CSI:Genetics

I recently got to work on a story about some serious scientific detective work. The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has done cutting edge research for decades on the fundamental processes at the biological level that lead to human diseases and disorders. Autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and diabetes, cancers, aging, heart disease and children’s diseases are their wheelhouse. This particular story was great because it really showed how applied science could be directly beneficial with defined outcome to a particular individual and, in a relatively short period of time.

To make an extremely complicated story short (all details from the wonderfully penned Adam Cohen story in Findings), Xander had been diagnosed as a baby with a number of troubling symptoms. High blood pressure, excessive red cell count, and tiny cysts growing on his kidneys, pancreas and stomach, with no know cause. For much of his young life, 14-year-old Xander had been probed, examined, tested and subjected to hundreds of blood draws, with little to show for it, though the symptoms were under control. After numerous doctors his current hematologist, not satisfied with waiting for the red cell count to adjust magically, suspected a hereditary disorder. Tests for multiple genes associated with various disorders all came back negative – time to call in the geneticist big guns.

Two scientists from two organizations, OU Medical and OMRF, working together with state of the art gene sequencing techniques and customized algorithmic computation, came to the conclusion that there was a good chance there was a problem with Xander’s kidneys, possibly a tumor, and required further assessment. Xander had undergone ultrasounds of his kidneys, but the genetic detectives felt an MRI with much more precise imaging capabilities was warranted. Xander’s doctors agreed, and the MRI showed a golf ball-sized, fast growing malignant tumor. Immediate surgery was recommended and performed, removing the affected kidney, with no spreading of the cancer to other parts of his body. Shortly after surgery Xander’s red cell count dropped to normal, and within a few months his blood pressure leveled and he was off all related medications. His current concerns are being a freshman in high school and bettering his time in the breast stroke.

Here are few images from the shoot, thanks!

Two genetic scientists
Drs. Klaas Wierenga, left, and Patrick Gaffney. Since they were engaged in detective work, I tried to make them look like a CSI-style promo image.
Teenager in his room
Xander in his room playing video games, as you might expect.
Teenager and parents
Xander with his mom and dad in suburban Yukon, Oklahoma.

 

Total eclipse of the heartland

I couldn’t help myself with the title, so please accept my apologies. My son and I were going to drive to Missouri to make totality but as we headed northeast, we started to see significant cloud buildup in the distance. As there was a lot of cloud cover in many parts of our region, I decided that it would be better to see what we could unobstructed than gamble the drive and be stuck in clouds. I didn’t do a whole lot of shooting, mostly because I wanted to enjoy the eclipse. In that vein, here’s one shot of Ivan checking out the around 80% coverage in far northeast Oklahoma.

Image of young boy sitting and watching the 2017 solar eclipse with glasses on.

Bahama Blue

Portrait of Dave in his blue antique 1967 International Harvester pickup.

This is Dave, an English Okie by way of Morocco sitting in his ’67 International pickup which I coveted. He was working next door when I inquired about the year of his pickup.

“Guess,” he said.

“Uhmmmm. ’67?”

“Right! You are the first person to guess on the first try.” Yes!

After admiring the what I think is the “Bahama Blue Metallic” paint (I looked it up later), and swapping stories about my much-missed ’71 Camper Special pickup (Turquoise Metallic), he told me the classic story of finding it in an old guy’s barn sitting under a tarp for 37 years. It is completely original, mechanical fuel pump and all, and runs like a kitten. He only had to replace fuel lines, battery and re-coat the gas tank and away down the road he went. I can’t tell you the price the old man asked, because it will make me cry. Dave paid more so he didn’t feel guilty…

Anyway, here’s a couple of shots of Dave, and that beautiful pickup.

Portrait of Dave and full view of his blue 1967 International Harvester Pickup. A vertical portrait of Dave leaning against his blue 1967 International Harvester pickup.

 

1952 Ford Customline for The Wall Street Journal

This was the lead image of the 1952 ford shot from the side for the story.
This was the lead image for the story of Kim’s 1952 Ford Customline.

As I recall, one of the first cars I can remember that we had was a ’68 or ’69 Ford Custom or Fairlane, can’t remember which. That darker Ford blue, big as a house with the huge, skinny steering wheel that had that weird metal horn with the half-circle attached that my dad had to keep me from constantly pulling. On the farm, granddad had a light blue ’67 Ford pickup that ran for a few hundred thousand miles before retiring. There were other Fords over the years, but we weren’t a brand-loyal family, more of a ‘good deal’ one.

Not the Claybaughs.

The Claybaughs are a brand-loyal family. Kim, mom, dad and cousin pulled up for the shoot in a gorgeous 1952 Ford V-8 Customline followed by a brand-new looking Ford pickup, both very, very shiny. One of the first things they did was grab some cloths and proceed to knock the road dust off the Customline. Kim said she grew up going to car rallies and that her parents took her to her first Early Ford V-8 Club rally when she was just three days old.

Kim’s parents gave her that Customline as a present for graduating college in four years. The funny part was she knew the car already, as it had been a close family friend’s car that Kim had ridden around in for ten years. The previous owner was thrilled for her to get the car and Kim was floored when they surprised her with it. She plans on driving it to an Early Ford V-8 Club rally in Michigan next summer, coming full circle.

Here are a few selects from the shoot. Thanks!

Picture of Kim leaning out of the driver's side window of her 1952 Ford Customlin. A rear-view picture of the black 1952 Ford Customline. A portrait of Kim shot looking through the passenger window of her 1952 Ford Customline. A view from the backseat of the bright red and black leather interior of the 1952 Ford Customline. Portrait of Kim posing at the front of her black 1952 Ford Customline.

 

 

 

Blinded by the Light.

Just kidding. But seriously, these old Dot Blue flash bulbs would blow your mind if you were in front of one, let alone three at the same time. Each bulb has a guide number of 550′ at ISO 100. Some back of the envelope math indicates flash output around 700 watt/seconds, which is intense. All three together with this sweet clover leaf hand-held-light-of-the-stars flashgun? Revelatory.

Small Bulb and Gun-