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Monthly Archives: January 2010

I can see the light!

7 years, 6 months ago Uncategorized 0

day304 :: year three

While this mess has since been cleaned up (mostly) and the paper handed in (I got an A-), it pretty well illustrates how my semester has been (and continues to be).

Right now I’m waiting for 162 RAW files to process to place into a time-lapse of contra dancing. I hope it works. I’ve never done a time-lapse before. I’ve also never done an audio slideshow this in-depth before. Sadly, I’ve done stories before, and this project isn’t really turning out to be one.

I don’t know why I’m getting so worried about this project. Maybe because I feel that a final project should be stellar. Or maybe because I’m just a perfectionist and can’t settle for handing in a “draft.” I took a look at a previous project some by some convergence students – which I didn’t want to see, but now I’m glad I did – and even in it’s baby stage, my project just looks better and sounds better. Maybe not better, per-se, but cleaner for sure. (Okay, I’m going to be honest. It’s way better.)

What I need is an editor. Thank goodness we have a work day tomorrow in class. I hope to get some feedback on the photos and perhaps some of the audio bits too. I’ve edited down a few nice chunks that I can play. Maybe I just need one more point of view about the dancing. Saturday’s it. Crunch time, last dance before the due date.

(I think I can, I think I can, I think I can … )

day307 :: year three

(one of my favorite photos from the second shoot.)

APME 2009: We came, we saw, we covered.

7 years, 6 months ago Uncategorized 0

Last week seems like a blur.

One minute I was running around my apartment making sure I had A. enough clothes and B. all my photography equipment while trying to finish up a Fundamentals project, go to class, attend meetings and apply for next semester assistanships. [more on the Fundamentals project later.]

Then I found myself driving out to St. Louis, checking into the hotel, and starting coverage of the APMEconference via Twitter and through photos.

Whirlwind doesn’t even describe it. Not quite frantic, but definitely intense and fast-paced. From one session to the next, our team blanketed the convention with coverage for those members who could not make it this year. It’s a shame they didn’t – the sessions were fantastic.

Wednesday night, I was scheduled to cover the opening reception at the City Museum.

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The place is incredibly beautiful – and massive. This is just the first floor area. There’s so much more. I can’t wait to go back.

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There was a tank with turtles. Lots and lots of turtles. They got a lot of attention throughout the night.

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A joke was made about being able to brag about attending a conference where they served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, in light of the current economic landscape of the news world. The really did serve little sandwiches.

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No reception is complete without a silent auction. The best part was the live auction, when the caller was trying to get people to bid on a $6,000 vacation. See above photo caption for irony.

Then Wednesday, I photographed two other sessions, the Associated Press Report and the APPM’s Community Journalism and Innovation.

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Members of the audience reacted to the playing of Julie Jacobson’s video and audio diary of the situation when she took the controversial photo of the injured Marine who later died.

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The panelists watch a presentation on some of the AP’s most innovative and exciting storytelling work.

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In the APPM session, attendees were asked to write out the core principles they believe in as journalists.

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Yes, we even watched a segment of The Colbert Report to illustrate just how far the Commercial Appeal’s story on public records (gun licenses) went. The clip is at that link.

So yeah. It was a blast to cover, and fantastic to meet some inspiring people. Don’t listen to those naysayers out there. Journalism is NOT dead – it’s just changing.

And from what I saw at this conference, there’s a bright future ahead. We just need to make sure we can get there.

Photo stories are easier to edit when they’re not mine.

7 years, 6 months ago Uncategorized 0

day270 :: year three

Almost midnight, Monday.

This week’s (well, and last week’s too) project for Fundamentals was the classmate project. [cue scary music]We picked names out of a box for a round-robin style photo assignment, where I photographed someone, they photographed someone else, who was photographing someone else, and so on.

The goal?

Tell this person’s story. Whether it’s a literal ‘thing,’ like the significance of this one kid’s blue shoes, or a feeling, as with the adjusting period of some of our international students, we needed to convey the story in picures. It’s a lot harder than it seems.

My story was about Christie, a stretched-thin sophomore taking 19 credits and being active in a sorority and three other volunteer groups on campus. I wish I could have had another week to work on the project, but I lost that due to MPW. More situations in which to take photos may have brought a bit more variety to the images. But we learn from each assignment, and I hope to carry that across to the next big story project, our final.

Here’s my opening image.

day267 :: year three

Editing was tough. I knew I wanted certain photos, but filling in the holes was near impossible. I found myself attached to certain images, but tossing them aside for something that told the story clearer or was better technically. Eventually, I went back to the entire take and found some overlooked gems that ended up in the final edit.

But looking at my classmates’ projects, I could easily see what worked and what didn’t. I knew what I wanted to see to drive the story that the photographer didn’t necessarily have. This time, I was a bit more vocal in the critique, making sure to ask “what’s the story?” if it wasn’t inherently clear. Usually I’m on the quiet side, as our critiques are often much more lenient than I would be if left to my own devices. Today, I felt it appropriate to ask that simple question and make those critical observations. I hope my comments helped.

Maybe I am good at this editing thing. But only when the photos aren’t mine.

Project365: The end and the beginning

7 years, 6 months ago Uncategorized 0

day365 :: year three
day 365 :: year three

When I started my Project365 three years ago, I had no idea it would turn into such a production. For the first few months after I moved to DC in late 2006, I realized I hardly took photos anymore. This was totally unacceptable. The project seemed to be a great way to keep my hand and eye in photography – especially since I wanted to work as a photographer someday.

So off I went to eBay to find a little point and shoot camera. Once it and its mate arrived (I ended up buying two different used cameras), I tested them for which would become my new companion. The Nikon P2 won out after a few days use, and on January 17th, 2007, I started my project.

Throughout the years in this project, I’ve recorded an incredible amount of moments, memories and places. From being couch-ridden with the flu to numerous photos of my Metro commute, from going to the store to going on vacation, from moving across town to moving across the country, and from the happiest days to the saddest – I’ve documented my life.

It’s incredible to look back and be able to remember all these moments through pictures. And it’s fascinating to look at how my photographic eye and skills have grown through this project. I’ve learned how to find a picture in the mundane, and a picture in the momentary excitement. And, for the most part, not with the best camera in the world but with a small, aging point-and-shoot camera. (Only recently have I been regularly using an SLR.)

365 days a year (plus leap day) for three years straight.

Some days, I wish I could give up. And others, I know I cannot. And there are photos I wish I took, and a few I regret making the pinnacle of my day. Perhaps someday I’ll bring the project to a close. But for now, it lives on. There are new adventures to be had and new photos yet to be taken.

See the projects in their entirety:

Year One
Year Two
Year Three

and introducing … Year Four

Finally!

7 years, 6 months ago Uncategorized 0

***Edit: All has been restored. Only one post lost, but recovered. One comment gone with the wind. It could have been worse.***

FYI. My website was hacked, all my files deleted. Thanks to my webhost, I’ve got most of it back. I’ll be adding back whatever posts are missing after January 9th. (I think there was only one.)

Note to self and others: KEEP BACKUPS OF YOUR WEBSITES!

I’ll be making a monthly archive of my site, at the least. Can’t believe it happened only two months into hosting on my own. Won’t let it happen again.

Soft focus

7 years, 6 months ago news, photography 1

day359 :: year three

Trying to photograph a memorial service in the cold, pitch black night is not an easy thing to do.

I tried to play up the back lighting, steam breath and halos around the attendees, but nothing really read well. The one photo I really liked made it look like there were only a few people there, and I didn’t want to do Molly’s memory a disservice. At least thirty people stood in the middle of the street, in the dark and cold, to honor her life.

Officer Molly Bowden died five years ago at this intersection from gunshot wounds inflicted during a traffic stop. She was only 26 years old. So young, so much promise ahead of her.

Makes you take a moment to re-evaluate life. Where we’re going, where we’ve been. I count myself as a lucky one these days, so thankful for the wonderful people in my life and opportunities presented and taken.

The future is in soft focus; not definitive, yet you can just make out the outlines of what lies ahead.

Onward.

Snowpants: A photojournalist’s best friend

7 years, 6 months ago news, photography 1

day356 :: year three

It’s been cold here.

Actually, cold is an understatement. The jet stream has gone haywire and arctic air that usually stays way up north is blasting the country with some abnormally frigid weather. My grandmother in Florida said that planes were delayed at Sarasota International Airport due to ice on the wings. The airport does not have de-icing equipment (it IS Florida, after all), so they had to wait until the sun melted the ice for the planes to fly.

Yikes.

Here in Columbia, it’s been in the low teens for almost a week. I’ve never lived through such cold weather before. Naturally, I do not have appropriate clothing for spending more than a few minutes outside. So when my editor, Matt, at the Missourian told me on Wednesday that we would be heading out at 6am the next morning to find people shoveling and cleaning off their cars from the snowstorm just beginning to hit us, my first thought was “CRAP. It’s cold.”

day355 :: year threeEarlier in the day, I had been covering the Missouri General Assembly at the state capitol and came straight from there to the newsroom still dressed in my faux-suit (black pants and a not-quite-the-same-black blazer). The snow had started on the drive and showed no signs of letting up anytime soon, so I knew time was of the essence. I made my way across town to a sporting goods store to find the item that would get me through the next day’s assignment – SNOWPANTS.

So there I am, standing in the Dick’s Sporting Goods store in the middle of a snowstorm, in a faux-suit, looking at snowpants. I must have been a sight! However, I lucked out and found a pair that fit perfect that were on clearance sale.

The morning’s assignment went quite well. Not many people out, but I managed to find a few good ones. The photo gallery is online here. (not sure where my best picture went – it was the lead image on the page. Will inquire within.)

Later in the day, I decided to go check out some sledding at Stephens Lake Park. Remember – it’s still barely in the teens, and now the wind is picking up. So it was COLD. I expected only a few people to be there. Instead, I was greeted with at least 30 kids and adults braving the temperatures to take in some fantastic sledding. The pictures did not run in the paper, as Matt got there and back to the newsroom first, but I figured I’d post them here. I would not have gotten these photos without my new snowpants. I hate the cold, but I love those pants.

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Clayton Howard, 21, his sister Audry Reno, 11, and Morgan Bischel, 20, get ready to go down the snowy hill at Stephens Lake Park on Thursday afternoon. Howard says of his sister and hiking back up the hill, “She says ‘Oh, it’s not bad,’ while we’re up here winded. I gotta take a breather.”

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Kids of all ages formed lines at the sledding hill in Stephens Lake Park on Thursday to allow everyone to safely have a turn. Samuel Smith, center with an orange disc sled, said to his father, Michael, “There’s thousands of people here!” “I know, the most ever,” said Michael in response.

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Sledder Brock Mauller, 10, goes airborn on a snow jump at Stephens Lake Park on Thursday afternoon. Despite the bitter cold, many people came out to enjoy the freshly fallen snow.

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Young sledders and their parents find warmth in a fire pit at the edge of the sledding hill at Stephens Lake Park on Thursday afternoon. The temperature remained in the low-teens for much of the afternoon.

New Year’s can wait – first comes Seattle.

7 years, 6 months ago photography, travels 0

As you may or may not know, I am notoriously slow at posting photos of my adventures outside of my project365. So, while I would rather write a post about the exit of 2009 and entrance of 2010, I’m going go backwards a little to my recent jaunt to Seattle for the holidays.

I’ve never been to the west coast before. Technically, I still haven’t been, but Seattle is pretty darn close – and in Pacific time – so it counts in my book. Scott’s family lives in Everett, so we didn’t spend the entire trip within city lines. However, the few times we were able to visit were fantastic.

On our first trip, we went to the Seattle Center, which is home to the Space Needle, SciFi Museum, and the Experience Music Project (collectively known as the EMP|SFM). A bit touristy, a bit awesome. While I don’t think I would go up in the Space Needle all the time, it was incredible to see the entire city from the air.

The second trip kept us on the ground and put us down in the center of the Pike Place Market. What an incredible place! If I lived in Seattle, I would go there every week to buy fresh fish for dinner. I usually get squeamish seeing whole fish or meat on display at the supermarket, but here all I wanted to do was look at it and eat it. Mmm, fish.

We really lucked out with the weather on this trip. The only sort of precipitation we saw was in the form of thick frost on the ground in the morning and fog over the bay once. Other than that, we had beautiful blue skies and golden sunsets. I almost wish it rained a little just so I’d get to see what typical weather is like in Seattle. I really loved this city and can’t wait to go back and explore more.

(Don’t worry DC – I don’t love it more than you. Seattle’s an adventure. You’re home.)

day343 :: year three

day345 :: year three

day346 :: year three

Ironically though, the only photos I have uploaded so far are my project365 selects. More photos to come in subsequent posts. I’ll keep ’em short and sweet.