The Tampa Bay Times worked on an investigation into the juvenile auto theft problem in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kids as young as ten are trying door handles and stealing cars when they find the keys inside. Dirk Shadd shot all the video and stills for the project, and I edited his work. Below are two of the videos that we worked on. You can find the full project here.
Chasing 13 year-old car thief Tyron “T-Man” McKinnon
Hot Wheels: Three victims recount the day their cars were stolen
Some how the last few months have flown by. A couple of big projects I worked on ran, including Why Cops Shoot and Hot Wheels. I still managed to squeeze in a few daily assignments and a little bit of spring football. I may or may not be counting down the days until the season opener in September. In January I spent the morning at a dog show and made a couple cute frames. In February I took at day trip to the TECO power station in Apollo Beach to see hoards of manatees with Danese Kenon. I spent most of March editing video, but visited a gun factory in Melbourne, and shot a gun, a fully automated AK47, for the first time.
Towards the end of March we hired a small Cessna to shoot aerials of Egmont Key, and a couple other Bay Area scenes. Check back in a few weeks for another project that was exciting to work on!
Every year during Spring Training the Tampa Bay Rays baseball players line up for portraits on media day. This year Times photographer Will Vragovic decided he want to make moving gif portraits of some of the biggest players. I tagged along and shot a quick behind the scenes video with footage from a 5D Mark III and a GoPro. You can find all the gifs here.
The College Football Playoff National Championship was held in Tampa in this year. I covered a few press conferences and practices leading up to it, and then shot from the field on game day. It was an incredible experience, and a great way to wrap up the football season. I'm already looking forward to next season.
Last July my editors asked if I wanted to take the lead on the college football beat. I was hesitant. There were so many things I wanted to work on, sports included, but I wasn’t sure about the time commitment. After some deliberation I decided to go for it.
I spent the season covering Florida and Florida State. I traveled to Gainesville, Tallahassee, Orlando and Atlanta, while following the teams. I did manage a few Tampa Bay high school games during bye weeks as well. I returned to Atlanta on New Year’s Eve for the Peach Bowl CFB Playoff between Alabama and Washington. It’s been an incredible season of growth, and I’m looking forward to wrapping up the year at the CFB Playoff Title game in Tampa, on January 9.
MONICA HERNDON | Times
What's up friends, family, creepers? It's been a super hot summer here in St. Pete. I've been working a lot, trying to do things that maybe I used to be scared of. One of those things was a portrait shoot with FSU running back Dalvin Cook. I'm looking forward to football season. This year will be a bit different because I'll be covering college instead of high school.
Hillary Clinton spoke to a large crowd at the Florida State Fairgrounds on Friday July 22, 2016 in Tampa.
MONICA HERNDON | Times
Hard to believe 2016 is already halfway over. I feel like it was just January, yet here I am, almost two years since I moved to St. Petersburg. This month it felt like I was seeing through new eyes. I felt a renewed energy that I haven't in awhile.
I started off the month with a tour of the former studio of Tampa artist Theo Wujcik, in Ybor City. Wujcik died in 2014 and his ex-wife Susan Johnson is still organizing and archiving his life's work. (Here's a link to the story).
After Muhammad Ali died, I spent a morning with St. Pete artist Rasta Geary Taylor, while he worked on a comic book mural.
The tragedy in Orlando struck close to home, with the passing of Tampa resident Christopher Sanfeliz. (Here's a link to the story).
I ended the month with a tour of a historic cemetery in Downtown Tampa. It's been poorly preserved and has had problems with vandalism. (Here's a link to the story).
I never photographed food before I got to the Tampa Bay Times. I would show up for a food assignment with sweaty palms and nerves through the roof. With the help of mentors here I've gotten better, even though I still get nervous.
Happy Mother's Day
We always called you Mom, which confused the crap out of friends, even though you were our grandma. As I looked through these old pictures, I was inspired by how fly and confident you were. You loved a good party, so we celebrated even the smallest occasions with homemade cake and a finely made table. You showed my mom that Valentine's Day was about more than significant others, but also for loving family. That gave me the strength to never fear the day.
Your love for us was never-ending.
I cherished spending the night at your house. Pretending I was an only child, eating peanuts in bed with you. Then years later, holding your hand as we walked slowly to church, reading aloud to you days before your death.
When you passed, all I could think about was how you wouldn't be there for my high school graduation. That I wouldn't be able to share prom dress shopping with you. I made it through those days without too many tears, my mom helped me pick out a dress you would have loved.
I may not think about you everyday, but on Mother's Day I can't help but think of all you taught my momma and I. Happy Mother's Day. <3
Here's some of my favorite images from March 2016.
1. Molly Pedone, 13, puts on her jersey before practice with former lightning player Stan Neckar on Thursday February 24, 2016 at XTRA Ice in Tampa. Pedone will enter Shattuck St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minn., next fall to play hockey.
2. Hilary Batcho models for the April issue of Bay Magazine.
3. Portrait of Katherine Snow Smith for April issue of Bay Magazine.
4. Marco Rubio held a rally for Pinellas County voters outside Beckwith Electric in Largo on Saturday March 12, 2016.
5. Cathy Doyle, of St. Petersburg, claps during a Marco Rubio rally for Pinellas County voters outside Beckwith Electric in Largo on Saturday March 12, 2016.
6. Officers from various agencies line up to enter the service for Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy John Kotfila Jr. at St. Timothy's Catholic Church on Friday March 18, 2016, in Lutz.
7. Officers from Hillsborough County Sheriffs line up to enter the service for Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy John Kotfila Jr. at St. Timothy's Catholic Church on Friday March 18, 2016, in Lutz.
8. Pallbearers salute the casket outside after the service for Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy John Kotfila Jr. at St. Timothy's Catholic Church on Friday March 18, 2016, in Lutz.
9. Palm trees at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg seen through a rainy car window on Saturday March 19, 2016.
10. Docent Linda Rice, of Lutz, lead a tour through the outdoor Jaume Plensa sculptures at the Tampa Museum of Art during the first Fourth Friday on March 25, 2016 in downtown Tampa. Fourth Friday is a monthly celebration of the arts in downtown Tampa. Museums, restaurants and bars have special offers. Participants could get complimentary rides on the Pirate Water Taxi along the Riverwalk.
11. Participants, including (yellow shirt) Sean Martin, Keisha Martin, Geraldine Rousseau, and Yvon Rousseau, all of Tampa, wait for the free water taxi on the Riverwalk during the first Fourth Friday on March 25, 2016 in downtown Tampa.
12. (left to right) Otokoyama, Shirakabe Gura which is called White Cellar at SoHo, Yuki Nigori, and Pure, sakes photographed at SoHo Sushi on Wednesday March 23, 2016 in Tampa.
13. Kids and parents collected Easter eggs during Radiant Church's first Helicopter Egg Drop on Saturday March 26, 2016, at Robinson High School in Tampa.
14. Kids collected Easter eggs during Radiant Church's first Helicopter Egg Drop on Saturday March 26, 2016, at Robinson High School in Tampa. Radiant Church had 50 thousand eggs for the free family event. The helicopter dropped 15 thousand, while the rest were scattered on the ground.
15. General Joseph L. Votel stands before the passing of the guidon during the United State Central Command Change of Command on Wednesday March 30, 2016 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
16. Members of the armed forces stand at attention during the United State Central Command Change of Command on Wednesday March 30, 2016 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
17. General Lloyd J. Austin III walks back to his seat during the United State Central Command Change of Command on Wednesday March 30, 2016 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. General Lloyd J. Austin III, was relieved by General Joseph L. Votel, of the United States Army.
18. The Para-Commandos perform during the United State Special Operations Change of Command on Wednesday March 30, 2016 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
Some of my favorite frames from February.
1. Hillary Cone, of St. Petersburg, and Lynda Jollay, member of the Host Committee, ride in a limo with other attendees of the Wine and Whiskey Wonder, A Grape Escape, Museum of Fine Arts Fundraiser to the revolving restaurant at Tampa International Airport on Saturday February 6, 2016 in Tampa.
2. Attendees dance during the Treasure Island drum circle on Sunday February 28, 2016 on Treasure Island Beach. The large group gathers every Sunday at the beach across from Publix, in the evening and plays until sunset.
3. Kiersten Copon, 19, waits for participants at the Fool the Guesser booth she works with her boyfriend Josh Bennett, 20, on Tuesday February 9, 2016 at the Florida State Fair. Copon is from Memphis, Tennessee. Bennett is from Tampa.
4. Nathan Sundberg, 13, and Austin Keeney, 16, of Myakka. Florida State Fair, February 11, 2016.
5. Chelsea Schon, of Tampa. Florida State Fair, February 11, 2016.
6. Jamie Sampson, 16, of Deltona. Florida State Fair, February 11, 2016.
7. Shelby, a Jersey cow. Florida State Fair, February 11, 2016. To see more portraits, see our photo blog, All Eyes.
8. Protestors outside the USF SunDome before the Donald Trump rally on Friday February 12, 2016 in Tampa.
9. Teri Jo Joslin, Cape Coral, waves an American flag outside the USF SunDome before the Donald Trump rally on Friday February 12, 2016 in Tampa. "You're almost afraid to put a bumper sticker on your car because you're afraid someone will mess with it, but we've got to take a stand," Joslin said, on her support for Trump.
10. Marion Ugochukwu, a USF senior, protests at the USF SunDome before the Donald Trump rally on Friday February 12, 2016 in Tampa.
11. Nina and Marvin Lancaster posed for a portrait at their home on Thursday February 19, 2016 in Brandon. Their son, Marvin Lancaster, was shot and killed at a strip club in Tampa this month. (I also put together a video for this story.)
MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times
New Year's day I made a bunch of promises to myself, including blogging monthly. These are some of my favorite frames from this month. I started 2016 off bright and early at an Emancipation Proclamation service in Tampa. A week later I drove 3 hours north to Starke to photograph protestors and supporters outside of an execution. I made my way to a few basketball games. Visited a couple of cold weather shelters, when lows dropped into the 40s. And I ended the month with Gasparilla. Cheers to February!
1. (left) Agnes Mayes, of Tampa, sings with the choir during the Emancipation Proclamation Service on Friday January 1, 2016, at Allen Temple A.M.E. Church in Tampa. The service, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Coalition of Clergy, celebrates and remembers the Emancipation Proclamation for laying the ground for the eventual 13th amendment. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. "If there's anything black people ought to remember it's this day," Bishop Adam J. Richardson Jr. said.
2. Supporters of the execution, including high school friends of Stephanie Collins, like (center) Chris Foster, of Land o' Lakes, and Julie Solomon, of Coconut Creek, gather before Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.'s scheduled execution on Thursday January 7, 2016 outside the Florida State Prison in Raiford, Florida.
3. The Florida State Prison in Raiford, Florida, is lit up in the fog on the night of Oscar Ray Bolin Jr's execution, Thursday January 7, 2016.
4. (center) Grace Jonassen, of Summerfield, gathers with other people opposing the death penalty before Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.'s scheduled execution on Thursday January 7, 2015 outside the Florida State Prison in Raiford, Florida.
5. Thierry Moliere (10) of Jesuit, tries to score during a non-conference game against Tampa Catholic on Friday January 8, 2015 at Tampa Catholic High School in Tampa. Jesuit beat Tampa Catholic, 63 to 51.
6. DJ Snyder (2) of Jesuit, high fives teammate Lee Green (not pictured) after a non-conference game against Tampa Catholic on Friday January 8, 2015 at Tampa Catholic High School in Tampa. Jesuit beat Tampa Catholic, 63 to 51.
7. Joseph Liquori,1, and Dominick Liquori, 3, play, while mom Catherine Coleman looks on, in a private room at the cold weather shelter at Northwest Presbyterian Church on Tuesday January 19, 2016, in St. Petersburg. Coleman, her mom Cora Fulmer, and her kids have been homeless for the last two weeks, after Fulmer lost her job. This is the first night they've stayed at the church cold shelter.
8. Catherine Coleman walks towards a private room with her kids Joseph Liquori,1, and Dominick Liquori, 3, at the cold weather shelter at Northwest Presbyterian Church on Tuesday January 19, 2016, in St. Petersburg.
9. Wiregrass Ranch players celebrate with the trophy after defeating Freedom in the 7A-8 final on Friday January 29, 2016 at Plant High School in Tampa. Final score: Wiregrass Ranch 59, Freedom 47.
10. (center) Bill Higgins photographs his wife Christina Higgins, both of Dunedin, with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, before boarding Jose Gaspar on Saturday January 30, 2016 at the Tampa Yacht Club.
11. Michael Shimberg has his makeup done by Caylie Richardson, before boarding Jose Gaspar on Saturday January 30, 2016 at the Tampa Yacht Club. More than 650 pirates rode the Jose Gaspar into downtown for the Invasion.
12. Rick Reeves, Ham Moshell, and Bill Long(center), wait for stragglers with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, before boarding Jose Gaspar on Saturday January 30, 2016 at the Tampa Yacht Club. More than 650 pirates rode the Jose Gaspar into downtown for the Invasion.
MONICA HERNDON | Times
My favorite images from 2015, at the Tampa Bay Times.
During 2015 I shot a lot more sports than ever before. Friday night football was pretty regular (until I got run over by a 182lb high schooler). I got to shoot features at the Women's NCAA Final Four and the Stanley Cup finals. I also spent two early mornings in April shooting a triathlon.
In 2015 I learned a lot about shooting food and worked on weekly cooking videos with the food editor.
After a fun couple of weeks I thought I'd share some of my favorite images (other than Gasparilla).
The wooden roller coast, Gwazi, had its last run at Busch Gardens on Sunday February 1st, 2015. Gwazi opened in 1999. Future plans for the space have not been released yet.
MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times
I'll be honest, since the start of my internship at the Tampa Bay Times I dreaded the thought of covering Gasparilla. I'd seen Gasparilla coverage from years past and the thought of making something new made me really nervous.
For you non-Florida people, Gasparilla is an annual pirate invasion of downtown Tampa followed by a miles long parade. Similar to Mardi Gras, there's a lot of alcohol and a lot of beads. Last Saturday the weather was perfect and I really enjoyed the madness. For more TBT coverage click here.
MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times