Roadside attraction

I was driving with a reporter to an assignment and found this scene. I apologized for the short delay and pulled into the gravel drive along the field. This woman was bailing hay in a 1965 tracktor under a rainbow umbrella. How could I resist?
Perhaps it's the inexplicable attraction my mother and I have to hay bales on the rolling Kentucky hills that made it catch my eye.

Scuba, sheriff style

Two years ago, someone jumped from The Bluffs on the Hiwassee River and belly-flopped. It knocked him out and all of the air inside of him. He sank like a rock. The Sheriff's deputies were right there in their patrol boat. But no one could rescue him in 19 feet of water. Two years later, they have a certified team that trains regularly, making the teenage boys think twice about jumping.

101 degrees and rising

The heat makes the laundry dry faster in the housing projects, and it certainly calls for water (especially when you don't have air conditioning. At one point, there were eight kids in this tiny pool. Some of them jumped in with their blue jeans still on. The water guns were a bit disconcerting in a place so plagued by violence. Watching them aim at one another gave me a newfound appreciation for my mother, who never let us play with anything resembling a gun (we had buckets and plastic fire extinguishers that sprayed water). I came back to the paper and got a lecture on being careful in those sorts of places. I guess it's just my prerogative to think the best of people. I think that it actually keeps me out of those situations. It's not that I don't keep my eyes peeled. I just treat people well, and they keep reciprocating.



This is somthing new to me. He's a sports psychologist and helps people to overcome the way they're thinking about the game. This 16-year-old spent an hour and a half driving down the fairways using unusual clubs to start thinking about possibilities he had not anticipated. Wild. What will they think of next?


This picture met a very difficult end. Yesterday was more chaotic than usual right before the afternoon deadline. As I walked in the door with two assignments that needed to be on their way to the meeting, a report of a shooting came across the scanner. I handed off what I had already photographed and ran back out the door. The shooting was a 911 prank call, and I was back at the paper in half an hour. The caption sheet I left with the photos is nowhere to be found. So here is a girl and her grandfather trying to keep cool during the current heat wave by spinning in the breeze off the Tennessee River. And this is the only place it will ever see the light again. Aren't blogs wonderful?

Three-hour beach vacation

A beach in Tennessee? Who would have guessed? There's great camping on this island, where you can walk out of your tent in the morning and straight into the water. I got to witness the little boy catch his first fish with his grandfather. People are wonderful and full of joy some days. It makes this job easy to love.


Another day of hunting

I went out in search of anything moving in Tennessee and Georgia. Here are a few of the finds. The first is the community duck pond in Rossville, Ga. The 2-year-old was very suspicious of me (I had the parents' permission, I swear!). The mother confessed that the daughter leaned over to her and asked why that strange girl was following them. I climbed up an embankment and through what used to be Chattanooga's "tent city" of homeless people to take the second. Speedy Smith was hauling railroad ties. Yes, that's his real name, it was his father's, too. The last is a 7-year-old who was sorely disappointed to be sliding back down the ramp at the skate park,


The end

The nine-days of chaos is over. The curtain has dropped from the stage. This was a difficult assignment. Most of the people sweeping garbage from the streets were serving a community service sentence for having committed a crime. The stage hands were the only exception. They were catching the scrim as it came down from the second story of the stage, which was floating on a barge on the Tennessee River. Good catch. None of it went into the water.


Metro dog

We have this position come available sometimes in the photo department. It usually arises when our director of photography walks through the door in the morning to discover no one has assigned any of the art for the Metro section of tomorrow's paper. I've had a number of phone calls in the last week to go find something that was overlooked and has become and emergency. These are a few of those.
Left turn laws on divided 4-lane highways are deemed illegal in a federal court in Georgia. Employees clear out a chicken processesing plant that closed down on Wednesday. And barbershops are booming in the tough economy.



Riverbend has passed. The chaos of 9 days with 150 concerts and all of humanity in the streets is over. I wish I had seen more of it, but here's a taste. The last one is all the high school students that clump together away from their parents. I don't think they all came out to hear Little Richard perform.


Tis the season

My younger brother finally graduated from high school, with much pomp and circumstance for a single weekend. That's the last time I cover an event and try to look good at the same time. I thought my feet were going to fall off about halfway through. It was a lot of fun to follow him from start to finish. The two of us even made the local newspaper's coverage of the graduation ceremony!


Summer starts with a splash

I was surprised to find a couple hundred people dotting our local beach on a Monday afternoon. Sand between your toes is a good start to any work day.

Keeping cool

The temperature suddenly decided to hit 90 degrees on Monday and has been relentless since then. This man has figured out how to use the heat from his attic to warm up his pool. The cold water running through pipes also cools his attic. He found it quite challenging to retrofit his 5-year-old home using more energy-efficient techniques. He says his daughter, left, would swim in the pool if it were 50 degrees rather than the 84 degrees registering on the thermometer.