Monday, July 5, 2010

End of an era

Muskegon Lumberjacks player Robin Bouchard leans against a wall after the Lumberjacks lost their last semi-final game against the Flint Generals at L.C. Walker Arena. The loss ended the Lumberjacks final season, and 50 years of professional minor league hockey in Muskegon.

Emily Bouchard, the daughter of Muskegon Lumberjacks player Robin Bouchard holds her father's hand after the Lumberjacks' last game ended in a 5-2 defeat by the Flint Generals at L.C. Walker Arena.

This is a tragic story.  The number one team in the league lost in the semi-finals of the league playoffs, to end their last season.  It was hard for me to be a voyeur into their tragedy.  But I think the truth of the story is that although Robin Bouchard was sad to end his season, he doesn't care about hockey even a fraction of how much he cares about his family--which he still has.  So the tragedy is really not that bad.

Looking up to a hero

Mha Kai Lenox, 3 years old right, touches the emblem on Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler's hat, left, before the 2010 Crime Victims Rights Week Vigil.

Mha Kai Lenox, 3 years old right, jumps to try and touch Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler's hat, left.

I had a chance to talk with Sheriff Roesler after these photographs were published, I was glad to find out that he appreciated them.

Faces of baseball

Muskegon Big Reds baseball player Nate Smith throws his helmet after Muskegon lost to the Grand Haven Buccaneers 7-4 at Marsh Field in Muskegon.

Reeths-Puffer Rockets Jeff Van Laan, right, catches the ball as Mona Shores Sailors Michael Lipan, left, tries to return to first base during the GMAA baseball Tourney Championship at Reeths-Puffer High School.

Foggy day

A cyclist bikes through the fog along Pere Marquette Beach.

It was a foggy day.  Few people were out and about.  I thought about how to create a cool photograph in the fog.  I decided I wanted something to show the fog.  I found these trees by the beach which fit my idea of cool shapes that vanish into the mist.  Then I patiently waited for one of the few cyclists to be in the right spot.


Hamlet holds his dagger over Polonius' body during the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company's performance of Hamlet at the Beardsley Theater.

Laertes, right played by Kyle Walker, comforts his sister Ophelia, left played by Amy McFadden, during the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company's performance of Hamlet.

Photographing a play, with the actors performing a great range of emotions and deliberately creating dramatic moments, it seemed like an easy assignment--until I started.  The actors deliberately use all of the space on the stage, filling the stage with their presence, as they project their voices into the audience while they pretend to be having intimate conversations.  If actors in movies and TV stand abnormally close to each other while talking, on stage they stand abnormally far apart.  Only rarely did the actors come close together for a brief intense moment, before dramatically rushing away. 

Hamlet is an amazing story.  Shakespeare found so many great ways to kill his characters in ways that are logical within the story.  There are no predictable gun fights or stereotypical car chase scenes.  The characters end up dead without being idiots, which is the true mark of great writing.  Although the fight scene at the end does allows the actors to have their last words.  I think the play could easily be rewritten to make many of the supporting characters the stars.  Imagine Ophelia, she sees her fairy tale die.  She is in love with the handsome prince, then he goes crazy and dumps her.  But he does not say, "you should find another prince."  He says, "Get thee to a nunnery."  Telling her that he not only does not love her but that she should give up romantic hopes of any kind.
Then her ex-prince charming kills her father; I think I can understand why she commits suicide.
Laertes has it equally bad, the prince kills his father, and drives his sister into suicide.  Hamlet gave Laertes two good reasons to want to kill him.
While Hamlet is a clever fellow, I love the way he sees through his uncle Claudius' plot to have the King of England kill him and instead has the King of England kill Rosencrantz and Guilderstern.

After my previous comments you may think that I'm a blood thirsty maniac, I'm not--I just like action movies a lot.

It's a nice day for a black wedding

Brenda Klahr marries Tom Kerkstra at the 2010 Muskegon Motorcycle Club's annual Spring Run.

The Just Married sign on the back of Tom Kerkstra's bike at the 2010 Muskegon Motorcycle Club's annual Spring Run.

In the height of wedding season these photographs are poignant.  Weddings don't need always need to follow the latest fads, they only need to be what the couple want. 

Pat on the back

Mona Shores Sailors Tony Walukonis, right, congratulates Brandon Geerlings, left, after he scored the third run against Orchard View Cardinals at Mona Shore High School.

For most people the word observe implies passivity.  The observer is a person who sits on the sidelines and merely watches the game unfold.  Enjoying the event with a hot dog and a beer.  The honor belongs to the man in the arena.
I am an observer, but when I observe my mind and my body are fully engaged.  I follow every play as if I am in the game.  Like a player my attempts are often failures, but like a good athlete I keep trying.  As I watch my mind flutters back and forth between predicting what will happen next and daydreaming about everything around me.
I muse about how all the different people come to the same ball park, but each one comes with a different role and a different objective.  The player comes to win, the umpire to keep things somewhat fair, the parent to cheer for their child, the other students to hang out with their friends, and I come to take the pictures.  Then I wonder about each person's true motivation.  Why do they really come, and what is their incentive? 
For me this photograph is an answer to my question about the players.  The players play not simply because they like to play the game, not even just to win.  They come to be cheered by their fans and teammates--they come to be patted on the back