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the [__________] adventures of erin*carly

New Year’s can wait – first comes Seattle.

10 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.

And then there was rest.

10 years, 6 months ago grad school, photography 0

day319 :: year three

My first semester as a graduate student is complete.

Holy moly and little fishes, it’s complete! It’s hard to imagine almost, remembering how I’d sit around all day long – when I wasn’t in class – reading article after article for class, falling asleep while reading said articles, and writing papers every week on what I read. Or how I’d have a photo assignment due every week or so and how nervous I’d get finding subjects but end up with fantastic situations.

But many hours, projects, papers, readings and naps later, I’ve come out on top. For one of the few times in my life, I am a straight “A” student – and it feels good.

In addition to all the classwork, I also managed to staff the 61st Missouri Photo Workshop and be on the volunteer reporting team for the 2009 APME Conference. Oh, and I sang in a choir through school with three performances throughout the semester.

No wonder I’m thoroughly enjoying my few days off by cleaning, baking, archiving and website building. Counting from the end of the semester on Friday, I have five days here of nothing, then Scott and I are off to Seattle to visit his family for the holidays for six days. West coast, here we come!

On our return, I will start work at the Columbia Missourian as a staff photographer for three weeks . . . and then semester #2 begins! Oh, how time flies.

But for now, I’m enjoying spending a lot of time right here.

day333 :: year three

I can see the light!

10 years, 7 months ago grad school, photography 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.)

Sleeping beauty

10 years, 7 months ago photography, test category 0

day310 :: year three

We came, we saw, we covered: APME 2009

10 years, 8 months ago blogging, grad school, photography 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 APME conference 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 yours.

10 years, 8 months ago grad school, photography, projects 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.

Procrastination: An always current art.

10 years, 9 months ago grad school, photography, writing 0

I don’t know why I’m procrastinating so much today. Maybe it’s the 32 hours + of gloom and rain we’ve had here. (Although I believe it has stopped raining now, it’s still pretty gloomy.) Or perhaps it’s because I’m in the middle of reading an article for my Mass Media Seminar class that’s so over my head, I don’t know half the words it uses. See sentence example #1:

“West argues that the epistemic skepticism found in some strands of faddish deconstructive criticism and the explanatory agnosticism, or nihilism, associated with the work of descriptivist anthropologists and historians have made the “categorical mistake” of collapsing epistemological concerns of justification in philosophy into methodological concerns of explanation in social theory.” (Kincheloe, McLaren. “Rethinking Critical Theory and Qualitative Research.” p141.)

Ummm, yeah. Maybe we should look at some pictures I’ve been meaning to post instead.

day252 :: year three
An outtake from my “Interaction” project for Fundamentals. I didn’t show it because you can’t really see either face, but there’s just something I like about it. Maybe it’s the angles? Or the idea of a hairdresser being an unsung artist?

day250 :: year three
These are some of the single images I submitted to CPOY this year. I doubt I’ll win anything, but at least I’ve entered. Next year though, watch out. I hope to have some stellar work.

Okay. Now that I’ve been productive in my procrastination, I’m feeling like I should be productive on some school work first. But where to start . . . the paper about MPW this year? Reading more dreadfully scholarly articles? Or maybe re-writing my lit review question to actually reflect what I wanted in the first place? (I’m hoping to research agenda/image setting through a question about the White House photo office.) Or figuring out the specifics on my ethics term paper topic? (Image manipulation and where the ethical line stands, something like that.)

:: sigh ::

I agree. Let me barrel through this reading. Only a few more pages to go on this one and three more interesting (hopefully) articles after that. Then I’ll write fun papers.

Wheee!

MPW.61: Adventures in Festus and Crystal City, Missouri

10 years, 9 months ago grad school, photography, travels 0

I promise, blog readers – I’m not neglecting you. This last week was full of extra work to get ready for my adventure with the Missouri Photo Workshop. I’ll catch up on my outtake from class assignment #2 and my CPOY entry once I get a chance. Until then, on to MPW!

day257 :: year three

(This is an evening session. We are watching a cool presentation by Rick Shaw on the POYi contest.)

And what is this MPW thing? As coined by Phoebe Sexton (a graduate student a few semesters ahead of me), it’s “Photo Nerd Camp.” To others, it’s a week of intense storytelling photography and lack of sleep. To all, it’s an immersion program that documents stories of a different small town in Missouri every year and is now in its 61st year. Phew!

I went last year and told a story about a “Band of Brothers” and their mom, all dealing with the life change of dad working in Iraq for a year driving trucks.

This year, I’m working on the vortex team, where we ingest all the photographers’ photos, rename them, and put them (via LAN!) onto the team computers for review with the faculty members. It’s a lot of work, but a lot of downtime, too. Thank goodness – I’ve had a lot of reading to do in preparation for writing two papers, one due Monday and one Tuesday.

day258 :: year three

(Not sure who wrote “face.”)

We’ve also been having quite a bit of fun around all this work. Here’s a few more photos of the fun stuff. The entire set can be seen here.

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day256 :: year three

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Too close. A little too close.

10 years, 9 months ago grad school, photography, projects 0

Grad school is slowly turning my brain into mush and re-organizing the compartments where the goo gets stored for easier access to the newly important information.

Or so it feels.

For my latest Fundamentals of Photojournalism project, I’ve been feeling a bit apprehensive about shooting. Not necessarily the act of taking photos, but in finding a good place to achieve the goal of the project.

See, I live near downtown, and everyone photographs downtown. I see these hippie-looking, homeless-looking denizens hanging around outside one of the coffee shops, and I think, “I really want to photograph them. I want to know why they are hanging around all the time. I want to know the toothless guy’s story. And the pregnant girl’s story. Why are they here.”

But, as shown in our first class critique, they get photographed and interviewed all the time. I don’t want to be typical. I don’t want to be where everyone else has been. (Even if their efforts have not produced the stories I want to hear.)

The rest of downtown has this same feel. There’s so many interesting spots and people, and I feel as though I’d be selling out if I completed an assignment there. But then again, if everyone has this feeling, then no stories will come from downtown. And that would be a shame.

So, today’s assignment took me all through downtown for a second time. I thought maybe if I took my bike down, I’d stumble across something interesting, maybe something no one else thought to cover before. Nope. Just apprehension about even walking into a situation to ask that tortuous question, “Can I take your picture?”

And then I remembered the animal rescue just a few blocks from my house.

Bingo! Something clicked as I walked up and I felt like myself again, able to put myself into the situation I needed for my project. The many volunteers were quite welcoming and let me hang around for about an hour or so. I got fantastic information, took a bunch of photos (some perfect for my project), and even heard some interesting ideas to possibly pursue for my final project.

Moments like these are rare. I need to remember that not every assignment will be easy to find, and not to give up until I get what I need. For every time I worry that maybe this project will fail, I need to get out and try again.

Because I can do this.

day242 :: year three

This story was worth a pair of sandals.

10 years, 10 months ago grad school, photography, writing 0

After long wait, the tomato and pepper festival story is now online (and hopefully in the paper, too)! A photo of the hard copy will be updated here.

MU’s Bradford Research Center to host annual Tomato Festival

Why the title of this post, though?

day215 :: year three

Byebye shoes.

Note to self: do not go tromping around in a tomato patch after a few days of rain. You will get stuck in the mud, and you will destroy your shoes. (At least I didn’t kill my sneakers!)