History lesson

Obama selfiePresident Barack Obama made a historic visit to North Dakota on Friday.

He went to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, just the third sitting president in 80 years to visit a reservation, and the first since Bill Clinton in 1999.

I was pleasantly surprised when my managers here and the White House approved the Williston Herald to cover the event, and even happier when I had the chance to learn a lot of things from the AP photographer there.

Last time I covered President Obama was 2009 and the event was rained out. It was just a speaking event, so the photo opportunities were somewhat limited. This time it wasn’t. I found a good spot on the riser after the president and first lady Michelle Obama arrived and shot from there.

My image of the day came when a Native American dancer stopped in front of the first couple before beginning his dance and took a selfie. My position required a slight move left to be one of maybe a handful of photographers with the angle on Michelle. I had to crop it down tighter since I had the 70-200 on my full frame, but it’s easily my favorite frame.

Overall it was a fantastic experience, and more importantly, one where I learned a great deal. Those are always the best.

© 2014 Jerry Burnes/Williston Herald



Best of 2013

818Return_RenaeLynch_6005As opposed to last year, 2013 was far more kind to me behind the camera.

I’m  not sure all of these qualify as my best photos, but they are all certainly my favorites from this year. No particular order on these, well, except this top one.

Here’s to an amazing year and new opportunities in 2014.

Best2013© 2013 Jerry Burnes/Williston Herald

Frozen solid

RigCrewLast week The Associated Press called over and asked if we had photos of drilling rig crews in the freezing cold. Naturally, the answer was no and even more naturally, I embarked on a journey into 10-below temperatures (about 30-below or colder with wind chill) and hopped up on a rig.

It was cold but I’ve already reached this point where the sub-zero temperatures feel like the 30s. It must be because it’s my second winter in North Dakota or that I finally broke down and bought more warm gear. Either way, it took a few hours to really feel the cold up there.

In this part of the country, I have about four or five more months of this. Good thing I’m used to it and cloudy, dreary days.

© 2013 Jerry Burnes/Williston Herald

Trine wedding of mutual weirdness

TrineIn September I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of two of my very good friends Ryan and Joey.

They’re both admittedly pretty strange so they kind of had a Dr. Suess/mutual weirdness thing going, which fit them perfectly.

Anyway, I’ve noticed with weddings I get better with each one, which is the point I suppose.

This one was particularly easy because I’ve known both of them for so long the comfort level was as if we had done this a million times. I can tell that much in the photos at least.

I had a great time shooting and a great time afterward.

Best of luck to you both!

© 2013 Jerry Burnes

Indian outlaw

Pow-wow_9847Prior to hockey Saturday was the Williston Basin Indian Club Pow-wow, an event which intrigued me when I saw it on the calendar.

It was pretty much what I envisioned, minus the fact it was inside, but the colors and dances were pretty amazing to see.

I focused on a few different dancers during the time I was there and didn’t think I had anything too amazing until I saw this guy through the viewfinder.

His outfit, the colors, the positioning and action in his body were fantastic, but that little look he gave to the side of the room I was on sent this one over the edge for me.

Sometimes I get back from assignments and struggle to find a good front page shot, other times I have multiples to choose from. I like these where I have plenty of usable shots and one that simply stands out far above the rest of them.

© 2013 Jerry Burnes/Williston Herald

Better later than never

IMG_6641I’ve had this photo queued up to post for several weeks now and for some reason it never made it up…
seems to be my current memory pattern for extracurricular work as of late.

Anyway, this frame was from a football game I shot when it was still 100 degrees outside, which doesn’t give you much of a timeline in North Dakota.

Trenton-Trinity Christian was getting blown out by Beach. About halfway through the game I noticed the sky and how the clouds were forming in the west. So I made a mental note of it for later.

As the sky really turned colors, I slipped in behind a group of Trenton players who were discussing the play call and snapped off about a dozen frames, trying to hide the referee the best I could.

The above shot was the best and was the one I went with and ended up as a front page feature. It also had some good play up from the editorial director at Wick Communications (the Herald’s parent company) as one of the better sports features to appear in the chain’s paper.

For that, I was pretty humbled.

© 2013 Jerry Burnes/Williston Herald

Board play

TetonsSaturday was the first Williston State College hockey game I had the chance to cover this season.

After winning the NJCAA title last year, this year is really going to be a thrill to watch and the team showed up on this night with a 9-1 victory over Eastern Washington (a four-year school).

It was a relatively sleepy game for 9-1 except for the second period, when a melee of hitting and the rare college fight broke out.

It took me about a period and a half to really get back in the hockey groove but after that it went fairly well.

Looking forward to getting out to some more Teton games throughout the season.

© 2013 Jerry Burnes/Williston Herald