Thursday, August 30, 2007

Color Tests

We should talk about color theory in class a lot more than we do, I keep trying to get it in there and it just keeps slipping by. So in its place, here's a small online game for looking at color gradations. See how you do.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back in Class

One of the truly neat things about where I teach is that we supply equipment to all of our students. Everyone in the Introduction to Photojournalism course is issued a digital camera and lens that they use for the entire semester and advanced students get a body, three lenses, flash and access to more gear than I think I have.

Why is this good? For one, I can tailor the assignments to the equipment which lets them get the most out of it. The main reason, though, is there is no financial barrier to taking our photojournalism classes - if you have the academics and drive, you can do it. Everyone is on the same level when they walk in the door.

We issued cameras this week and since many of the students have never held a digital single lens reflex camera, we spend a lot of time talking about the mechanics of photography. We even do field trips out on the lawn ...

One More Reason I Shouldn't Buy a New MacBook Pro

This really doesn't belong here, but, darn, it is funny ...

Monday, August 27, 2007

My Sides Hurt ...

Scott Schamp, director of the New Media Institute at UGA's Grady College, is teaching a class in Second Life this semester. It's an experiment, of sorts, to see how a virtual world could be used for learning. Based on his latest blog entry, I think Dr. Schamp is in for a long and entertaining semester.

To quote:

But last Friday, I found myself saying things I never thought I would have to say. “Please don’t sit on the fountain during class. Don’t forget that everyone needs to wear clothes the next time we meet. And, please, try and remember not to fly during class time."

I would like to think I keep a fairly tight reign on my classes, but my advanced students will tell tales that disprove that very quickly. (And probably create yet another Facebook group about the photojournalism sequence.) (Stop. Just, please, stop.) At least they all stay clothed.

Most of the time.

Regardless, I'm thinking I want to sit in on one of these. But I'm not sure where to sit ...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Is My Reaction Inappropriate?

Nikon has announced the D3, their next-generation high end digital SLR. And, at last, Nikon is building their own CMOS "full frame" chip. For us old folks, that means a 24 mm is a 24 mm again and we can control our backgrounds like Cartier-Bresson and Capa meant us to.

There's also a new D300, though it doesn't have the up-sized chip.

Some places with the announcements and commentary:

UPDATE: The New York Times has a blurb. Not much new, but if the Times is talking about it ...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Photo Contest: The New American Farm

I like the theme, take a look and judge for yourself, lots of stories that could be told around Athens.

From their site:

SARE’s 20th Anniversary Conference:
The New American Farm:
Advancing the frontier of sustainable agriculture

SARE's 20th Anniversary Photo Competition Rules (Word) (PDF)

Theme: Groundbreaking Innovations, People and Partnerships in Sustainable Agriculture

In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, we are excited to announce our first-ever national photo competition.

We’re looking for photos from all corners of the nation that depict groundbreaking innovations, people and partnerships advancing the frontier of sustainable agriculture in America.

The top four photos, one from each of SARE’s regions in the United States, will receive grand prizes of free attendance and accommodations at SARE’s 20th Anniversary conference, to be held March 25-27, 2008 in Kansas City, Missouri.

What kind of photos are we looking for?
We are looking for imaginative, striking photos related to groundbreaking innovations, people, and partnerships in sustainable agriculture. While our top four regional winners will be chosen based on how compelling and clearly they depict this general theme, honorable mentions will be chosen per the categories below. We’ve offered some ideas, but this is just to get your imagination going!

1) The Diverse Sustainable Agriculture Community:
Who’s doing the work of sustainable agriculture? Photos entered in this category can feature a range of people in the agricultural community going about their work: for example, farmers planting cover crops; dairy farmers rotating cows through fields; workshops of people learning from each other, including researchers, educators, and producers; consumers buying sustainably grown produce; restaurateurs working with sustainable farmers and ranchers; people at farmer’s markets; people next to their innovations. Photos in this category should clearly depict people – can be from all walks of life and professions – working to advance sustainable agriculture.

2) Land and Water Stewardship:
Cover crops; incorporating a diversity of natural ecosystems into farming and ranching; innovations and new technology to protect water and soil, organic crops; sustainable pest management strategies; pastured grazing and other sustainable livestock operations – these are just a few ways farmers and ranchers are advancing sustainable agriculture. Photos in this category should depict sustainable farming and ranching practices that protect land, water and produce healthy crops.

3) Energy and Climate Change:
Solar, wind, sustainable bio-fuels, efficiency technology – across the country, farmers and ranchers are transitioning their operations to self sufficient, clean energy technologies. Photos in this category should depict clean energy technologies/practices being developed or in operation on the farm and ranch.

4) Communities and Markets
How is sustainable agriculture changing communities – your ideas in photos! From community-supported agriculture, to local contractors and consultants hired to install sustainable systems; to farmers’ markets and supermarkets – photos in this category should show how communities are benefiting from sustainable agriculture operations.


Okay, some of you know how much I loved and miss my Leica. It's a great camera, but it is not a camera for amateurs ... even if the amateur happens to be one of the greatest guitar players to ever live ... or a famous celebrity who I wouldn't notice walking down the street if not for her outrageous wardrobe.

Hope that makes your day, too.

Smoky Mountain Stories

Friend and supporter Woody Marshall at the Macon Telegraph sent along a link to Smoky Mountain Stories - a collection of photo stories done last spring by University of North Carolina students. Worth spending some time on.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Some Days, It Pays to be a Pack Rat

Not many, but some. While rooting around for something else I found a yellowed sheet of paper I must have been handed in grad school by my mentor, Prof. David Sutherland. And so I share it with you ...

Questions to keep in mind:
  1. Does the photo communicate quicker, stronger, better or more eloquently than a simple sentence could describe?
  2. Does the photo have visual content or stop short at story elevation?
  3. Does the photo go beyond the trite and the obvious?
  4. Does the photo contain essential information to help the reader understand the story?
  5. Does the photo have enough impact to move the reader?
  6. Is the photo clean, interesting and well-composed enough to stand on its own?
  7. Does the caption information answer who, what, when, where and why, along with other required information (e.g. age and hometown)?
  8. Are both the photo and the caption information objective and accurate accounts of what happened?
  9. Is the photo mindless documentation?
  10. Does the photo communicate effectively? Photos should either move, excite, entertain, inform or help the reader understand a story.

(Adapted from The Columbus Dispatch)
There's some very good stuff in there, things we don't think about as much as we should some days. And this isn't just for shooters - editors and managers should pay attention to the "mindless documentation" that's being heralded as "citizen journalism." Information is good, context is better.

So Totally Off Topic, It's Funny

Okay, so this probably isn't appropriate, but one of my former students was declared the winner of a video contest, and a loser complained that the rules weren't followed to the letter, so they took away her prize and opened up the voting again.

So, head over to Hall and Oates' web site (yes, that Hall and Oates) and help her out if you like VIDEO NUMBER 3. It's a multi-step process (click, enter an email address, check email, click to confirm), but it's worth it for a little justice.

What A Ride!

David Handschuh at the New York Daily News has a SoundSlides piece on a roller coaster club. This is done with the newer version of SS which allows pans and zooms, which I usually hate. (A.k.a. the Ken Burns effect), but here I don't mind it quite so much.

Make note of how clean and graphic the images are.

Monday, August 20, 2007

For the Canon Fans

Canon has announced two new cameras - the EOS-1Ds Mark III and the 40D (which hopefully has a higher level of QC). The Mk III ups the megapixel war to 21 MP ... which means you'll need to buy more cards, DVDs, RAM, etc. to keep up.

Ugh. Where's my 2.74 MP D1? That's all we really need for newspaper work ....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pretensious Pretentions

I have often read the Leica-infused writings of Erwin Puts but a recent post on his site has me thinking I'm done there. He argues that because the workflow in digital is different from the processes involved in silver halide films that digital is not photography.


If that's true, then all those Tri-X shooting masters who switched to Kodachromes stopped being photographers, too, since no one ever did a K-14 process in their cellar.

Call it art, call it journalism, call it precision technical writing, but photography is, at its core, the capturing of a moment and the sharing of it with others. Regardless of the processes involved, a great photograph lets someone who wasn't somewhere experience that moment in some (limited) way. That's it.

The boxes of my father's slides which surround me in my office, waiting to be scanned, are photography as much as the leftover prints from my college newspaper days and the digitized images of my step-kids' first day of school.

How do I know the latter is true? Because I sent them to their grandfather and his one word response was, "Priceless!"

Monday, August 13, 2007

Don't be a Newspaper Person, Be a Storyteller

It's a theme I talk about a lot, it's one you should buy into, as well. And Inside Higher Ed has a story on "New Media Meets Campus Media" you should look at.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Working From Home? Tips to be Cheap

This is slightly inside-baseball-ish, but here are some tips on how to save money on the business side of life

(Hey, no one's paying me to do this - I find tips where I can, even if they come hyperlocally.)

AP Photojournalist Tossed from Cuba

The Miami Herald has a story about Cuban photographer Cristobal Herrera who photographed Fidel Castro fainting and falling on two separate occasions. Seems the government has essentially exiled him from his home.