Friday, December 31, 2010

A Look Back at 2010

It is December 31st, 2010.  Lots has happened with me this past year.  I have met many good people and experienced many new things.  I am one step closer to finally finishing my long track of formal education.  As I look into 2011, I sit here and wonder what things made me a better photographer, student, and person this past year.  

I remember leaving 2009 with uncertainty about my future and mostly my families future.  My father at the end of the year packed up his belongings and moved out of his only job he knew for so many years.  He, like many other Americans, found himself unemployed.  What does this mean for my dad, who put his whole life into a job that disappeared in a matter of months, and what does this mean for my family.  I wanted to document this change my father went through and photography gave me the means of telling his story.

I managed to get a summer internship at the News-Herald this year.  My 12 weeks taught me what it is like working as a professional photographer and the daily struggles of newspapers.  I photographed as much as I could and learned very valuable lessons from a first internship.  I learned what to do and not what to do.  It gave me a sense of what working for a newspaper is like, something I might be interested in pursuing later.  

This year I was accepted into the Eddie Adams Workshop XXIII.  This was a big stepping stone for me in my career as a photographer.  I had the opportunity to work with the best in the industry.  I met many great photographers and saw all their work.  I met 99 other students of the workshop that had the same struggles and outlooks as I did.  It was amazing to see 100 talented students tackling their own story in a short amount of time.  I learned valuable things that I can apply to my own photography from listening to others and seeing such a vast amount of work.  I will always remember my experience at the workshop.

Like every other photography student out there, I entered into the College Photographer of Year contest.  This is a contest for college students to get their name out there and to show what they have been doing this past year.  It also sets the benchmark for college students in their own work.  I was happy to see one my photographs from this year made it into the Sports Feature category as a finalist.  I was awarded an Award of Excellence for my picture below.  My story I did on my father also made it into the Quarter-finals of the Domestic Picture Story category.

As 2011 is only hours away, I find myself looking back at 2010 as only the beginning of a lifelong career as a photographer.  I learned valuable lessons from various professors, professionals, students, and my subjects.  2011 will bring a close to my 21 years of schooling and the beginning of my life.

Thank you everyone for following this blog this year.  I am currently finishing up work on a new website and blog which will hopefully be released in the coming weeks.


Extra pictures I enjoyed from 2010......

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone.  A shot from tonights candlelight service at church.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Here is a photo from a recent shoot I had with Kaitlyn.  I used a window as a background and lit her with one flash through a softbox.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I had an itch to shoot.

Since my good friend at RIT, Michael Conti, left school to pursue a winter/spring internship, I have taken his place as Photo Editor at Reporter Magazine.  I have had only a few weeks on the job and enjoy it so far.  I thought it was time for me to go out and shoot something, so I photographed a woman's basketball game tonight.  RIT beat Elmira 72-57 in the Empire 8 Season opener.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter is here.

Been doing lots of preparation but not a whole lot of shooting.  I am preparing for a documentary film and a community news magazine class.  I am planning an economic story, finishing up my night riders story, and starting a few other projects.  Other then that, it is just applying to internships and finding more stories until I graduate in the spring.  Here is a photograph I took today that looked interesting.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Computer Science House

Tonight I had the chance to meet people who are passionate about technology.  I found myself photographing most of the same things, college students working with computers.  My reason for photographing this is for the Reporter's feature on the Computer Science House.  I am going up there again tomorrow and going to find different ways of showing the house more, with more personality.  It is a bit hard right now, since we are winding down the quarter and taking Finals this week.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat?

Spent Halloween with a family I photographed last year for a Christmas Tree Cutting.  I chose this family for Halloween because there is four boys in the family.  Three of them went out to trick or treat in the neighborhood.

Carving pumpkins before going out and trick or treating

Getting ready

Standing in line to receive candy

Waiting for candy


Sorting all the candy out

The boys had a market set up were they traded candy between each other

One of my favorites from the night

Halloween Party

Yesterday afternoon I photographed a Halloween party with 20 little kids running around.  I really liked the shots outdoors rather than the stuff indoors.  Here is what I liked.

Donut Eating Contest

Playing Red Rover

Duck Duck Goose

Friday, October 29, 2010

Night Riders

Last night I photographed a local group of mountain bikers who like to ride late at night.  The guys go to different parks, ride with lights, and have a good time.  Here are two of my favorites from last night.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thoughts on Mountain Workshop 2010

My experience from the Mountain Workshops was exciting.  This workshop was hosted in Elizabethtown, KY this year and over fifty people participated in the workshop.  I was part of the twenty multimedia students who had to collect video footage and audio to put together a story in a few days.  I learned through the little amounts of sleep last week the importance of getting to know your subject, technical things in Final Cut Pro, and producing a  short story within a few days.  

Like the Eddie Adams Workshop, I learned for a second time, the importance of getting to the know the subject before shooting anything.  The story I shot at the Mountain Workshops was about Matthew Pinkham.  I went into the story thinking about Matthew as just a child who got lucky with guitar and is making it big.  What I found through talking before I even started, Matthew has a bone disease which bound him to a wheelchair in his early childhood.  Through his disability, he had time to learn the guitar and become what he is today.  He found it fascinating to watch professional country singers perform live on stage and wanted to copy them.  After being exposed to the guitar, he continued to practice, eventually landing gigs in the area around him.  His mother, Rebecca Pinkham, is very supportive of him.  She takes many hours out of her day to drive him to guitar practice, various gigs, and to keep nagging him to practice every once in awhile.  I learned from Matthew that life isn’t always what you thought it was going to be and by doing what you love you realize everything will be for the better.

Without further ado, I introduce you to Matthew Pinkham and his story.

In the process of telling Matthew’s story, I found myself learning little things about story-telling and Final Cut Pro.  I found out how to professionally set up Final Cut Pro and to use special capture features like ProRes for video.  I also learned little things from Chad Stevens (my multimedia coach) like mixing audio, storyboarding, and polishing a piece.  The amount of effort I put into this two minute piece shows in the final video.  I spent around twenty hours of production time putting together the elements of the story, mixing the interview and ambient sound, and polishing the whole piece.  I feel after spending twenty hours of production time, the piece looks better visually and sounds better.  Focusing on the little details leaves the viewer to focus on the story and not my own mistakes.  

Overall, this workshop taught me things I never learned at RIT and helped me grow into what I am today.  I will plan on pursuing more multimedia projects in the near future as the itch for telling stories through multimedia won’t give up anytime soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Some thoughts on the past few weeks...

After digesting everything I learned on the RIT PJ Washington D.C. Trip and at the Eddie Adams Workshop XXIII, I noticed the passion and devotion everyone has for the industry.  The development of digital media is changing very quickly and I saw everyone mention this new medium during some point of conversation throughout the past two weeks.    

Passion is essential for succeeding in this industry.  Over the past two weeks, I have noticed different types of passion throughout the people I saw and met.  Each photographer would talk about their work and what they are doing now.  I noticed each photographer would talk about their work ethic and how they got to be what they are today.  During each conversation, there never seemed to be a dull moment in their lives.  They always pushed the envelope and never took no for an answer.  Evan Vucci, a photographer in the AP Washington Bureau, constantly bugged the AP for work and freelanced while building up a portfolio.  His motivation and devotion to becoming a successful photographer was inspiring.  He never said no to an assignment and shot everything he was given.  That attitude creates a dynamic to produce good work and constantly push yourself to become better.  I learned from this, there is no room for quitting if I want it. 

Everyone is talking about what is next for media and how the audience will view the material in the future.  People seem interested in multimedia but are unsure of a business model for the new media.  Brian Storm mentioned at Eddie Adams Workshop this past weekend, “It is an exciting time right now, there is lots of opportunity.”  What Brian is talking about is the possibilities of multimedia and how this new media will shape the future of publications and story-telling.  Mobile devices become a way for people to access news anywhere in the world, moving farther away from traditional newspapers or magazines.  Mobile devices bring a new audience to the stage and the industry must meet their needs.  The future is unclear but I am aware of the challenges I have to face to become a better photographer and the multimedia skills I will need to acquire to succeed. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Portfolio reviews at EAW

Tonight I wanted to focus on an important aspect of the workshop, the 11:30 club.  The 11:30 club is the gathering of all of the students and editors and students have the opportunity to show their portfolio.  I found this aspect of the workshop to be the most rewarding right now.  I get the ability to see top-notch industry professionals right in front of me and I get to hear their thoughts on my portfolio.  I found most people where reacting to my story I did on my father about his unemployment.  People reacted to the issue of unemployment because it is very current in our society right now and stories need to be told about it.  I need to look out for some things next time but everyone was interested in the story and wanting to see more.

I found I need to figure out what I want to do when I graduate because I got asked that a million times and couldn't answer it!

Editors enjoyed feeling prints and being able to hold a book.  I think my presentation was successful these past two nights.

Also, I am really tired now and that is a good thing.  I worked my butt off this weekend and learned a great deal.  Tomorrow (or when day breaks in a few hours!) the workshop will be entering its final day.  We will hear a few more speakers and get to see the work everyone produced this weekend.  Pretty excited to see the stories and what everyone got to shoot.

I will be writing a blog post tomorrow dedicated to the story and what photos where chosen for the final edit.

This morning I came across a gorgeous scenic lake on my way to the temple.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make a landscape.  It felt good to just walk by the lake and photograph the fall colors.  This part of New York is gorgeous.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I am running on something.

Being at this workshop is awesome.  I just finished up the second day at the Eddie Adams Workshop.  Today was a big day for us because we all had the chance to go out and actually shoot some stuff.  I spent my afternoon talking with Buddhist nuns and monks.  I spent a good hour just talking to different nuns to get a feel for how things are at the temple and what kind of relationships are already built.  I found it interesting that this form of Buddhism, Kadampa, is very open to strangers.  Kadampa is a form of Buddhism that relies on peace with yourself and peace with others.  Through helping others, these Buddhist nuns and monks can find peace with themselves.  My focus of the story is going to be on the act of helping others and what that means to the nuns and monks at the temple.  This evening, I got the chance to witness one of the Kadampa Buddhist prayers and photograph it.  That is it right now for the story, I will know more tomorrow after I see the success of tomorrow's shoot.

Another really really cool aspect of the workshop is the 11:30 club.  This gives the students a chance to talk to the professionals who are teaching at the workshop, work around the farm, or just came out to talk to us at this club.  I had the chance to meet with a few people and had some wide varieties of responses.  I really enjoy hearing different extremes on my work because it gives me a chance to hear from everyone in the industry.  After tomorrow night, I will have a good idea of what I need to better and what ideas I need to work on.

I wanted to leave you a picture I took of the temple tonight.  It is really a gorgeous temple.  I plan on posting some more images tomorrow when I get a chance.  Late night blogging is always fun :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hello from Eddie Adams Workshop!

Today was the first day of the Eddie Adams Workshop and I am beat already.  I got up early, got into the car, and drove four hours southeast of Rochester to Liberty, NY.  The first day has been quite extraordinary!  We listened to some speakers that introduced the workshop and talked about their work.  I was really interested in listening to Brian Storm pick apart past pieces and how he builds multimedia pieces at the workshop.  I really want to improve my multimedia this year and any chances I have to learn from him, I am going to take them.

After the speakers, we got back to hotels for our meetings with our team.  For my story, I am photographing Buddhist Nuns in Glen Spey, NY.  While at the temple, I am going to look for different relationships and interactions these nuns have during the day and the rituals they go through while I am there.  I am really excited to get out tomorrow and actually shoot some stuff.  I find my story to be interesting because I haven't experienced Buddhism or any sort of community/ritual religions for that matter.  This will not only be a photographically learning experience, but I hope to take away a story about the meaning of Buddhism and why these nuns practice this religion.  

One thing I wanted to write about that I noticed here at the workshop is the bond these people have for each other.  It is starting to feel like I am becoming a part of a family here, part of the Adams family and the workshop's family.  It really is a honor to be part of this year's family and part of the ever-growing family at large.  I keep hearing from everyone, the relationships I will build this weekend will last a lifetime.  This workshop will change my life.  

It is getting late and I gotta be up at 6:30 AM tomorrow!  So here comes the first night of little sleep.  I wanted to leave an interesting quote for everyone regarding the workshop and the impact it will instill in everyone attending this year.

Tom Bol said in his leader introduction, "The Eddie Adams Workshop is a rite of passage."  I know going into this workshop I will not be the same photographer I was coming out of it.  


Monday, October 4, 2010

End of the PJ Washington D.C. trip

We spent most of the day at the Newsuem on Friday.  I got the chance to look at all the exhibits but found the Pulitzer photographs to be the most interesting.  I went throughout the gallery and watched a few minutes of the video Newsuem put together of some of the photographers.  I was absolutely moved by the power of these images and the abilities of the photographers in the gallery.  After going through the gallery I realized I am going to cover and see many people and hear many stories.  I found the experiences of the photographers on the video to be moving and inspiring.  The sights they saw and the moments they captured.  They became a part of history and recorded that moment in time.  The power of journalism is to become story-tellers and most importantly to become people who witness history in the making.

Later that day, we headed over to the Hawk n' Dove and got together with a group of professionals in the industry.  I noticed a trend in the conversations and also the review of my portfolio.  These people where talking to me about the industry and the passion one must have for this profession.  It moved me to talk to people one on one who are as excited about photography as I am.  The reviews of my portfolio remained constant and I still have some improving to do on my part.  A bunch of people where suggesting to me to continue my Starting Over story with my dad as a multiple story project with other people who are affected by this decline in the economy.  The project would consist of other people who are losing their job or have lost it in the past few years due to economic downturns.  All of the insights gathered at the networking dinner where very helpful and I passed out some business cards in the process!

I attended the One Nation Working Together rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.  This is my first rally/march and I was eager to photograph it.  When I started walking around, I noticed many people seemed bored and uninterested.  It was really hard to make photographs in these situations when half of the rally isn't even caring.  I looked around at different parts of the rally and found ways of telling the story of the rally with different aspects.  I walked towards the Lincoln Memorial to get people yelling and cheering for each of the speakers.  As I moved back out towards the World War II memorial, I tried to find individuals who where doing something interesting or different groups who where interested in the rally.  All in all, it was very difficult to photograph.  Here is an image from the rally that I liked.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Washington D.C. PJ Trip: Day 4

Today we visited USA Today and Education Week.  USA Today was an inspiring place to visit.  We got to meet different photo editors from each section of the paper.  They talked to us about the qualifications freelance photographers need to get hired at USA Today.  I became really interested in the work they put into new dynamic content on their website for bigger events like Hurricane Katerina.  One of the managers on the online team showed us some of the projects she has worked on at USA Today.  I have always been interested in creating new web content myself, so when I found out the amount of code and design they put into each large term story, the investment was worth it.  Check out the Hurricane Katerina page!

After USA Today we went over and visited Charlie and Chris at Education Week.  Both of these editors are fellow RIT alumni and have worked on many different teams and projects.  At Education Week, they hire freelancers to photograph different types of pictures that relate to education.  This could range from a portrait of a school official all the way to documenting classroom behavior of minorities.  I had the chance to sit down with Chris for a portfolio review at the end of the meeting.  He remarked about my Starting Over story I did on my father when he lost his job.  He became interested in the content of the story and recommended I continue to tell the stories of other Americans who are going through similar situations.  I took interest to this idea and will start doing research in the Rochester area looking for people and more employment stories.  

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Washington D.C. PJ Trip: Day 3

Today our class got the opportunity to visit the McClathy-Tribune and The Associated Press.  This day was one of the better days of the week and was based on photographic wire services.  At the McClathy-Tribune, I learned about their business plan.  MCT is a wire service and operates 20+ newspapers in the US.  I am interested in MCT because I want to freelance and possibly shoot for the wires.  

In the afternoon we arrived at the Associated Press Washington D.C. headquarters.  David Ake, Director of Photography in Washington D.C. gave us a grand tour of the offices and sat us down to talk about the AP and answer questions.  One of the main concerns for the AP, especially for David, is finding photographers who are “hungry” and have the desire to become the best they can be, no matter what.  David put the emphasis on a photographer to be driven and always pushing the limits.  He doesn’t want photographers to take no for an answer.  It was inspiring to hear such encouraging words about becoming successful and it got me really excited.

After the Associated Press we got the chance to hang out with Carol Guzy in her home tonight.  She talked to us about the process of finding stories, what it is like to work constantly, and how she deals with mental strains of the job.  I found it inspiring to hear her thoughts about photojournalism and the passion she has for story-telling.  She mentioned, “Every time I photograph, even if it is a small assignment, I try to make a photo story every time, because I think in terms of a photo story.”  The idea of constructing a story is essential in photojournalism, our class has heard it countless times on the trip, but to photograph each assignment as a photo story seems compelling and above and beyond.  Her work clearly shows her passion for story-telling.

After talking with us, she had the chance to review my portfolio tonight.  My singles need to be stronger and my shooting style on stories needs to change.  I need to use more variety in my lens choices and cropping while shooting a story.  I got the chance to show her a small edit of my Horse Show Mom story I am working on and she gave me some good insights for the future.  I need to dig deeper into the story and show Beth at home interacting with her children and her horses.  I need to photograph the family in a different environment like at home and find important details that relates back to showing, like a trophy room.  Overall, she was happy with my work and told me to keep working hard.  

During these last couple of days, I have noticed my love for photography is growing.  I have become hungry and desire more in my work and studies.  I want to become better.  I want to dive into multimedia and work more with audio and video.  I want to become a better story-teller!  I have the rest of fall quarter to kick ass and polish my portfolio.  I will spend winter quarter applying to summer internships so I have a job when I leave school!  Here is to the beginning of a new, exciting life ahead of me in photography.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Washington D.C. PJ Trip: Day 2

Today we visited National Geographic and The White House Photo Office.  In the morning, we went to the National Geographic.  We met Ken Geiger, Photo Editor at the National Geographic Magazine and he took us around the office and talked about what National Geographic does day to day.  It was interesting to learn about the tedious process photographers, editors, and designers go through for each issue.  In a nutshell, photographer submits story, spends time shooting it, editor reviews the work, talks to designer, then back to photographer for input, then back to designing and then final print.  The process to get a story printed by National Geographic seems really tough, but rewarding once printed for the amount of input you receive.  The amount of work each photo editor puts into their stories is immense, long reviews and countless changes to the story seem endless to perfect the story for each issue.  After going over the process and seeing all the offices, we went downstairs to the photo tech lab.  One of the photo engineers was building a remote control car to mount a camera on the car to photograph tigers in the wild in their natural habit.  It sounds really cool to go to work each day and build cool photo tools to enable photographers to take better images and better access.  I should do that on the side! :)

After National Geographic, we walked over to the White House.  Had a review of recent work by the photographers at the White House, talked about the job, and the grand story of Barack Obama and what they want to accomplish in his administration.  I found it interesting how difficult photographers jobs must be to photograph the same man for a whole presidential term, things would start to repeat themselves pretty quickly.  It would become a long-term story of finite details of the struggles and happiness the president would go through serving his term, those moments would separate themselves out to show his character.  After the meeting, we got to see the West Wing of the White House.  Nothing exciting but still cool nonetheless.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Washington D.C. PJ Trip: Day 1

Today was the first day of the RIT Photojournalism Washington D.C. Trip.  This gives the RIT PJ students on the trip the opportunity to see certain publications and services up close and personal.  Professionals from each organization give us a tour of the building, go over what they do at the organization, and if we have time, look over our stuff.

For our first day, we visited the National Public Radio (NPR) in the morning and The Washington Post in the afternoon.  At NPR, we got a grand tour of the whole building and saw studios, offices, and control rooms.  I learned about the importance of audio in telling a story.  Audio creates a new dynamic to the photo story and gives the viewer a sense of place and a feeling of being with the subject.  In my future work, I want to put more emphasis on audio and work on my craft in becoming a better story-teller by using audio.  

After NPR, we visited The Washington Post.  RIT alum, Megan Rossman took us around the building and showed us the photo desk.  After we got the tour, we went inside a conference room and she told us about her work as a multimedia producer.  Megan produced a really nice piece with Carol Guzy on maternal morality.  The images in the slideshow where strong and the audio made the piece even better.  Having the audio intertwined with the images created a new dynamic that was mentioned while at NPR earlier in the morning.  

Coming away from today, I learned the importance of audio and video in this developing new market for photographers.  What will I be doing in five years?  The question remains unanswered but I am interested in working with video and audio to create more dynamic stories.  Having the viewer being immersed with visuals and sound is something I am interested in creating for my own work.  I want to spend the rest of the year at RIT working with video and audio in my stories and finding the best way to tell a story.

Tomorrow we will be heading to the White House and National Geographic!  So excited.