Longmont Balloon Pilot

BALLOON_PILOT© MediaNews Group 2013/Times-Call 2013

On Sunday, June 2, 2013 my alarm went off at 5AM. I was headed to Frederick to follow a hot air balloon pilot from take off to landing. This was a photo essay I had been wanting to work on for some time. I was interested in finding a pilot who was passionate about flying and it took some time to find a source that wasn’t a commercial pilot.  When I did finally find some one, I found exactly the person I needed.

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Riley Ljungdahl: Continuing Coverage

Riley Ljungdahl Physical Therapy© MediaNews Group 2013/Times-Call 2013

It’s rare that I get to spend any time working on a story anymore. It’s just the nature of the business these days. When the opportunity to follow up with Riley Ljungdahl came up I knew I had to take the assignment. In 2011, she was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called transverse myelitis. The disorder caused paralysis from her chest down. It came on suddenly and shocked her family and friends. Throughout the last year, Riley has made tremendous progress. In the week that I followed her, the one thing that stood out was her positive attitude. She smiled and laughed as she went through 2 hours of physical therapy in Englewood, something she does twice a week in a commute from Longmont. She joked with friends and playfully taunted teammates at basketball practice in Denver, a sport she rediscovered a passion for. At only 12 years old, she has been through a lot. She shows a level of maturity well above her age. I struggle to think that I would have been as strong if this had happened to me. If my pictures show anything, I hope they show her positive attitude. Enjoy.

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