freelance editorial, commercial, photographer + videographer

Daily Grind

Portrait of an innocent man


Henry McCollum spent more than three decades on North Carolina’s death row for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. MCollum is found freedom after investigators linked DNA at the crime scene to a Robeson County man serving life for a similar rape murder. Read More about the investigation here.

Read about McCollum’s exoneration here.



Read the New York Times Story here:


What a day: N.C.’s Moral Monday in review

Thousands marched from in North Carolina’s Capital from Halifax Mall to Fayetteville Street to hear a fiery speech delivered by N.C. NAACP President William Barber II during the final “Moral Monday” demonstration of the N.C. legislative session. Watch a highlight video by News & Observer staff photojournalist Travis Long who covered the majority of Moral Monday and related demonstrations for the The News & Observer.

Gubernatorial Inauguration

I can’t remember the last time I had a six column photo on 1A:


Conventioneers offer impressions of Charlotte and the DNC

DNC delegates and conventioneers share what they like about Charlotte and what impresses them the most.

Travis Long
Mika Chance
Jeffrey Sholar
Laura-Chase McGehee

Legendary club demolished

Staff and regular bar patrons watch as the The Brewery, a legendary local live music venue was leveled Tuesday, August 2, 2011 to make way for a drug store, parking deck and apartments on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, NC..

Stills: Travis Long and Takaaki Iwabu
Video: Travis Long
Editing: Travis Long and Takaaki Iwabu
Music: Ryan Adams “My Heart Is Broken” live at The Brewery October 21, 1999

Joyride in an F-15E

Air Force Capt. Michael Jokhy of the 333rd Fighter Squadron and News & Observer photojournalist Travis Long take you inside the cockpit of a 50 million dollar F-15E Strike Eagle based at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, NC. The F-15E Strike Eagle is a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

Airborne With Stunt Rider Kenny Steinke

Professional freestyle motocross rider Kenny Steinke of Melbourne, Fla. performs aerial stunts during the King Action Sports Stunt Show during the 2010 North Carolina State Fair.

Footage and editing: Travis Long

Cameras: Go Pro Hero and Canon 5D Mark II

Innocence Panel Sets Greg Taylor Free

A three judge panel votes unanimously to undo Greg Taylor’s 1993 conviction for the murder of Jacquetta Thomas, a prostitute in Southeast Raleigh. Their decision exonerates Taylor and releases him from a term of life in prison after 17 years.

Footage: Travis Long, pool
Editing: Travis Long

Update – May 21, 2010: Governor pardons Greg Taylor

Oh, High Tech Night…

Each Christmas, Denny Cole of Cary, N.C. spends months preparing his house with 3000 feet of wire and 17,000 lights set to music in an elaborate digital synchronized light show.

Footage and editing: Travis Long

Legislators Face Off NASCAR-Style

North Carolina state legislators face off in the Pit Crew Challenge with members of the Red Bull pit crew team at the state legislature building.

Footage and editing: Travis Long


In recognition of Bike to Work Week, I put together a stop motion of my daily 3.6 mile bicycle commute from my home in east Raleigh to The News & Observer in downtown Raleigh set to “Black Mags” by The Cool Kids.

All images were made with a Canon 5D mounted to my bicycle with a Bogen Magic Arm and triggered by an intervalometer. Ambient sound is from a shotgun mic mounted to the bicycle frame.

Footage and editing: Travis Long.
Additional footage: Vanessa Van Horn.
Music: “Black Mags” The Cool Kids.

Paperhand Puppet Intervention

From the inside of an aging gymnasium in rural Saxapahaw, NC, puppeteers breathe life into recycled materials to build giant puppets, masks, shadows and silhouettes.

Paperhand Puppet Intervention, founded a decade ago by Donovan Zimmerman and Jan Burger, is a group of puppeteers and musicians who specialize in making whimsical creatures ranging from a sun mask the size of a basketball goal to shadow puppets the size of a fingernail.

“We tend toward the fantastical,” Burger says. “But we’re inspired by the natural world and the things we see around us. … We’ll see an old guy walking down the road and I’ll say, ‘I’d love to make a mask of somebody with a face like that’.”

Footage and editing: Travis Long

The Legislature in 30 Seconds

A video montage of the North Carolina House and the Senate as they gavel in a short session.

Footage and editing: Travis Long, Ted Richardson
Music: “Possesive,” YACHT, ASCAP

Colleague Ted Richardson and I were assigned to make a video of the first day of the NC legislative session.


Sorry, I get sleepy just thinking about it. This was Ted’s first day in the new video rotation and I didn’t want him to get a bad taste in his mouth right out of the gate. We decided to keep the video short and sweet with quick cuts and some sped up clips. I focused on long sustained wide shots and Ted keyed in on details.

I called my wife and asked her to scour our iTunes playlist for a 30 second ASCAP song that was fun with lots of beats I could easlily edit to. She suggested “Possesive” by Y.A.C.H.T. and sent it to me via ftp.

We used the fit to fill function in FCP to speed up clips and match them to the beat by setting in and out points on the sequence where we wanted the clips to sync up.

Inside the Cockpit of an AT-6 Texan

Fly with News & Observer staff writer Josh Shaffer during an aerobatic demonstration of an AT-6 Texan. Its predecessor, the T-6, was used to train fighter pilots during Word War II. The flight was hosted by History Flight, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of World War II aircraft.

Footage: Travis Long, History Flight
Editing: Travis Long

Technical: Onboard flight footage recorded to VHS, dubbed to Mini DV and captured in Final Cut Pro. Ground footage and interviews: Canon XH A1.

Obama Campaigns in Greensboro, NC

One of more than a dozen videos produced for during the 2008 democratic primary.

Footage and editing: Travis Long

Top Hat & The Time Machine

A stop animation of the installation of a skyscraper spire in downtown Raleigh

Footage and editing: Travis Long

This morning Shawn Rocco and I rose before dawn to photograph a high rise being adorned with a new top hat, a 60 foot 11,000 pound steel spire. The 33-story RBC Plaza is now the tallest building in Raleigh.

For this assignment I attempted my first time-lapse using my still camera mounted on a tripod and a handy little intervalometer gadget called the Time Machine.

With its LCD display, giant buttons and beigeware aesthetics, the Time Machine appears as though it ripped through the time continuum straight from 1988. I won’t bore you with all its geeky functions, (check out the website for all the nitty gritty) but I can think of a half dozen quick little projects you could do with this thing.

I set up Time Machine to shoot 1 second intervals and and let it rip for 650 plus exposures and zoomed and changed lenses to add a little visual variety. I used Quicktime Pro to export a sequence of all the photos as an .mov file. I collected a few minutes of ambient sound at the base of the building which I combined with the .mov in Final Cut Pro. I toned the entire sequence with 3-way color correction in FCP rather than using a Photoshop action to add conistent contrast to the images more efficiently.

Total post production time? Let’s just say it took me longer to write this post.

Relocating a Hive

Tree experts and beekeepers relocate a bee colony containing more than 50,000 honey bees from an oak tree more than 100-years-old.

Footage and editing: Travis Long

Hogway Speedway

Pig, duck and goat racing at the North Carolina State Fair. Need I say more?

Carrboro Wiener Dog Day

Carrboro (NC) Wiener Dog Day draws together hundreds of eccentric dachshunds and their owners annually.

Footage and editing: Travis Long

No Ordinary Day

“No Ordinary Day” is a visual diary of the events, both large and small, that serve as milestones in people’s lives. The black and white photo column was published weekly in The News & Observer from 2003 to 2007 and was shared by colleague Takaaki Iwabu and myself. It was a celebration of the struggles, triumphs and tears we experience as we travel from birth to death. Our goal was to document moments in time that might otherwise have been missed; sometimes it’s the tiniest incident in one’s life that has the most profound effect.