Crazy. Another summer month gone by. Here is some of my favorite images that I made over the last two weeks. Hope all is well everybody. Thanks for looking. -M

Over the last two weeks I was assigned two stories about local watering holes here in Solano County. The first was a story on the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, a non for profit group who help raise money for the community. The group is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and I spent the better part of an afternoon watching them socialize over discounted beer at their meeting hall at the Marina Center in Suisun City. They are a great group of people. The second bar I documented was the historical Bird’s Landing Tavern out in the middle of nowhere. It’s a pretty incredible place. The owner Shirley Paolini, well into her 80’s, continues to run the place since the passing of her husband Mel a few years back. The place has been around since the 1930’s and was used by Clint Eastwood to film his 1982 film “Honky Tonk Man” movie. Nowadays it acts more as a museum than a working bar. Locals still come in for an occasional beer but the highlights of the place lie in the antiques and old historical photos of Bird’s Landing and Collinsville that line the walls of her bar while peanut shells pile up on the floor. It is a quiet and peaceful which is just how Paolini likes it. During out conversation during my visit she would often look up at the photos on the wall and when I asked her about them she said, “I always feel like I am around good friends when I look at them.” She’s a pretty cool lady. I love these old gems of places off the beaten path. This both of these places were a lot of fun to shoot. -M

I find it hard to believe that summer is already half way over. But alas, mid July is here. Things have been pretty calm around the newspaper for most of June and into July. I’ve been doing a lot of cruising for feature photos aka “slices of life” around town. We’ve been quite fortunate to have a pretty cool summer this fall with the minimum amount of 100 degree days and people have been taking advantage of the opportunity. I took the opportunity to head home to Chicago for a long overdue week vacation. I just returned home early this morning. Got to see some live blues, watch some friends get married, build a chicken coop for my mom, clean a garage for my dad, visit with old friends and even meet with ace Chicago Tribune senior photographer Alex Garcia. All in all it was a great little trip home.

A couple weeks ago I did this story on a couple guys here in town who were making a Christian based hip hop album. Their group is called Immortal Ministries. It was pretty cool to watch how they piece together their rhymes and sound effects into music. It is a lot like mixing a multimedia piece for the newspaper. I’m not a religious person. But regardless of whether or not you believe in their message, it was cool to see them following their passion for hip hop and create upbeat songs. You can check them out here