Mike Yoder (Chief Photographer)
I grew up in Kansas City, MO, where I attended Grandview High School.
I received a bachelor's degree in communication from Goshen College, IN. in 1978. Since I had earned an FCC radio license in school and spun actual records for a late night radio music show I initially considered a radio career. Instead, a photo internship at the Elkhart Truth newspaper in Elkhart, IN. convinced me to pursue a career in photojournalism. I choose Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, David Letterman's alma mater. Prior to completing my master's degree in journalism however, my first wife and I formed a bluegrass band and with 2 other musicians and toured Europe for six weeks with a folk dance troupe. In 1983 I received my degree and with a portfolio of photographs in hand I started looking for a job. Several months later I was offered a staff photography position at the Journal-World.
In my spare time I play guitar and sing with two area acoustic bands, The Alferd Packer Memorial String Band and Three Bean Salad. With the two bands I've recorded six albums of music and traveled extensively throughout the state to perform. I've even been know to write songs for the bands from time to time and managed to win a couple first place songwriting awards at the annual Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, KS. You can sometimes find my on long-distant bicycle rides. I've done the Bike Across Kansas two times, a four-day bike ride through the Black Hills of South Dakota twice and a recent Cottonwood 200 spin through the Flint Hills. In 2008 I married Karen Seibel, a long-time Lawrence resident and local yoga instructor. We live in an 1880's house in Old East Lawrence and have been re-modeling and slowly bringing the house back to shape. We have three cats, two cars, one screened porch and tons of books. We enjoy traveling and then creating books from our trips. Currently we have self-published books on trips to South Dakota, the Sandhill Crane country in Nebraska and the hot springs area of New Mexico. In 2007 I published a book celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Vinland Fair in Douglas County after spending nearly 25 years documenting the community event.
- Behind the Lens: When photos require a higher perspective
- February 16, 2014
- After a long and happy relationship, I recently had to give up my 1996 Toyota RAV. It was a super vehicle and a surprisingly great creative device for my photography.
- Behind the Lens: Outside perspective sparks creativity
- February 2, 2014
- The New Jersey Press Association asked our photo staff to judge its state’s newspaper photography contest for 2013. Ten photo categories, including, sports and portraits, comprising about 1,000 photographs, were reviewed. While looking at the images, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Dorothy’s famous line, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
- Behind the Lens: Planning for the perfect photo op
- January 19, 2014
- I was standing in the balcony of the House of Representatives, just above the Speaker’s chair where Gov. Brownback would give his State of the State address, when a nearby photographer mentioned the importance of luck in getting good photographs.
- Behind the Lens: Cold-weather photo becomes a hot-ticket item for other newspapers
- January 12, 2014
- Like the shy, quiet child who surprises you with an over-the-top performance in a school play, some photographs can surprise you with their moment in the spotlight. A recent photograph of mine did just that, going viral within 24 hours.
- Behind the Lens: Books for the shutterbug
- December 15, 2013
- If you’re not that knowledgeable about what photography-related gifts to get your favorite shutterbug, a safe alternative can be books. Here’s a short list of potential stocking-stuffers
- Behind the Lens: Know your rights as a photographer
- September 1, 2013
- I’ve been asked recently about photographing people in public places. Should photographers ask permission before taking the photograph?
- Behind the Lens: Focusing on fast-moving subjects
- August 4, 2013
- Learning to use auto-focus lock can lead to more control over your point of focus and provide more creative framing techniques.
- Behind the Lens: Tips to limit overexposure
- July 21, 2013
- Simplifying the picture-taking process has led to some common operator errors. Over the next several columns I will address a few of these issues and describe some solutions.
- Behind the Lens: Go with the flow of your photo subject
- July 7, 2013
- To quote a line from the movie “The Truman Show,” “We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.” That’s appropriate for photojournalists.
- Behind the Lens: Framing can turn boring photos into good ones
- June 2, 2013
- Because a photograph can only be a one-dimensional representation of a subject, many photographs tend to look flat and lack dimension and depth. A creative visual device to overcome this problem is to incorporate elements in your scene that fill empty space or add content around your subject.