Photography And A Craft Project

I take a lot of photos at events. It is all part of small town news writing. I once realized being a photographer has some of the same benefits of being a super hero. Some of the same complexities too.

being a news photographer gets me access to places that I sometimes would be forbidden. This can come in the form of an automatic free access pass, or people who see the camera, recognize me, and wave me to wherever I want to go.

People also often get excited when they know a news photographer is around, and some things I do (such as take photos of complete strangers) are very awkward, but everyone acts like it’s normal, even though a random stranger on the street wouldn’t get such a warm welcome.

At the same time, there are those who distrust, and think there must be some agenda behind my photos. Either that or they just do not like photos. Then there are the archenemies…

Honestly, I just wanted to use an analogy for my job, and super hero was the first thing that came to mind. But in reality, being a photographer makes you think differently about events.

When you are trying to get a specific photo, you can’t help but notice that when the graduates at the front of the room are shaking hands with the superintendent, their faces are hidden by their shoulder, or that while the person standing in front of you in a concert is enjoying themselves, they keep blocking your shots when they raise their arms above their heads in cheer, or any number of things that might not be noticed by someone just enjoying themselves at an event.

Nobody plans an event to make it easier on the photographer, unless they spent a lot of money on the photographer, and things that are exciting to a bystandard, like a light show, are a nuisance or an opportunity to someone trying to get the perfect shot.

Sometimes, a really exceptional photo is just beyond a person’s opportunity or ability, and in those times, the photos that end up in the paper end up plain and familiar.

On the other hand, sometimes the stars align, and put the photographer in exactly the right place for a shot they really enjoy personally, and those times make it all worthwhile.

Jesse Triplet, Collective Soul guitarist gets up close and personal for a solo. Photo by Travis Grimler

Did I mention I love my job?

For more great Moondance Jam Photos, visit


Now, as bonus content, I have a treat for all you concert goers out there. Have you ever looked at your concert wristband after the show and felt sad that it wasn’t reusable for something?

Now at the completion of this year’s Moondance Jam in Northern Minnesota, I thought it would be a great time to show my readers how to turn their EXPIRED festival wrist band into jewelry that can be taken on and off at will. For those ne’er-do-wells out there that sought this tutorial as a way to cheat the venue, no, the bracelet will not pass inspection by the people at the gate so don’t be a jerk.

For starters, you need this kind of wristband.

Not this kind.

And what are called snap fasteners. You can find them in almost any craft store. There are a variety of types, but you should get what are called “prong snap fasteners”. They have a very small nub that on one side that fits into a hole in the other. You could get a fastener that looks like those found on jeans, but then you would have a one size bracelet. Using the smaller ones means you can make the wristband wider or narrower to fit different wrists. Enough of my rambling, here they are.

They should cost about $5 or less in most places.

The first step is to remove the bracelet without damaging the key components. This is very important. DO NOT RIP THE PLASTIC!!

Don’t do this!

Doing so will either ruin the bracelet, or shorten it so much you will never be able to wear it (which might not be a big deal if you are giving it to someone with small wrists as a gift). You must find some way of removing the bracelet without shortening it. Breaking the button is perhaps the best way. I use a pair of pliers with a wire cutter.

You note how the pliers have a wire cutting notch. The button fits nicely in this notch, just be sure not to catch any of the plastic. Once you are sure you have the button and only the button, squeeze the pliers slowly but firmly, watching to make sure the button breaks without tearing the bracelet.

Broken button with plastic intact.

Once the button is removed you should have something that looks like this. I like to go for something neutral like silver or black buttons, but you can get “prettier” colors to suit someone as a gift, or to match your wrist band.

Note that there are various holes up and down the length of the bracelet ranging from the thickness of a baseball bat down to small enough to fit a baby, and one in the business end. The one on the business end isn’t too important.

Now, take the business end. The “female” side of our snap will go on the small flap, the “male” will go on the opposite side. This makes it easier to put on later.. Take the male end of the snap, and the back of the snap (make sure the male end is pointing the right direction.) Line up the prongs so the hole is centered.

I would actually suggest pushing the prongs through the plastic just a bit by hand, possibly into some card board or plastic. This guarantees it is started.

Now, use a pair of pliers “or a snap fastener tool” to push the two pieces together and to bend the prongs enough to keep everything together. If using pliers, work your way around the outside or you might crush the “nub”.

If you got it right, now the only trick is doing the same thing to the other side. (Beware, if you use pliers and snap fasteners with plastic “jewels”, you might crack the jewel.) Your end product should look something like this.

You can tighten or loosen the wrist band as much as you like and you can take it on or off as often as you like with no ripping.

An example why you shouldn’t rip the wrist band off. Look how tight it can be.

When you aren’t wearing it, this product is also a great book mark.

If you wear it while reading, you won’t lose it.
The snap keeps the marker from sliding out of the book.


If you are very fancy, you might not like the rough cut edges on your wrist bands. You can round them out with a simple rounded corner punch which can be found in many office shops.

Just start with a straight cut (remember not to shorten it more than you absolutely have to). Then punch the corners so they round out.

Some bracelets are actually made of a couple layers of plastic laminated together around the edges.

Cutting them results in an open space between the two layers. If this bugs you, you can also fix this if you are careful. You need to use either adhesive or heat to seal the ends. Superglue is a good option for adhesive, but it can be messy. Alternately, you can use a soldering iron or a clothing iron to seal the plastic together with heat. However, if you screw this up, you might ruin the bracelet entirely. Luckily, these types of bracelets are less common. Unfortunately, the old style was likely more resilient

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