For the past six months I have been following the progress of a local teenager’s goal of losing weight. Sophomore Alfredo Ortega, 16, got a slap of reality back in December 2008 when his doctor found signs of diabetes and serious liver problems due to his obesity. From that point on, Alfredo decided he was going to make a change. Tipping the scales at 371 lbs be began a rigorous work out routine with his family members and continued to follow it daily since. Each month we would do an update of his progress. This week marked the end of our coverage of him when he reached his goal weight of 250 lbs. It was pretty incredible to watch him transform like this. When I first started shooting him he was incredibly self conscious about his image and would never smile. As you can tell from his big grin above, he has found his smile. When asked what he was going to do next he said he was off to Disneyland with his family. He earned it.

This was from an assignment I shot the other day about a elderly Fairfield couple, Jim Davis and his fiancee Barbara Gregory, who met over the Internet and were now getting married. They had me over for a tour of their home and to tell of how they met. Jim is the biggest pack rat I have ever seen. Collections of stuff was everywhere. Antiques galore from floor to ceiling. Both of them loved to talk and flirt with each other. They reminded me of a couple of high school students; laughing and giggling the entire time. They were a riot. I had them sit at there dining room table and tell stories of how they met online. “I knew I would marry him when he cleared a wall for my photographs,” said Barbara about the wall behind her fiancee. I thought it was cute that after all this time, they had finally found each other and I felt that this shot really captured their relationship. Ah, the power of the Internet.

Yesterday I had an opportunity to spend the day riding along on a C-17 Globemaster cargo jet for a media day with the United States Air Force. The event was all part of a military training operation called HYDRA created to give contingency response units such as the 615th Contingency Response Wing of Travis Air Force Base the chance to train with other Air Force units and services on quickly setting up and coordinating operations between multiple small airfields. This training would simulate how well the participants would respond to getting humanitarian supplies into an isolated region struck by an earthquake. It was also a chance for the military to show off it’s capabilities to the working press.

I had only previously been in these planes during airshows growing up. Now the opportunity to fly in one while being in the cockpit (especially when they would be doing an in flight refueling) was too cool to pass up. We spent the whole day flying around to different dirt landing fields and dry lake beds throughout southern California. My job was to document it. A long but entertaining day.

It has been a very busy week running around shooting all of the local high school graduations here in Fairfield.

After these last couple of weeks shooting high school sport playoffs, my arms have developed a tan line that a farmer would be proud of. The job has been keeping me busy. Here’s a long overdue update.

Here is a recent documentry project I finished up here at work. I have included the page layout from how it ran in the paper too. Best, -M

Artificial light allows Solano County residents to continue doing the tasks of daily life long after the sun sets. But the luxury of light comes at a cost – it dims the starry grandeur of the night sky and, when used improperly, wastes energy. Light pollution foes advocate using only the amount of light that is needed and focusing it on the areas where it’s needed. As Solano County continues to grow, communities must decide how much light is needed for safety, advertising and other hallmarks of modern life. They must decide how much is too much.