Salem Hills forward Lauren Gustin lays the ball up as she poses for a portrait Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at Salem Hills High School. A senior and top-scorer in a single season in Utah girls basketball history, Gustin has been named the 2018 Utah Valley Girls Basketball Player of the Year by the Daily Herald.
I played with (studio) lights a whole lot this month.
In March, I worked on several Daily Herald projects that allowed me to practice my lighting skills: our quarterly player of the year stories for winter sports, food shoots for stories in our upcoming food magazine, Taste, and a series on women in male-dominated fields. For the first and last of those projects, I focused on experimenting technically with gels and trying to put myself at unique angles to get a new perspective. I really enjoy shoots that allow for me to use additional lighting because it allows me to manipulate light to make it do exactly what I want as to opposed my usual situation of making unchangeable natural light work for me on general assignments.
The first few days of the month were jam-packed with the end of high school boys and girls basketball tournaments. As I explained last month (which was primarily sports assignments), shooting sports so frequently has allowed me to really tune my workflow and become as efficient as possible while photographing games. Getting to shoot so many games also made me very familiar with each of our players of the year, which made for making representative portraits and interacting with them on shoots a more straight-forward task.
Primarily with my "off time" this month, I did my monthly Monday Close-Up on Brighton Gibson, a male cheerleader at Orem High School who has Fragile X syndrome. I photographed Brighton during the latter portion of February and very start of this month, and the story published the first Monday of March. You can read and see more about Brighton in my story here: provodh.com/vpaw8.
At the end of March, I also traveled back to Ohio to sing with the Singing Men of Ohio (the men's choir I sang in at my alma mater) for the group's annual alumni weekend, and visited a few Ohio friends I hadn't seen in years. Seeing but having to leave so many good friends was a bit of a bittersweet experience, and made me mentally revisit the importance of creating a healthy work/social life balance in my own life. In my opinion, it's extremely hard to be a successful professional and live a full personal life (which is the case with many professions), but I'll keep trying to find that balance as I continue to grow while moving down the path of photojournalism.
Brighton Gibson turns his head and tells a sassy joke as freshman Ellery Davidson reacts and Madi Patten, a senior on the cheer squad with Down syndrome, fixes the hair of freshman Lauren Crawford before basketball senior night Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, at Orem High School. Brighton is a senior on the cheer squad who has Fragile X syndrome, which can appear like autism, but autism and Fragile X are not the same thing. Though Brighton loves performing and being sassy, social attention can lead to overstimulation in those with Fragile X, so he often closes his eyes or looks away from people when he's feeling overwhelmed.
Brighton Gibson cheers with the Orem high school cheer squad during basketball senior night Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, at Orem High School. Though he has always had a love of singing and performing, Brighton was extremely shy and introverted when he first came to high school. Therefore his parents wanted to work on his social skills and decided that eventually joining the cheer team would be one of his goals to help break out of his shell.
Brighton Gibson and Madi Patten hug senior Gracyn Matthews during basketball senior night Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, at Orem High School. "The impact they have been to our team, really can not be expressed in words," said Orem cheer coach, Debi Lee, of Brighton and Madi. "Seeing them both grow in confidence, and become who they are has been not only fulfilling as a coach, but life changing for me."
Brighton Gibson, in hoodie, boards a bus with the rest of the Orem high school cheer squad for the boys basketball team's state semifinal game, held at the UCCU Center, Thursday, March 1, 2018, at Orem High School.
Brighton Gibson puts silverware away under the cover of a blanket Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, at the Gibson's home in Orem. Brighton does chores like any normal teenager, but Fragile X can cause him to be reclusive and seek emotional comfort when he's too overstimulated, especially when outside of his comfort environments like the cheer squad and his home.
Brighton Gibson listens to music and sings into his toy microphone Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, in the basement of the Gibson's home in Orem. "He’s always been a singer," said Rachael, his mother. "He’ll come out on the back porch or the front yard and just sing his heart out. Though, as soon as he gets attention, he stops."
A police vehicle pursues the "bandit car" (not pictured) during night pursuit training held by the Utah County Sheriff's Office on Friday, March 9, 2018, at the Emergency Vehicle Operations Range near Camp Williams State Military Reservation in Bluffdale.
McKenna Smith, of Eagle Mountain, practices putting on her breathing apparatus in a time trial during the Firefighter Rookie Challenge on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy in Provo.
Sam Dahl, right, jokes around with Randa Mortensen, both of Provo, after they finished the race during the Rex Lee Run held Saturday, March 9, 2018, in Provo.
Brynnlee Cloward, 11, of Lehi, tells a story during her video audition Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the Orem Public Library. Auditions were recorded on two tablets and then sent off to judges for a chance to be included in the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival or the Biggest Liars Contest.
Halen Hubbard, of Herriman, right, waves his cell-phone flashlight in the air with the rest of the audience as Jake J and the Killjoys performs during Bon Jovi's "This House Is Not For Sale" tour held Friday, March 16, 2018, at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.
Jonny Peay rests for a moment after completing an exercise during a CrossFit class Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at Elevate Fitness & Rehab in Orem. Despite having Down syndrome, Peay strives to live a "normal" life and plans on attending Utah State University in the fall.
Lone Peak forward Max Brenchley (1) hugs guard Steven Ashworth (3) as they go to celebrate after their victory over the Pleasant Grove Vikings in the UHSAA 6A Boys Basketball State Championship on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Salem Hills' Keanna Vaitohi (13) and Cedar City's Dream Weaver (00) collide as they scramble for a loose ball during the quarterfinals of the UHSAA 4A Girls Basketball State Tournament in a game between the Salem Hills Skyhawks and the Cedar City Redmen on Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the UCCU Center in Orem.
Salem Hills girls basketball head coach Kyle Francom waves as the boys basketball team congratulates the girls basketball team after the girls team defeated the Logan Grizzlies in the semifinals of the UHSAA 4A Girls Basketball State Tournament on Friday, March 2, 2018, at the UCCU Center in Orem.
Salem Hills' Savannah Gustin (21) kisses the championship trophy with her teammates after their victory over the Hurricane Tigers in the UHSAA 4A Girls Basketball State Championship on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at the UCCU Center in Orem.
Lone Peak guard Steven Ashworth (3) jumps into the arms of head coach David Evans after their victory over the Pleasant Grove Vikings in the UHSAA 6A Boys Basketball State Championship on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Maple Mountain senior Brandyn Van Tassell poses for a portrait Thursday, March 15, 2018, at Maple Mountain High School in Spanish Fork. Wrestling in the 182-pound weight class and a two-time state champion, Van Tassell has been named the Daily Herald's 2018 Utah Valley Wrestler of the Year.
Vineyard mayor Julie Fullmer poses for a portrait Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at the Vineyard Public Safety Building. Fullmer is the first female mayor of Vineyard, a rapidly-growing city in Utah County.
Provo Fire Department Battalion Chief Debby Honeycutt-Shepherd poses for a portrait Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at the Provo Fire Department.
Nisha King, a sergeant in the Provo Police Department and a member of the Orem-Provo-BYU Metro SWAT team, poses for a portrait Thursday, March 8, 2018, at the Provo Shooting Sports Park.
Wasatch's Sammy Heywood takes a moment to himself before the UHSAA 6A and 5A State Wrestling Championships on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, at the UCCU Center in Orem. Heywood went on to win the 5A state title in the 126-pound weight class.
High school state tournaments were my life this month.
Action and reactions were the name of the game throughout different divisions of wrestling, basketball (boys and girls) and drill teams. I can say that covering back-to-back games on deadline has certainly quickened my workflow and improved my time-management skills this month. Though the vast majority of my shoots this month included typical state tournament coverage, I had to bounce to and from some sporting events to photograph a few feature and general news assignments (because we can't put sports on the front page every day, right?)
Though in terms of news, February is typically a pretty slow month. Mitt Romney hanging out with various Utah politicians in Provo after announcing his Senate run was a highlight for sure, but otherwise we had to look a little harder for front-page features at the newspaper. I had to find, photograph and write a few centerpiece stories. Only having two photojournalists at the paper instead of three as it was last year has made this time of year a bit more stressful with state tournaments, but I'm glad Evan is here to help us divide and conquer what we can as a two-man band.
This was a more cut-and-dry month of shooting than most (considering I can't turn in a bunch of random sports features to the newspaper and that be ok for game-coverage stories - though I fit a whole lot of sad high schoolers into this post). However, I still fit in my monthly Monday-Close Up, which I did on a live-action role-playing group here in Utah County. That quick little edit of photos is the last five pictures of this post, and read more about it more here: http://provodh.com/aarue.
American Leadership Academy's Quenton Mortimer holds down South Sevier's Triston Fillmore as they wrestle in the 126-pound weight class during the UHSAA 3A and 4A State Wrestling Championships on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, at the UCCU Center in Orem.
Members of the Pleasant Grove Military Drill Team perform during the UHSAA State Drill Team Championships on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at the UCCU Center in Orem. Eighteen schools from around the state, including four Utah County schools, competed throughout the evening in three different categories: military, dance and character.
Timpview guard Taylor Ross (31) is helped off the floor by her father, Dan, of Provo, left, after she sustained an injury on a play during the UHSAA 5A Girls Basketball State Championship between the Timpview Thunderbirds and the East Leopards on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.
Wasatch's DJ Cohen sustains a hold on Viewmont's W. Taylor Money as they wrestle in the 195-pound weight class during the UHSAA 6A and 5A State Wrestling Championships on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, at the UCCU Center in Orem.
Timpview head coach Aimee Dorais addresses her players just before the start of the fourth quarter during the UHSAA 5A Girls Basketball State Championship between the Timpview Thunderbirds and the East Leopards on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.
Westlake's Rian Fullmer (22) and Hillcrest forward Taylee Allen (20) both reach for a Westlake offensive rebound during the quarterfinals of the UHSAA 6A Girls Basketball State Tournament in a game between the Westlake Thunder and the Hillcrest Huskies on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.
Timpview guard Madelyn Boulton (2) reacts after she fell to the floor from an East player's crossover during the UHSAA 5A Girls Basketball State Championship between the Timpview Thunderbirds and the East Leopards on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Dave Rose walks toward his players during a timeout in a game between Brigham Young University and Gonzaga University on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
The Salem Hills bench celebrates after Dixie Lainhart (5) made a three-point shot to put the Skyhawks up 34-31 late in the fourth quarter of a game between the Salem Hills Skyhawks and the Mountain View Bruins on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, at Salem Hills High School.
Westlake head coach Michael O'Connor puts his arm around Samantha Hester (10) after she fouled out of the game in overtime during the semifinals of the UHSAA 6A Girls Basketball State Tournament in a game between the Westlake Thunder and the Fremont Silver Wolves on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.
Orem's Cooper Legas celebrates his victory over Desert Hills' Byron Anderson in the 195-pound weight class during the UHSAA 3A and 4A State Wrestling Championships on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, at the UCCU Center in Orem.
U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney speaks during the Lincoln Day Dinner held by the Utah County Republican Party on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo.
The Maple Mountain drumline performs during a surprise hot-tub-reveal party for Army veteran Jared Vivyan on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, at Vivyan's home in Payson.
Dentist Darren Gardner talks with Angelique Lozan, 7, of Orem, during the Give Kids A Smile event Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, at the Utah College of Dental Hygiene in Orem. Give Kids A Smile brought together dentists throughout the area to donate over $100,000 of dental-care services to the community.
Tayshaun Keck, 13, right, enjoys ice cream with Jason Rowland, 14, both of Pleasant Grove, on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, at the Purple Turtle in Pleasant Grove. This year, the Purple Turtle is celebrating 50 years of business in the community.
Aaron Gonzales, left, also known by his in-game persona as Chaco, duels with James Stich, both of Orem, also known by his persona as Stich, before battle games held by the Duchy of Iron Hold on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at Orem City Center Park in Orem, Utah. Iron Hold, which is Utah County's Amtgard group, currently has about 30 active members, and grows to about 50 members in summer months.
Jeffrey Fields, of Provo, also know by his in-game persona as Arc, works on creating a chain-mail shirt during craft night Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, at the home of the group's monarch in Orem, Utah. Amtgard players make their own weapons, armor and other items.
Alyssa Hunter, center, of Provo, also know by her in-game persona as Silent Kitten, looks up as she sketches weapons to create while Beth Egnew, left, of Orem, also know by her persona as Galastacia, looks up from playing a video game during craft night Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, at the home of the group's monarch in Orem, Utah. Craft night is a chance for Amtgard players to get together to bolster their in-game wares, but also to hangout with one another.
Players including Maya Frazier, second from right, of Orem, also known by her in-game persona as Kara, fight during battle games held by the Duchy of Iron Hold on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at Orem City Center Park in Orem, Utah. Battle games can be played in many different ways: some are more traditional team death match style, whereas others are more objective-based with overarching story elements.
Aaron Gonzales, of Orem, also known by his in-game persona as Chaco, is hit by a spell ball, right in red, during battle games held by the Duchy of Iron Hold on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at Orem City Center Park in Orem, Utah. In-game magic falls into three categories: verbal spells, spell balls and enchantments.
Sam Jolley pumps out a rep as he works out Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, at VASA Fitness in American Fork. Jolley was once an avid motocross rider, but in 2003 a crash during a race left him paralyzed from the waist down.
As I was looking back at all of these
photos, it's hard to believe just how much happened in January.
To begin with, I finally got around to doing
a Monday Close-Up on Sam Jolley (I had been waiting to do this story for a few
months). Sam was once a motocross rider, but a crash during a race ended his
career 15 years ago and left him paraplegic. Today, Sam is amazingly active
considering his physical state. He often works out, paraglides, skis, and does
other adventurous things with his free time. It was a struggle to get winds that
were consistent enough for Sam to paraglide, but two days before the story
published, he finally took to the skies - which allowed me to make a crucial
few photos at the last minute. His journey to where he is today has been long
and grueling. His story includes the photo above and the eight that follow
below. Read more about Sam here: .
The biggest news of the month was easily the
passing of Thomas S. Monson, the late President and Prophet of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, his passing didn't seem to have the
outward emotional effect on the people of Utah that I thought it would. Among
photographers, we would joke that Monson's death would be the biggest
"drop everything and go to work, all hands on deck" news event that we
could possibly experience in Utah. Though, once he passed, there was little to
cover. I went to Temple Square to photograph scenes there, but found only two
floral wreaths and flags at half-staff. Monson's viewing was totally closed to
the media. The media was only allowed to be outside of the building where the
viewing was held for two hours. During the funeral itself, photographers were
confined to the back rows of the LDS Conference Center (which is how access
usually is when General Conference is held there, so that wasn't a big surprise
or hassle). His casket was loaded into a hearse in an underground tunnel and
the burial was also off-limits to the media, so all of those photo
opportunities were not possible. It was interesting to hear from more seasoned
photographers that when the last Prophet/President of the LDS Church passed
away, all of those restrictions to the media were not in place (viewing, hearse
loading, burial, etc.). A sort of general news essay from funeral proceedings
make up the last seven photos of this blog post.
Besides working with Sam Jolley and Monson's
funeral, I had plenty of daily assignments to keep me busy. The political scene
was very active with local mayors taking office, entertainment was lively with
everything going on at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, and sports
teams are in the midst of their seasons before entering playoff season. I sadly
got to spend only one afternoon up at the Sundance Film Festival, but I did
manage to attend a swanky RSVP-only party in Sundance on one of my days off
(one must fit some personal fun time into a busy month).
All in all, I think January was a solid
month. Going forward, I hope to really start honing my Monday Close-Ups into
more striking projects that will find their way into my portfolio, and also
continuing to look for fresh takes on general assignments.
Sam Jolley transfers from his wheelchair to a piece of exercise equipment at VASA Fitness in American Fork. From a young age, Jolley took to motocross to fulfill his love of adrenaline-filled activities. “That’s when I knew I was born to be on wheels…I just wasn’t planning on these wheels,” he said.
Sam Jolley tightens hooks affixed to his wrists as he works out at VASA Fitness in American Fork. The hooks allow him to get a better grip on weights, since Jolley has a lack of dexterity in his fingers in addition to being paraplegic.
Sam Jolley reaches back to put on his sweatshirt at his home in Pleasant Grove before going out with his son.
Sam Jolley watches old footage of himself tandem paragliding as trophies from his motocross career sit on a shelf at his home in Pleasant Grove. “The bike things sort of grew up with me," said Jolley of his passion for motocross. "It’s always been my peaceful time in the middle of chaos.”
Sam Jolley waves to a neighbor as they drive by while he gets into his truck with his son at Jolley's home in Pleasant Grove. Jolley's truck is specially engineered so that he can not only get into the driver's seat, but also drive the vehicle himself.
Sam Jolley throws a stray dodgeball back into the mix as his son, Treven Jolley, 14, left, competes in a pick-up dodgeball match at Get Air Hang Time in Orem. Jolley's son lives with his mother in a rural town about an hour away. “I get him on the weekends," explained Jolley. "He’s been a big part of my life.”
Sam Jolley practices ground handling and other paragliding skills with the help of Mark Rich, a Draper resident with Project Airtime, before taking flight at the Flight Park State Recreation Area in Draper. Jolley learned how to paraglide with Project Airtime, a Draper-based non-profit that aims to get everyone into the skies.
Sam Jolley paraglides through the air in the direction of Lake Mountain at the Flight Park State Recreation Area in Draper. Jolley explained that he often tells people, “In the midst of all of your struggle, don’t forget to have fun.”
Provo High School faculty walk through a partially-completed hallway during a tour of the new Provo High School that is currently under construction Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. The high school is located at 1300 N. Lakeshore Dr. in Provo.
Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie looks to fellow commissioner Bill Lee as the seat of commissioner Greg Graves remains vacant during the State of the County Address on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo. Graves failed to appear at several public meetings and events after a female Utah County employee accused the commissioner of sexual harassment.
ALA junior Kaden Dengin, center, performs with fellow students during show choir practice Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at American Leadership Academy in Spanish Fork.
Brigham Young Cougars forward Luke Worthington (41) is fouled while his shot is contested by several Loyola Marymount Lions defenders during a game between Brigham Young University and Loyola Marymount University on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Pleasant Grove guard Kael Mikkelsen (24) dives to throw the ball back in bounds during a game between the Pleasant Grove Vikings and the Lone Peak Knights on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, at Pleasant Grove High School.
Brigham Young Cougars guard TJ Haws (30) and Pepperdine Waves guard Colbey Ross (4) reach for the ball after Ross lost control of it during a game between Brigham Young University and Pepperdine University on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
The BYU bench helps up and cheers on Brigham Young Cougars guard Paisley Johnson (13) as she runs back out into the action after she fell into the bench on a play during a game between Brigham Young University and Saint Mary's College of California on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Brigham Young Cougars guard TJ Haws (30) protests an official's call after fouling Pacific Tigers guard Roberto Gallinat, background, during a game between Brigham Young University and University of the Pacific on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Brandyn VanTassell, of Maple Mountain, sustains a hold on Byron Anderson, of Desert Hills, during the Utah All-Star Dual on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, at the UCCU Center in Orem.
The newly-married couple, Joseph and Claudia Young, both 90, kiss after their sealing ceremony Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, at the Provo Utah Temple.
Anna Dean, left, demonstrates how to use an interactive station where visitors can find out what famous people they're related to, on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, at the FamilySearch Center in Lehi.
Cindy and David Walter, of Alpine, dance during an inaugural ball for Provo's first female mayor, Michelle Kaufusi, on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, at the Provo City Library.
Porter's Place owner Bob Trepanier poses for a portrait in the restaurant Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Lehi. A broken sewer pipe has caused the restaurant to close, and it is uncertain if the pipes will be fixed and if the restaurant will be reopened.
Dan Reynolds, lead vocalist for Imagine Dragons, gives a shoutout as he talks with the media during the premiere of "Believer" at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at the Marc Theatre in Park City. "Believer", a documentary-style film told from the perspective of Reynolds, focuses on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their relationship with the LGBTQ community.
Church officials stand as the casket of Thomas S. Monson, the late prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is brought to the rostrum during his funeral service Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Monson passed away Jan. 2 of natural causes at age 90.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, former second counselor in the First Presidency, right, and President Henry B. Eyring, former first counselor in the First Presidency, sit on either side of the vacant seat of President Thomas S. Monson during Monson's funeral at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
Attendees stand as the funeral party makes their way out to their seats during President Thomas S. Monson's funeral at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
Linda Winegar, of Pleasant Grove, holds her hand on her son, Finn, 8, as the casket of Thomas S. Monson is taken away after the funeral service at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Finn had never been inside the conference center before the funeral.
Church officials talk amongst themselves before the funeral of Thomas S. Monson at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir listens as President Russell M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during the funeral of President Thomas S. Monson at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
A floral wreath dedicated to the late LDS President and Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, stands in front of the Church Administration Building on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, at Temple Square in Salt Lake City following his death the prior night.