Transitions | my life

Today is the end of a good run. For nearly 13 years, I have been a photographer at the Lodi News-Sentinel. It is weird to think that I have been somewhere for over a decade. This place has created so many wonderful memories for me.

My favorite one is this – it is where I met my husband. From there, we had a family.

I went from Jennifer Matthews to Matthews-Howell and Howell.

I had the chance to practice community journalism. I have met so many people that are near and dear to me and will always be a part of my history.

I remember the last assignment time I used film. Earlier that day, the flash shoe on my Canon AE1 fill apart. So I wasn’t going to be using my flash. That night There was a motorcycle accident on Victor Road at Tecklenberg. I was freaking out, because it was dark – I am talking pitch black. I put 3200 black and white film, because it was after hours to have our color film processed at Longs. Just then, the CHP officer lined up perfectly in his headlights holding his clipboard and flashlight in front of the motorcycle. It is one of my favorite shots.

I loved shooting baseball/softball and track and field. And water polo. I was always trying to make it more interesting in the frame.

I remember being able to shoot a 49ers game that Scott was covering also. I was seven months pregnant. Anyone who has shot a pro game before knows you have to kneel and run from side to side. Being preggers and getting up and down was a real challenge but I was waddling on air. The Niners are my team. I remember standing in front of the humungous speakers during half time, eating a hot dog when “Who let the dogs out” came vibrating through the black walls of sound. Chase, started a dance party in my womb that had me laughing.

I learned how naive I was. I learned terms -negative phrases- that I had never known before.

It took me a few weeks to learn that not every firefighter was Jeff Lodi. That was pretty amusing.

I learned that you don’t judge a book by it cover. An officer I thought didn’t like me or what I do, strongly protected me after a woman that was upset at an accident scene started threatening me. I was so shocked by his reaction that I had to sit down. He scared both of us, but relief came quickly to know that people respected me and had my back. Even if I didn’t know it.

I have shot my fair share or gruesome. That I won’t miss. I don’t like watching people suffer or in pain. I guess I am too emotionally invested.

I remember shooting one of my favorite photos. It was meeting a mandolin maker, Bill Starkey. He was the sweetest man. No teeth. Shuffled along. Paint splattered clothes. It saddened me when I read he died a few years later.

I went from being a photographer to the chief photographer. I loved what I did. I felt like my opinion mattered most days. I believed in the photographers that were on the staff. But when my son began first grade, I realized it was time for mommy to be more of a mommy. I stepped down, and and went part-time. It was a decision I am glad we made and were able to do.

Today, I am stepping down to grow again. This time as a freelance photographer. I will grow my portrait and wedding business – newVintage photography. I know that I love love and I love light – the warm golden honey light that comes at the end of the day. I love laughter. The carefree laughter of children discovering new things. The love of a newborn. The love of family. The love of a true love. The love of adventure. All these things make me happy. All these things I want to capture.

Thank you to the Lodi News-Sentinel for allowing me to grow and be a part of this wonderful community.

Thank you to all those that have gone before me that I miss all the time – whether for the laughs, the professionalism or good-nature of that individual. Tricia, Jana, Andrew, Gordy, Voodoo, Jen, Angelina, Whit, Dune, Jordan, Brian&Natalie, DLo, Zuber and Brian Ross… thank you for the memories.

To those I am leaving for now… It isn’t permanent. There will be Just Dance!, lunches, and walks. Perhaps we’ll get a crafty lunch one afternoon. I thank you for allowing me to get to know you. You are all talented individuals, each in their own right. I will miss the shenanigans. I will miss the friendships.

Thank you to my friend Lyanne. You have been my coach for bootcamp, how to be a ferocious friend, a loving mom and a devoted woman. I am thankful every day you are in my life and the encouraging words in the last few days.

Thank you to my grandmother. She put the first camera in my hands. It was the kind that had a disc film reel. If you remember those – Holla! Then it was the 110 film that I though the canisters looked like telephones. Grandma- you are so very creative. Grandmama even worked for a time in a newspaper office typing up engagements and such. I love you so very much.

To my parents and sister… thank you for you support and love. Thank you for watching the munchkins all those nights, I was called away to work. Than you Dad for letting me borrow your ol’ Pentax for school. Thank mom for buying that Canon AE1 in that Reno pawnshop.

To Chase & Maddie. Thank you for being two awesome human beings! I couldn’t be more proud of the people you are and are becoming. I love you forever and a day! MUAH!

To my husband. Oh husband, how I love you. Thank you for rescuing me from myself. Thank you for all your support and help. Thank you for teaching me how to crop a sports photo. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being you. Here’s to our next grand adventure.

To the community… thank you for making my job easier and easy to love. See you around town.

Today is the end of one adventure. Today is the beginning of another.

So for this last week, I went a little Instagram happy trying to capture everyday things at the paper I will miss.

1. Last roll of film in our dark room. 2. Headlines. 3. Rollers in back. 4. Steel wall outside. 5. Machine. 6. Dusty contraption.

7. Back door. 8. Pallets. 9. News parking spot. 10. Started on Sept. 17th. Ending on Feb. 17th. 11. Mail room. 12. Front of the building.

13. Front door. 14. Bill Starkey photo that hangs in the newsroom. 15. Newspaper rack. 16. Front desk. 17. Warehouse. 18. Business side.

19. My mailbox. 20. My name plate & my husbands. 21. The newsroom. 22. The change Voodoo began collecting. 23. Comics. 24. Bike rack.

25. The den. 26. My chair. 27. The map. 28. Front door. 29. Orange sorter. 30. Change boxes from racks.

A look back…

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