January was a whirlwind. It was a very busy month for me, covering a wide variety of assignments.
The month started off with a few very sad assignments. At the end of 2016, our community experienced a lot of loss. On Christmas eve, a house fire killed three kids. There were also two separate shootings that took the lives of teenagers. Their funerals were held at the beginning of 2017.
First was the funeral for Lavontay Allen who was shot and killed while riding in the back of his mother’s car.
The very next day, I covered the funeral for the three children that died in the Christmas eve house fire.
Occasionally I am sent out to the city of Freeport to cover stories for our sister paper, the Freeport Journal-Standard. Last month I was asked to go to a hotel that was operating as an apartment. The city decided to condemn the building, giving tenants a matter of days to move out.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to see when I got there. My bosses thought the building might already be empty and I’d just see the city posting the notice of condemnation on the door. But as I pulled up before the scheduled time for the city to condemn the property, I was able to connect with tenants still moving out. When city officials arrived, things got tense for a bit. But the city did work with everyone to make sure they had a place to stay.
More photos from that assignment can be seen on The Journal-Standard’s website.
My paper hasn’t covered too many performances in recent years. So I was surprised when I was sent to cover “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy” at our theater. I had about 15-20 minutes to shoot. Here are a few of my frames from the assignment.
More photos from the performance can be seen on the Rockford Register Star’s website.
One of the happiest people I met this month was a two-year-old boy, Isaac Yundt, who was receiving physical therapy for his spina bifida. It was a challenge to get a photo without him grinning straight at the camera!
And yes, I covered sports in January as well. Some was normal game coverage.
Then there were some more unusual sports assignments. Like the Hononegah High School girls track team practice taking place in the school’s hallways after their athletic dome which contained an indoor track collapsed in 2015.
And I’ll cap off the month with a portrait of a swimmer that proved to be a little bit challenging.
I was sent to get a portrait of Rockford Christian’s Brett Keefe during a swim practice. However, the team practices at another school, Harlem High School. Rockford Christian’s colors are blue and gold. The black and orange that is everywhere at Harlem didn’t work well for me.
You can see even the lane dividers are black and orange.
So I decided to use the water as the blue background. I had him kneel at the edge of the pool so I could shoot downward. I then had a light with a snoot to my left aimed at the water behind him, and another light with an umbrella to might right and very close to his face. I cranked up the lights and dialed down the ISO to do my best to overpower the ambient light and lose the orange from anything that happened to be in the frame but unlit.
There was plenty more that I shot this month including some frames I’m pretty excited about that won’t publish in the paper until the end of March. Stay tuned for more.
In the mean time, if you want to see more of my recent work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at @gershphoto.