the 2015 alpha-1 national education conference

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Alphas listen to speakers during the National Education Conference.

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Dr. Charlie Strange greets Alphas during the National Education Conference.

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Dr. Robert Sandhaus greets Alphas during the National Education Conference.

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A young adult Alphas group meets during the National Education Conference.

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A panel of liver experts speaks during the National Education Conference.

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Dr. Richard Casaburi speaks during the National Education Conference.

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Genetic counselor Kim Brown speaks during the National Education Conference.

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Alpha-1 Project director Jean-Marc Quach talks with Dr. Robert Sandhaus.

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A Marilyn Monroe impersonator entertains Alphas during closing ceremonies.

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Alpha-1 Foundation co-founder, president and CEO John Walsh speaks during the closing ceremonies of the 2015 Alpha-1 National Education Conference.

I photographed the 24th annual Alpha-1 National Education Conference at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Anaheim, California on July 24-26, 2015.

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a genetic condition in which the body does not make enough of a protein that protects the lungs and liver from severe damage. The condition can lead to emphysema and liver disease, often before age 40.

Symptoms of Alpha-1 lung disease include shortness of breath, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and wheezing. There is no cure for Alpha-1 and the only treatment is a weekly IV infusion of the missing alpha-1 antitrypsin protein.

Augmentation therapy has been shown to reduce the rate of declining lung function, however it is not a treatment for Alpha-1 liver disease.

Instead, health care practitioners concentrate on treating the symptoms of Alpha-1 liver disease by instructing patients to get regular blood and liver tests. Patients are also advised to avoid smoking and alcohol, as well as eating a balanced diet, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight. If an Alpha-1 patient develops severe scarring of the liver (or cirrhosis), a liver transplant is usually their only option.

Despite the grim diagnosis of Alpha-1, the patients, the families, the physicians and the administrative staff at the conference were warm and outgoing people.

More than 500 people attended the conference. Several speakers, including pulmonary specialists, professors of medicine, genetic researchers, internists, gastroenterologists, physiologists and pharmaceutical reps spoke about the latest medical trials, breakthroughs and treatments available to Alpha-1 patients.

-scott weaver

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a photo shoot with k-state’s akela jones

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Recently, I photographed Akela Jones who won the NCAA 2015 Division I heptathlon in Eugene, Oregon on June 11, 2015. The K-State junior from Barbados scored 4,023 points during day one competition to smash the old record of 3,942 points set by Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1985. Jones finished with 6,371 points. It was just the second heptathlon of her collegiate career.

For Akela’s portrait, I lit her with three White Lightning X1600 flash units: a key light with a large umbrella directly in front of her and two kickers with medium softboxes on either side of her. Also, I placed a medium-sized gold reflector behind her as the symbolic representation of a gold medal since Akela is an Olympic hopeful for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

-scott weaver

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krav maga: 2nd brown belt

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One brown belt cost me $18.00 at Old Navy but the other brown belt cost me three months of intense training including bruised ribs and a bruised right quadricep.

Patty and I joined a martial arts studio in the summer of 2013 to learn Krav Maga, an Israeli military self-defense system that mixes techniques from boxing, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Although Krav Maga students try to avoid confrontation, we are taught skills to finish a fight quickly with vicious attacks to the most vulnerable parts of the body including the face, throat, ribs and groin.

This belt test was the toughest one yet. Our instructors pushed us through a four hour class. We had to perform different choke defenses, headlock ground defenses and arm bar submissions. We also did some light sparring to demonstrate several kickboxing combinations of punches, elbows, body blows and knees.

We passed our test on June 20. Now, we’re working towards our 1st red belts.

-scott weaver

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a photo shoot with k-state’s justin edwards

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K-State’s Justin Edwards goes airborne during a photo shoot for the men’s basketball media guide cover in Manhattan, Kansas on June 19, 2015.

-scott weaver

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from the archives #9

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The Colorado Rapids’ Nat Borchers and Kansas City Wizards’ Josh Wolff compete for a head ball in Kansas City, Missouri on September 25, 2004.

The popularity of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup made me think of the two seasons I covered Major League Soccer for Icon Sports Media in 2003-04.

Icon Sports Media, now Icon Sportswire, is a photojournalism wire service founded in 1999 that provides daily sports images to major national and international publications, books, websites, and major advertising campaigns.

When I shot the match between the Colorado Rapids and the Kansas City Wizards (renamed Sporting Kansas City in 2010) at Arrowhead Stadium on September 25, 2004, I set up on the sideline near midfield. As I covered the action, the Rapids’ Nat Borchers and the Wizards’ Josh Wolff came together for a head ball. Borchers tried to block Wolff and grabbed a handful of his jersey. While they battled for position, Wolff’s jersey was pulled over his head. The play made an interesting image.

Ten years later, both men are still with Major League Soccer. Nat Borchers plays for the Portland Timbers and Josh Wolff is an assistant coach for Columbus Crew.

-scott weaver

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The ROAR of the Jacksonville Jaguars

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Recently, I photographed Claire, a former dancer with the Kansas State Classy Cats, who is now a professional cheerleader for The ROAR of the Jacksonville Jaguars. She graduated with an accounting degree in May 2015 and her first game with The ROAR will be against the Pittsburgh Steelers in EverBank Field on August 14, 2015.

For Claire’s portrait, we shot in the main tunnel at K-State’s Bramlage Coliseum in front of its huge, rolling steel door. It provided a cool, neutral backdrop against Claire’s uniform. I lit her with four White Lightning X1600 flash units: a key light with a large umbrella directly in front of her, two kickers with medium softboxes on either side of her, and a background light with a 10 degree grid on the door.

-scott weaver

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the 2015 lawrence busker fest

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Jamey Mossengren jumps his unicycle over a volunteer at Busker Fest.

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The USA Break Dancers perform on New Hampshire Street at Busker Fest.

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The Voler Thieves of Flight display their aerial acrobatics at Busker Fest.

I photographed the 7th annual Busker Fest in Lawrence, Kansas on May 31, 2015. The three day event featured dozens of street performers, comics, dancers, escape artists, sword swallowers, magicians, fire eaters, jugglers, acrobats and musicians.

The word “busk” comes from the Spanish word “buscar” which means “to seek” because buskers seek fame and fortune. Buskers are also known as troubadours.

Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Sting have been known to busk in disguise.

-scott weaver

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the 2015 big 12 baseball championship

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Baylor’s Adam Toth catches a foul ball against TCU during the Big 12 Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field on May 20, 2015.

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K-State’s Jake Wodtke leaps over Oklahoma’s Anthony Hermelyn during the Big 12 Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field on May 20, 2015.

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West Virginia’s Ross Vance pitches against Oklahoma during the Big 12 Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field on May 21, 2015.

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West Virginia’s Chad Donato operates a television camera against Oklahoma during the Big 12 Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field on May 21, 2015.

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Texas’ Tres Barrera celebrates his walk-off single against Baylor during the Big 12 Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field on May 21, 2015.

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K-State and Oklahoma State compete during the Big 12 Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 21, 2015.

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Texas Tech’s Michael Davis reaches for a ground ball against Baylor during the Big 12 Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field on May 22, 2015.

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K-State’s Corey Fischer pitches against Oklahoma during the Big 12 Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field on May 22, 2015.

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K-State’s Tyler Wolfe dives for a ground ball against Oklahoma during the Big 12 Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field on May 22, 2015.

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Oklahoma’s dives for a ground ball against Oklahoma State during the Big 12 Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field on May 23, 2015.

I covered the Big 12 Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 20-24, 2015. Texas defeated Oklahoma State 6-3 to win the championship.

-scott weaver

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the 2015 big 12 outdoor track and field championship

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K-State’s Joslyn Barnes competes in the heptathlon 100 meter hurdles during the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 15, 2015.

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K-State’s Adam Deterding competes in the decathlon long jump during the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 15, 2015.

Texas’ Johannes Hock competes in the decathlon shot put during the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 15, 2015.

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K-State’s Adam Deterding competes in the decathlon 400 meter run during the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 15, 2015.

Baylor’s Chase Hood competes in the men’s pole vault during the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 15, 2015.

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K-State’s Ivan Hartung hugs his coach after the preliminaries of the men’s javelin during the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 15, 2015.

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K-State’s Christoff Bryan competes in the men’s high jump during the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 16, 2015.

Baylor’s Cion Hicks competes in the women’s shot put during the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 16, 2015.

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K-State’s Kimberly Williamson takes a selfie after winning the women’s high jump during the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 17, 2015.

Kansas’ Michael Stigler competes in the men’s 400 hurdles during the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 17, 2015.

I shot the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship in Ames, Iowa on May 15-17, 2015. The University of Texas’ women and men won the team titles.

-scott weaver

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krav maga: 1st brown belt

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Patty shows off her bruises and new brown belt from months of hard work.

Patty and I joined a martial arts studio in the summer of 2013 to learn Krav Maga, an Israeli military self-defense system that mixes techniques from boxing, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Although Krav Maga students try to avoid confrontation, we are taught skills to finish a fight quickly with vicious attacks to the most vulnerable parts of the body including the face, throat, ribs and groin.

For our brown belt test this semester, we had to perform different ground defenses including a standing arm bar and triangle choke. We also had to demonstrate several kickboxing combinations of punches, elbows, body blows and knees.

This belt test was the toughest one yet, much more demanding than our green belt test. Our instructors pushed us through a three hour class that completely exhausted us. Then, before we could catch our breath, they ran us through a conditioning workout of push-ups, sit-ups, burpees and mountain climbers.

We passed our test on March 28. Now, we’re working towards our 2nd brown belts.

-scott weaver

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