December Photo Round Up

December was so warm here in Kansas. It was almost too warm for hot chocolate some days.

I spent a few days with the Manhattan Fire Department during training, which I just find endlessly interesting. I photographed a lot of female basketball games and some swimming. 

I've spent a lot of time gathering my year-end edits, so it was nice to focus on this month and realize I've done photos I'm happy with up until the end. 

Thanks for looking!

 

People gather around Superintendent Marvin Wade at the school board meeting on December 20, 2017. Many people showed up the meeting to await Superintendent Marvin Wade's decision on whether to fire Manhattan High School football coach Joe Schartz after the incident where a student was injured during a birthday hazing ritual. Story: http://bit.ly/2CmlKRZ

People gather around Superintendent Marvin Wade at the school board meeting on December 20, 2017. Many people showed up the meeting to await Superintendent Marvin Wade's decision on whether to fire Manhattan High School football coach Joe Schartz after the incident where a student was injured during a birthday hazing ritual. Story: http://bit.ly/2CmlKRZ

Timers speak during a break at a Manhattan High School swim meet on Dec. 6, 2017

Timers speak during a break at a Manhattan High School swim meet on Dec. 6, 2017

Maria Olague replaces the lid on a pot of tamales in her home on Dec. 4, 2017. Story: http://bit.ly/2CknWcA

Maria Olague replaces the lid on a pot of tamales in her home on Dec. 4, 2017. Story: http://bit.ly/2CknWcA

A Manhattan alley at dusk.

A Manhattan alley at dusk.

Manhattan firefighter Kris Morrison attempts to break through a door blindfolded as part of a training exercise at the former Motel 6 on December 15, 2017.

Manhattan firefighter Kris Morrison attempts to break through a door blindfolded as part of a training exercise at the former Motel 6 on December 15, 2017.

Ann Hattrup, of Manhattan walks with Tate Hattrup, 3, in the Mayor's Spirit of the Holidays Lighted Parade on Dec. 1, 2017.

Ann Hattrup, of Manhattan walks with Tate Hattrup, 3, in the Mayor's Spirit of the Holidays Lighted Parade on Dec. 1, 2017.

Demi Kunkel, a Rock Creek senior, comforts Lany Scott during Tuesday’s game. Kunkel was injured in a previous game and could no longer play.

Demi Kunkel, a Rock Creek senior, comforts Lany Scott during Tuesday’s game. Kunkel was injured in a previous game and could no longer play.

2017 Photos of the Year

This year has been a whirlwind. I’ve learned so much about photojournalism from the Image Deconstructed Workshop to take a leap of faith on my second internship which lead to my first job. I’ve met a weird amount of famous people in the flyover states I’ve lived in, experienced the solar eclipse in small-town Kansas, and saw what locals call the best fireworks show outside of Disney World.

I started this year in Indiana. I was fresh off my first internship, hungry for my second and holding on to all hope that I’d find my way back to a newspaper. In May, I received an interview for an internship in Manhattan, Kansas. I hardly had time to fire up Google and research it before I was loading my car to move out of my hometown. All I really knew was that I’d be living on someone's couch for more than two weeks.

By July, two months into a three-month internship, I was offered a job as the main staff photographer. One of my favorite photos from this year was from one of my first assignments at the fireworks show in Wamego, Kansas. It was a crazy, wonderful and restorative week.

In April, I attended the Image Deconstructed Workshop which encouraged me, on multiple levels, to find my way. That any way I found was okay. That anything goes in the world of journalism. I took the internship, I said yes to the job, I haven’t looked back.

I’ve never felt closer to my voice. I mean, I’ve never felt more involved in the process of finding my voice. I’m learning what’s important to me as a photographer, and what’s not. I’m reading more books, meeting more people, and learning how to pull inspiration from anyone, anywhere and anything.

Photojournalism is hard. Some days, it’s an emotionally taxing job. Most days, I turn in all of my assignments and realize I’ve been smiling every single minute of it. I’m lucky. In fact, among the luckiest people on earth. I’m incredibly grateful to have a job I love, a newsroom of people I love being around, and a couple of cameras that have a few thousand shutter actuations left in ‘em.

Here’s to 2018. 

 

Pastor Curtis Roudybush, left, prepares for Sunday school at the Cowboy Country Church with Alan Gilchrist on July 16, 2017.

Pastor Curtis Roudybush, left, prepares for Sunday school at the Cowboy Country Church with Alan Gilchrist on July 16, 2017.

Hank Parker, of McFarland, plays with his son Colton, 2, during a sermon at the Cowboy Country Church in Wamego on July 16, 2017.

Hank Parker, of McFarland, plays with his son Colton, 2, during a sermon at the Cowboy Country Church in Wamego on July 16, 2017.

  People participate in the watermelon races at the Riley County Fair on July 30, 2017. 

 

People participate in the watermelon races at the Riley County Fair on July 30, 2017. 

Allison Booth brushes Azeyl Booth's hair at their home in Manhattan on Sept. 14, 2017

Allison Booth brushes Azeyl Booth's hair at their home in Manhattan on Sept. 14, 2017

A section leader for the Manhattan High School band leads during a game on Nov. 3, 2017.

A section leader for the Manhattan High School band leads during a game on Nov. 3, 2017.

Alex Markson, 9, of Manhattan, is held by Heather Morse at a vigil for those who died in Charlottesville hosted by the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice on Aug. 13, 2017.

Alex Markson, 9, of Manhattan, is held by Heather Morse at a vigil for those who died in Charlottesville hosted by the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice on Aug. 13, 2017.

People watch the Wamego fireworks show on July 4, 2017.

People watch the Wamego fireworks show on July 4, 2017.

Children hunt for Easter eggs on April 15, 2017.

Children hunt for Easter eggs on April 15, 2017.

Timothy Gunter, a firefighter for Station 12, puts out his first structure fire as Dorothea Palmer holds a light on Sept. 9, 2017.

Timothy Gunter, a firefighter for Station 12, puts out his first structure fire as Dorothea Palmer holds a light on Sept. 9, 2017.

Kids chase bubbles at the Mini Maker Faire in Aggieville on Sept. 23, 2017.

Kids chase bubbles at the Mini Maker Faire in Aggieville on Sept. 23, 2017.

Timers speak during a break at a Manhattan High School swim meet on Dec. 6, 2017

Timers speak during a break at a Manhattan High School swim meet on Dec. 6, 2017

A member of the Wildcat Band stands with a flag before the game against Baylor University at the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on Sept. 30, 2017. 

A member of the Wildcat Band stands with a flag before the game against Baylor University at the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on Sept. 30, 2017. 

October Photo Round Up

I started the month very disappointed that I wouldn't be able to make the many wonderful photo conferences and workshops I was looking forward to. I just didn't have the time off because of a new job.

While I'm still thinking about the learning opportunities and connections I've missed, it was an amazing month for growth, hard work, stories, and just really cool assignments. 

I got to fly in a Blackhawk Helicopter, worked on a photo essay about a retired biology teacher who ran a worm farm, was able to celebrate the fall with kids at a pumpkin patch and see all kinds of amazing high school and college football and soccer games. 

I even got a little workshop from my friend Scott, a K-state Athletics photographer. We experimented with light and DIY modifiers. I had a great time!

Here are my favorite photos from October.

 

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September Photo Round Up

I felt very close to my work this month. The closest I've felt since I was a student and I couldn't take criticism because I was too close to the work. 

It has a lot to do with my community. The people who have let me in, told me their stories, welcomed me. It's in feeling at home at the local high school football games, feeling appreciated here, knowing I'm in a good place with great stories.

Happy October, everyone. Get spooky. 

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August Photo Round Up

I survived my first complete month as a staff photographer! 

The eclipse was incredible. It was heartwarming to see so many people come together. A reporter and I went nearly two hours away to hang out with Kansas State University alumni. In the future, I hope to find a cool foreground for my sun photo, like I know I should have. I lucked out with a little cloud but also lost totality to clouds. Either way, it was an experience I won't forget anytime soon!

The first day of school always makes me incredibly emotional. I'm relatively fresh out of school, and the end of August is still a huge marker in time for me, though it holds little meaning in my personal day to day. I spent that morning in the kindergarten wing of an elementary school, waiting for the precious first day of big kid school moments. 

The army base in town is celebrating one hundred years of service. I spent most of a week on base, making photos of soldiers and their families. My favorite photos, though, came from the Veterans Welcome Home Ceremony, where veterans got to enjoy the modern redeployment celebrations.

 There was a vigil in town for Charlottesville and I was blessed with amazing light. It was incredibly healing to make images and know I'm not alone in my pain.

It was a month of ups and downs, ending in the pep rally ahead of the Kansas State University first football game. This city comes alive when the students return. 

Enjoy my August in photos. 

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July 2017 Photos of the Month

 It's been an incredible journey in the short four weeks I've been a staffer at the Manhattan Mercury. I'm so lucky to be here.

Starting in early July allowed me to see the way my community celebrates Independence Day, which included a parade full of farming equipment and a fireworks display that rivals Disney World with no exaggeration. 

I've explored a rural cowboy themed church, experienced active shooter training, and photographed baseball in the blazing Kansas heat. 

It's been quite a few months since I've done a monthly round up, and I'm so excited to be back at it.  I hope August brings as much fun, and as always, stronger photos. 

The Cowboy Country Church

I wrote my first cover story today for the Manhattan Mercury. I was so welcomed at the Cowboy Country Church. They're a lively crowd that starts each service with a "yeehaw!" 

I'm very excited to share these photos with you. I had a wonderful time making them. To see the page design and read the story, click here. 

Dear Young(er) Photographer

Dear Young(er) Photographer,

This blog post is what I needed to hear about a year ago.

I’d like to talk to you about finding stories. It’s hard, especially when you’re fielding regular assignments, general adulthood, and a social life. Do it anyway.

It might mean that you’re working on Sunday morning, or Friday night, or a holiday, or on your birthday. Chase them anyway.

Being able to bring in your own stories makes you more valuable in a newsroom, makes you a better journalist, and makes you a stronger storyteller.

Recently, I found four story ideas at a parade, and two on the local radio station. I learned that one of the police officers here breeds and sells snakes on the side because I was joking with the public information officer. Wouldn’t that be a fun profile?

Dive into your community. Listen to local radio, get a library card, find where the high schoolers hang out, the college kids, the moms, and the sports fans. Talk to people. Listen. They’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Be ridiculous in keeping notes. Remember who you’ve spoken to, collect business cards. Make connections. People are the only way you can localize national news.

Get off the Internet. Get out of your car. Using your feet makes you approachable, makes you more mindful. It’s a way to invite stories in. Go to the visually uninteresting events and, again, talk to people. The best stories won’t be anywhere on the Internet anyway.

Consider rejection part of the game. Will the police officer let me photograph him holding snakes? I don’t know, but I certainly must ask. If you’re told no, no big deal. You’ve accomplished a little something in and of itself.

If you’re stuck, no list of story ideas or calendar events will help. You just have to see what’s out there.

Good Luck, 

Taylor. 

My First Week as a Staff Photojournalist

I am incredibly happy to say that I've finally landed a job in photojournalism. It's an opportunity I've worked toward since I was 18, and something I'm very proud of. 

I highly recommend July 3rd as a start date. I had a blast covering a carnival on Monday, fireworks and a parade on Tuesday, laser tag on Wednesday, and a whole host of other little assignments surrounding the holiday.  

At the Fourth of July parade, I discovered some groups I'd like to do photo stories on, learned the importance of farming equipment to the community (25 floats worth), and really got to see people interact with each other at an event in a small town. It was definitely a special experience. 

I'm having a blast in Kansas despite the warm weather and strange evening heat of the day. I've met incredible people, discovered some sincerely lovely places, and found some weekend midnight food trucks. 

Here's my first week at the Manhattan Mercury in photos. 

I'd had to kick this off with my first assignment on Monday morning! I found myself traveling to Chicago and back during the first few days of July. What really struck me was the differences in firework sales in Indiana and Kansas. I'm used to fireworks starting around Memorial Day, and hadn't heard any in Kansas yet. Turns out, while Indiana has physical buildings for fireworks year round, Kansas has pop-up tents that only show up at the very beginning of the month until Independence Day. 

I'd had to kick this off with my first assignment on Monday morning! I found myself traveling to Chicago and back during the first few days of July. What really struck me was the differences in firework sales in Indiana and Kansas. I'm used to fireworks starting around Memorial Day, and hadn't heard any in Kansas yet. Turns out, while Indiana has physical buildings for fireworks year round, Kansas has pop-up tents that only show up at the very beginning of the month until Independence Day. 

If there's anything I've learned in photojournalism, it's to show up early and stay late. Before the fireworks started, I was looking for features and found this girl spinning what she called a fiber fly whip. I shot a few frames of different shutter speeds to get the effect I wanted. I waited until it wrapped around her body to make it more interesting. 

If there's anything I've learned in photojournalism, it's to show up early and stay late. Before the fireworks started, I was looking for features and found this girl spinning what she called a fiber fly whip. I shot a few frames of different shutter speeds to get the effect I wanted. I waited until it wrapped around her body to make it more interesting. 

As for the main event, I was somewhat frantically looking for an interesting photo when I realized that people were sitting on this huge hill. I didn't realize the display would be large enough to silhouette multiple people until I started shooting it. I got a lot of safe wide photos first, shooting this a good ten minutes into the display. 

As for the main event, I was somewhat frantically looking for an interesting photo when I realized that people were sitting on this huge hill. I didn't realize the display would be large enough to silhouette multiple people until I started shooting it. I got a lot of safe wide photos first, shooting this a good ten minutes into the display. 

On July 3rd, I photographed one of the smallest carnivals I've ever seen. The rides were line up strangely and set between buildings, making it difficult to get a wide photo. I ran with this safe but pretty photo of the Ferris Wheel instead. 

On July 3rd, I photographed one of the smallest carnivals I've ever seen. The rides were line up strangely and set between buildings, making it difficult to get a wide photo. I ran with this safe but pretty photo of the Ferris Wheel instead. 

That brings us to one of my last assignments of my first week. I've had a blast with the Manhattan Manko, a summer baseball league that has demolished at both games I've photographed. I get lots of slides at home and celebration from these guys. 

That brings us to one of my last assignments of my first week. I've had a blast with the Manhattan Manko, a summer baseball league that has demolished at both games I've photographed. I get lots of slides at home and celebration from these guys.