Saturday, June 4, 2016

On Assignment: Stream Stewardship

I always like photographing school stories because people are usually engaged in what they're doing and so I can get in there and make photos without worrying much about them.  This was a cool story to shoot because 1) it was outside, which is always awesome; and 2) the kids were doing so many different things that there were a million possibilities to shoot.  The cicadas were just starting to come out when I shot this, so I'm still waiting on my summer-bucket-list shot that's normal event coverage, except with someone freaking out as a cicada dive-bombs them.

In the meantime, follow the link to the full story at to read about how these kids are learning legit conservation skills and taking measurements that government agencies will use to evaluate stream health.

8th-grader Carter Williams, 16, measures dissolved oxygen levels in Pigeon Creek in Fallowfield Township.  7th and 8th grade students in Howard Johnson's Stream Stewardship class at Charleroi Middle School monitor five streams in the area, including Pigeon Creek.

7th-grader Claudia Conrad, 13, peers through a surveying theodolite from the edge of Pigeon Creek's bank, toward a reflector on the railroad track bed about a hundred yards from the creek.  By tracking the elevation of the creek bed over time, the class can record the rate that the creek bank is subsiding into the creek.

8th grader Layla Tomlin, 13, checks the color of a vial of creek water for a dissolved oxygen test to check on the quality of the stream's water.

Principal Adam Brewer takes a photo of 7th-grader Claudia Conrad, 13, as she surveys the elevation of the top of the bank of Pigeon Creek in Fallowfield Township.  Brewer accompanied the students to Pigeon Creek for science teacher Howard Johnson's Stream Stewardship class, which monitors the health of five streams in the area.

7th-grader Dylan Terrant, left, peers through a prism from train tracks about a hundred yards from Pigeon Creek.  Terrant, part of a Stream Stewardship class at Charleroi Area Middle School, sat at the constant elevation of the track bed so that the relative erosion of the creek bed could be recorded. 

8th-grader McKenna Williams, 13, tries to determine the species of a larvae collected from Pigeon Creek.  Teacher Howard Johnson, foreground left, stirred up the creek bed into a fine net, which collected the creatures living in the mud so the students could do a population count.  The presence of different species of invertebrates indicates the health of the stream.

Students sift through a kick net for macroinvertebrates from tiny mayfly larvae to giant cranefly larvae and crawdads.  The survey provides a continuum of species present, with more sensitive species indicating a healthier stream.

7th-grader Claudia Conrad loads a kick net into the back of the school bus as Mr. Johnson's Stream Stewardship class packs up to leave Pigeon Creek in Fallowfield Township after their survey and litter pick-up on Thursday.

Students pull off their rubber boots and put their shoes back on after wading around the mud and weeds of Pigeon Creek when they picked up litter, surveyed creek bank elevation, and did a census of creek invertebrates for a middle school stream stewardship class.

Saturday, March 12, 2016


They say in blogging it's better to have no content than to have rare content.  I think they say that.  Anyway, I'm making a good-faith effort here to start uploading some of my work from The Herald-Standard and elsewhere.  Here's a story I finished last month for our Small Town Life series about a coal patch called Ronco.  All content © Herald-Standard

Small Town Ronco from Kelly Tunney on Vimeo.

 Barry Reda talks to his English Setter Belle at their home in Uniontown.  Reda, who grew up in Ronco as a "patch puppy," says that even though many Ronco residents moved away across the country, they took their patch values along with them. 
Carolyn Capozza runs the Ronco Post Office, which is open for two hours on weekdays, and three and a half hours on Saturday.  Although she thinks Ronco will never return to what it once was, she still sees a future for the patch in the kids who play basketball, ride their bikes, and walk down the street past her mailboxes.

Carolyn Capozza runs the Ronco Post Office, which is open for two hours on weekdays, and three and a half hours on Saturday.  Although she thinks Ronco will never return to what it once was, she still sees a future for the patch in the kids who play basketball, ride their bikes, and walk down the street past her mailboxes.

From left, Chris Bartuch, John Moccaldi, Jimmy Hughes, Ryan Lee, 10, and Merari Lopez, all of Ronco, watch Bartuch's shot sail toward the basket in the Ronco community park.  Lopez says they gather there almost every day to play basketball, weather permitting.  The Hatfield's Ferry Power Station lies dormant across the river, having closed in 2013, more than half a century after the Ronco mines closed in 1955.

A 1907 map of Ronco and the surrounding mining operations shows planned houses, buildings, and a supporting farm.  Kim Show, now of Uniontown, keeps this map with a small library of Ronco history, an interest sparked in eighth grade when she wrote a school report from first-hand accounts of the very beginnings of Ronco.

The Ronco Post Office porchlight remains lit on the evening of February 8, with the smokestacks and cooling towers of the dormant Hatfield's Ferry Power Station in the background right, and the Duke Energy plant illuminating the sky in the background left.

Snow begins to cover Meadow Street in Ronco on February 8.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Jordan's Senior Portraits

A sneak peek of Jordan's portrait session.  Jordan's the King of Connellsville (valedictorian and lauded student-athlete), so we shot all around town to get him in his domain.  Also his mom had her heart set on his photos being shot in Connellsville, and what mom says goes!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rylie's Senior Portraits

Rylie and I worked to include her passion for dance in her senior portraits, while also getting in her cheerleading and her dad's awesome Camaro! We found some great locations around Scottdale with really neat details to shoot.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

#TBT: A Pickle in the Mist

My cousin Pooja's silver lab, Mr. Pickles, during an early-morning dogsitting walk last summer.  From Instagram.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Eyes on the prize

This weekend was the NCAA women's regional gymnastics championship, held in Rec Hall at Penn State.  This shot's not really for a Penn State audience since the gymnast, Aubrey Harrison, is from the University of Kentucky, but it's still my favorite.

Gymnast Audrey Harrison, from the University of Kentucky, flips during her beam routine at the NCAA Regional Championships at Rec Hall on April 5. ©The Daily Collegian

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shots from Cuba

A small boy rides on a motorcycle in Old Havana near El Floridita bar on March 8, 2014.

A dog rests at midday at a market in Plaza de Armas, Old Havana, on March 8, 2014.

Two men watch tourists go by in Old Havana on March 8, 2014.

A "snake charmer" in Old Havana peers into a restaurant to watch a flamenco band on March 8, 2014.

A member of the Buena Vista Social Club ensemble checks his watch before a set in Old Havana, March 8, 2014.

A girl on a balcony watches traffic go by on Paseo Del Prado, on the edge of Old Havana, March 8, 2014.

Frankial Oliva, 15, swings at a pitch in a stickball game on Refugio Street between Consulado and Prado avenues. The boys were playing with a broom handle and a golf ball-sized wad of cloth, alternating batter and pitcher whenever someone made a hit. Photo/Kelly Tunney

A man peers into the engine of the car he is repairing in central Havana, March 8, 2014.

A couple sits in a doorway in the late afternoon sun on San Lazaro in central Havana.

Francisco Rodriguez washes a car for four Cuban pesos. Because of the U.S. embargo, the only American cars in Cuba date from before the country's 1959 revolution. They have become a popular tourist attraction and are often used as taxis in Havana.

One of Havana's antique cars speeds down San Lazaro, parallel to the Malecón in central Havana.

Raúl Lemos plays dominos on Calle Virtudes in central Havana on March 9, 2014.

An antique car is parked in front of a building at the intersection of Calle 10 de Octubre and Calle O in Havana's Vedado neighborhood.

A trombone student sits outside at midday at the Cuban National Art School in Havana on March 11, 2014.

A boy feeds pigeons in the late afternoon in the Old Havana next to the basilica and monastery of Saint Francis of Assisi, on March 11, 2014.

Reynaldo Rodriguez changes the wheel on a 1958 Ford Edsel in Central Havana on March 14, 2014.

Reynaldo Rodriguez changes the wheel on a 1958 Ford Edsel in Central Havana on March 14, 2014.

Nicolas Hernandez, 70, sits on the stoop watching the traffic of San Lazaro in central Havana on March 14, 2014.

A man bicycles pig carcasses on Calzada de Ayestaran in south central Havana on March 14, 2014.

A teenager walks past a mural on Paseo del Prado on March 14, 2014 in central Havana.

Rene Vera Elmira fishes at dawn from the Malecón on March 15, 2014 in Havana.

Fisherman Armando Quiñoñes walks on the wall along the Malecón at sunrise on March 15, 2014.