Blog #10

Photo Essay

A Hard Days Work

By Juan Mendoza-Tovar

Miguel Mendoza stands at the top of his ladder on March 5, 2018 at Jefferies Orchard in Peshastin, Wash.

It’s 30 degrees in Peshastin, Wash. and for this time of the year, it’s warm. The snow has began to melt as Miguel Mendoza shows up for another days work. He’s greeted with the familiar tracks left behind by deer the night before and the sounds of the quiet wind. It’s pruning season which means there will probably only be one other worker out in the orchard along with him.

For the months of December through March orchards all around the Wenatchee Valley and the state of Washington, just like the one Mendoza works at, are in pruning season. This means it’s time to get the trees ready for the upcoming harvest. Any given day, these orchardists could be working on various things. Sure, there is consistency… until there isn’t.

Miguel Mendoza uses a pair of clippers to cut through an overgrown branch on March 5, 2018 at Jefferies Orchard in Peshastin, Wash.

For most jobs, the weather doesn’t play too much of a factor of whether or not you’ll go to work or not. However, for the agriculture workers in the deeply rooted fruit orchards that surround a large part of Central Washington, weather is key.


First step, check outside.


If there’s rain, then there’s no work. While these men and women may work in wild conditions, the rain is never okay. Ladders can get (and will get) slippery and that is too much of a dangerous game to play.


Miguel Mendoza’s face peeks through the top of a pear tree on March 5, 2018 at Jefferies Orchard in Peshastin, Wash.

No rain today.


Instead, there is little snow and there is a small glimmer of sun that hits the rows of trees. Mendoza walks around his next tree. It’s a pear tree desperately needing attention. Its branches are overgrown and are beginning to wrap around its neighboring tree.


“Take a glance at how this looks before,” Mendoza says. “Give me 20-30 minutes and this tree will look ready for the spring.”


He begins from the bottom of the tree, quickly looking over all the branches. If he seems anything unfit, then it gets cut, simple as that. He’s no newcomer to this, for almost 30 years Mendoza has worked on these trees in many orchards, not just this one.


“It’s wherever we’re needed,” he says. “One week I may be in Peshastin and the other I could be working in Wenatchee, it just depends.”

A pair of clippers hangs on a branch on March 5, 2018 at Jefferies Orchard in Peshastin, Wash.

That is how it works for pickers and pruners and mostly everyone in the world of agriculture. Since tree fruits are the one of the most essential influences on the economy in the Wenatchee Valley, hundreds of workers call this area home for the spring and summer.


Mendoza was once one of these workers as well. In his first few years of work after coming to the United States from Mexico, he came alone to work and make an income for his growing family.

Miguel Mendoza has to prepare for the cold every morning before going to work at the Jefferies Orchard in Peshastin, Wash. 

“After a few years of going back and forth, we were able to find a place to live and finally get us all together,” he says.


His story is like many: an immigrant chasing the American dream.


For him, the orchards have become a way of life. This is no easy job, but as long as the trees blossom in the spring, he’ll be just fine.


Blog #9

Some More of My Favorite Pictures


The Kodiaks went undefeated until their final two games last season, when they finished fourth at the WIAA 1A State Soccer Championships. This photo was from their first round of state, which they got to host. My brother is the goalie.

This is my nephew Adrian and niece Ana, I think the cuteness speaks for itself.


Flowers, yes of course. I just really liked the deep red that was on the flowers.


Ugh my parents, bless their souls I don’t know how they raised our huge family. This is my favorite picture of them because it was totally in the moment and adorable.


Last, but not least once again Adrian. He is the cutest kid out there and I think he knows it haha.

Blog #8

In-Class Feature


The in-class feature hunt was actually pretty fun. Sometimes I feel like I work better under pressure so this assignment really catered to my work ethic. I was lucky to run into Alexandra Gilsrude shortly after leaving class. She fit the perfect mold and I was able to ask her if I could take her photo for a class because she fit the mold of the assignment. I continued to take more photos, but ultimately chose this photo because it fit the assignment best.

Ps. So glad it was sunny during the assignment, because otherwise it would have been so difficult.

Blog #7

Photo Illustration

I chose to illustrate the current state of college athletics. The big question of if college athletes should be getting paid has cause a lot of drama. College athletes are doubtedly some of the most underappreciated people around. They make an enormous amount of revenue for schools, while getting none back. There is also a lot of controversy over agents paying athletes to encourage them to choose a university over another. The FBI has recently uncovered hundreds of players in the top college programs in the country that have accepted money to play somewhere. I also made a different illustration, but I couldn’t get it to save correctly. It will be on my blog tho. Overall, I thought this was a pretty cool assignment.

College Money 2



Blog #6

My Favorite Photos

I chose to feature some of my favorite photos from over the years. I used to use my camera a lot more and I wish I could get into it more, but I think the main reason I did so much more back then was because I got to take pictures of my friends. Hope you enjoy!

There should be captions on the photos!

Blog #5

Honest Emotion – Relationship Photos

This was a pretty cool assignment because I feel as though it’s much easier to catch people in the moment. One thing that’s important to note is that I had to use my friends camera and doing so I forgot to check the date and time, so you will notice that they don’t match but I promise they were all taken in the time frame. I also had to use the same far lens that I used for my last assignment so working in such tight spaces was a little difficult, but I feel as though I made the best with the situation.

relationship-mendoza-01Sarah Fleming (left) and Eliot Tole (right) enjoy a nice early morning conversation at their local Starbucks in Bellingham, Wash on Thursday Feb. 15, 2018. The two were headed to work shorty after.


Audrey Orem, a senior at Western Washington University takes a break from a phone call after just hearing a joke from her mom as she heads through Red Square on the WWU campus in Bellingham, Wash on Tuesday Feb. 13. 2018.


Blog #4


I had a really hard time with this assignment. With the camera difficulties, lack of time and just overall stress I had a hard time creating these photos. Overall I still felt like I produced pretty solid photos that show the three different types of photos.
My favorite ones to take were the ones of Katie and her dog Bleu, and he was just so cute.
It was also more difficult because the lens I had to use was for 55-250 mm use.

Blur-Mendoza-02Western Washington University takes on Simon Fraser in a men’s basketball game Tuesday Feb. 6, 2018 on WECU Court at Carver Gym in Bellingham, Wash. The Vikings won 86-64.

Blur-Mendoza-01Western Washington University guard Tyler Payne dribbles by a Simon Fraser defender in a men’s basketball game Tuesday Feb. 6, 2018 on WECU Court at Carver Gym in Bellingham, Wash. The Vikings won 86-64.

Pan-Mendoza-01A biker heads full speed through Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham, Wash on Sunday Feb. 11, 2018.

Pan-Mendoza-02Western Washington University guard Tyler Payne flies by the Simon Fraser defense in a GNAC men’s basketball game on Feb. 6, 2018 on WECU Court at Carver Gym in Bellingham, Wash. The Vikings won 86-64.

Stop-Mendoza-01Katie Kummerle, 20, plays with her dog Bleu at Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham, Wash on Sunday Feb. 11, 2018.


Bleu (right) jumps through his owner’s, Katie Kummerle, arms at Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham, Wash on Sunday Feb. 11, 2018. Bleu was treated to fun snack after his trick.

Environmental Portraits

This was a really fun assignment. I liked being able to go into someone’s environment and take pictures of them. With Paul, I learned so much from all the memorabilia in his office. Every little thing had a story which was super entertaining and overall just fun to know. He is very proud of all of the accomplishments that WWU has and it showed. Working with office lighting wasn’t great, but I feel like I made it work. I also felt like the lighting in Annie’s room was really good. I asked to turn on the lamp and it was night and day. Overall, I feel like I captured them in their element pretty well.



PAULWestern Washington University Athletics Historian Paul Madison holds a photo from the original Carver Gym at his office in Bellingham, Wash. on Wednesday, January 31, 2018. Madison has worked for the Western Athletics Department for more than 50 years.



Annie Smoots takes a quick break from homework at her apartment in Bellingham, Wash. on Wednesday January 31, 2018.


Blog Post #2

Icebreaker Assignment

I had a really hard time with this assignment. I found myself feeling very awkward and not confident enough to approach strangers in the community. However, with that I do believe it’s always good to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I also didn’t know how to ask the people in my photos to pose or smile because I didn’t want to make them any more uncomfortable than I already was. For the most part, people were nice and said yes but there was about two-or-three who pretended to not hear me or just avoid me, so that was weird.

Overall, it was a pretty solid and productive assignment that I feel like I learned a lot from. I also think it will help me as I go forward with new assignments.


Nadine Musekuu, 23, stops to take a photo at the downtown Bellingham, Wash. bus station before heading home to finish packing. “We just did some last minute shopping and I’m just really excited to go on our trip,” she said. (Photo by Juan Mendoza)

Haley Morris, 21, poses for a picture while waiting for a bus at a downtown Bellingham, Wash. bus station. “My favorite part of the week will be going on a trip tomorrow,” she said. (Photo by Juan Mendoza)
Faith Owens, 22, cracks a smile while waiting for her bus at the downtown Bellingham, Wash. bus station. “I really enjoy the days which I have time to sit down and have a relaxing breakfast,” she said. “It makes the whole day and week so much better.” (Photo by Juan Mendoza)
Stedman Knox, 20, stands alongside one of the new concession stands at Carver Gymnasium on Western Washington University’s campus in Bellingham, Wash.. “Honestly, my favorite part of the day is having lunch with my main man Dan,” he said. (Photo by Juan Mendoza)
Daniel Sonnichsen, 21, tries to stay warm on a cold rainy day in Bellingham, Wash.. “I don’t usually like the rain,” he said. “But today, I just feel like staying in and being cozy is what will make my day.” (Photo by Juan Mendoza)

The Iconic Life of Walter Iooss

You may have never heard of the name Walter Iooss, actually I hadn’t until about a week ago either. However, after doing a little research on this man if you’re a sports fan it’s hard to say you’ve never seen his work…

In his storied career he has worked with some of the most famous athletes, celebrities and models, including the likes of Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, Kate Upton, Morgan Freeman and Serena Williams to name a few. My inner sports-fan would kill to meet any one of the athletes mentioned, and for Iooss it’s just another day at the office.


For the past 51 years, Walter Iooss has attended and shot every single one. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, whom he’s worked with for most of his career, he said “I’ve never watched the game on television, I’ve had one of the most unique experiences in sports.” I’d agree.


The real joy of photography is these moments. I’m always looking for freedom, the search for the one-on-one. That’s when your instincts come out. I’ve been lucky enough to have people hire me to do that. Sports Illustrated never really restricts me. They want me to do what I do. It’s the discovery. It’s still magic.” 

-Walter Iooss