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Summer Orientation about Rivers (SOAR)

Mike Fritz, a biologist through the Natural Heritage Program with Nebraska Game and Parks, answers questions while showing pictures of various bat species and the value they provide for agriculture in controlling insect populations. Fritz gave an educational experience for third thru sixth-graders in the Prairie Plains Resource Institute Summer Orientation about Rivers outing under what he considers a great “bat tree” with a hollowed out middle section of a tree at Gjerloff Prairie.

Mike Fritz, a biologist through the Natural Heritage Program with Nebraska Game and Parks, answers questions while showing pictures of various bat species and the value they provide for agriculture in controlling insect populations. Fritz gave an educational experience for third thru sixth-graders in the Prairie Plains Resource Institute Summer Orientation about Rivers outing under what he considers a great “bat tree” with a hollowed out middle section of a tree at Gjerloff Prairie.

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1897 Fourth of July Celebration in Railroad Town

In the almost two years I’ve been working in Grand Island, Neb. I’ve covered many events at Stuhr Museum. The history and events presented are just the coolest. It was a field day of photo opportunities at the 1897 Fourth of July Celebration in Railroad Town. There is an upcoming once in a lifetime event taking place August 21, 2017 in which there will be a solar eclipse. The path of the sun lines up perfectly for a full eclipse in Grand Island and hotels and motels are booked solid during that time.

Nakia Wilkerson and Elizabeth Kuta dance arm-in-arm while the Railroad Town Silver Cornet Band plays during a 1897 Fourth of July Celebration in Railroad Town at Stuhr Museum.

Nakia Wilkerson and Elizabeth Kuta dance arm-in-arm while the Railroad Town Silver Cornet Band plays during a 1897 Fourth of July Celebration in Railroad Town at Stuhr Museum.

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2017 Summertime Favorites

Five Points Bank centerfielder Keyin Wentling charges up on a shallow pop up to make a sliding catch against Hastings Runza at Ryder Park.

Five Points Bank centerfielder Keyin Wentling charges up on a shallow pop up to make a sliding catch against Hastings Runza at Ryder Park.

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Senshu Academy

Ninth-graders from Senshu Academy in Tokyo, Japan took a tour of the 1897 Railroad Town at Stuhr Museum. It was enjoyable to watch these children take in American western culture.

Sho Aoyama, left, pumps water up from a water well as other ninth-graders watch as Senshu Academy students from Tokyo, Japan take a tour of the 1897 Railroad Town Wednesday at Stuhr Museum.

Sho Aoyama, left, pumps water up from a water well as other ninth-graders watch as Senshu Academy students from Tokyo, Japan take a tour of the 1897 Railroad Town Wednesday at Stuhr Museum.

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Tour de Nebraska

On an early weekday morning I had the opportunity to photograph the Tour de Nebraska as this year’s annual ride started in St. Paul, Neb. Here area dozen images.

Cyclists head out on Hwy. 281 to start their ride during the 2017 Tour de Nebraska Wednesday at the Howard County Fairgrounds.

Cyclists head out on Hwy. 281 to start their ride during the 2017 Tour de Nebraska Wednesday at the Howard County Fairgrounds.

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June Individual Outtakes

Things are heating up with the start of summer and many events taking place. Here are some of my favorite individual outtakes for the month of June 2017.

Lightning strikes above Agricultural Services Inc. in Doniphan Tuesday night as a string of severe thunderstorm storm cells moved throughout the region.

Lightning strikes above Agricultural Services Inc. in Doniphan Tuesday night as a string of severe thunderstorm storm cells moved throughout the region.

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Pump Boys and Dinettes

“It’s like a redneck Grease” Tyler Jacobs who plays Eddie, one of four pump boys in the Grand Island Little Theatre musical Pump Boys and Dinettes. The Pump Boys sell high octane on Hwy. 57 in Grand Ole Opry country and the Dinettes, Prudie and Rhetta Cupp run the Double Cupp Diner next door. The music with a live band is southern country songs based around every day life.

Prudie Cupp (Kelsey Helget) and Rhetta Cupp (Jana Thompson) swoon over L.M. (Michael Walters) as lifeguard Eddie (Tyler Jacobs) watches during a dress rehearsal of Pump Boys and Dinettes musical comedy put on by Grand Island Little Theatre at College Park Auditorium. The production includes a live band.

Prudie Cupp (Kelsey Helget) and Rhetta Cupp (Jana Thompson) swoon over L.M. (Michael Walters) as lifeguard Eddie (Tyler Jacobs) watches during a dress rehearsal of Pump Boys and Dinettes musical comedy put on by Grand Island Little Theatre at College Park Auditorium. The production includes a live band.

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Individual Selects

Here’s an update of individual select images I hope you enjoy. Images are from anything from a new business in Hastings, Neb. called Trapped Downtown to a flash flood to a naturalization ceremony to a water balloon fight.

Andrew and Courtney McCarty are a married couple that are owners of Trapped Downtown where they pose inside one of two escape rooms named The Office. Their business is located at 229 N. St. Joseph St. in Hastings.

Andrew and Courtney McCarty are a married couple that are owners of Trapped Downtown where they pose inside one of two escape rooms named The Office. Their business is located at 229 N. St. Joseph St. in Hastings.

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2017 Nebraska State Track & Field Meet

 

Adyson Narber of Aurora looks wide eyed at Jonna Bart after she edged out Plattsmouth to win the Class B girl’s 3,200-meter relay during the second session of the Nebraska State Track & Field Meet at Omaha Burke Stadium.

Adyson Narber of Aurora looks wide eyed at Jonna Bart after she edged out Plattsmouth to win the Class B girl’s 3,200-meter relay during the second session of the Nebraska State Track & Field Meet at Omaha Burke Stadium.

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Heartland Living

Our publication inserts a quarterly magazine into the newspaper called Heartland Living. For my assignments in the spring edition are stories featuring community yoga classes and a school about mixed martial arts. Illustrating these stories visually is a fun challenge. The lead photo is of yoga instructor Bonnie Bellamy. The photo is taken with a Canon 1DX Mark II camera with a 24-70 f2.8 zoom lens. And lit with three remote Canon speedlites.

Bonnie Bellamy teaches Monday and Thursday beginner yoga classes inside the Jubilee Center at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.

Bonnie Bellamy teaches Monday and Thursday beginner yoga classes inside the Jubilee Center at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.

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Springtime Favorites

This update is of recent pics I am fond of…

Peace Lutheran Church member Dan Thayer, left, gives a high five to Jaron Harwell as he slides out of a bounce house during an Easter egg hunt and activities Saturday at the Grand Island Parks & Recreation Community Fieldhouse.

Peace Lutheran Church member Dan Thayer, left, gives a high five to Jaron Harwell as he slides out of a bounce house during an Easter egg hunt and activities Saturday at the Grand Island Parks & Recreation Community Fieldhouse.

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Seeing the Light

I’ve been using the Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT flash units to light environmental portraits and certain events. Since they’re wireless there are no cords to run and possibly trip over. The radio frequency enables the units to be placed behind objects throughout a scene. The lead image below was an assignment to feature the 50th anniversary of a local skate rink for a special section. As a key light, a 600EX II-RT is mounted on it’s mini stand placed on top of a video game machine pointed to an opening where skaters hop on or off the rink. Another unit is placed to the right of the skaters to act as fill light.

Malachi Halte and Angelica Stienike use skate walkers to brace themselves while refining their skating skills at Skate Island.

Malachi Halte and Angelica Stienike use skate walkers to brace themselves while refining their skating skills at Skate Island.

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Nebraska State High School Basketball Tournament

Three boys and three girls teams our newspaper covers in central Nebraska made it to the semifinal round during the state basketball tournament in Lincoln. Unfortunately all six of those team didn’t make it to the final championship game. Basketball is one of my favorite sports to photograph. I enjoy watching these boys and girls excel on and off the court and there is a lot of support from their communities. It’s not uncommon to see players form a circle hand-in-hand with opposing players and pray after a game. These kids get it and know what sportsmanship is all about.

Scottsbluff’s Gabriel Patton, left, battles for possession of the ball with Aurora’s Thomas Leininger during the Nebraska State Boys Basketball Championships at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Friday. Scottsbluff won 76-67.

Scottsbluff’s Gabriel Patton, left, battles for possession of the ball with Aurora’s Thomas Leininger during the Nebraska State Boys Basketball Championships at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Friday. Scottsbluff won 76-67.

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End of Year 2016 Images

Here are some of my favorite images taken in the latter part of 2016. It’s been a long year and I am looking forward to 2017.

Mark Wickard of Scottsbluff, Neb. talks on his cell phone while standing next to his Cessna, in which, he made an emergency landing on Bluff Center Rd. northwest of Cairo, Neb. Wednesday. The plane rolled back down a hill on a dirt road stopping several feet from railroad tracks.

Mark Wickard of Scottsbluff, Neb. talks on his cell phone while standing next to his Cessna, in which, he made an emergency landing on Bluff Center Rd. northwest of Cairo, Neb. The plane rolled back down a hill on a dirt road stopping several feet from railroad tracks.

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Game Day: Nebraska State Volleyball Tournament Nov. 10-12, 2016

Out of the six states I’ve worked at newspaper publications in I’d have to say Nebraska takes the cake as far as volleyball popularity. These girls play their hearts out and the coaches, student body fans and parents are all part of a collective support system. The level of intensity and talent that I saw this season was unlike any other I can remember.

Hampton celebrates their three straight set victory over WYNOT to capture the Class D2 2016 NSAA State Volleyball Championship at the Devaney Sports Center.

Hampton celebrates their three straight set victory over WYNOT to capture the Class D2 2016 NSAA State Volleyball Championship at the Devaney Sports Center.

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Our Veterans

This is the second post of a Veterans Parade. This one at the Grand Island Veterans Home, in which, Vets were brought out of their residences to watch as the parade. Veterans here in central Nebraska get a lot of recognition for their sacrifices as well as they should.

Alex Xiloj Lopez, a seventh-grader at Walnut Middle School, waves flags in the air while walking in the Veterans Parade along Old Glory Road at the Grand Island Veterans Home.

Alex Xiloj Lopez, a seventh-grader at Walnut Middle School, waves flags in the air while walking in the Veterans Parade along Old Glory Road at the Grand Island Veterans Home.

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Veterans Recognition Parade

So often when photographing a parade a lot of good images can be found at an assemble point before the parade route begins. I still photograph the actual parade, but more often than not I try to get there an hour early. This Veterans Recognition Parade in Hastings, Neb. was one of two Veterans parades I photographed in the area in lieu of Veterans Day. All of us who have our freedoms owe a great deal of gratitude for these servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Brandon Woods with Cub Scouts pack 200 carries an American flag over his shoulder in route to the Veterans Recognition Parade in Hastings, Neb.

Brandon Woods with Cub Scouts pack 200 carries an American flag over his shoulder in route to the Veterans Recognition Parade in Hastings, Neb.

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Small Town – Big Time Football

Sometimes the biggest event taking place in a rural town this time of year is a hometown football team hosting a big game hoping to make it to the Nebraska State Football Championships in Lincoln, Neb. Thanksgiving week. Heartland is a consolidated public school in the town of Henderson with a population of under 1,000. The hometown Huskies senior running back Austin Stuhr is the first player in Nebraska history to gain more than 1,000 yards in the first three games of the season. Stuhr also leads the nation in eight-man rushing yards. No small feat.

Signs with Heartland football players names are lined up in front of the school on an unseasonably warm November evening.

Signs with Heartland football players names are lined up in front of the school on an unseasonably warm November evening.

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Fall Favorites

This post pertains to some of my favorite photos I’ve taken this fall season. These particular images are not part of previous posts.

Stylists from Jeffery’s Salon and Spa Kari Chavez, Dawn Westpfahl, Stephanie Roberts, Rebecca Kothe-Eckhardt, Nicole Yarns and Karina Johnston give haircuts inside the Grand Island Evangelical Free Church chapel during Project Homeless Connect.

Stylists from Jeffery’s Salon and Spa Kari Chavez, Dawn Westpfahl, Stephanie Roberts, Rebecca Kothe-Eckhardt, Nicole Yarns and Karina Johnston give haircuts inside the Grand Island Evangelical Free Church chapel during Project Homeless Connect.

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Game Day: Purdue vs. Nebraska Football October 22, 2016

Ranked in the top 10 in national polls Nebraska beat Purdue 27-14 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. Subsequently, moving up in the national rankings to No. 6 in the Coaches Poll and No. 7 in the AP Poll with a 7-0 record. It wasn’t a considered a pretty win, but a win nonetheless.

Nebraska’s Devine Ozigbo walks through fog onto the field with his teammates at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

Nebraska’’s Devine Ozigbo walks through fog (created by fog machines) onto the field with his teammates at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

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2016 Harvest of Harmony Parade

Up to 10,000 people converge on the town of Grand Island, Neb. for the 75th annual Harvest of Harmony Parade. There were 107 marching bands from across the state of Nebraska competing in various divisions in a three-hour parade on a perfect sunny and 75 degree fall day.

An enthusiastic drum major, Dalton Elliott of Northwest High School, leads his bandmates along the 2016 Harvest of Harmony Parade route as one of 107 bands participating in Grand Island, Neb.

An enthusiastic drum major, Dalton Elliott of Northwest High School, leads his band mates along the 2016 Harvest of Harmony Parade route as one of 107 bands participating in Grand Island, Neb.

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Game Day: Oregon vs. Nebraska Sept. 17, 2016

Over 90,000 fans watched Nebraska defeat No. 22 ranked Oregon 35-32 in a come from behind upset at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. This game was Nebraska’s 350th consecutive football game sellout which is a record in NCAA history.

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Nebraska cornerback Joshua Kalu jumps high in the air as the Nebraska black shirts defense stops Oregon on third down in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.

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Game Day: Nebraska vs. Wyoming Football Saturday, September 10, 2016

I photographed Wyoming Cowboys athletics in the Mountain West Conference for five years while working at The Laramie Boomerang in Laramie, Wyo. In seeing the Cornhuskers 2016 schedule I was excited to see the Cowboys would make an appearance at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. It was a perfect sunny and 75 degrees day and I ran into old friends making the trip due east on I-80 to cover the game.

The one out front a University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band drum major performs as the band takes the field prior to the Wyoming Cowboys vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers NCAA football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

The one out front a University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band drum major performs as the band takes the field prior to the Wyoming Cowboys vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers NCAA football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

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2016 Nebraska State Fair

It’s called Nebraska’s largest classroom, but it’s so much more than that. Grand Island hosted the seventh annual Nebraska State Fair. And for everything going on at once it can be overwhelming, yet a fun challenge. I spent nine of the eleven days at the fair taking in everything it has to offer. A special thank you to my colleague Zach Mayhew for helping with coverage of the fair, but as well as some unrelated assignments. A thank you to R.J. Post (The Grand Island Independent) assistant editor with keeping assignments organized. And a thank you to a couple of our freelancers Jimmy Rash and Lauri Shultz. And copy editors for designing a photo page every day of the fair who were also part of this team effort. Here are some of my fair favorites.

Katie Crecelius of Boston, Mass.,right, falls backwards off a Western Red Cedar log while competing with Sarah Perry in a Timber Tina's World Champion Lumberjills Show at the 2016 Nebraska State Fair.

Katie Crecelius of Boston, Mass., right, falls backwards off a Western Red Cedar log while competing in a log roll with Sarah Perry during a Timber Tina’s World Champion Lumberjills Show at the 2016 Nebraska State Fair.

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