Best of the Best…

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it several times here on the blog that I am responsible for quite a bit of the photography and videography centered around nursing at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.  I work on projects like the Indiana Nursing Quarterly magazine, as well as the Komen Race for the cure among others.  One of the coolest ones to come around every year though is the Indianapolis Star’s Salute to Nurses.

(Nikon D4, 80ISO, Nikon 14-24F2.8N@20mm.  Nikon SB900 set to iTTL bounced from a closed 32″ umbrella on a stand to above camera right, Single Nikon SB800 on the table to the far camera left (you can actually see it in the frame back there on the table) set to 1/4th power with a 1/2 CTO, Single Nikon SB900 Speedlight set on a chair behind the 1/2CTO flash with a 1/2CTB set to 1/4th and zoomed to 200mm to throw the shadows of the IV bags on the wall.  All flashes fired by Nikon SU-800 Commander from the Camera’s hot shoe).

There are several different categories, which include: Educator of the Year, Lifetime of Compassion, Advancement in Nursing, Community Outreach, and last but certainly not least Inspiration in Nursing.  Of those five categories the Indiana Nurse of the Year is selected, and will be honored for a year as such.  There are over 1100 nominations and the State Board of Nursing goes through them one by one.  It’s a heckuva honor!

(Nikon D4, 500ISO, Nikon 28-70F2.8D@62mm, 1/160th@F4.  Single Nikon SB900 set to 1/8th power bounced from a 32″ umbrella to above camera left, single Nikon SB800 set on the top of the storage bins above the sink to camera right set to 1/16th power.  Both Speedlights triggered by a Nikon SU-800 Commander unit from the Camera’s hot shoe.)

Each individual displays quite a talent and capacity for compassion, caring, and strong stomachs in all conditions.  Most of the nurses that have come through the Salute awards banquet have been in the ER at some point in their careers and all have commented on seeing some pretty terrible things.  Each one though has loved being a nurse for as long as they can remember; including the ones who became nurses on a whim like Beth Kueper above, who became a nurse after a friend convinced her that Nursing school had all the things she wanted.  None look back at any of their time with anything but fondness, even if they were working nights or even if they served during Wartime in the Military.

(Nikon D4, 200ISO, Nikon 85mmF1.4D, 1/200th@F2.  Nikon SB900 bounced from a 32″ umbrella to above camera left set to 1/8th power, Single SB 700 sitting on the floor aimed at the wall behind Liz with a 1/2CTB set to 1/8th power also for a little bit of separation.  Both Speedlights triggred by a Nikon SU-800 Commander Unit from the Cameras Hot Shoe)

Some nurses work in very remote locations.  Liz O’Neil above works in Monon Indiana.  She works for Purdue University thanks to her late husband who was Faculty there at one point.  He got her started there, and she hasn;t looked back.  She won our Community outreach award this year and a reach it was!  Monon Indiana is roughly a half a square mile in size.  She treks up there in order to help everyone and anyone in need, and a lot of times even has a Purdue Intern with her in the clinic.  It’s a thankless job, and she doesn’t even notice because of how much she loves it.  Monon must not be all that bad though considering there is this Medical Clinic, a Post Office, a Family Dollar, a single stop light with no street signs and a Ford Dealership.  You’d never know it, but the Ford dealership had two Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500’s and a Ford GT in the showroom.  Remember what I said too.  Monon is only a half square mile in size…

(Nikon D4, 50ISO, Nikon 50mmF1.4, 1/25th@F2.  Single SB-900 Speedlight shot through a Rogue XL Pro Lighting kit set to Strip Softbox mode on 1/16th power.  Single SB-700 shot into the ceiling in the background with a Rogue Red Gel over the top set to 1/8th power.  Both lights fired by a Nikon SU-800 Commander from the Camera hot shoe)

Renee Twibell from BSU though was selected for the Advancement in Nursing award and no amount of “half square mile in size” could keep her down.  She works at IU Health part time, and Ball State University full time.  She won the Advancement in Nursing award for repuprosing one of those internet sensations known as “Second Life” for school purposes.  The students are given an account and must go into the hospitals to diagnose patients using the information they are provided.  Quite a clever little teaching tool if you ask me.  The first photo on the blog is of Janice Watts who is the 2013 educator of the year.  Imagine all the possibilities if you put something like that in the hands of the Educator of the year right?  Crazy Talk!

(Nikon D4, 100ISO, Nikon 28-70F2.8D@52mm.  1/200th@F7.1.  Nikon SB900 Speedlight above camera left bounced into a 32″ umbrella set to 1/4th power.  Single Nikon SB900 behind Jayne on the table pointed into the wall for separation set to 1/8th zoomed into 200mm to control Spill.  Both flashes fired by Nikon SU-800 Commander from the camera’s Hot Shoe). 

That’s Jayne Emrich from the VA hospital here in Indianapolis.  She was this year’s Lifetime of compassion award winner, and also was named our 2013 Nurse of the year.  She was in the military as a nurse for 25 years, as well as she worked almost as long at the VA hospital as a nurse.  I figure she musta liked it or something right?  It was a tough thing to take her photos knowing that she wouldn’t be able to attend the event where she would be named Nurse of the Year for 2013.  At the time of this writing I know that her daughter and son would be there to accept her award in her place.  Little do they know they need to go up to the stage twice.  When you’re reading this the event will all be over.  Smiles will be had, lunch will be eaten and warm caring nurses will receive the respect and admiration they deserve.  This is truly one of the best events I work each year.

(Nikon D4, 100ISO, Nikon 85mmF1.4D, 1/160th@F2.  Single Nikon SB-700 Speedlight bounced from a 32″ umbrella to above camera left set to 1/8th, Single Nikon SB900 speedlight on the practice bed far left of camera set to 1/2 @14mm with a 1/2 CTB to give a little background separation.  Both Flashes triggered by the Nikon SU-800 Speedlight Commander unit from the Cameras Hot shoe)

One of the fewer known awards at this event is the Student Scholarship winner, Shelly shown above.  As of the time of this writing I don’t know how much the scholarship is for, but I know it’s ranged between $2500 and $8,000 in the past thanks to sponsors.  Shelly’s story was one of the few that I actually heard someone read to me, and I fully and whole heartedly know why she received this honor.  Her Husband was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and during his time in and out of hospitals she was nothing but blown away by the loving care that all of the Nurses provided for her husband.  In fact he even commented as to how she would make a wonderful nurse.  Unfortunately her husband didn’t make it, leaving her and their two children behind.  She soon decided to take that jump back to school that he and her had spoken about; to become a Nurse.  Her eyes lit up when we made the announcement about her award, and that’s one of the things that makes this one of the best projects I work on.  Seeing something like this affect the lives of the people who affect so many in so many thankless ways.  It really is a great thing to be a part of.  Lots of photos that I take will be on billboards, posters, websites, and even in magazines throughout the next year and each time I look at them I don’t see the photos I took in the time I had with these wonderful people.  I think of their stories and how they got there, and I think of how honored I was to be able to help tell their story to the world.  More Soon.