Farewell Candlestick

The city of San Francisco said farewell to Candlestick Park in what was an exciting win for the 49ers. A few weeks ago, Mike Kepka and I started to look for a personal way to tell the bigger story of goodbye. Meet Don Figone. Don and his family have 12 season tickets and will not be repurchasing them down at the new stadium in Santa Clara. Passed down three generations, the Figone family has had season tickets since Kezar. Monday night it wasn't just the final game of the season for Don, it was the end of an era for his family.

Leading up to the final game of the regular season, we spent a Sunday at Candlestick Park hanging out with the Forever Faithful. The Niners are known in the NFL to have one of the most colorful, loud fan bases of all time. It was a blast to get to know them and capture their passion.

Bat Kid

Make-A-Wish foundation grants 5-year-old Miles wish to become Batman. Turning San Francisco into Gotham City, Miles shows the community just how strong of a fighter he is. After being diagnosed at 20 months-old with Leukemia, Miles has beat cancer and is now in remission.

In another perfectly matched collaboration with Mike Kepka, we took to the streets of Gotham City to not only capture Batkid at his finest, but to shed a little light on who the kid behind the mask actually is. Meet Miles Scott.

Even Odds

Being male and black in Oakland means being about as likely to be killed as to graduate from high school college ready.

Collaboration is a powerful thing. About six months Mike Kepka and I were invited in to create a multimedia component on a story that San Francisco Chronicle still photographer Lacy Atkins had been giving her heart and soul into for the past year.

Giving the shocking statistic, we wanted to do everything in our power to tell the full story. Teaming up with a reporter, countless editors at the paper, and our amazing design team at the paper, we put together an online piece that takes you directly into the life's of the people this statistic defines.

I am so thankful to work with such a talented team of storytellers that are willing to tell the tough stories, the ones that make you go 'WOW'.  

Full online presentation here: http://bit.ly/1bIpNSn

Scenes from The Castro

Wednesday we saw history, scratch that... we lived history. 

On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. Minutes later, the Court dismissed the Proposition 8 case, paving the way for same-sex marriage to return to California.

Within seconds San Francisco went from a state of nervous watch to a place of complete celebration.

I knew that in all the excitement, I wanted to find a story.

So meet Les and Joe, they've been together for 14 years. They do a lovely job summing up the excitement that was San Francisco's Castro district in 77 seconds.

This piece was shot in 2 hours (parking meter limit!) and edited together in four. Pretty sure the inspiration for this one was adrenaline.  

Prop 8

While waiting for the Supreme Court of the United States to decide on Prop 8 , Mike Kepka and I bring you the story of Elana and Marlene. Made for the San Francisco Chronicle.

One of the things I love about newspaper is that finding awesome people with cool stories is my job. I got a call one day from my super supportive Director of  Photography at the paper and she asked me to create a multimedia piece for Prop 8.  

That was it. No further rules or restrictions. I'm so thankful for the incredible creative freedom our bosses give us.

So I started brainstorming ideas and Mike and I set out to find a couple with a powerful story.

When we first talked to Elana and she told us a little about her and Marlene's relationship and the new addition of their baby girl, we knew they would be the perfect family to help humanize this issue.

So to Elana and Marlene I say thank you! Thank you for inviting us into your lives. Thank you for opening up your home. Thank you for allowing us to share your story with the world.

Oggl - sunny girl

On May 26 Hipstamatic released to the public their new social sharing photography app called Oggl.

Accompanied with the announcement was a fun video made by myself and my favorite video partner in crime Mike Kepka.

Big shout out to our assistants Bryce Yukio Adolphson and Sam Wolson who helped make our two days of shooting run seamlessly. 

10 days from idea to final delivery of product. Three edits in total. 30 second spot, here. 15 second spot, here.

I think it's fair to say I've been bit by the commercial video bug. Stay tuned for more in the near future.

Tumbleweed Wanderers

Based in Oakland, the Tumbleweed Wanderers release Worn Down Welcome from their new 2013 EP.

Made for the San Francisco Chronicle in collaboration with Mike Kepka.

Footage captured on a Sony dSLR that we've had the privileged to prototype.

This was one of the shoots where you challenge yourself to go beyond the type of storytelling you are use to, and try something new. We knew going into this we wanted to tell a story, but we also knew the audio track was set. It challenged us to see in different ways and pushed my editing skills to a higher level.

What fun is it if you don't take risks.

Hey it's Me!

In a society where digital communication has become the norm, lonely pay phones are what remains from the days of analog connection.

Made for the San Francisco Chronicle in collaboration with Pete Kiehart.

Created and Produced in 48 hours. Slow motion footage shot on a Sony dSLR that I've had the privileged to prototype.

This was a fun one to produce. Pete came to me and said he wanted to collaborate on a  video to show the lack of payphone use. I decided to challenge us to see the opposite of the obvious. I didn't want to just stalk a payphone and wait for someone to hopefully use it, I wanted to create an art piece that would not only honor where technology has been, but where it is headed.

Knowing how important audio is, we set out to the streets with a double sided headphone jack in search of the best kept voicemails. I knew I wanted to find a way to mix the old with the new and use modern technology as a juxtaposition.

As I began to edit the piece together, the storyline quickly took form. From "Hey it's me," to "talk to you soon," it occurred to me that the structure of a phone call hasn't changed, just the device has.

Super Bowl: Workroom Timelapse

I had the opportunity to edit for the San Francisco Chronicle at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. Leading a team of 7, I was able to live edit the game while produce a multimedia piece. Enjoy this behind the scenes look into the photo workroom at the Superdome.

Football is America: Super Bowl XLVII

The Niners lost and the Ravens won, Football is America.

Made for the San Francisco Chronicle in collaboration with Mike Kepka and Gil Garcia.

Created and Produced in 72 hours.

For this piece, we knew we wanted to create a piece of art that could stand alone for a long time after super bowl Sunday. As we were brainstorming how this piece would take form, we realized that at the root of it all, "Football is simple, Football is America". 

Set with the task of creating a script, I began to write down everything I could imagine football being. Growing up a football fan I used some of my own experiences to mirror the heart and soul of the game.

Recorded in a perfectly acoustic hotel closet the night before the big game in New Orleans, this piece encompasses everything that football is.

Teaching - Student Work

While teaching photojournalism at an inner city middle school through the St. Petersburg Times, I lead a group of 15 students in producing a seven minute documentary on fighting in their schools for the PBS News Hour. Partnered with NPR and Student reporting labs, my students used the skills they had learned in my class to tell a story of significance. 

I'll never forget the day I was brainstorming with the students and one of my eighth grade boys came up with the idea, "From the home, to the streets, to the gangs, to the schools: why do people fight." In the next coming months I helped guide him and his team as they set up interviews, tracked down statistics and stayed many hours after school editing it all together.

I'm so proud of what my 11-14 year old students created. This piece went on to win first place in the EMA's regionally and placed second on a national level. This story along with a mini documentary on our 14-year-old director ran on prime time during the PBS Newshour. DeQonton's story can be seen here.