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How does one choose between a football game and a war reenactment to photograph? There’s no competition there, but I chose both.  According to the website, the Battle of Mississinewa Battle of 1812 in Marion, Ind. is the largest War of 1812 reenactment in The United States.  This fact combined with knowing people would be in period costume, living in a camp, and living (mostly) only with things available around 1812, I couldn’t resist checking it out. I wasn’t disappointed. , I enjoyed shooting every minute of people cooking by fire, the canons in the battle, and the little kids in period costume. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite photos from the battle grounds and the camps.

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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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Miss Indiana State Fair

I spent roughly two days with the queen of the Indiana State Fair. Her name is Alyssa Garnett. She’s a college student, a sorority sister, a small town girl and the representative for the Indiana State Fair. These photos are a glimpse into her daily activities at the fair. I’ve kept the photos in the same order I originally presented them, as well as the same captions.

 

Miss State Fair Queen Alyssa Garnett waits backstage for the introduction of the county queens. Garnett has a schedule of mandatory events she must attend daily during the State Fair. Garnett is a college student from Pulaski County, Ind.

Miss State Fair Queen Alyssa Garnett waits backstage for the introduction of the county queens. Garnett has a schedule of mandatory events she must attend daily during the State Fair. Garnett is a college student from Pulaski County, Ind.

 

Garnett reapplies her makeup throughout the day to keep up her appearance. She regularly wears her hair in a bun to keep it looking nice in the heat.

Garnett reapplies her makeup throughout the day to keep up her appearance. She regularly wears her hair in a bun to keep it looking nice in the heat.

 

Garnett talks to the calf she helped deliver at the Indiana State Fair. She says the calf is very sweet and likes to be played with.

Garnett talks to the calf she helped deliver at the Indiana State Fair. She says the calf is very sweet and likes to be played with.

 

Employees from Roche Diagnostics pose for a photo with Garnett. It wasn't until later that she realized that their excitement to see her may have been because she was a scavenger hunt item. She was.

Employees from Roche Diagnostics pose for a photo with Garnett. It wasn’t until later that she realized that their excitement to see her may have been because she was a scavenger hunt item. She was.

 

Garnett helps thresh wheat in the Pioneer Village at the State Fair. Her duties in the Pioneer Village include blacksmith, wheat threshing, and cutting lard.

Garnett helps thresh wheat in the Pioneer Village at the State Fair. Her duties in the Pioneer Village include blacksmith, wheat threshing, and cutting lard.

Garnett lets Cora Shaw, 2, of Southport Ind. try on her crown. Garnett says she is often stopped my kids and parents wanting to take photos.

Garnett lets Cora Shaw, 2, of Southport Ind. try on her crown. Garnett says she is often stopped my kids and parents wanting to take photos.

Garnett rests in the office where she goes to reapply makeup and occasionally take naps. She says in the office she can relax because she must smile at all times while in the public eye.

Garnett rests in the office where she goes to reapply makeup and occasionally take naps. She says in the office she can relax because she must smile at all times while in the public eye.

Garnett participates in the daily parade every day of the fair. She says she's doesn't get bored with it because it could be the last parade she'll ever be featured in.

Garnett participates in the daily parade every day of the fair. She says she’s doesn’t get bored with it because it could be the last parade she’ll ever be featured in.

Taking to the Skies

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I spent about three days shooting at the Porter County Fair to prepare for a mobile newsroom I’ll be apart of via Ball State come the Indiana State Fair. I came away with quite a few photos, and I was able to use my GoPro for the first time, which I’m sure I’ll use more later on.

My favorite images came from the Kiwanis Balloon Launch. I’ve included them with some of my other photos. I’ve been to a few hot air balloon events with my family through the years, but never was able to see them so close.

My time spent at the fair made me realize how many opportunities for photos I’ll have. I covered 4-H events ranging from animal judgings to smaller projects, the events going on, interesting people, sunsets, people setting up, and interesting light.

I’m interested in pushing myself for the full 17 days of the fair to produce quality content and different photos each day.

Friend and photographer Jonathan Miksanek will also be working the fair, so we shot together. You can check out his images from the fair here.

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The Annual Acting Whipped Cream Fight

Notice the whipped cream on my lens?

Whipped cream is a vital ingredient for finals week for an artistic director and acting teacher at Hammond’s Academy for The Performing Arts.

Amid the stress finals, graduating, or homework, students inacting classes taught by Dan Taube can be found in an annual whipped cream fight on the second-to-last day of school.

    According to Taube, “The tradition started with the first year of HAPA – the last day of school can be a little bittersweet for the seniors and the underclassmen. The acting classes tend to be a very close knit group. So…the whipped cream fight started as a way to be silly and joyful and a good way to keep the tears at bay. It started one year, not knowing we would keep doing it year in and year out.”

The whipped cream fight with my class was the highlight of my last few days as a senior. For a few minutes, you get to be more worried about melting cream in your eyes than your future. It’s a chance to celebrate the relationships created in the classes, and a good way to say goodbye.

I was able to shoot it this year, and enjoyed dodging whipped cream hand fulls. I’m pretty confident that the fight is some of the most care free moments in all of Hammond each summer. It’s nice to see.

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Art and News

An old train trestle at McCulloch Park in Muncie, IN is out of use.

An old train trestle at McCulloch Park in Muncie, IN.

So, today I had to shoot an assignment for a non-journalism photography class, and an assignment for the Daily News.  I learned two things: I don’t know what it means to turn in a photo without also turning in a caption and I’m very, very wired to take photos that are “useful” to the Ball State Daily News.

It’s completely okay to look out for your organization, but this line of thought led to my decline in shooting for my own enjoyment last semester. For awhile, it hindered me from shooting for fun, which happens to be the whole reason I got into photography in the first place.

This morning, I decided to have some fun. I got up at 6:30 a.m. to head out to McCulloch Park to shoot some photos I need for a photography assignment. I was hoping for the nice light and sky that comes with a party cloudy sunrise, as well as fog from the warm temperatures. Mother nature did not allow me these luxuries this morning. Though the sunset certainly delivered was I was looking for today, I was at work and missed it. I had dragged myself and my friend Lauren out at a ridiculous time for no reason. Oops.

After I took a nap, Lauren and I headed out again to interview and shoot photos of a Ball State student who runs a micro brewery out of his home. Back in photojournalism mode, I wrote down some of the process and was able to document the first part of a chilli-honey porter (a dark style of beer) the student was working on.  Journalism takes me some interesting places! That’s for sure.

Ice encases a twig in the White River at McCulloch Park in Muncie, Indiana.

Ice encases a twig in the White River at McCulloch Park in Muncie, Indiana

This adorable little raccoon hand print made me really happy. That's all I can say.

This adorable little raccoon hand print made me really happy. That’s all I can say.

Kyle Little, left, and senior journalism graphics major Tyler Varnau work together to add 5.5 gallons of distilled water to a pot to boil before adding grain.

Kyle Little, left, and senior journalism graphics major Tyler Varnau work together to add 5.5 gallons of distilled water to a pot to boil before adding grain.

Tyler Varnau uses a large pot outdoors to boil water to roughly 163 degrees, which is then mixed with roughly 14 pounds of grain.

Tyler Varnau uses a large pot outdoors to boil water to roughly 163 degrees, which is then mixed with roughly 14 pounds of grain.

The ingredients used to create a honey chili porter at Tyler Varnau's home brewery costs roughly $45.

The ingredients used to create a honey chili porter at Tyler Varnau’s home brewery costs roughly $45.

Looking Forward

A firefighter works to put out the blaze on the corner of 119th Street and Sheridan Ave. in Whiting, Ind., Sunday, January 20, 2013. The blaze was fought by fire crews from Whiting, Hammond and East Chicago for more than four hours. Apartments and a dress shop were destroyed, but no one was injured.

A firefighter works to put out the blaze on the corner of 119th Street and Sheridan Ave. in Whiting, Ind., Sunday, January 20, 2013. The blaze was fought by fire crews from Whiting, Hammond and East Chicago for more than four hours. Apartments and a dress shop were destroyed, but no one was injured.

When I started sorting through my photos for 2013 to choose my favorites, I was really concerned that I didn’t shoot anywhere near as much as I should have this year. I was correct! I am not happy with how little I shot this year. Despite being really disappointed with myself, I’ve got a fire under me to shoot more in 2014. I intend to shoot just for myself more often, and get back into shooting for the Daily News. After spending a few weeks at home, I’m ready to get back to work! When I get back, I will be taking the position of multimedia editor at the Ball State Daily News. It’s such an honor to be hired into this position, and I can’t wait to give it all I’ve got! I’m also going to be heading to the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, with BSU at the Games to shoot still photography. I’m already so proud of my team, and I know that we’re all going to come back with really strong work. With amazing opportunities ahead of me, I’m going to blow 2014 out of the water. Here are my favorite photos from this year.

I hate dragonflys. They're too big and noisy and all around creepy. This guy was really pretty and detailed, so I couldn't pass up the photo opportunity when he landed a few feet from me.

I hate dragonflys. They’re too big and noisy and all around creepy. This guy was really pretty and detailed, so I couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity when he landed a few feet from me.

Officer R. Trissel tells students how they are allowed to leave after the report of an armed assailant Nov. 15 at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center at Ball State University in Muncie Ind., November 10, 2013. No gunman was found, and no one was injured.

Officer R. Trissel tells students how they are allowed to leave after the report of an armed assailant Nov. 15 at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center at Ball State University in Muncie Ind., November 10, 2013. No gunman was found, and no one was injured.

A car drives through the rain on E. Riggin Road during a thunderstorm warning in Muncie, Ind. Sunday, November 17, 2013.

A car drives through the rain on E. Riggin Road during a thunderstorm warning in Muncie, Ind. Sunday, November 17, 2013.

A man walks his dog near the Hope Memorial Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio. Two statues at either end of the bridge represent progress in transportation.

A man walks his dog near the Hope Memorial Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio. Two statues at either end of the bridge represent progress in transportation.

Favorite Place in the World

The stained glass of the chapel is still intact, though many of the other windows have been broken out and destroyed.

The City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana stands nine stories tall and has an interesting history. It was built in 1926 for a cost of about $1 million dollars. It was a place for the whole community, and included classrooms, a gymnasium, a rooftop garden, a banquet hall and a kitchen.  It thrived until the 1960’s when the church lost the majority of its congregation to changes of population in the Northwest Indiana region.  The church relocated and closed completely on January 3rd, 1975.

In its current state, it has become a sort of sanctuary for artists. I’ve been there twice to photograph the architecture and deterioration of a once elaborate place of worship. My visits were only months apart but I could still see the changes. I noticed pieces of ceiling that had finally given in and fallen to the floor as well as places in the floor that were no longer safe to walk on.

The walls have started to decay in this part of the building. The support beams are rusted. It’s all beautiful and fascinating to walk through.

The silence is heavy. It’s normally broken by the pigeons that call the chapel home or debris hitting the ground, but it hangs on you

The sun shines through the main chapel of the church.

like a coat. The street behind the forgotten building is populated and bustling, but the children playing or cars going by seem very distant, even foreign. It’s not an uncomfortable silence;  I find it calming and it never fails to clear my head. I really enjoy exploring and shooting and I’ve found the City Methodist Church to be the perfect place for it.

I’ve become strangely attached to the building. I often think about how much I’d like to purchase it and preserve it. I’d like to protect it, stabilize it just enough to be safe without ruining the specific abandoned feeling only time and nature can create. It’s become very close to my heart and I hope it’s never torn down or destroyed while I’m here in the Region. I can only hope for the best and rely on my photographs to take me back.

I loved the shadow across this staircase.

A recent visitor left behind a can of Coke while exploring. Funny how it fits right into the wall.