Category : photography

Backlog: Years and a lifetime ago

9 months, 3 weeks ago IBEW, photography, politics, projects 0

Hi. It’s been a while. I’ve been a little busy. And busy at work, too.

I’ve been in the sky.


Constructing the Wilshire Tower in Los Angeles

And underground.

Digging the SR-99 tunnel under Seattle with Bertha

And on Capitol Hill.

Jim Hunter, former Utility Department director, testifying on the hill

Ralph Norcross, congressman from New Jersey and IBEW member

IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson, before giving testimony

And to protests against things happening on and around Capitol Hill.

Solidarity protest with Trump Hotel workers in Las Vegas

Senator Sherrod Brown, speaking at a larger-than-I-expected mineworkers’ rally

Women Workers Rising protest

I’ve met some incredible people.

Dave, center, has kidney disease. Rob, left, was a potential donor. It didn’t work out. 🙁

Documented transitions in and out of the office.

Our new political director, Austin

And witnessed history unfold.

Heading out to count the votes on whether or not Local 410 would soon exist. We won.

So, yeah. I’ve been busy. In a really great and rewarding way.
Let’s not let two-and-a-half years pass before another update, okay?

A whirlwind tour of New England, pt. 1

3 years, 3 months ago blogging, IBEW, photography, travels 0


Last week, I went on an adventure with the president of our union (plus his assistant, a director, a VP, and a writer coworker) to New England for a handful of events supporting the FairPoint strikers up there. Yes, we have members out on strike, and it’s a really big deal. (Go to Fairness@Fairpoint for all the information.) Here are a few of my favorite shots from the rally in Vermont. Did you know that Montpelier is the smallest capital city in the country?




For more photos, go to our organization’s Flickr page.
Parts 2 and 3 coming soon.

Besties. Love. Chicago.

3 years, 9 months ago family, photography, travels 0


I haven’t seen Diane and Phil for way to long. We spent quite some time this past weekend trying to figure out when we’ve seen each other since our wedding… and we could not come up with a time. There was the failed attempt to get to Rehoboth last summer, and the summer before, and a few gatherings that we remembered from even longer ago. But no gatherings since September 25, 2011.


I love you two. I’m so thankful for our short visit on this work trip. Let’s make it happen again, soon.

A conversation, a message.

3 years, 10 months ago blogging, IBEW, photography 0


This assignment reminded me of doing environmental portraits in grad school. I like shooting them so much more than the standard background-lights-stare-into-the-lens portrait. There’s definitely a time and place for those, but I think conveying personality through surroundings adds a lot to an image. The plan – show our president in conversation, as the accompanying story was a Q&A style story.


Serious and stern, but not angry or belittling. That was the goal. I did get some nice shots of him laughing or smiling in the course of the conversational shoot, but I’ll save those for another day. This and the top image ran with our story.


This was one of my favorite images from the shoot. It didn’t fit with our serious theme, so it’s just an outtake now. But I still like it.

Original story: On growing the IBEW

Attempting to go viral, one post at a time.

3 years, 10 months ago blogging, IBEW, photography, projects 0

Did you know I now make memes? I mean, we make graphics to share on Facebook and then hope they go viral. Some are better than others, in both look and performance. I happen to be a fan of these two.

Union Wages


Have You Thanked A Lineman Today?

This one’s been posted a number of times, and each time it gets more than 2,500 shares. I believe that qualifies as ‘viral’ for us. Yeah!


Back on the Hill.

3 years, 11 months ago IBEW, photography, politics 0


IBEW Utility Department Director Jim Hunter testifies on Capitol Hill at a Senate hearing on April 10, 2014. The hearing, convened at the request of the IBEW, United Mineworkers, and the Utility Workers, discussed the reliability and safety of the nation’s power grid.
© Erin C. Sutherland / IBEW

I really love the days when I get an email that says, “Hey, can you go shoot this thing on the Hill tomorrow?” This time, it was a Senate hearing on the reliability and safety of the American power grid.


140410_JimHunterTestimony_03_smThe room was beautiful, and packed. Thankfully we got there early and got a standing room spot. Non-press were being turned away all morning. It seemed like no one expected the hearing to be so full, and yet there we were, stuffed into corners like sardines.



On a side note about the room: we were watching Cosmos this week and I noticed that the hearing room illustrated in the lead-in-gasoline fight was likely the same room. Funny.

Edit: Looking at these photos on my home laptop, I think I may need to calibrate my work monitor. Hm. 

Original story: IBEW Director to Senators: Ensure Reliability of Grid

My first Congressional hearing.

4 years, 2 months ago blogging, IBEW, photography, politics 0

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi greets Baltimore Local 24 member Stan Osnowitz before his testimony to Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

So exciting, right? In actuality, it was – and enlightening, too. The dais in the room was huge. I didn’t think I would actually see more than half the chairs full for this particular hearing. But lo! Congresspeople came from all entrances to fill just about every seat and listen to these everyday people give their testimony.

Some may see unemployment benefits as extending the poor and out-of-work’s dependency on the government in a negative way. Not so on that day. For those precious moments in front of the microphone, stories of severe hardship were aired in the public, in front of lawmakers who could possibly (and hopefully) help. Without an extension of benefits, these people will be left in the cold with no way to pay their bills or put food on the table. Homes would be lost. Lives shortened by the lack of appropriate medications. And without assistance, these people won’t even be able to afford to look for work. And while only three workers sat at that table (the other two were from support organizations), they represent hundreds and thousands more who are just trying to make ends meet.

So let’s get on this, Congress.

Original story: Local 24 Member Tells House Leaders: Extend Unemployment Benefits

A note about the photos above: It seems as though Flickr has changed the way they embed photos into a page. I bet it’s for security, for which I am grateful. However; it now turns every image into a slideshow of ALL my public photos. That is not cool, and creates a poor user interface. I will be researching a better image hosting option for posts in the future.

(Vaguely) Backlog: Snowy (Vaguely) Iowa

5 years ago blogging, IBEW, photography, travels 0


Why so many ‘vaguely’ notes? This trip wasn’t very long ago compared to past backlog posts, and while the forecast called for almost 9″ of snow, we got barely 2″. C’est la vie, no?


The morning of the snowstorm, we decided to head out with a local assistant business manager to find a wind farm. We don’t have any video of them, and thought that it would be good to have for the future. (We also were trying to include some wind turbine footage in our manufacturing project, but not sure if that’ll work.)


In any case, the video looks pretty neat, and I made sure to take some stills while freezing my fingers off in 19 degree weather with a wind chill of about 4. Oh, and the nice leather gloves I bought for this trip? They served their purpose here, and then Amber decided to eviscerate them the day I got home. Sérieusement, c’est la vie.

Backlog: The Great Salt Lake (City)


We spent a few days in Salt Lake City (and vicinity) this summer while on a two-week multiple story trip through California and Nevada. The sky never ends here. Everywhere I looked, there was an incredible vista framed by mountains. These frames attempt to illustrate, but just barely do the sky justice.





We put together a few videos from this portion of the trip. I shot the footage, Len did the editing and graphics.

IBEW Builds Top Secret Data Center from IBEW on Vimeo.

IBEW Expands its Role in Utah Electrical Industry from IBEW on Vimeo.

Backlog: My first work travel – Nashville

5 years ago blogging, IBEW, photography, travels 0


I travel for work. A lot. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a videographer for the IBEW. We shoot stories, videos for conferences, commercials for national TV, and anything else that we might need. My first travel story was to Nashville for an organizing blitz. After spending a full day riding around in a car on said blitz with a local organizer and one from Atlanta, my coworker (he’s our amazing producer) and I went to dinner downtown.


I love how there’s music everywhere, even on the street corner.


This old train bridge is now a pedestrian walkway over the river. The light was amazing.


And of course, no trip to Nashville would be complete without a bit of country in a touristy, kitchy bar. These guys were SO GOOD. But then again, I feel like everyone in Nashville is SO GOOD.

Overall, the trip was a great success. I learned a LOT about shooting video on my DSLR, and remembered that I make myself seasick when I try to shoot without support. Here’s the video I produced.

Reintroducing the IBEW from IBEW on Vimeo.