What a year! Looking over the photos I made from this past year, I found it difficult to pick favorites. How do you narrow down the very best photos after such an interesting year? For me 2012 was a new beginning. I started my year in a new place after having been hired at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and spent most of my time in a state of creative reconnaissance, exploring all the beauty southwest Montana has to offer.

In the end, I chose photos that made a personal connection. I wanted to show you all photos that make you feel something. So much of what photojournalists do everyday is bring readers into the lives of their subjects through captivating, storytelling images, to quote SI Photo Editor Jim Colton, “that reach down your throat and give your heart a tug”. Whether they succeed is in the eye of the beholder.

As I was editing down this year’s take of images and trying to pick out ten for the printed newspaper, I realized that trying to capture the essence of the Gallatin Valley in a handful of photos was a fool’s pursuit. Thankfully, the people in this community that make it such a great place are too vast and rich in culture to show in its entirety within a select few favorites within my “Best of Photography” slideshow. I have much more exploring to do.

I look forward to what the new year will bring. Thanks so much for all of your support and I hope all of you have a bold, adventurous new year! -M


Tis the season…to catch up on blog posts! I’ve been meaning to get some new work up here for a while now but I’ve been pretty busy as of late running around Bozeman and documenting all of the festivities of the season. Without further ado, here is some of the better images I’ve made in the last month. Thanks for looking, -M

Spring is California is incredible. Everything has been so green and the temperature has held steady at around 65 degrees. All this nice weather has really brought people out in the community. It’s like someone flipped a switch. Now all of a sudden their have been a constant flow of pretty interesting stories and overall everyone around here has been in a good mood from the nice weather. Always a good thing. It has also been extremely busy around the newspaper. Hence my lack of posting. So here are some photos that I shot from the month of March.

I wanted to talk a little bit about a photo illustration that ran on the front this past week’s Sunday Sports section of the Daily Republic. I was assigned early last week to photograph our sports department’s picks for the Track Athletes of the Year, Daje Pugh and Dante Thomas of Fairfield High School. I love getting these type of portrait assignments. There are no rules for them and they allow me full control of the final outcome. They allow me to really think of creative ways to show individuals in a different way. Such was the case for photographing Daje and Dante. Both of these athletes had stellar track & field seasons this year. The story was focusing on their success in their hurdling events. I wanted to show them hurdling. Going to the track was too obvious of a place to photograph them. I wanted to put them in a not so common place. I find that coming up with the concept of a portrait photograph is usually half the battle. I found my idea for this image while driving past the water fountain in downtown Fairfield and seeing the kids playing in it. My thought process was that I wanted to show big kid athletes playing but at the same time look tough. I wanted to show them exploding through the water like they did to their opponents this past season. I felt the fountain would be the perfect canvas.

I called up each of them and told them my idea for the shoot. Both were up for it and we settled on a time to meet. I chose a time in the late afternoon when I knew that the light would be the best. Their were numerous things for this shoot that would be out of my control. Weather and the fountain. I arrived an hour earlier with fellow photographer Chris Jordan to test the light and to figure out how I was going to shoot Daje and Dante. Chris and I did some test shots with my portable light set up and determined which fountain jets I would have them jump through.

Once I had my exposure and lights dialed in, it was time to have Daje and Dante step in. We were at the mercy of the fountain. Each time the fountain shot off, I have Daje and Dante sprint and jump through a pre determined jet of water. This was the tricky part. It is very difficult to get both your subjects looking stellar in the same shot. As a photographer there is little I could do to help remedy this besides encouraging them to keep their eyes open or to direct how and when they should jump. My lighting consisted of two Nikon Speedlight strobes on stands: one at far camera left to counter the evening sunlight and one just to my right to add a little pop to their faces. These were triggered remotely by my pocket wizards. I would only get one flash burst per jump to light up my subjects. Therefore, I had to wait to squeeze the camera shutter at just the right moment. This process took many attempts to do. Despite the cool breeze and the oncoming sunset, Daje and Dante were good sports about their numerous runs through the fountain.

After the shoot, I returned to the Daily Republic Photo Department and began the final series of steps to make this photo illustration come together. I choose the best two images (see above) and spent a whole day working in Photoshop to carefully blend together these to images. Once my two subjects were together on the same canvas, I added extra jets of water to the background to enhance the overall impact of the image. The spray of the water made it really difficult to blend together. It was tedious work but in the end I was quite pleased with the results. -Mike Greener