2014 Wrap Up

2014 was quite the adventure. I went to the Olympics, and added two new countries to my list in the process. I completely totaled my first car. I spent spring break 2014 with some amazing people. Some have left. Some became a bigger part of my life. I successfully raised some fish from eggs through adulthood. (Pretty proud of that one.) I spent an excruciating amount of time at Indiana fairs. Actually, I spent every day of the Indiana State Fair in a tiny trailer with 20ish other young journalists. I even stalked the State Fair queen for two days. I photographed almost all of Ball State’s home football games. I’ve gathered some of my favorite images from the year, with some of the most important things I learned from them. Student enjoys fall sunset

There’s nothing wrong with cell phones. The best camera in this case was an IPhone, considering it was with me. I also realized I want to carry a DSLR more often.

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Midterms are excruciating when it’s 30 degrees and raining in an area that already doesn’t vote much.

Zombies takeover Ball State during food drive

Moment over makeup. I was waiting for the people with more impressive costume to show up when I spotted this really sweet hug between a grandmother and her grandson.


My self portrait work needs help. That’s a sad Rembrandt. Also, I should take more notes about failed lighting schemes. I tend to struggle to remember what went wrong. That’s valuable, I suppose.


You really, really have to go with the flow when blue meanie looking Russian band members almost roll you over at the Olympic Park. This was also a lesson in how much I’m terrible at self editing. I didn’t start loving this photo until three different masters of photography plucked it out.


Rodeos apparently have sort of a nice color palette? Sports shot this year included rodeo, cheerleading, band competition, football, and poi. They were all a blast.


Consider every angle. Always look for something new.


Light. Light. Light. Light. Light. Light. Light. Light.

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Knowing the game is as valuable as knowing the camera.

I’m glad I can look back at this blog and realize the mistakes I’ve made and things I’ve learned in the past year. It’s enjoyable to see the holes in my work and be able to make a plan for the upcoming year.

I’m gearing up to do some more serious video in 2015 and I hope to do some documentary type work.  In March, it’s pretty certain I’ll be heading to Cuba to do some photography. I’m currently adding content to a website that will be launching. I’ll be working to improve my brand, as well as my lighting skills. I’m really excited to get started! Thank you for being on the journey.


Winner! Winner!

One of the assignments for BSU at the Fair was to shoot a photo series. I find people who work carnival games to be entertaining and mysterious, so I thought I’d turn the camera to them. Here’s just a few from my complete series. After a week of classes, I’m really starting to miss my daily lemon shake ups and the midway sunsets.Irby 16148Carnival Workers


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Indiana State Everything



It’s been a week of lemon shakeups, various animal poop, and photography. I’ve been at the Indiana State Fair everyday since it started August 1st. I’m working with a group of other students from Ball State in a program called BSU at the Fair. We’re a mobile freelance media group that helps papers with content. If you saw any of my BSU at the Games posts, yes, it’s almost exactly like that. Only most people at the Indiana Fair speaks some form of English.


I’ve compiled some photos that I like that show the diversity in the sort of things I’ve been shooting. There’s been a cheer leading competition, a rodeo, and flat track. I’ve processed some photos in black and white. I’ve done long exposures. The list goes on. If it’s a big deal to Hoosiers, I probably have photos of it.


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A Day in Amsterdam

Checking out a street in Amsterdam! That's Allyson in red.

Checking out a street in Amsterdam! That’s Allyson in red.

Hello everyone!

We left a day early from Indy to beat the storm, which meant we got to spend a day and night in Amsterdam while we waited for out flight today. We arrived around noon local time, and we had about an hour for lunch before reconvening. A few of the writer’s and I found a burger shop down the street from the main train station and had lunch.

After lunch, we wandered back to the train station and admired some of the beautiful architecture. I wish anywhere in the Midwest matched the history and culture of Amsterdam’s buildings.

A small group of us went to the secret annex of Anne Frank and her family. Considering I’ve cried all the way through two other Holocaust museums, I knew I was going to be quite the mess after this museum tour. Beautiful photos of beautiful women are still glued to her bedroom walls. The way in which she decorated her room impacts me in a way I can’t fully describe.  It’s a very beautiful thing to be able to see into the mind of Anne Frank, even further than what it is in her diary. I do not have any photos from the tour.

I’ll be back in Amsterdam someday soon. I love the streets, the people, the culture. Man, how does one come home to cornfield USA after this?

See the two women in the window?  I love the figures on the outside.

See the two women in the window? I love the figures on the outside.

I want to know about graffiti in Europe. It's clearly a somewhat different game than it is in the US.

I want to know about graffiti in Europe. It’s clearly a somewhat different game than it is in the US.

The street.

The street.

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The train station. Wish the South Shore looked like this!

The train station. Wish the South Shore looked like this!

Romeo and Juliet

Tybalt, Joe Lino, threatens Mercutio, Ethan Strimple during a rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet in University Theatre on Tuesday.

Tybalt, Joe Lino, threatens Mercutio, Ethan Strimple during a rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet in University Theatre on Tuesday.

I’m back working at The Daily News at Ball State. This semester we’re off to a pretty strong start. We’re pushing for a digital first framework and trying to add more multimedia to our website. We’re working on videos, photo galleries, and audio slideshows. It’s been pretty exciting to see everyone branch out into doing multimedia projects for the paper. I recently shot Romeo and Juliet, a Ball State University production hosted at University Theatre. I really enjoy shooting theatre and dance, and I’m glad I get so many opportunities to do so at school.

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East Chicago Flames


A fire ball develops after an explosion during a fire at 526 W. Chicago Ave. in East Chicago, Ind., Saturday March 9, 2013. The East Chicago Fire Department received a call about smoke in the building around 4:30 p.m.

When I chose a major in journalism, I knew that working in news wasn’t always going to be heartwarming. It can get pretty ugly and I think that’s been reaffirmed for me lately. Saturday night, I was getting ready to go out for the night when I found out about a fire in East Chicago that was beginning to damage a small recycling center. By the time I got there, the building was engulfed in flames.  I know that three buildings were badly damaged, but I haven’t been able to shoot the extent of the damage.


A fire ball rises high into the air after an explosion during a fire Saturday.

When I shot another fire in Whiting in January, it was a little easier to shoot because the police lines were clearly marked, so I knew where I could shoot from. I also felt confident that the fire was contained, and it wasn’t as stressful as the East Chicago fire for me. This time, crowds of people were being pushed back by police officers every few minutes, I was being told to leave occasionally, and the owners of the damaged buildings were around. The black smoke could be seen from miles away and the fire seemed to be growing every moment. A few loud explosions sent fireballs high up into the air.

I saw people crying, talking about the buildings, and begging police officers to let them get things out of their cars that were very close to the fire. It’s not easy to watch and be around such events.  Regardless, it’s my job to tell the story and that’s what I try to do.



An electrical pole was destroyed in the flames. When inspectors from the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office and the East Chicago Fire Department finish searching the buildings, the most damaged will be torn down.


A small crowd gathers to watch the fire while firefighters work to put it out. Police officers were in place keeping people at a safe distance.

Firefighters work to put out the fire that began Saturday afternoon. I was able to shoot this image from a large bridge beside the buildings.

Firefighters work to put out the fire that began Saturday afternoon. I was able to shoot this image from a large bridge beside the buildings.