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Odds and Ends: October 2011

October was a very hectic month for me. It seemed like every day was packed to the gills with assignments. For some stretches, I was in the office eight or nine days in a row. I can’t really complain because I love my job.

In the middle of the month, I had to do a portrait of the new president of the board at the Booker Washington Center, Robert King. I could tell he was extremely excited to be able to help develop and grow the center. So excited that it was a little difficult to keep him still for a portrait. It took a little patience but I finally got him where I wanted him – right in front of a large mural on the south side of the building.

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Booker Washington Community Center board president Robert King stands near a mural on the south side of the facility Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, in Rockford. King says he wants to put a new mural up in its place within the coming year. "I love the past but I want to bring the simplicity back to the center and bring it back to Booker Washington himself," King said. © 2011

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Booker Washington Community Center board president Robert King stands near a mural on the south side of the facility Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, in Rockford. King says he wants to put a new mural up in its place within the coming year. “I love the past but I want to bring the simplicity back to the center and bring it back to Booker Washington himself,” King said. © 2011

One day, I was sent out with a simple assignment – look for illegal dumping sites. It sounds easy. It seems you can never remember where or when you saw that rusted out refrigerator in the the brush when you need to photograph it!

I was poking around in an area I had heard was problematic when I ventured out of my car and into the nearby woods. I found a slew of chairs and a bunch of random things. Brooms. A drawer with a book in it. A router. Something that looked like a salon hair dryer. A strange collection. If I hadn’t left my car to see what was beyond the treeline, I would have never stumbled upon the hidden trash trove.

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Chairs and other garbage sit in the woods between the old Rock River School and Kishwaukee Street Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, in Rockford. © 2011

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Chairs and other garbage sit in the woods between the old Rock River School and Kishwaukee Street Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, in Rockford. © 2011

Since October is breast cancer awareness month, we all photographed cancer related stories for a special cancer themed section. I went to a rehab facility to photograph patients receiving physical therapy.

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Physical therapist Alane Curry (left) and physical therapy technician Betty Kendell (right) walk alongside Colleen Mains of Loves Park while she practices using forearm crutches Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, at Orthopedic Rehab Specialists in Rockford. Mains lost her right leg when bone cancer developed on the right side of her pelvis. "It was literally a life over limb decision," Mains said. © 2011

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Physical therapist Alane Curry (left) and physical therapy technician Betty Kendell (right) walk alongside Colleen Mains of Loves Park while she practices using forearm crutches Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, at Orthopedic Rehab Specialists in Rockford. Mains lost her right leg when bone cancer developed on the right side of her pelvis. “It was literally a life over limb decision,” Mains said. © 2011

On the morning of October 19th, I was up and at work by 4:30 a.m. Considering I usually work the night shift, this was an extreme shock to my system. But I was wired with excitement. I was going to be riding around with the police while they executed arrest and search warrants all over town.

Call me morbid, but I was hoping to get some shots of good as-seen-on-TV police action. You know, throwing a running suspect to the pavement. That kind of thing.

But as luck would have it, all of the homes that we stopped at were dead ends. The wanted person was never there. It still made of an exciting morning.

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Loves Park Police Officer Mike McCammond (left) and Rockford Police Officer John Johnson talk with a man while executing an arrest warrant at a home in the 500 block of Kilburn Avenue Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, during Operation Clean Sweep in Rockford. © 2011

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Loves Park Police Officer Mike McCammond (left) and Rockford Police Officer John Johnson talk with a man while executing an arrest warrant at a home in the 500 block of Kilburn Avenue Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, during Operation Clean Sweep in Rockford. © 2011

As the current high school sports season is coming to a close, we’ve been traveling some to photograph the local teams that make it to tournament play. For two days in a row, I had to drive into Chicago to photograph local soccer teams.

The more exciting locale was when I covered Stillman Valley playing at DePaul University. I was shocked to that see a school of that size didn’t have any lights on their soccer field. The game started at 4 p.m. but by the end of the match, I was pushing my camera to its absolute limits.

Stillman Valley didn’t win, but I got a nice shot of a player celebrating after scoring a goal. He jumped in front of the score board, pumping his fist in the air. Of course I’m bothered by the fact that the score keeper hadn’t yet put a “1? in the guest score box.

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Stillman Valley's Pifa Estrada (22) celebrates after scoring the team's only goal Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, during the 1A supersectional soccer tournament against Parker at DePaul University's Wish Field in Chicago. © 2011

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Stillman Valley’s Pifa Estrada (22) celebrates after scoring the team’s only goal Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, during the 1A supersectional soccer tournament against Parker at DePaul University’s Wish Field in Chicago. © 2011

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m not wild about covering concerts. However, when I was told I was going to photograph ZZ Top, I did get a little excited. I can’t lie. I’m jealous of their beards.

Normal concert photography procedure is that you photograph two or three songs at the beginning of the show from a designated location – usually either in front of the stage or from the sound board. However, when I arrived at the show, I was told I’d be shooting two songs in the middle of the set. Very strange but nothing I could do about it.

ZZ Top's set list. Photographers were allowed to shoot the two songs in the marked section. © 2011

ZZ Top’s set list. Photographers were allowed to shoot the two songs in the marked section. © 2011

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR ZZ Top performs Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. © 2011

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR ZZ Top performs Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. © 2011

The concert kept me out late. I got off work around 11:30 p.m. The very next morning, on what was supposed to be a day off for me, I was called in early because a deer busted through the window and into a downtown store. I was there within five minutes of getting the call.

The police had us out of sight of the deer. I think they were worried about spooking it. When I saw an officer approach the door with an assault rifle, I ran across the street (further away from the store) to get a shot. In my tired state, I stumbled while crossing the street and tore open the knee of my pants, also scrapping up my skin.

My knee after falling while on assignment. © 2011

My knee after falling while on assignment. © 2011

I got right back up and made it across the street to get a shot before the officer went in and killed the deer.

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Rockford police move in to CD Source to kill a deer Friday, Oct. 28, 2011, in Downtown Rockford. The deer crashed through on of the stores front windows earlier in the morning. © 2011

MAX GERSH | ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR Rockford police move in to CD Source to kill a deer Friday, Oct. 28, 2011, in Downtown Rockford. The deer crashed through on of the stores front windows earlier in the morning. © 2011

Rockford Rage roller derby
My pinhole camera
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