Homeward Bound

It's 622 and I am at Bradley Airport embarking on my journey to Virginia to 1- shoot UConn v.UVA and 2- visit Ma and Pa Thrift. I can't even remember the last time I spent more than 24 consecutive hours in my hometown.

Did you know that in REM's song "It's the end of the world as we know it," Michael Stipe sings "no fear cavalier," a verse thought to be inspired by the Wahoos?! Though I've only been in Charlottesville a handful of times, it will always hold a special place in my heart, especially when I think of the time I went as a junior in high school and convinced some freshman that I was in my second year at Mr. Jefferson's University. I learned fast.

AND did you know that the creator of "Cavemen" first wanted to set the show in Newport News, Virginia but couldn't because there was no way anyone, not even the best magician in the WORLD, could make Los Angeles, where the show is filmed, look like the News.

Anyway, it feels like it's going to be a weird trip already. Considering: a) I got absolutely no sleep last night so things seem weird anyway, b) a red "something is wrong" light switched on on my car's dashboard on my ride to the airport and totally stressed me out to the point where I was very close to sticking gaffer tape over it, c) they moved me from connecting in Cleveland to connecting in Philadelphia which is precisely what I was trying to avoid as I'd only have 1 hour to switch flights in the chaotic mess that is the Philadelphia airport and d) I was randomly selected to have my carry-on bags thoroughly searched! When the TSA guy asked if I had any electronics I had to laugh because every piece of camera gear I'll need on the field is in my carry-on.

Wish me luck!



Last month I completed an audio slideshow of a woman who I had been following around since March. Although the story is by no means "done," we had enough to publish so we decided to go ahead and do that. If I waited any longer it would have been a bit overwhelming trying to fit everything in one issue.

Here is a link: http://www.rep-am.com/slideshows/marie

Remember to turn on your speakers! In the meantime I'm still following Marie, although I haven't seen her in about 3 weeks which I think is the longest I've gone without seeing her. This weekend though I am going to Vermont with her family, so hopefully I'll get to make up for all that lost time.

Marie's story kind of fell into my lap after I had met her three times in one week from having so many assignments at the Oxford Town Hall, which is also where the town's library is as well as the Oxford Senior Center, which is where Marie works as the activities director. She told me about her cancer, and the gears in my head started clicking, so I asked her if she would mind me sticking around and visiting for the next months. In about a week, she had become so comfortable with me that, though she was happy to have the company, she would forget I was there in the way you forget your pet is in the room. It's a comforting presence but nothing that you feel you have to dress up for or live up to, because your pet likes you just the way you are.

Anyway, I'm glad I have this website to update the story as I follow it. Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, I've been trying to make better audio slideshows on shorter time allowances, like the Ponte Club Festa di San Donato here in Waterbury.

Apparently this has been a preoccupation considering last night I had a dream that all the staff photographers were at work for some reason and I was like "Hey guys! We should do an audio slideshow on OURSELVES!" I think in my dream I meant slideshows in which the photographers narrate how they got the shot.

I often have dreams that something of significant historical importance is happening right in front of me and I'm overglassed. What an awful feeling.


iTunes withdrawal.

My second replacement iPod (my third since its original purchase in April 2005) died a few days ago, and its demise was exactly the same as the last two! And of course, this time, the warranty has run out even though this iPod is only six months old. Apparently they only count from the original purchase.

Anyway, the death of the iPod came just a day after I sent away my iBook G4 to the iBook hospital to get a SuperDrive installed on it so I can burn DVDs of my raw files.

I depended on my iPod for music on the road, and my laptop for music at home. I figured I would be okay sending away the laptop since I have my iPod, of whose imminent death I was unaware of.

Now I am music-less. . . . and on hold for the fifth time with Apple. But I must say their technical support is surprisingly pleasant. I just always feel like they're on my side. Personally I think its due to a feeling of guilt they have from the decreasing quality of their product. My first iPod lasted for 12 months, the second for 8, and this one for 6.



new and improved!

I haven't blogged in a while, mainly because there were some complications with my domain name. See, about two years ago when I lived in DC for a brief period, I happened to randomly meet a very nice gentleman who happened to own a server, and I just happened to need a domain. Being the nice gentleman that he was, he went ahead and set up the domain name josalee.com for me, which was great. . .

Until two years later when it was time to renew and the nice gentleman was off being nice and educational somewhere in Afghanistan, teaching villagers about computers.

So instead of waiting to see if my domain was going to be renewed and if I would still have access to it (yes it was renewed, and no I don't have access) I went ahead and bought josaleethrift.com.

I must admit that I will miss that feeling I get from impressing people when I tell them that yes, I have my very own domain name that only consists of my first name. It's like I'm ALMOST in the same category with people like Cher, Madonna, Aaliyah, and Tupac. Perhaps that will be the case in another two years. In the meantime I shall join the ranks of the two-named.

Anyway, there was an actual point to this blog: I did not learn until very recently that looking through a slightly unsteady long lens (800mm) for a long time will make you sick. And by "sick" I mean the kind of sick you get when you play Wolfenstein for too long. The doubly bad thing about this is that usually, when you are looking through a very long lens, you're shooting a pretty important event.

In my case, I was fighting the urge to vomit while I was in a CEMETERY. I finally put down the camera when my knees were about to give out. At first I thought it was the heat that was making me sick, so I drank an entire bottle of water all at once, which just made me sicker. I finally hopped off the riser and stumbled into a wooded corner of the cemetery so I wouldn't disrespect anyone's grave.

Fortunately, I didn't vomit, but as I left, the TV guy Jeff was nice enough to carry my step stool, and a very nice firefighter from Meriden carried my lens (like a baby, as another photographer said) to my car. I would like to point out that had I not been sick, I would have been able to carry all those things by myself. And though the previous sentence should be obvious, I feel I have to vindicate a statement made earlier in the day by an older gentleman who saw my lens and said, "Wow! That's a big lens! Especially for a little girl like you!"

Lesson: Bring a tripod.


Beware the Ides of March.

Yesterday was Pi day. In high school, as a member of Mu Alpha Theta, I was part of a very overzealous group of fellow pi celebrants. In honor of Pi Day this year, I ate a fried apple pie from the wheel of nutrition at work. Also, the symbol for Pi (∏) kind of looks like my initials. I could almost say it's a spiritual bond...

Pi Day is also Ides of March Eve. Last year on this day I remember meeting a man named Caesar and being totally floored by the coincidence.

This year on the Ides of March I almost got arrested, but thanks to a powerful combination of education in media law and irresistable charm, I was not arrested.

Actually, I lie; those two things had nothing to do with me not being arrested... okay, well, maybe just a little bit... but it had everything to do with a misunderstanding of jurisdiction. And I will leave it at that.

Until next time, I leave you all with a picture of the cutest couple to ever grace this earth:

Ma and Pa Thrift. Married March 16, 28 years today.


Northern Short Course 2007 -Warwick, RI

This was the first short course I had ever been to, and I learned so much and I really can't wait to use what I learned on the field. And after the workshops there was the "Suite Life Party," thrown by John Harrington of DC. I personally thought it was one of the coolest parties I have ever been to, but when I explained to my friends about the set-up with the studio lights, printer, computer, slideshow, and mini Aqua Teen Boston bombs hung around the place, they told me it sounded more like a geek fest.

Try 1. I blinked. I also blinked when the guy who gave the workshop on location lighting, David Hobby, took a "portrait" of me during the workshop as an example. This is why I work BEHIND the camera.

Try 2.



the monkey

I've been busy editing the photos (that I shot on film...what's that?) from Panama, but in the meantime I thought I would share these pictures. This endangered squirrel monkey was hanging out with his owner, an indigenous street vendor in the Casco Viejo section of Panama City, when I decided to take some photos of the owner with the monkey on his shoulder. I got closer and closer with every frame I shot, until the monkey decided he liked MY shoulder better.

I felt kind of bad after I later found out the monkey was endangered. There's only one park in Panama where they're protected. All their other habitats, especially in the Darien jungle, are being quickly destroyed, or the monkeys themselves are being taken by well-meaning street vendors to help sell their merchandise. I think these monkeys can only be found in Panama and/or Costa Rica.

Stay tuned for more photos from Panama... AND from the Northern Short Course in Warwick, RI.


inaugural state of the blog address

I feel like I should take a bottle of champagne and break it over my laptop just to celebrate these first moments of this blog's life. But, for obvious reasons, I won't.

Have you ever noticed, on those sporadic occasions where you see photographs of other photographers, usually lined up at a sporting event, completely oblivious that anyone is taking THEIR photo, that either all or almost all the photographers are men?

I actually didn't, at least it wasn't an observation that I clearly noted in my head, until last night before shooting the UConn women's basketball game against Louisville at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, when another female photographer brought it to my attention, along with two other female photographers present. The topic actually came up once we all sat down and realized, "Hey, we outnumber the guys! This is a sporting event! Impossible!"

...And then we brushed eachother's hair and talked about everybody's outfits at the Grammys!!!


We talked about the upcoming Women in Photojournalism Conference in August in Austin, TX. We talked about the little annoyances that we experience as women that none of our male colleagues would understand, just as I'm sure our male colleagues have annoying experiences that we as women would never understand. Anyway, it was a good time. A very rare occasion, but a good time.

When we went back to our desks, an old man approached one of the male photographers, looked at all the women photographers' pretty faces, and said to the male photographer, "They just keep getting younger, and you keep getting older."