Sloppy Slide for Sclerosis

Its called Muck Ruckus, an all day slog though slime thats reminiscent of Marine Corps boot camp at Paris Island or Camp Pendelton. Its got to be the nastiest fund raiser I’ve shot over the course of 40 years as a news photojournalist.  On the western reaches of  Wisconsin hill country, hundreds of runners took on the course with all its exhausting challenges.

Muscular sclerosis, a degenerative neurological disease, brought competitors from Wisconsin and Minnesota to the Muck Ruckus challenge to raise money for research toward a cure for the disease.

 

Keeping Track

Over the years, Kari and I have found time to document the changes she’s seen in her daughters. This time she asked that we include a water setting as autumn began to encroach on a Minnesota summer. They look so Minne-soada, don’t they…..straight outta Oslo, Norway!

Prepping for Christmas

Matt and Tina told a friend, ” We got this guy ” when asked about family portraits. So, I recently joined them, the kids and a Frenchie named Presley for a Christmas card shoot. The setting was marvelous; an 1800’s barn on their property that was camera ready for a fun family fotoshoot. The barn is flair. I’ve done several portrait shoots in what, many decades ago, was the hay mow.

A Birthday Blast for Arthur

Do you remember the day two candles were embedded in a cake and you were told to BLOW?  Probably not.  I can’t.  But some day, when he can appreciate his past and the important milestones of his young self, Arthur will have these to remind him how innocent childhood can be.

Four year old Collette and his mom, Anne ( unspecified age) guided wee Arthur through a two year old’s first big time celebration. Off camera during these moments, his Dad Nick low-keyed his way through the birthday bash. I’m pretty sure he washed little Arthur’s face and hands before lunch was served to an extended family of party-goers.

Rural Americana

The last time Allen Hoida drove tractor on his father’s farm, he was about to graduate high school and he was to soon to take wing from the proverbial nest. That was nearly six decades ago. The author Thomas Wolfe proclaimed ” You Cant Go Home Again”. Al Hoida did. After a long career in telephone communications, he and his wife Judy returned to a then abandoned farm on the edge of Montana Lake, about 40 miles north of Green Bay, Wisconsin. In retirement, Al says he’s a collector. In various outbuildings, there are aging but functioning tractors, including his father George’s 1941 Farmall. There are lawn mowers too. Three of them and they don’t look all that new either.

Where he and his siblings helped milk about a dozen cows, Al has created a wooodshop. I recently returned to the farm for a visit.. We had a history, having wrestled on the same team until he graduated and I later became acquainted with one of his sisters.  I think Thomas Wolfe had someone else in mind when he wrote his novel, ” Y0u Cant Go Home Again”.

 

A Family of Two

The 1960’s masterpiece, ” Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”, came to mind while Julia, Sam and I created a series of family images on the edge of Excelsior. The setting was ideal because of the landscaping, which included an old-timey tricycle and an arbor.

….and finally, an imposing boulder at the edge of one of Minnesota’s gazillion lakes provided a really swell setting where we could put a wrap on our shoot.  I think Sam and Julia had as much of a laugh as I did, especially after the two on a trike shot.

For the Love of Music

With 40 years of musical experience, Twin Cities band, “Generation Rock” digs deep into musical archives with powerful and memorable staples of the 70’s and 80’s. Drummer Myron Moser, began forming what is now Gen Rock in 2014 and has trolled for artists who are committed to passionate and accurate interpretations of 70’s and 80’s rock. At a Generation Rock concert, extraordinary moments happen on otherwise ordinary evenings.

Such was the case at a recording studio in the Twin Cities recently when the band performed before a phalanx of recording cameras including mine. One image, made at the lip of the elevated stage, captures the energy and passion of lead guitarist Blitz and I think that speaks eloquently of the bands’ shared joy while performing.

They Flew Into a Fire Storm

With the epoch documentary ” Vietnam” airing on PBS, I’m compelled to honor daring men I served with during that war. During a brief lull in bombing, I photographed these pilots on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier, USS Hancock.

They were men of squadron 215 and they flew the Douglas Skyraider, the last of the propeller-driven fighter bombers. So vulnerable were the ” Spads” to antiaircraft fire and surface to air missiles, they were retired from combat in 1967. However, these pilots could provide incredible low level support to Marines and soldiers who were in close contact with enemy troops.

I knew these men because they received their target information in my office, Air Intelligence, often aided by their squadron intelligence officers: ” Kaz” Kazvinski, Mel Peddy and Jack Hannon.  Lt. John Black, in the bottom photo, survived the war. I can’t speak for the other pilots. Some 50 years later, I can say I was honored to know those courageous men who flew ” low and slow” to save American troops on the ground.

 

Hay Mow Studio

Its been decades since baled hay filled the mow of an Excelsior barn, but its a really swell for portraiture. Rachel and I adjusted a tattered flag that leaned against a wall, then placed her in juxtaposition with it. A single window provided our morning light, reminding me of the barn where, as a youngster, my sister and I dug holes in hay and shared the ” cave” with our collie, Rover. We also shared marshmallows with him.

 

A Pensive Moment

For several moments this child seemed lost in his thoughts while conversations swirled around him. Minutes earlier, he had chatted with a teen on a laptop, but at the moment I framed him at the window, he was somewhere else in a place, perhaps, where children and only children can go.