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photo by Lori Gunter French

Every December, I choose a photo from the year gone by to use for my company Christmas card. If I like you and I have your address, you have probably gotten one whether you wanted it or not. Don’t be insulted if you didn’t get one. It doesn’t mean you were naughty, it just indicates my spotty address list isn’t up to date.

In any case, as I went through 2016’s collection, I thought some of them were either good images or had a good story behind them, or both. I could only use one for the card, so I thought I’d share some of the other interesting ones in this post. What did Martina Navratilova say when she realized we were shooting her video in a hotel room? What the heck are those men in shorts doing on the Dell Diamond baseball field? And, wow, showgirls? See it all here.

I took these photos unless otherwise credited, so any mistakes are mostly on me.

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USA Rugby in Round Rock – February, 2016

In one of these shots, you see me with a microphone in front of a baseball stadium. But the day’s work had nothing to do with baseball. USA Rugby’s men’s XVs side defeated Canada in an Americas Rugby Championship tournament match. It was fascinating to see the pitch laid out on the ballfield. USA Rugby must have liked it, since they’re returning to the venue in 2017.

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photo by Lori Gunter French

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Fort Worth Weekly Celebrity Chef Chili Cook-Off – March, 2016

The Weekly held a chili cook-off earlier this year and I just loved this shot of a steaming pot of Fred’s chili. I also included a shot of the awards, not because it’s a great photo but because it includes a shot of Weekly associate editor Eric Griffey applauding and I’m attempting to shamelessly curry favor by including him in this no doubt critically-acclaimed post. Eric edits my stuff.

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Texas Rangers – Spring/Summer 2016

I made it out to a few Rangers events this year, including the unveiling of the new food items you’d consume at the ballpark during the season. Pictured here is the Wicked Pig, a sandwich packed with more pork than an energy subsidies bill. There’s also a shot of Pudge Rodriguez, clearly coaching with the same intensity he displayed while playing. I also added a shot of Rougned Odor by the batting cages in Oakland just because I thought it was a cool shot.

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photo by Rush Olson

 

LaGrave Field – Spring/Summer 2016

These baseball images are less cool than the Rangers ones. LaGrave Field, historic home of the Fort Worth Cats, sits abandoned. These photographs came from March and June, and unfortunately the little ballpark with the great view of downtown and the prestigious past still has an uncertain future.

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Nancy Lieberman Charities Dream Ball – April 2016

These photos feature Toby Keith, one of a number of celebrities who were honored or appeared at this annual gala. One shows Keith conversing with Big Joe Walker, an on-the-rise Texas country singer. The other shows what many no doubt consider the highlight of the evening – the star jamming with the house band. His impromptu performance featured a powerful rendition of the Bill Withers classic “Ain’t No Sunshine” followed by Keith’s own “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” I will always remember how graciously he treated the local musicians backing him, praising the Jordan Kahn Orchestra by name and calling on the sax player to take a solo.

The fundraising event, by the way, has moved to February this year, with tickets available at nancyliebermancharities.org.

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Taste of the NFL – May 2016

I found a shot of another country musician at a charity event, this time with a photo of Jack Ingram playing at the Taste of the NFL event at the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. In addition to the musical entertainment, the event offers attendees a chance to sample tasty morsels from many of the area’s most prominent chefs. The other photo shows me apparently amazed at something Jack Perkins (at the time the owner of The Slow Bone barbecue restaurant in Dallas) said. The other guy in the photo is my frequent collaborator Dave French. Despite the plethora of tech gear that seems to be protruding from his body, French is, in fact, a human and not a video production cyborg.

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photo by Lori Gunter French

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Dallas Wings – Summer 2016

I really enjoyed covering the WNBA’s Dallas Wings during their first season in Arlington. Here’s a photo from practice that shows members of the Wings and their male practice partners desperate to grab a rebound. I liked the intensity evident in this image.

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C3 Cryo Club – May 2016

Yep, that’s me shirtless. I’ll do a lot for the Weekly, apparently. Back in May, I tried cryotherapy after an especially vigorous evening of softball and blogged about it.

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photo by William Pruett

 

Presidential Press – June 2016

I do some work for the George W. Bush Presidential Center on some of the webcasts of their public programs. One that hit especially close to home this year involved an examination of how the presidency interacts with the media and popular culture. The Bush Center worked with the Pulitzer Prize Board and three other nearby presidential libraries to put it on. A highlight included actors from the Dallas Theater Center presenting excerpts from Pulitzer-winning plays, including the number from Hamilton seen in this photo.

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Fashion’s First Down – June 2016

The Cowboys’ wives annual fashion show raises money for female-centric charities. Tony Romo’s wife, Candice, chairs the event, so we interviewed him about it. Afterward, he apparently shook my hand. You can’t see me in the photo, but, you know, who cares? That wasn’t who anybody but my mom wanted to see anyway.

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photo by Dave French
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photo by Dave French

 

North Texas Food Bank shoot – June 2016

We did a video this year for the North Texas Food Bank to help volunteers learn what to do and not do while at the facility. The video parodied a newscast and we’d like to think it was funny. This photo made the cut for this post because it features our good friend Anna Kurian in a banana suit. She was actually the understudy for the part, but gave a stunning performance when pressed into service. You’ll have to watch the video to see it of course (and go ahead and volunteer at the North Texas Food Bank or its counterpart in Tarrant County, too).

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OfficiateTexas – July 2016

We worked with the Texas Association of Sports Officials and the University Interscholastic League on an event designed to let game officials from around the state learn from prominent figures in their profession. I liked this promo photo we shot from the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

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Dallas Stars Media Day – September, 2016

We worked with the Dallas Stars to shoot elements they use on their AAC video boards and TV broadcasts throughout the season. Some of the coolest stuff happened on the ice with a high-speed camera capturing epic slow-motion images. My buddies Mike Traverzo and Renzo Torres tested the shots before the players came out (Traverzo is the artist behind the beautiful video you see on your TV screens).

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Dallas Mavericks Media Day – September, 2016

We worked with Fox Sports Southwest on their promos for the season’s Mavs games. We were going to need a shot of Dirk Nowitzki pantomiming his famed fall-away jump shot. We got a short unathletic failed point guard to mimic it so we could set the shot.

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photo by Hutton Harris
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photo by Hutton Harris

 

 ACEP16 – October, 2016

As you might have guessed, not everything I do is sports. We worked with the American College of Emergency Physicians creating videos at their annual conference. They held it in Las Vegas, Nevada. I include this picture of my buddy Dave with showgirls just in case he “forgot” to tell his wife, Lori, about it. Lori’s a friend of mine.

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Miami Trip – October, 2016

We had to take Frontier’s all-night flight from Vegas to Miami to shoot interviews for another project. We looked very sexy riding in coach. When Martina Navratilova (a former Fort Worth resident) walked in and saw we were shooting in a hotel room next to the bed, she said she hadn’t realized it was “that kind” of video. Um, it wasn’t. I swear.

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photo by Dave French
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photo by Dave French

 

Texas Motor Speedway – November, 2016

My lone Weekly cover story of the year involved the folks who do the radio broadcasts at the local racetrack. Radio waves move at the speed of light – nearly the velocity of their booth guest’s roundhouse kicks.

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Virginia Trip – November, 2016

We covered basketball in Virginia. The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame has an exhibit about the ABA’s Virginia Squires. Do you realize that at one time their roster featured both Julius Erving and George Gervin? Also, the Richmond Spiders’ mascot is a real tarantula named Tarrant. They introduce him before every game.

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Lagardère Sports presents the Heart of Dallas Fast Pitch Event – November 2016

This is a cool charity event in which non-profits compete to win funds to further their missions. Jamie Benn took part and we interviewed him. I include this photo because I like camera shots of other camera shots and because I think a lot of the female readers may find Benn hunky.

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photo by Dave French

 

A Bright Future : West ISD Rises Up – Fall, 2016

Perhaps the professional highlight of my year came with the release of the documentary on which Dave and I had worked for three years, entitled A Bright Future : West ISD Rises Up. It aired in on KWTX Waco in October and on Fort Worth-based CBS 11 in November. We also showed it in the auditorium in the high school West built to replace the one they had to demolish after a 2013 fertilizer plant explosion. These photos actually both have sports tie-ins. The one in the theater shows David Woodard, the football coach and athletic director who had to rebuild his house following the blast. The young woman doing the recording is Julia Wernet, an outstanding outfielder on West’s state title-winning softball team. She and four of her fellow students narrated the film. A Bright Future : West ISD Rises Up will be available online sometime next year after it’s finished its broadcast run in other markets.

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photo by Dave French

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Conclusion

This post does not include the photo I ultimately chose for the holiday card. To see that one, I guess you’ll have to hope I got your address right.

 

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