Raider Challenge

Nearly 100 Junior ROTC cadets from North and South Carolina competed during the morning and early afternoon in the Junior ROTC Raider Competition at Westover High School. The event for teams of high school students mirrors the Army's annual Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, GA. This contest is all about endurance and physical strength. Twenty-five four person teams competed in five events, including the commander's obstacle course with low crawl, carrying water cans, flipping tires, picking up logs, sprinting and finally climbing a 65-foot inflatable.


May was a transitional period, ending my internship in Fayetteville and starting a summer internship with my hometown newspaper, the Winston-Salem Journal. I had been away on internships ever since March 2012 and coming home was something I felt I needed, to be around family and friends while still continuing to work. It was very odd at first and felt like I was in the Twilight Zone---doing daily work, but in a completely familiar place and going back home and seeing Davis and the dogs at the end of each day. Something so normal and familiar had become foreign to me and I was having to acclimate myself to being in my own home again. The strangeness wore off in a few weeks and I now I feel as if I have been home for months, which is funny because the internship ends in just three weeks. I am not sure what is in store for me at the end of this internship. I have been applying for jobs and devising a plan in case I am met with unanimous rejection. Whatever happens, I am indescribably grateful for all the opportunities I have been granted through my internships at these NC daily newspapers. To be honest, I thought it might reflect poorly on me that I had stayed in my state all this time. However, as I went to each paper, I felt I gained a better understanding of the different cities and the communities within them, which in turn, gave me a deeper appreciation and in-depth knowledge of the state that I have called home for almost 30 years. I feel so much more connected to North Carolina and the people who live here and that has been one of the best gifts during the past year and a half.

March and April

I realized, in going through my images recently, that I have not found a home for the work that I did the last few months in Fayetteville, or during this summer with the Winston-Salem Journal. I hope you enjoy the next few posts as much as I enjoyed my time making them. Interning at The Fayetteville Observer was an incredible experience and I cannot thank the staff of photographers at that paper enough for all of their help, feedback and encouragement. I was sad to leave, but happy for the nine months I spent with their paper, and in the southeastern part of North Carolina (an area previously unknown to me, and now all too familiar).


The Fayetteville Flyers

The Flyers are the only organized team in the Fayetteville area that plays wheelchair basketball, a sport that has been around for decades. Some come from an hour away to play---and they all play hard. On Saturday, February 2, 2013, the Flyers met with the Triad Trackers, a team from Winston-Salem, to defend their undefeated record.

Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site

On Sunday, I was given an assignment to travel to Newton Grove, NC to make images of Civil War life during a demonstration at Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site. The Battle of Bentonville, fought March 19-21, 1865, was the last full-scale action of the Civil War. This major battle was the largest ever fought in North Carolina, and was the only significant attempt to defeat the Union army of Gen. Sherman during its march through the Carolinas in the spring of 1865. 

I had the luxury of staying as long as I wanted so I hung out for a good four hours that day, wandering from one end of the battlefield to the other, taking photos, asking questions and doing a whole lot of listening. The images below are three that ran in the paper. I liked that they were all tied together by smoke, but in completely different ways. You can view all the the images from that day right here. As always, thanks for looking.

The Music of Their Lives

In January, I had the privilege of working with Fayetteville Observer staffer, Raul Rubiera, on a project for Black History Month. Raul has worked on this project for a few years in the past and it is his baby. Still having video skills from school, but no opportunity to apply them yet, I was eager to work on a project to dive back into the medium. Together, we photographed and took video footage of four Fayetteville residents, all over the age of 70, for which music played a profound role in their lives. It was challenging, time consuming, frustrating at times, but overall, completely and utterly worthwhile. It ran as a Sunday Life feature with interviews on each subject, as well as videos each day leading up to the Sunday story. Getting to spend time with each of the people involved in the project--Bill Curtis, William McLeod, Ernestine Smith, and Walter Drake---was an honor and increased the quality of the time spent with them, immeasurably.  These are some stills I took that ran with the story, as well as a link (here) for the videos. Raul was an editing powerhouse and edited three of the four videos that ran. My little contribution was editing Mr. Dake's video (the fourth and final one in the series). Please take a moment to read about these incredible people and listen to their stories.