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2015: Year in photos at Iowa State University

2015 comes to a close and it has been a fantastic first 12 months at Iowa State University.  Working as the university photographer, I’ve learned that I’m a short walk away from an expert on any topic, have the potential to travel anywhere on the globe and am always surrounded by passionate hard working folks with great stories.  Not to mention my office is one of the most beautiful campuses on Earth.  Lots of work yet to be done and exciting challenges are ahead.  But for now, here are a few of my favorites from my first year on the job… and a Happy 2016 to all!

 (Christopher Gannon) (Christopher Gannon)Students crowd the Curtiss Hall lobby while waiting to enter a lecture hall January 12, 2005, the first day of spring semester. (Photo by Christopher Gannon) (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University) (Christopher Gannon)

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2014: My year in pictures, capped by transition

2014 has been an eventful and inspirational year.  It has also been another year marked by change and departure in the news industry that I love.  Today I join a growing list of departures from The Des Moines Register newsroom.  On Monday I’ll embark on the next chapter of my career.  I’ve accepted the opportunity to work as photographer and multimedia producer at Iowa State University.  I’m excited and humbled to have the opportunity to tell the stories of my alma mater.

I’ve spent a decade at the Register and have loved just about every minute of it.  I’ve worked with incredibly talented colleagues.  I’ve met countless amazing Iowans.  I’ve been honored to tell their stories.  My experience as a visual journalist has, and will continue to, shape my outlook on life.  I’m thankful for time well spent… It’s been a privilege.

My newsroom now shifts to the beautiful campus of Iowa State and the global reach of its students, faculty and research.  More stories to be told, shared.

Here’s some of my favorite images from 2014, chronologically.  They run the gamut of emotion and experience, and I’m glad to have been there to capture it.
Casey Baney pushes friend Casey Downing on a toboggan to give him a start at the top of a hill while sledding with friends Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at Waveland Golf Course in Des Moines.  Both men, from Des Moines, left work early to have some fun in the snow. (Christopher Gannon/The Register)Iowa State's Dustin Hougue (22) scores around Baylor's Royce O'Neale and Cory Jefferson (34) during the Big 12 championship game Saturday, March 15, 2014 in Kansas City, Mo. (Christopher Gannon/The Register)
Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg, accompanied by his son, Sam,  cuts down the net after winning the Big 12 championship Saturday, March 15, 2014 in Kansas City, Mo. (Christopher Gannon/The Register)Firefighters douse a still smoldering fire that gutted the 115-year-old Younkers building on Saturday in downtown Des Moines. (Christopher Gannon/The Register)

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Capturing a Harvest of Change

Jayden Dammann, 3, waits for a tractor ride while his father, Justin, visits with others on the family farm in rural Page county on July 19, 2014.  Justin says he feels confident about the management of the family farm one day passing on to Jayden. (Christopher Gannon/The Register)Joined by his dog, Blaze, Justin Dammann pauses to survey a pasture while tending to one of his cattle herds the morning of July 3, 2014 on his rural Page County farm. (Christopher Gannon/The Register)Farmer Phrakhounmany “Air” Philavanh leads his cattle through pasture on his farm near Milo.  A Laotian immigrant, Philavanh remembers his grandfather's farm in Laos and has always wanted to farm in America.  He is raising cattle and plans to raise duck, a popular food among the Laotian people. (Christopher Gannon/The Register)A group of Union County men gather each morning at sunrise outside Frank's Service in Arispe.  From left are Marvin Ringberg, Mike Fry, Don Wilson, Frank Eighme, Randy Needham and Jim Bradley.  They sit on relics of the past, chairs from the long gone Arispe schoolhouse, which closed in 1994. The remote, weathered station is one of the few remaining commercial businesses in the southern Iowa town of about 100. (Christopher Gannon/The Register) (more…)



Honored by Emmy

 (Christopher Gannon)As a storyteller, I get to be a witness to powerful, important stories and pass them on.  Often they are deeply personal.  It’s a significant privilege to be entrusted with these stories by the people who share them with me. I have an obligation to document them as respectfully and accurately as I can, then discern how to best convey them to the public. Sometimes it’s through photography, sometimes through video, sometimes it’s a combination of both.

Coming from a print photojournalism background, I’m relatively new to the world of video storytelling.  I’ve spent the last few years learning the craft.  It’s a wonderfully mesmerizing and continually evolving tool for me. I’ve benefitted greatly by learning from others that are highly accomplished in the field.  Of course, I’ve also learned from the countless mistakes I’ve made along the way.  Out of those collective experiences, I was fortunate enough to have been nominated in August for a 2014 Upper Midwest Emmy for my documentary video work chronicling the stories of sacrifice within an Iowa National Guard unit during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Three of my talented colleagues were also nominated for their work in the last year.  Fellow Des Moines Register staffers Charlie Litchfield, Rodney White and Kyle Munson were tapped as well, bringing a total of four nominations to the table for our team.

Andrea Melendez, a contributor to one of Litchfield’s two nominations, also made the trip north to the Emmy gala at Target Field in Minneapolis on Sept. 13 with Litchfield and I. So, there we were, swinging for the proverbial fences, on a crisp, clear evening in the Twin Cities.  We gladly joined the gala crowd of over 500 attendees – almost all of them members of television broadcast journalism from Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin.

 (Christopher Gannon)We simply were hoping to be fortunate enough to bring one of the shiny golden ladies home with us. (more…)



Iowa Heroes: A salute to World War II veterans

Charles Edward Richardson, 89, of Mason City, a member of the famed 34th “Red Bull” Infantry Division, survived 517 frontline combat days fighting in North Africa and Italy.  He has carried the sorrowful memory of lost friends throughout his life.   (Christopher Gannon/The Register)

 

Rex Burnett Crawford, 89, flew 36 missions over Europe as a crewman aboard the B-17 bomber, the last of which was on D-Day, as part of the Allied invasion of Normandy.  He still lives on his farm near Rodman, in Palo Alto county.   (Christopher Gannon/The Register)

Bernard Reilly, 92, of Ledyard was among the first U.S. Marines engaged in battle against the Japanese in World War II in the Battle of Tulagi, August 1942.  Reilly and his unit, fought the Japanese for almost three years across the Pacific from Tulagi to Iwo Jima.  Because his unit was not customarily called home after 24 months, it became known as the “Forgotten Battalion.”    (Christopher Gannon/The Register) (more…)



Feb 3, 1959: The day the music died

1/19/12 3:28:10 PM -- Clear Lake, IA, U.S.A. -- THIS IS FOR A LIFE COVER:.Jeff Nicholas, president of the Surf Ballroom & Museum stands near a memorial at the site of the 1959 plane crash that killed  Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson a few miles outside of Clear Lake, Iowa.  Nicholas also owns the land.  "It's an honor to own this land.  People come from all over the world to stand at this site.  This is where the music died, but in a way, it's also where the music began," he says..On Feb. 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper died when their plane crashed in a farm field north of Clear Lake, Iowa ? an event memorialized as ?the day the music died? in the 1971 song American Pie by Don McLean. The three 1950s stars played their last gigs at Clear Lake?s Surf Ballroom, which is intact today and holds an annual celebration of its moment in music history. The ballroom, largely the same as it was in its ?50s heyday, struggled as a for-profit business and has been operated as a non-profit since 2008. It hosts concerts, weddings, reunions and school tours. It has a small museum, but the big draw is the place itself. The maple dance floor and booths are original. One of the two original coat checks is still there and so is the phone that Holly used to call his wife before the fatal crash, the website boasts. The fun part is the annual gathering of fans from all over the world, which this year is Feb. 1-4 and is delicately called the ?winter dance party.? There are concerts each night, a bus outing to the crash site, which is marked by a giant pair of the glasses Holly wore, dance lessons, video and art contests and a gathering of the British Buddy Holly Society (whose members have been coming to Clear Lake for 23 years). Chuck Berry is a featured performer this year. It?s a charming and weird slice of Iowa life and rock ?n? roll history. -- ...Photo by Christopher Gannon for USA TODAY. (Christopher Gannon/for USA TODAY)

1/19/12 3:42:10 PM -- Clear Lake, IA, U.S.A. -- THIS IS FOR A LIFE COVER:.Horn-rimmed glasses, flowers and a microphone hang from a memorial at the site of the 1959 plane crash that killed  Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson a few miles outside of Clear Lake, Iowa..On Feb. 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper died when their plane crashed in a farm field north of Clear Lake, Iowa ? an event memorialized as ?the day the music died? in the 1971 song American Pie by Don McLean. The three 1950s stars played their last gigs at Clear Lake?s Surf Ballroom, which is intact today and holds an annual celebration of its moment in music history. The ballroom, largely the same as it was in its ?50s heyday, struggled as a for-profit business and has been operated as a non-profit since 2008. It hosts concerts, weddings, reunions and school tours. It has a small museum, but the big draw is the place itself. The maple dance floor and booths are original. One of the two original coat checks is still there and so is the phone that Holly used to call his wife before the fatal crash, the website boasts. The fun part is the annual gathering of fans from all over the world, which this year is Feb. 1-4 and is delicately called the ?winter dance party.? There are concerts each night, a bus outing to the crash site, which is marked by a giant pair of the glasses Holly wore, dance lessons, video and art contests and a gathering of the British Buddy Holly Society (whose members have been coming to Clear Lake for 23 years). Chuck Berry is a featured performer this year. It?s a charming and weird slice of Iowa life and rock ?n? roll history. -- ...Photo by Christopher Gannon for USA TODAY. (Christopher Gannon/for USA TODAY)

1/19/12 2:50:13 PM -- Clear Lake, IA, U.S.A. -- THIS IS FOR A LIFE COVER:.A giant pair of horn-rimmed glasses stand as a salute of Buddy Holly and mark the entrance to the crash site   a few miles outside of Clear Lake, Iowa..On Feb. 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper died when their plane crashed in a farm field north of Clear Lake, Iowa ? an event memorialized as ?the day the music died? in the 1971 song American Pie by Don McLean. The three 1950s stars played their last gigs at Clear Lake?s Surf Ballroom, which is intact today and holds an annual celebration of its moment in music history. The ballroom, largely the same as it was in its ?50s heyday, struggled as a for-profit business and has been operated as a non-profit since 2008. It hosts concerts, weddings, reunions and school tours. It has a small museum, but the big draw is the place itself. The maple dance floor and booths are original. One of the two original coat checks is still there and so is the phone that Holly used to call his wife before the fatal crash, the website boasts. The fun part is the annual gathering of fans from all over the world, which this year is Feb. 1-4 and is delicately called the ?winter dance party.? There are concerts each night, a bus outing to the crash site, which is marked by a giant pair of the glasses Holly wore, dance lessons, video and art contests and a gathering of the British Buddy Holly Society (whose members have been coming to Clear Lake for 23 years). Chuck Berry is a featured performer this year. It?s a charming and weird slice of Iowa life and rock ?n? roll history. -- ...Photo by Christopher Gannon for USA TODAY. (Christopher Gannon/for USA TODAY) (more…)



Iowa Caucus: scenes from the campaign trail

.1%.

Eight votes.

One tired photographer.  Well, we might want a recount of the tired photographers…

Of the 122,225 ballots cast in the Iowa Caucus on Tuesday evening, that razor-thin margin gave former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney a victory over a surging Rick Santorum.  It made for a long night to conclude Iowa’s first-in-the-nation vote in the Presidential nomination process.  From now on, anyone who ever mutters, “Aw, my vote won’t make a difference…” will be quickly directed by political historians to look up the 2012 Iowa Caucus.

After taking a day to unwind from the persistent frenzy that comes with photographing the caucus campaigning and results, I’ve compiled a few favorites here from my busy December covering the political action for some great editorial clients like McClatchy-Tribune, The Sunday Telegraph and ZUMApress.com.

Well done, Iowa, the field has been set.

Edward Lewis of Wales, Iowa holds a welcome banner while waiting for the arrival of Mitt Romney outside The Family Table restaurant in Atlantic, Iowa on Sunday, January 1, 2012.  (Christopher Gannon/GannonVisuals.com/MCT) (Christopher Gannon)Political activist • Atlantic

Mitt Romney smiles during a town hall meeting to discuss jobs and the economy at Diamond V, an animal nutrition company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Friday, December 9, 2011.   (Christopher Gannon/MCT) (Christopher Gannon)Mitt Romney • Cedar Rapids

Ron Paul supporter Robert McNamara, left center, of Spillville, Iowa sits with a newly-claimed campaign sign while waiting for Congressman Paul to arrive to a campaign stop in Waverly, Iowa on Friday, December 9, 2011. (Christopher Gannon/MCT) (Christopher Gannon)Ron Paul town hall meeting • Waverly
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2011: My year in pictures

Well, we’re in the final hours of 2011, and it has certainly been another eventful year.  Once again, I’ve had the privilege of making images to accompany stories of faith, tradition, sorrow, exhilaration and the simple joys of everyday life.  They are some of the tales that define us salt-of-the-Earth Iowans.

The year has also ushered in my transition from a staff newspaper job to broadened horizons as an entrepreneur running my own editorial and commercial photography business.  New worlds of opportunity will continue to unfold for all of us in 2012, but one old truth remains for me as always– the love of capturing life through the lens.

I’ve cobbled together a little time away from Iowa caucus coverage to pull together a chronological selection of some favorite editorial, travel and commercial images from 2011.  Thanks for taking a peek:

Tail lights streak as cars cruise the Art Deco district of Miami's South Beach. (Christopher Gannon)January 10 • Miami Beach. Fla. – Tail lights streak as cars cruise the Art Deco district of Miami’s South Beach.

While helping the city dig out from heavy snowfall, Ed Dieleman walks past a 20-foot heap of snow in the town square of Oskaloosa, Iowa on Wednesday, February 2, 2011.  Many Oskaloosa residents are saying the heaps are the largest they've ever seen. (Christopher Gannon/The Register)Feburary 2 • Oskaloosa, Ia. – While helping the city dig out from heavy snowfall, Ed Dieleman walks past a 20-foot heap of snow in the town square of Oskaloosa.

Early morning rope climbing inside a barn on her family's rural Batavia farm is a daily ritual for Megan Black, a sophomore wrestler at Ottumwa High School.  Black is hoping to be the first girl to ever qualify for the state wrestling meet.  She says the hard work she does on the family farm has helped prepare her for tough competition on the wrestling mat. (Christopher Gannon/The Register)Feburary 10 • Batavia, Ia. – Early morning rope climbing inside a barn on her family’s rural Batavia farm is a daily ritual for Megan Black, a sophomore wrestler at Ottumwa High School.  Black is hoping to be the first girl to ever qualify for the state wrestling tournament. (more…)



Autumn’s Canvas

Fall colors bloom around the Campanile on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. (Christopher Gannon/Gannon Visuals) (Christopher Gannon)Beardshear Hall at sunrise on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. (Christopher Gannon/Gannon Visuals) (Christopher Gannon)Lake LaVerne on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. (Christopher Gannon/Gannon Visuals) (Christopher Gannon) view full post>>



Dignity & Memory

Respect and honor for the memory of those who died or went missing in the Virenam War is in full blossom in West Des Moines.

A veteran touches a panel bearing names of those killed or missing in the Vietnam War during assembly of The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Experience in West Des Moines this week. The display, a traveling, three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be open to school children on Thursday and to the public at  from Friday to Sunday. The faux-granite replica is 240 feet long, eight feet high and contains the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died or are missing in Vietnam. More than 30,000 people are expected to see the display while it is in West Des Moines.  (Christopher Gannon/The Des Moines Register) (Christopher Gannon/The Register)The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall --- a traveling, three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., arrives in a semi with a motorcycle escort in West Des Moines on Sept14, 2011.  The traveling memorial will be open to school children on Thursday and be open to the public at Resthaven Cemetery in West Des Moines from Friday to Sunday. The faux-granite replica is 240 feet long, eight feet high and contains the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died or are missing in Vietnam. More than 30,000 people are expected to see the display while it is in West Des Moines.  (Christopher Gannon/The Des Moines Register) (Christopher Gannon/The Register)Veterans pause for a moment of remembrance before unloading and assembling the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall.  (Christopher Gannon/The Des Moines Register) (Christopher Gannon/The Register) view full post>>