workload. Some days are calm, cool and collected, whereas as others keep one on their feet. Mainly, things are quite calm. A slower pace has allowed me to digest shoots a bit more, but has also forced me to search around a bit for features when it comes to a slow news day. Despite a bit of unpredictability, this past month has been refreshing in terms of my photographing at work.


Personally, I was also gone half the month. I had very good reason to be elsewhere: my sister was graduating from UCLA with a PhD. in Anthropology, and my extended family gathered together to hold a funeral for my grandmother who had passed away. The graduation obviously took me to Los Angeles, which is incidentally one of my favorite cities. It was wonderful to get to hangout with my sister (the graduate being one of my four sisters) and parents, though metro L.A. isn't exactly a place to get comfortable. As for my grandmother's funeral, that took me to Arthur, Nebraska - where she grew up. She lived a hell of a life (ask me about her sometime - she had many stories to tell and a sense of adventure unlike anyone I know). She saw more years than most (94), and her passing wasn't totally out of the blue. I'm still decompressing from it all (I don't feel as if I've been able to synthesize my thoughts on all of that lately), but that's a story for another time.


Despite a whole lot of moving around, I feel happy with how June came together (both for myself personally and at work). I'm excited to move another month into life in Utah, and see what July has to hold.

Hannah Gillespie, left, 18, helps apply sun screen to Adelaide Nielson, 18, as members of the Henderson Nevada Lake Mead Stake rest during their last day of trekking Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at the Mosida Handcart Trek Site near Elberta. The site aims for authenticity, but trekkers aren't without some comforts such as sun screen, toilets, modern tents, a portable water supply, as well as medical and food staffs. 

Kelli Banks is carried by her husband, Derek Banks, and Justin Mott as members of the Henderson Nevada Lake Mead Stake complete the River Crossing during their last day of trekking. The original handcart pioneers had to cross rivers several times to shorten their journey, but the rivers were often frozen and added more toil to the trail.

Members of the Henderson Nevada Lake Mead Stake make their way along the trail. Trekkers embark on a three-day, two-night journey through 23 miles of trails on 25,000-acres of land owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The women of the Henderson Nevada Lake Mead Stake pull their handcarts without the help of the men as they complete the Women's Pull during their last day of trekking. “We’ll say ‘your ancestors did this, you may not go starving or anything, but you’re going to have situations where you’re going to need to stand strong and be strong to survive,’" explained Barbara Tarwater, director of the site.

Kyle Hafen, 13, looks at fellow trekkers drink water as Hafen stands with no water bottle of his own as members of the Henderson Nevada Lake Mead Stake rest during their last day of trekking.

The women of the Henderson Nevada Lake Mead Stake pull their handcarts without the help of the men as they complete the Women's Pull during their last day of trekking.The Women's Pull is a section of the trail in which the women of each family must pull their handcarts uphill through a half mile of ankle-deep sand and dust. This honors the women who pulled their own handcarts because they were single or their husband died along the trail.

Cohen Cecil, 13, holds his hat over his heart as he watches the women of the Henderson Nevada Lake Mead Stake pull their handcarts without the help of the men as they complete the Women's Pull. During the women's pull, the men and boys stand to the side of the trails and hold their hats over their hearts to honor the women's struggle.

The women of the Henderson Nevada Lake Mead Stake walk together as they complete the Women's Pull during their last day of trekking.

Ryan Craig, 17, center, reads a letter from his parents about life and faith while he and other members of the Santaquin Utah Stake read letters from loved ones as they rest for the day at their campsite.

Preston Taito, 14, holds his "trek baby" as he and other members of the Henderson Nevada Lake Mead Stake rest during their last day of trekking. Some trekkers were given dolls to help simulate how it would be to endure the journey to Salt Lake City while also caring for babies.

Savannah Johnson, 16, shares her religious testimony inspired by experiences along the trail with other members of the Santaquin Utah Stake in a circle as they rest for the day at their campsite. “A lot of them are of the LDS faith, and they’re learning about their heritage,” said Angela Olson, one of the Senior Missionaries who helps trekkers along their journey.

Tylee Leiter, 18, reads a letter from her parents about life and faith while she also takes notes on their thoughts as she and other trekkers from the Santaquin Utah Stake rest for the day at their campsite. She explained that she was taking notes about, "the good times, the hard times and the mosquitoes." 


Dallin Stevens, of Logan, covers his face from the sun as he takes a nap while floating down the lazy river during a private event Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at Seven Peaks Resort in Provo. With temperatures consistently staying in the high 80s and into the mid-90s throughout the week, residents in Utah County are looking for ways to beat the heat. 

Taylor Burke, 8, kicks a soccer ball through a ring held by volunteer Savannah Nichols, 13, during Moving Mountains Soccer Camp on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at the playing fields near Utah Valley University in Orem. 

Janelle Purdy, 9, looks intently at her computer as Afton Jones, 7, plays with a fidget spinner as they work on a project during the Inside Sales Girls Code Camp on Friday, June 23, 2017 at the InsideSales.com World Headquarters in Provo. The coding camp aims to inspire and empower girls to pursue careers in coding and technology.

Steve Nelson, director and "mayor" of the village, poses for a portrait Saturday, June 2, 2017 at the Provo Pioneer Village. 

Keith Evans pilots his balloon, Smiley's Dream, as other hot air balloons float above the area surrounding Provo High School during the preliminary Freedom Festival balloon rides Friday, June 30, 2017 in Provo. 

Corey Fox, owner of Velour, right, and Brandon Robbins, of The Moth and the Flame, show off their surgery scars during a celebration for the successful kidney transplant from Robbins to Fox on Saturday, June 24, 2017 at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo. 

Wildfires burn on West Mountain as teenagers participating in the Mosida Handcart Trek Site run around near Utah Lake on Friday, June 23, 2017 as seen from near Elberta.

A month in pictures: May

American Leadership Academy's Jorge Gonzalez (16) reacts as time runs out giving South Summit the 3-1 victory in the 2A State Boys Soccer Semifinals game between the American Leadership Academy Eagles and the South Summit Wildcats on Friday, May 12, 2017 at Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper.


Not every month is a standout, crazy month.

May was good, though. There was a crazy busy week (filled with graduations and several high school state sporting events), and other weeks ebbed and flowed. 

Graduations always make me nostalgic, and the few I covered were no exception. It's crazy to think that just one year ago I myself was graduating from a college in Ohio, and now I'm covering graduations in Utah - life's unpredictable like that I suppose. On the other hand, it was personally fulfilling to see names I recognized from sporting events, high-school functions, and general community events in a few graduations. One of my favorite things about working at a newspaper is getting to understand communities. Graduations are culminating opportunities to see people from different walks of life hit a common milestone, and being able to point out a few different threads from people's lives that come together during such events was wonderful. It put a smile on my face being greeted by the ROTC instructor I met at a story back in September, listening to the crowd cheer as star athletes I photographed in games receive their diplomas, and running into school faculty members I had met while on assignment at schools. I'm so thankful to have a full-time job that allows me to see communities develop, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to continue watching Utah County grow.

Aside from that personal little tangent, I feel decently happy with how this month's pictures turned out. I shot more portraits than usual, which is something I enjoy. I feel like I have "my setup" totally down, but I'd like to make my portraits more distinguishable as "my own". I'll give a heads up once I figure that one out. Aside from portraits, I shot a few sporting events, graduations, and then just a mix of daily assignments. As always, the variety of assignments has been pretty nice, and I look forward to pushing myself creatively as the summer rolls around (though, when does one not want to "push themselves creatively"? haha).

For my Monday Close-Up this month, I photographed a story about Amanda Barton, a Lone Peak High School senior who has stage four kidney failure and undergoes dialysis three times a week before her classes. Photos from that story make up the last six pictures of this blog post. You can see a wider edit and the written story (which was a collaboration with one of our writers this month) here: provodh.com/b0ak1.

Besides work stuff, I'm excited to experience a summer in Utah. I've been working on my mountain-biking skills, and I recently bought myself a hammock system, so I'm doing my best to break out of my shell and get outside into the beautiful outdoors that Utah has in abundance.

Diane Thompson poses for a portrait during the last day of business at Diane's Wig Shop on Thursday, May 11, 2017 in Orem.

Lincoln Beck, 8, of Spanish Fork, climbs up a parking post as his father Will, left, listens to Festive People perform during the first show of the season for the Rooftop Concert Series on Friday, May 5, 2017 in downtown Provo.

McKenna Petty, bass guitarist for The Aces, performs with the band during the first show of the season for the Rooftop Concert Series on Friday, May 5, 2017 in downtown Provo.

Dogs explore the area along with visitors at the grand opening of the Orem Bark Park on Saturday, May 20, 2017 next to Mount Timpanogos Park in Provo Canyon.

Ava Del Francia, 2, of Midway, grimaces as Dawna Whitehead, of Fantastic Face Painting, finishes up Francia's tiger face paint during the baby animal birthday party Friday, May 19, 2017 at Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.

Megan Hunter, right, laughs along with her classmates after a rocket was launched during Mike Jones' class Monday, May 8, 2017 at Timberline Middle School in Alpine.

A student chases after her rocket as it drifts away from the open field where it was launched during Mike Jones' class Monday, May 8, 2017 at Timberline Middle School in Alpine. 

Lili Westover, 4, of Lehi, bounces about as Perry Renner checks the time during the Utah Pasifika Festival on Saturday, May 27, 2017 in downtown Provo.

Kiara Maryott jumps rope with her high-honors cord as she waits with other graduates in line for their diplomas during Provo High School's Commencement Ceremony on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at the UCCU Center in Orem.

Lone Peak students cheer and joke around as fellow students file toward their seats during Lone Peak High School's Commencement Exercises on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at the Marriott Center in Provo.

Ivana Johnson cheers as her name is announced to receive her diploma during Provo High School's Commencement Ceremony on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at the UCCU Center in Orem.

Utah Valley Wolverines pitcher Logan Hold (29) pitches the ball during a game between the Utah Valley University Wolverines and the Brigham Young University Cougars on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem.

Timpanogos first baseman Spencer Olsen (25) fumbles with and drops the ball, but still throws to first base in time for an out in the second inning during a game between the Timpanogos Timberwolves and the Springville Red Devils on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at Timpanogos High School in Orem.

Skyridge's Hunter Bringhurst (2) scores as she safely slides into home plate off a wild pitch during a game between the Orem Tigers and the Skyridge Falcons on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at Skyridge High School in Lehi.

Spanish Fork outfielder McKell Stone poses for a portrait Monday, May 8, 2017 at the Spanish Fork Sports Park. Now in her senior year, McKell has torn her ACL twice.

American Fork junior Nathan Mumford poses for a portrait Saturday, May 27, 2017 at American Fork High School. Mumford was selected as the Daily Herald's Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Timpanogos' Tyler Cornish poses for a portrait Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem. A senior, Cornish is a pitcher and shortstop for the baseball team. Cornish was selected as the Daily Herald's Baseball Player of the Year.


Amanda Barton walks from one FrontRunner train to another at the Murray Central Station on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 on her way to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City. To get to her three dialysis treatments a week, Barton boards the 5:16 a.m. FrontRunner train from the Lehi Station to arrive at the hospital for her treatments at 6:30 a.m.

Amanda Barton checks the stop schedule as she rides the FrontRunner train Wednesday, May 24, 2017 on her way to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Amanda Barton looks towards registered nurse Brooke Walker as she and University of Utah student Stephanie Matalone ready Barton for dialysis Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at Primary Children's Hospital Outpatient Services in Salt Lake City. Barton has stage four kidney failure, and undergoes dialysis three times a week to keep her body functioning. 

Blood pumps in and out of Amanda Barton as she undergoes dialysis Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at Primary Children's Hospital Outpatient Services in Salt Lake City. Her dialysis treatments typically last about three hours, during which she can't leave her seat.

Amanda Barton looks around for friends as she and fellow soon-to-be graduates line up in sections to form lines before Lone Peak High School's commencement exercises on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at the Marriott Center in Provo.

Amanda Barton hugs a friend as they and fellow soon-to-be graduates gather in sections to form lines before Lone Peak High School's commencement exercises on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at the Marriott Center in Provo. Barton will attend Utah State University in Logan in the fall.