Friday, May 1, 2015

Bittersweet ending to a great new class at WSU

   I chose Lapper Industries to shoot my final project, which is a photo story, because I find my dad's work to be very interesting. He worked as a computer engineer as well as an automotive engineer for 20+ years, but recently made a huge industry change into wind turbine engineering as well as military defense equipment. I admired him for taking upon a huge challenge and entering a field he's never worked in before, especially one that truly serves the American people in a way he hasn't had the opportunity to do, since he served in the U.S. Navy. He's producing designs in equipment that brings green energy to life at a large scale- making massive wind turbines that ship out internationally. He also has his hand in defensive equipment for the U.S. military and is shaping the steel for incredible land rovers and other vehicles. In under 10 years, he has moved his way up to Vice President of this rather new company.
   Going to work with my dad to shoot this project brought me back to when I was a kid going in for "bring your kid to work day," like I used to do in the first grade. It was somewhat surreal. But now, he  was able to introduce me as his daughter in college and I was able to see his advancements, as well as his interactions with a plethora of people whom he all seemed to have a special relationship with. At the end of the day, I had a new found appreciation for the hard work that these men put into industrializing our country. I also had an even deeper admiration for my dad because he presented himself as such a down to earth yet respected boss, therefore they are extremely lucky to have him!
   As far as the photographs go, I did have trouble getting the correct settings...which was frustrating. I have to take responsibility for the amount of time I put into practicing my manual settings this semester though, and it wasn't very much. Improving my capabilities as a photographer is a long-term goal of mine but right now, I have a lot of short-term goals that are taking precedence. I was enrolled in five classes this semester (in which I had an hour long commute to), two jobs, and my long-distance relationship that demanded a bit, too. I tried my best to make my deadlines and complete my project but I was never able to get "comfortable" with the manual settings.
   On the other hand, I did get more comfortable bringing my camera into situations- asking for permission to take their picture, getting close, and finding quick opportunities to capture moments when my subjects weren't looking or didn't even know I was there. I even find myself thinking of "the 5 w's and h" when I'm writing something other than a news story- such as a paper, or even when I'm taking notes! I would recommend this class to anyone because there is a lot that you can learn and the opportunity to challenge virtually any potential photojournalist, at any level.
   Enjoy the photo story!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wayne State Warriors help to channel my inner-warrior

Members of the Wayne State Warriors finish their warm-up and head towards a pre-game huddle.
Head coach Ryan Kelley gathers the team after their warm-up to prep them for their first game against Grand Valley.

Wayne State Warrior Kyle Zimmerman scoops around first base on his home field after a great hit, as the umpire races in to witness it.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wayne State attracts a new warrior

Phillip Edwards recently enrolls in Wayne State's Criminal Justice program to become a correction's officer and plans to get a head start on classes this summer. 

Phillip Edwards

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ready, Set, Shoot!

The first event I attempted to photograph was a student senate meeting. There, a new student senate president by the name of William Alexander, attempted to lead the meeting while the rest of his counsel supported him. It was held on the third floor of the Undergraduate Library and the room was encompassed by windows. I set the ISO at 600 and worked down from there, then began playing with the aperture, before the meeting started. I circled the outside of the rectangular meeting space, looking for the opportunity to capture a candid moment. One shot in particular that I had trouble with, was trying to focus on a document that was passed out the senate, or in other words, capture a small depth of field. Unfortunately, I did not capture any feature photo-worthy pictures here and this is the best example I can provide for this part of the assignment.
Tried capturing text on paper but couldn't find the correct aperture to achieve the depth of field/focus, needed.
Surprisingly, I had better luck capturing a feature photo at an indoor location, at night, with unique overhead lighting. I couldn't tell you why, but I did! In this picture, I tried getting an action shot of her painting while maintaining the integrity of the depth so that the social environment of the scene could be highlighted. It really looked like the students were having fun!
Jessica Wooldredge, 19, experiments with blues while partaking in the event, Painting with WSU at the Majestic Cafe in Midtown, Thursday evening.
 Other than the manual photography attributes of the assignment (in which I struggled with), I learned an important lesson regarding the nature of photojournalism. At one point during the Painting with WSU event, I crept up on a group of three girls holding up their paintings to each other, showcasing what they did. I snapped a picture, which caught them off guard, and then they all looked at me in full attention and held up their pictures once more. Smiles on their faces, they attempted to pose for the camera. Intuitively, I knew that this was not the type of photo I was going for, but I took the picture anyway in an attempt to appease them. In class (the next day), I realized that we should not attempt to capture pictures in which people are posing because that would be considered portrait photography, not news, or photojournalism. This was a lesson for me of what not to do, while shooting feature photos!

Students react to me (trying to get in on their painting action) by stopping what they're doing and posing for the camera.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

First Amendement teaches students to go big, or go home

   The First Amendment may be elusive, but don't mistake it's irreplaceable worth. It's imperative that journalism students know their First Amendment, which states: "An amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteeing the rights of free expression and action that are fundamental to democratic government. These rights include freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech."
A policeman watches the crowd during a protest in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
   Matthew Niles was an NYU student who had his credentials approved by the police department, the event he was covering, and of course- the school. He still got arrested because unfortunately, the police may have had a different interpretation of his ability to practice that right, as they did. Because that can be a scary thought, I encourage students to read his article (posted below) where he goes over things you can do if you actually do get arrested, to alleviate the hardship. 
   Could you imagine being a major news broadcasting network, and getting exposed by high school students, of all people, for being an unethical organization based on the way they share their news?
   Students at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington, Vermont, made Fox News and Bill O'Reilly their subject of study, and discovered many ways in which they violated the ethics codes of the Society of Professional Journalists. 

Video on Students exposing Fox news and O'Reilly:
*link to Matthew Niles tactics if arrested as journalist/protester:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Lesson on Captions: Simple, but not that Simple

   A caption must have a who, what, where, when, why and preferably- a how. Typically, it's a one to two sentence long text that describes a published photo. The Storify lesson on writing captions ( taught me that a poorly executed caption can ruin the message of a photo, or even the "story package."
   A helpful tip that I learned is to "avoid making judgements." If I took a picture of a protest and used a subject that was frowning in the picture, it would still be inappropriate to say, "An unhappy protester watches as..." There are other reasons that someone could be frowning, such as being in pain. They could have had an interaction with something or someone other than the protest, which is actually what caused them to frown. It's to easy to skew a motive based on your opinion, which can take credibility away from the story at hand. By sticking with the facts and taking an emotional perspective out of the caption, you'll open up the doors to allowing others to interpret what they're seeing/reading in order for them to be able to comfortably form their personal opinions.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Field Experiment Brings New Awareness to Camera Controls

A shallow depth of field and natural lighting assisted in capturing Liam and Maddox Boan's mood shot.
   In my field experiment to improve my awareness on manual camera controls, I first discovered my twin nephews running around in the driveway when I dropped off my niece. I had my camera with me and thought it would be a great opportunity to have some fun with it.    
  When I approached them in their natural setting, my niece helped me to get them lined up and looking towards the camera. Under slightly grey skies and in the early afternoon, but I was still able to keep the ISO setting low (1/500). The flash seems to spook small children so I was glad that I had the natural light to play with. 
   I used the aperture to obtain a shallow depth of field so that I could focus on their beautiful faces, which each held a unique expression. This picture summed up their mood in that hour. The animation on Liam's face could be used to tell a story. Also, Liam and Maddox are well balanced in terms of spatial relation, each taking up about half of the frame.
Close proximity, the correct shutter speed and natural light helped me to capture this moment.
   This was the most difficult picture that I attained. Outside of the fact that it was a rare moment that the mother and her baby deer shared, I had to play with the shutter speed and aperture quite a bit. Snow was lightly falling and I didn't want it to blur the pictures. I also wanted this moment to be entirely in focus, and wanted the depth of field to increase, because the natural setting of the woods was imperative to showcasing the wildlife theme. The "rule of thirds" may not apply to this picture because it seems  the subject is only taking up about half the frame, although this is still the best shot in the group. This took place in the empty property next door to my house, and I was able to get about 100 feet away from them. The deer are quite used to people in my suburb! 
A careful balance and point of reference helped maintain this photo's depth of field and unique perspective.
   This picture was taken on February 3rd during the full moon, with the help of my mother. I read on a tutorial that minimalist landscape photographs are more about what you leave out than what you leave in. I circled the moon and trees in order to find a minimalist view that could achieve enough depth to keep several trees in focus. I used higher ISO due to low light levels (between 1600 & 3200) and ended up settling on 1000, for this shot. When I focused, I pressed the shutter button and let go of the camera before it took the shot. The shutter speed was at 1/200. I also applied “noise reduction” after I uploaded the photo to my computer. The graphic element in this picture is what makes it successful, and the quality of light is reflected through the full moon illuminating the sky. I think it offers a unique perspective, which is what I tried to achieve with this picture.