December 30, 2009
This is my favorite landscape photo of the winter so far. I shot this at my uncle's farm.
A lot of the landscapes I do, I love the sky. That's true for this one, but I also feel the shed has really nice detail and tones to the boards.
December 29, 2009
Okay, so this place isn't actually called Wester Drumlins. That was taken from the Doctor Who episode, "Blink." I used it because the idea was the same. In the show a photographer, Sally Sparrow, goes to this abandoned house (Wester Drumlins) to take photos.
I was out taking photos of the area, and figured I needed some of here. I spent time here when I was younger and part of the crew for a show called "Fright Night Friday."
December 21, 2009
It started snowing again, so I went out in a different direction to take more photos. I intended to walk to the local castle, but that involved a steep, un-cleared, hill. This is NOT my house by the way. It just looked much more like a christmas card then mine.
December 20, 2009
This is as shot, but I made it black and white in Photoshop CS4.
A special thanks to Kathryn for helping me make the choice of what photo to post. Even though she isn't my apprentice anymore, she still does her job well.
December 19, 2009
December 12, 2009
Yesterday marked the end of my run as Managing Editor of the Cal Times. In my time there, I think the entire staff changed at least once, I traveled the country, and watched the entire paper get multiple facelifts. I repeatedly drove through places I normally couldn’t have on campus, interviewed living legends, and got a world of photography experience out of it. I covered everything from sports, to homecoming portraits, to plays.
In memorial, I wanted to give a little history to everyone. I mean, I have been there a long time in college years, and most of the people I know now, I did not know then. The very bottom paragraphs are a farewell to those I worked with. I am sorry this is so long.
First, let me explain the photo. That’s my desk at the office, as I left it. That is how it really looks. The light over me burned out, and no one ever cared to get it fixed. The wet floor sign, was because the ceiling was leaking by my, and Jared’s, desk.
My first semester was interesting, and it was full of a lot of great moments, I haven’t thought about in a long time.
I had class with a man named Chuck, and he was always looking for people to do the now defunct “Talkback.” This was during the lead-up to the candidates for the Democratic nomination too. Hillary Clinton came to Penn State a day or two before, and there was an article about it, but no photo. I was still using film, and knew very little about photography at this point. I was talking going the next day, and Chuck talked me into taking the photos up to Chasity, who was then editor to see if she wanted them. She did. My first actual step in getting a career going.
I wasn’t quite in yet though. The next week, there was an English conference where I got paid by the department to photograph for our records. I got photos of this actress they hired to play Emily Dickinson and Chasity saved me front-page, color space. This was amazing to me at the time. I mean, I wrote a title, a short blurb, and took the photo.
The next week, April 18, I really stepped things up. I had a photo on the front page again, and I was now shooting the portraits for “talkback.” The semester was coming to a close, and while I wasn’t on staff yet I got some great opportunities the next week. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., came to speak on campus about Environmentalism. Hillary Clinton also actually came to Cal U for a rally. These were both pretty big deals, and I was there for both. I dominated the front-page that week. I was also using the Canon 40D I now have.
The final week of the semester was also a big deal for me. Frank Warren, famous for this “Post Secret” project came to campus and I got to help Tasha Oskey interview him and take the photos. Again, front page. I liked this photo. Also, an other milestone for me my first photospread. It wasn’t anything amazing, jus a “The Day in the Life” spread of shots I got around campus.
This semester started with me on staff as “Photography Editor.” This issue netted me my first paycheck taking photos for the paper. The issue itself was rather in remarkable.
The Sept. 12, 2008 issue sticks in my mind only because it was my first attempt at using InDeisgn. I made a fact box about squids, and blended it in with the page. When Jeff, my boss, looked over it to send it to the printer, he added a box, and ruined my affect. I still laugh about this.
Nothing happened for a while. I got more and more involved in layout, and tried some creative “Talkback” photos. My favorite part of these days, now that the novelty of being a newspaper photographer was wearing off, was delivering the papers with Jared the managing editor, each week. The place we always got them printed always did a piss-poor job and we always got a good laugh out of it.
Part way through this semester, I started writing classic videogame reviews. This was always fun. Jared and I would mainly talk about some game we used to love like Dr. Mario, and I’d write about it. I covered a lot of well-known classics with a comical spin such as “Oregon Trail” and “Super Mario Bros.” as well as some lesser known games like “Escape From Monkey Island.” I did my second re-invention of “Talkback.” At this point though, there was a lot of political news. It is very important, but not something I can do a lot with.
The semester started with more politics. Due to staff changes, the only person left from when I started was Bill. Jared was still around, but I started before him. We also now have Carol (who I still work with over at reallypapi.blogspot.com) and Lauren. So our staff was improving and growing. I was doing more and more layout and photos. There isn’t a whole lot to say about this semester at the front end. Jared really influenced my design and we came up with some great ideas early on. He made a few good covers, a job that would later fall on me. Every week we just made the paper a little more visually creative.
Somewhere around this time was the Spring CMA conference, in New York City. This was really influential to us. I mean, this trip is what made me really step up my design, and that made me feel great and I learned so much through trial and error.
One of the papers right after that trip was when I made the facebook cover I am still proud of. Incase you’ve never seen it, the entire front page looks like a facebook photo page. I spent an entire day making all the bars and icons, and shooting photos of Melinda Wilson to photoshop together into one photo. It was a lot of work, but will likely always be proud of it. On the back of that same issue was a photospread I did with a belly dancer cut out of the background. I did this entire page, I wrote it, photographed it, designed/layout, and the photoshop job to. I still love this page also, but I can’t help look at it and think how much I’ve progressed since.
I finished the semester out doing a lot of color photospreads on the back pages, it was a better use then weather. Talkback changed again and again, I lost track of how many times total. It did not really make it in to the next semester though. Those are about the only eventful parts of the end.
Anyone reading astutely, or who knows me, knows this is the semester that just ended. My end. This is where I stepped up to Managing Editor. I saw my photo team, Kathryn and Jessica, really step up and start getting into it. It was amazing to see we had three photographers to cover events. Just in general, there was a lot more interest and support in every respect and it was great. People were finally starting to care and get involved. Also, since this is running so long, I am going to cut this down. The one thing I want to reference from this semester though, is I met Steve McCurry, a personal hero of mine. There is an earlier post about that though, so I won't go in to it here.
This semester, I really assumed more layout and managerial duties. I left a lot of the shooting up to Kathryn and Jessica. I just worked more trying to help them with their skill sets. This was a great semester, although it didn’t seem like it to most people, and I did really enjoy it. Overall, I will miss it. I left out a lot of the little adventures and comedies, again, just for the sake of space. Another day, perhaps. To everyone I left behind at the paper, good luck. To everyone that supported my work, thank you. To everyone who isn’t that impressed, you haven’t seen anything from me yet. Okay, that last one was a joke. Anyway, this was an incredible experience for me. I learned a lot about newspapers, photography, design, etc. This was a much better experience for what I am getting in to with this degree then any class I had at Cal.
December 8, 2009
It is really funny how things you do as a joke can end up being some of your favorites.
I was really acting up at work this morning, and this was one of my side projects that really served no purpose. There are several things behind why I did it though.
1) There is a girl who uses my computer when I am not around, but who doesn't after all? Anyway, she left me post-it notes last week about both my desktops and that I take "her" muffins. So I thought this would be a double poke in the eye to her.
2) I was still on my "artsy" black and white photo kick from last night, and figured why not do one more.
3) It gave me a reason to not be productive in InDesign at 8 am.
4) It just looked like a really good muffin. This is what really got me started, the chocolate oozing over the side looked really cool.
I didn't really edit the photo much, just made it black and white in Camera RAW.
December 7, 2009
So, I self-diagnosed myself as having a sinus infection (don't worry, they aren't contagious). Anyway, I thought while I was sitting here listening to Joni Mitchell and the Counting Crows and Norah Jones, preparing to fall asleep, and waiting for my tea to not be scalding (I am British after all) that I would take one of those real classy photos of a drink and books.
You see them all the time at Boarders and Barnes and Noble, and I like to make fun of them. Books are just not contrasty by nature. So, just keep in mind I'm not all the sudden trying to be artsy. I'm not that delirious from being sick.
I thought about hand-coloring the honey bottle, or at least part of it. I love that effect, but one I am tired of seeing it, and two I just don't think it fits in this case.
December 6, 2009
Yesterday was the first snow of the season. Even though I hate the cold, I decided to go out and take a few photos. I just didn't get around to them until today because I had real things to do yesterday.
Seeing this right against the "Bathing In Fixer" banner is interestingly painful on the eyes. The Banner photo was taken in the middle of summer.
None of them are the best shows I've ever done. However, I picked this one because I thought the sky was particularly interesting.
December 5, 2009
So, I like to think I cover everything, and this is a good example. Today's assignment was Men's basketball. This is probably the last sports game I will cover at Cal U. Enjoy.
December 1, 2009
I shot this as part of covering an event sponsored by the Cal U food services (AVI). The point was to teach college students that they can cook for themselves and cheaply.
I ended up not selecting this shot for print in the paper because it didn't turn black and white well. I thought it was a good photo though. Its full of students, the food, and enough of the setting and the finished product to show the scene at least fairly well.
In my mind this shows why having the internet is great for people like myself. The days are gone where good photos are only printed in black and white and on newspaper.
As far as editing, all I did was change the white balance.
November 29, 2009
I haven't updated in a few days (okay... just over a week), which is an eternity in the web world, right? Anyway, I wanted to do a profile picture for my Monster.com account that was semi-creative yet not absurd. This is what I came up with. As always feel free to post any feelings in comments!
November 21, 2009
This is part of my Basketball coverage. I don't even remember this happening, but I thought it was kinda cool and different from the usual sports shots.
This was another test shot/marker I did so I could make sure my metering was correct and to let me know where the card started. This time I was shooting a basketball game.
November 20, 2009
This weekend has me devoted to College Volleyball and Basketball. I am never one to complain about trying my hand at different assignments, and a paycheck for that matter. These photos are from the Friday night games. Saturday is the championship game. I'm sure I will have more photos then. Mainly, I posted this because it has been awhile since I had anything new to post.
November 19, 2009
Night one of Volleyball coverage. Sports fans like this always amuse me, but I was not expecting them for Volleyball. Let alone for a game a few states away.
November 11, 2009
November 6, 2009
As much as I hate to knock Ingrid Michaelson from the top of my page, I guess I had to eventually. This photo is a follow-up shot to a photo I did last year. Here is what happened then:
I was delivering The Cal Times with Jared, and we stopped to deliver them at a bar, Lagerhead's, by the river. Before I jumped back in the van, I realized it was a really misty morning. I ran down this ramp, and on to the dock. I only had my point and shoot at the time. I was taking a few photos, and the dock started shaking under me, and I almost fell in twice.
This morning, I went back with a vengeance though. I grabbed the 5D mk. ii from the office and went back on that dock, and I was ready for it this time. I snapped a few shots, but this one is my favorite. I feel better now.
November 5, 2009
I was fortunate enough (thanks to Carol of “Really Papi, Really") to hear the Ingrid Michaelson was playing a "secret" show near me in the day before her real show in town that night. All the details were on twitter, and only twitter as far as I know. Micahelson posted the two tweets below leading up to the night before. As soon as I heard, I planned it out with Carol. We’d leave at 9 a.m. and get into town just as Michaelson gave details.
“Heads up Pittsburgh! Coming in for an acoustic performance for Star 100.7 at a secret location @ 12pm on Thurs. Stay tuned for more info.”
“All will be revealed for my secret performance tomorrow in Pittsburgh! Posting location by 10am ET”
We had no idea where it would be, except in the city somewhere. Carol thought, and I agreed, it would likely be at a radio station that was sponsoring the show. We left at 9 a.m. and made it to the radio station exactly as she tweeted:
“Secret show @ 12PM ET. Location - Panera Bread Restaurant: North Fayette and The Point, Next to Walmart, Robinson Township, PA, 15071”
I knew where it was. We got there at 10:15, a.m. Naturally, the first arrivals. We got breakfast, and stalked the place out, waiting. While we were waiting, Ingrid tweeted:
“i'm gonna eat some BREAD.”
The crowd was pretty small, I think very few people actually knew about it unless they happened to be there.
She played three songs (Be OK, The Way I Am, and Maybe). I shot some stills and video of the show. After that she signed autographs and posed for photos with people. I asked for a portrait of her, and snapped this before getting mine with her.
I wasn’t planning on going to the actual show, because by the time I found out about it, it was already sold out. There was a brief period where one of the other people at the secret show offered me a free ticket because one of her friends couldn’t go. After having all my Ingrid Michaelson needs fulfilled by this smaller show, I just couldn’t see any way the concert could top meeting her, taking photos of and with her, and getting an autograph… except a shirt.
I shot some High Def videos of Ingrid performing "Be OK" and "Maybe." You can find them over at http://reallypapi.blogspot.com/2009/11/oh-what-day-is-today.html
Here are the videos I shot on the 5D mk ii.
November 3, 2009
I shot this for the Cal Times. In the latest issue we talk about the opening of a place on campus called "The Prime House." The interesting thing is that they sell sushi.
I went down, and asked the sushi chef, Tony Tan, if I could take photos of him making some rolls.
I think it makes a kind of cool little profile.
October 31, 2009
October 30, 2009
Ribs, over mashed potatoes. Really good. This trip really ended up being all about the food.
October 29, 2009
October 28, 2009
October 24, 2009
I was shooting a Lacrosse game, and this woman was standing on the sideline. I was playing around with settings, and shot it as a joke.
It turned out really poorly, so I didn't bother to get her name. However, when I got bored and started playing around with photoshop and Camera RAW, I saved it. After that, I kind of liked it.
October 22, 2009
This is something I don't want to write in a clever fashion, I just want to get the story out there. This is partially in response to people always asking me who he is, and partially to try and explain why it matters. I'm sorry if it doesn't make a lot of sense, I'm still a little flustered.
First, Steve McCurry is a photographer famous for his work with National Geographic. Without getting to much into his biography, he is generally considered one of the most influential photographers ever for his 1980's National Geographic cover of the "Afghan Girl." If I could figure out how to post multiple images to a post on this, I'd post the photo. If you google "Afghan Girl" you will find it and probably recognize the photo. He's traveled the world, having adventures, taking photos, and getting paid to do it. It is what I've always wanted to do.
Steve McCurry came to Cal U, and I got to spend almost the entire day with him. I wrote an article about it for the Cal Times, and the text is at the bottom of this post. The day itself was a good bit of a struggle, but worth it in the end.
It was amazing to spend the day talking to one of my heroes, getting his thoughts on a lot of career based questions. I don't know how or even what to say about the experience. I will try though.
Just a little backstory: The day started out pretty exciting. I was in the office with Jared trying to give him a crash course, with my copy of the Afghan girl National Geographic in my bag. We went to where lunch was supposed to be, and my photography mentor was there with us. Little did we know the location changed and no one told us. After we ate lunch one of the staff told us where to look, the secondary location, and she was right. If it wasn't for Jared pushing me, I wouldn't have found the real location.
After the lunch, McCurry gave a sort-of lecture to the group. After that, I wrangled him over to a photography class and had an interview with him in front of the class. I asked the usual photography questions. This is where I got the foundation of the title for this blog from this meeting. My photography professor told a story about how she meant Ansel Adams and thought he'd smell like fixer. Then my mind made some random jumps, and eventually I got "Bathing in Fixer."
The truly interesting part was after that, when we went to view the exhibit. I actually walked around with McCurry, and got to hear him tell me about the photographers' whose work was on display and also the photos themselves. Then came the hardest part, taking a photo of him. The final one is the one posted above. I was so nervous about getting a photo that lived up to his standards. After a few, he told me it was "really great," and I couldn't help smile. He set the shot up and told me what he wanted. The experience in general is something most people will never get. Not many people get to meet their heroes, no matter the field.
Below the line is my article for the November 13, 2009 Cal Times:
A friend of mine, Desiree, stopped by yesterday evening, and we did an impromptu shoot. This was my favorite image from it, and while it isn't the most creative shot ever, it is something I always wanted to do, and I think it is a very nice one. More shots can be found on my Flickr page.