Back to School

_C1_7647.JPGI loved lots of things about marching band at the University of Nebraska, but one of the subtler pleasures was moving in a week before almost anyone else for the 14-hour days of band camp. I (goofily) felt like the campus was ours and the rest of the students were intruders, coming too late to know the place as well as we did or to pour as much of themselves into it. But I loved their return anyway, because it also meant returning to great friends I hadn’t seen all summer and soaking up the infectious energy that boomed from the loudspeakers at every pep rally and welcome ceremony.

The excitement’s not really aimed at me these days, but it’s hard to avoid when roughly one-third of Fayetteville’s population learns or works at the University of Arkansas. The 27,000 undergrads are a pain to some and a boon to others, as my colleague Stacy Ryburn cheekily wrote for today’s paper, but you can’t deny they have a good time.








_C1_7767.JPGGood luck to all of the students, and to the people who have to deal with them. If all goes well, the undergrads will get their names etched into the university’s sidewalks when they graduate, an Arkansas tradition that I caught a glimpse of as I left campus.

Thanks for looking!


Class of 2016

_C1_4721.JPGGraduation approaches, which means college campuses everywhere are full of people smiling and posing for cameras. Photographers and soon-to-be-grads and family members crisscrossed the University of Arkansas yesterday in such numbers that they had to queue up at the most popular spots. For the first time, I was one of those photogs. A lovely pair of acquaintances, Ashley and Emily, asked me to take their graduation photos. I tried to warn them I’d never done this kind of thing, surely someone with more equipment could do more, but they just wouldn’t listen.

We had a great time.





We moved to Wilson Park as the afternoon turned into evening. My master plan, timing the shoot so we’d get beautiful, golden sunset light there (like in these shots for another pair of friends), fell apart as the sunny forecast gave way to an overcast sky. So much for that. Still, cloudy skies give their own soft, cool light to work with.





_C1_4824.JPGNot too bad, I hope — this is just a sample of the final product. We’ll see if anyone ever asks me to do grad photos again.

Congratulations to everyone graduating! Good luck out there.



IMG_0008.JPGFor those celebrating Easter, I hope you had a good one. Among the eggs and the family and the garden shopping these past few days, I also marked the occasion by trying out something a little different. After sticking with a cranky old iPhone 4 for around five or six years, last week I switched to a newer model with a pretty decent camera on the back. This is some of what I caught with it, mostly around downtown Fayetteville yesterday.









IMG_0187.JPGNot too bad for a 5-ounce machine, though for anyone keeping score at home, a couple of minor marks against: Its zoom is almost worthless, and it has a habit of making everything in the frame in focus, which can clutter things up. Putting the camera through its paces was still a fun little trial.

Thanks for looking! Here’s hoping that below-freezing nonsense is finally done for the season.


Spring Break

IMG_3875On a busy weekday, one in three people in Fayetteville could be walking around the University of Arkansas campus at once: Roughly 30,000 people work or study there in a town of 81,000. I would happily walk around with a camera during one of those days and catch the streams of people between classes, if it weren’t for that pesky weekday job. But I can go when the place is (almost) empty. While lots of beach towns are getting rowdy and wild for spring break, the campus is still.





IMG_3848Photojournalism emphasizes people and their moments, but every now and then it can be worth embracing the inanimate and focusing on the things we humans have built when almost no one’s using them. One of the first blog posts I did here had a similar idea behind it.





IMG_3869I’ll kick in a couple more photos from the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks just for you. The nighttime dips below freezing last weekend didn’t seem to harm the flowers and peach blossoms too badly.



Thanks for looking, and happy official start to spring.