Welcome to 'On the Sidelines'

Welcome to On the Sidelines, my blog. I’m one of six full time general assignment staff photojournalists at CNI Newspapers. All six of us are general assignment, so sports is by no means all I cover for our papers and web sites, but because I’ve gotten a reputation as being good at sports photojournalism, I really love what I do, and I can tolerate the hours, sports is a hefty portion of what I cover.

A little bit about me. I’m 40 years old and live on the east side of Wauwatosa, a life long metro Milwaukee resident raised on Milwaukee’s blue collar south side and earning a degree from Milwaukee Area Technical College in photography in 1989. I am a past president of the Wisconsin News Photographers Association.

I just passed the 19-year mark as a photojournalist, having been hired for my first job out of college in January of 1990. I still remember interviewing for that job and being told that “you need to work on your sports” after the chief photographer at that paper looked at my portfolio. I honestly can’t say I overtly took his advice, but looking back almost 20 years I have made progress.

Since 1990 I’ve worked at two small daily papers in southeast Wisconsin and have been at CNI since 2001. Besides the staff positions along the way I’ve been a contract freelancer for USA Today, the Associated Press, and NCAA to name a few. I’ve covered the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Milwaukee Brewers. The Ice Bowl-II in Green Bay, the last game at County Stadium for the Packers, the last Milwaukee Brewers game in County Stadium, the first game in Miller Park, and the All Star Game when it was in Milwaukee.

I guess that sounds cool to have covered those professional games and it was, but truth be told I much prefer to cover high school athletics to the pros. There’s a level of passion in high school athletics that I’ve never felt covering pro sports and where else but high school athletics can I cover soccer, swimming, and track and field (some of my favorite sports to cover) as much as I do?

Where this blog goes I really don’t know. I have ideas on topics to write about, but I want this to be a two way street as well as my ramblings. If you have questions about sports photography, newspapers, how I made a particular photo, or whatever please email me and I promise to get back to you or maybe turn your question into a blog entry.

A couple questions I seem to be asked regularly:

Q. Is this your real job?
A. Yes, it’s a real job. I work a 40-hour week Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday I give to my wife, Monday I give to myself.

Q. What kind of cameras do you use?
A. I use Canon digital cameras. A 1D and a 1D Mark-II with lenses ranging from a 15mm fisheye to a 400mm telephoto.

Q. What’s your favorite sport to photograph?
A. All of ‘em, but golf.

Q. What’s your favorite photo you’ve taken?
A. That’s a really hard one. If you really try hard and nail me down I guess I do have a favorite, but it’s not a sports photograph. In a future blog I may well share that photograph.

Q. Do you ever get tired of your job?
A. Physically yes, each year a little bit more. During state tournament times 12 to 18 hour days are the norm for me, throw in long drives and working outside and I get a bit tired, but as my Grandfather used to say it’s a “good tired.” Mentally never. I can’t wait to get out of bed most days and go to work and make photos. I’ve wanted to be a news photographer since I was 10 years old and each day this job is like living a dream.

See ya on the sidelines


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