Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Photo Story - The Runner Stumbles

The Runner Stumbles

The Albany Civic Theater produced the drama, The Runner Stumbles, in October and November 2016. The director, Kay Roth, allowed me behind the scenes access during closing weekend of the production. I was able to capture the comradery and professionalism of the nine person cast along with a very supportive and loving crew.

The Albany Civic Theater is an all volunteer, non profit community theater
that produces a year round season of entertainment in Downtown Albany,
Oregon. Located between the bridges It is one of the oldest
and best known community theaters in Oregon.

The small space in the theater allows all of the cast to prepare
for each production side by side with each other. The entire cast
is able to build friendships that help their performance on the stage.

Sister Rita in The Runner Stumbles was played by Sarah Roth, the daughter of Director Kay Roth.

The crew helps support the cast during all stages of the performance.
LaVelle Grandy-Brown helps cast member, Jeff McMahon put the final touches
on his suit for his performance as the prosecutor.

Prior to each and every performance Director Kay Roth calls the entire cast
and crew together to share final notes for the performance and to wish each other
the best performance possible. At the end of the discussion all hands
reach into the center of the room and they share last supportive moment before curtain call.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week Ten Forum

Topic One - Your Best Photojournalism

The best photo I have taken this term was the closeup shot I took during sports week at the DSK Training Facility. This photo stands out to me because it is a different kind of shot than the normal volleyball pictures that I often see. I was wanting to do something very different and I was pleased with the final result. The photo reflects my ability to think outside the box and also observe my surroundings and take pictures that are presented to me at the moment. This show wasn't something that I could have planned out ahead of time but I was able to be creative in the moment which I struggle with. From the start of term to the end of the term I have learned to live in the moment during photo opportunities. We watched a film earlier in the term about a photographer that traveled to a different country and had a plan for his photo he wanted to take. When he arrived at location the photo opportunity was not going to happen. Instead of stomping away blaming all the reasons why he couldn't get "the shot" he slowed down and looked at the field in a different way. What he captured instead was a beautiful shot of "weeds" in a field that was breathtakingly beautiful. It is that lesson that I have learned the most over the past ten weeks. I have had the honor of taking pictures of the Commuter and at each event I attend I remember that story I work hard at not focusing on the negative but instead focusing on what is in front of me and living in the moment. I let the camera lead me and I have found great success in that approach. While not every event I have covered has led to an award winning shot, I have met great people, learned a lot and captured some great moments along the way.

Topic Two - Your Goals

My goals for this term were:
1) Better understand composition
2) Learn how to use the features on my camera so I don't always use Auto
3) Learn to look through the lens with a photographers eye

I feel as though I met those goals that I set out for myself. I have learned a lot of new techniques to taking pictures and understanding what makes good composition in a photograph. I have placed myself at different angles to try and capture a picture that a person wouldn't normally see by just standing in front of the event I am capturing. By changing camera angles I have been able to capture some really interesting shots.

When I began this class I didn't really understand all the buttons and settings on my camera. I have worked hard this term to really learn the difference between aperture, f-stop and shutter speed. I am much more comfortable taking pictures and capturing some really neat effects without always relying on the Auto setting as a crutch.

Being introduced to so many photographers and the ways they capture life moments has really increased my photography vocabulary. Having other students research other photographers and bring back that information to class to share as really opened my eyes to the different types of photography. I have enjoyed learning about sports versus news versus feature photography and understanding the complications of each style.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Week Nine Blog

Topic One - Turning Pro

Having now been introduced into the wonderful world of photojournalism I can say that I am very hooked. Back in high school (over 20 years ago) I had wanted to enter journalism and having now taken this class I can see why. I really feel like that part of me was always there but never fully realized. If I was much younger I could see going that direction in my career. As it stands now I will definitely be increasing my photography repertoire but actually pursuring this as a career option seems overwhelmingly challenging to me. To get a job in this field I would need to get yet another degree and spend years working my way up the journalism ladder. The jobs are few and far between and you really have to live and breathe it in order to realize a lucrative career.

I learned a lot of great skills in this class that I am already using every time I pick up the camera. My composition eye has improved and I have learned to use many more features of my digital camera. I still need to work on stopping motion and finding that perfect moment to click the camera.

As I continue in my photography adventure I plan on starting a little side photography business where I am not necessarily reliant on the financial piece and can focus on improving my art of photography.

Topic Two - Photographer of the Week

The photographer that stood out to me was Arthur "Weegee" Fellig. I loved that he was willing to go the extra mile to stand out and get his pictures printed. When other photographers relied on other means to get the scoop, Arthur bought a police scanner and would just about meet the police at the scene. He was able to capture photos when other photographers were still finding their way to the scene. Even more inventive he packed a mini darkroom in his car and would process his prints immediately. Showing up at the newspapers with prints still dripping wet he was able to stay ahead of his competition. I found that level of commitment very inspiring.

Arthur's style was a raw, gritty photos of crime, death and urban life. I liked that he wasn't focused on making pretty pictures and was more interested in capturing the real city life as he saw through his lens.

I took away from that while it is important to consider all four corners of the photo sometimes it is more important to just capture the moment at the time it is happening. Sometimes people get a little too wrapped up in technique and taking the perfect shot and while they are doing all that work they miss the shot and mean while a photographer like Fellig has already taken the print, began developing it and is on his way to the newspaper to have it printed.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Week Eight - Sports/Action Shot

For this week's assignment I visited DSK Training Facility in Corvallis, Oregon and captured images from teams training for their upcoming volleyball season. DSK is named after the owner, Dave Keller, and has been in operation since 2009. They specialize in training volleyball players all year round and it is the only facility of its kind in the Albany/Corvallis area.

The DSK Training Facility is housed within G3 Sports Complex
in Corvallis, Oregon. Teams train year round through the DSK Academy
which allows all players the ability to maintain their strength
and agility during the on and off seasons of volleyball.

Newly formed the 18U Volleyball Team from DSK has just begun
to practice and begin preparing for the upcoming volleyball season.
Coach Dave Keller opened the DSK Volleyball Club in 2009 and today it serves
teams from age 12 through 18. The 18U team will be traveling to Las Vegas,
Spokane and Denver this season to compete against other volleyball teams.

Topic One - Technology/Innovation

Topic Two - Photo Story
For the Photo Story I chose to take pictures at the Albany Community Theater during their production of The Runner Stumbles. I was given complete access to the backstage area prior to the performance and was able to capture images from the moment the cast/crew walked into the building up until the production began for the evening. Due to contract related issues I was unable to capture images during the actual production which allowed me the ability to focus on pre production solely. The cast/crew have a distinct and special camaraderie that came across on stage. They truly supported each other prior to the production and you can feel their devotion during their performances. It was a magical process to watch.
For the different shots I was able to get a close up shot of the main actress in the play putting on her makeup. For an overall shot I grabbed a ladder and took a long vertical shot of most of the cast preparing their look in front of the makeup mirror in the back stage room. For the medium shot I tried something completely different and laid on the floor during a special moment where the cast/crew put all hands in and cheer each other before the curtain opens.
This assignment was my favorite of all the assignments given in this class. I had such a great experience that the director has asked me to come back and take production photos of future productions at the Albany Community Theater which I am excited to have the opportunity to do.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week Seven - My Hometown

For the My Hometown assignment I chose to highlight Albany, Oregon. I have lived in this town for nearly twenty years raising two kids with my husband. I have worked in Albany and participated in many community service activities and organizations.

Mayor Sharon Konopa was re-elected during the 2016 election
to serve her 5th consecutive term as Albany Mayor. Her position on
the City Council nets her $165 per month.
The Linn County Courthhouse was built in 1940 and was the third
Courthouse for Linn County. The Courthouse serves
as the work place of Oregon's 23rd Judicial District.
The Linn County Sheriff's Mounted Police joined the annual Veterans Day
Parade held in Albany, Oregon on November 11th, 2016. This year marked
the 65th year that the parade has taken place and it is the largest
Veterans Day Parade this side of the Mississippi River.

Topic One - Shooting Sports
There were two tips that stood out to me in this week's assigned reading. The first tip of the photographer checking with the team's statistician before the game and the second tip was taking the picture during peak action.

Checking with the team's statistician was an idea I had never thought about but that makes perfect sense. Teams track every movement during each game and they will typically know when a record is set to be broken or when a player is at their peak overall. By reviewing these stats ahead of time a photographer can be better prepared to capture moments in that particular game. Knowing where to position yourself in relation to key players can help the photographer get the shot they wanted and be close to the action.

The second tip of taking a photo during peak action is also something that I had never really considered before I read this chapter. For most sports as a player reaches the top of the jump they stop for just a moment before gravity takes over and brings them back to the ground. It is during that brief moment that you can obtain a great shot with very little movement. During these moments the camera can be set at a lower shutter speed but the photographer will still get a really sharp picture. This concept works great for track players jumping hurdles, basketball players making a jump shot or a volleyball player making a kill shot at the net. During all of these moments the player jumps as high as possible, stops for a brief moment and then falls back to the ground.

For my own assignments I can use these techniques to obtain even better sports photos. Before the game I am capturing I will be arriving early and talking to a team's statistician/coach so that I can glean key details to the upcoming game. By using this information I will be able to know who the key players are and where to position myself so that I can truly be at the right place at the right time. In regards to taking photos during peak action that will just take practice on my part. I am going to work hard at not working at taking a ton of photos but slowing down and taking really thoughtful and thought out sports photos. By focusing on peak action I can slow my shutter speed down and try and catch those special moments that the audience often misses.

Topic Two - Actions/Sports Photo
For my sports photo assignment I have contacted a local volleyball coach, Dave Keller, and am hoping to work with him to take photos during volleyball practice this week. His training facility is located in Corvallis and my plan is to take photos during one of his many practice sessions with the girls playing volleyball.

For my overall shot I am planning on getting a shot that includes the net with players on both sides scrambling during a practice game. For the medium shot I wanted to get a shot of Dave working with a player specifically working on a skill. Lastly, for the close up shot I am going to attempt to get a peak action shot of a player at the net making a kill shot.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Photographer of The Week - Nigel Barker

Photographer Nigel Barker
     For my Photographer of The Week project I chose to highlight the work of Nigel Barker. Nigel is a fashion photographer that really came to the fore front during his work on America's Next Top Model which was his claim to fame.
     Nigel was born in London in 1972. His mother was a former Miss Sri Lanka which ended up playing a large role for his own modeling career which he began by accident. Intending to enter the medical field Nigel attended Bryanston School. His mom entered him enter a model search on television called The Clothes Show where he ended up placing as a finalist which began his modeling career. That career lasted about 10 years and afforded him opportunities to travel to Milan, Paris and New York City.
     In 1996, Nigel opened his own photo studio and set off on his fashion photography career. He began making a name for himself in the fashion industry and eventually was cast on a reality show with Tyra Banks called America's Next Top Model. He served as judge and photographer on that show for 17 cycles which is where he became a household name. He made several guest appearances on a variety of Top Model shows. In addition to America's Next Top Model Nigel has expanded his career by beginning to direct and produce films, documentaries and commercials for different clients. He was awarded the "Film Heals" award for a film titled Dreams are Not Forgotten where he used his photography and motion picture skills to send a powerful message about humanitarianism. He has also produced two different books about the fashion and beauty industries.
     What drew me to Nigel's work is the way he captures photos. He as the ability to see the beauty in his models and capture their uniqueness. He pays attention to all four corners of his photograph and really helps tell a story with one single frame. Nigel is quoted as saying, "Someone who is comfortable, someone who is happy, you see them immediately sit up, stand up and feel better about themselves. If you're able to capture that in a picture, that's the most beautiful picture you can ever take of someone."

Image taken by Nigel Barker

Friday, November 4, 2016

Week Six - Editing Your Photos

For week six the theme was "Free Shoot" and I took the opportunity to capture images from the Dia De Los Muertos event held at LBCC on November 2nd.

Dia De Los Muertos is an event where everyone can honor the memories of deceased friends/family. The event included sugar skull painting, face painting, tamales and was completely free for those that visited.
Kylie McLoude and Bianca Pulido intently paint sugar skulls at the Dia De Los Muertos event.
This event is held annually at LBCC on the Albany Campus.

First year LBCC student Keyna Hurd paints the face of Mextli Palacios at the Day of the Dead festivities on November 2nd while Obed Aguirre watches after he had his face painted. Keyna learned about the opportunity to do face painting at this celebration when she checked LBLive on her phone. She is a Psychology Major and was able to express her creative side at this event.

Topic One: My Hometown
For the "My Hometown" photo shoot I will be capturing photos in the City of Albany. I have lived here for nearly twenty years and truly consider Albany my home. For the portrait shot I am going to try and get a picture of Mayor Sharon Konopa on the steps of court house. A visit to the local skatepark is where I am headed to obtain an activity shot. There are always skaters down there and I am excited to try and get some stop motion action shots. The final shot is a landmark shot and I am going to try and get photos of Hasty Freeze in downtown Albany. My biggest challenge will probably be the Hasty Freeze shot because I want to get photos of people that don't know I am there taking pictures. People tend to start posing or hiding when a camera shows up so I am going to have challenges with that shoot.

Topic Two: Photo Editing
Chapter 7 of Photojournalism: The Professionals' Approach is on the subject of Photo Editing. Two tips that I found most useful were in regards to cropping. It is important to "crop ruthlessly" but also be mindful not to change the story by cropping. As a photographer you want to cut out anything that is not essential to telling the story so that the viewer is not distracted by unnecessary images. At the same time, you don't want to crop out the story that the photo is telling. A crop can change the overall feeling of a photo and change the viewers final perspective. It is important to not deceive the viewer with a crop.
For the rest of this term I am going to try and be mindful of my cropping techniques. I will be always try to balance getting rid of the unnecessary part of a photograph but also stay true to the story that I am trying to tell.