For this assignment, I decided to take pictures and audio of the WAYN radio vinylathon and college radio day and put them into one slideshow. I enjoyed this project immensely, and I thought it was one of the easiest ones we’ve done- technically, anyway, or in terms of what was assigned. I ran into some issues early and later on.
Firstly, my computer was having difficulty running the adobe software, as well as audacity. Secondly, my first choice of event turned out to be expensive to get in to, and the second one was cancelled twice due to weather. I was very unlucky in tackling this assignment, it would seem. Towards the end, when it was due, adobe simply stopped working on my computer, so I had to redo the entire assignment in another app, leaving an ugly watermark over my video.
I loved the music I used, though- I was able to catch a live performance on college radio day and got the singer/artist’s permission to use it as a background track. And taking the pictures while hanging out with the different radio crews was very, very fun. I run a radio show, which meant I knew a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes, but I had never seen anyone else's show in action, and the live music was a real treat that none of us expected.
Aside from the various technical and scheduling issues I had, I would like to reiterate that I really liked this project. Putting it together made me feel like an actual, video editing journalist. I liked the opportunity to be creative as a final project.
Feature Hunt Essay
For this assignment, I chose to shoot a weekend spring costume carnival type event as my sister’s high school. Some of it was meant to be held outside, but due to weather, of course, those activities had to be rescheduled or cancelled. The reason I was able to shoot this event is because I had agreed to be a helper for the day, since my sister’s year was the one putting the event on.
The street photo was taken while I was out of town in California. There was a musician on the Santa Monica Pier that was preforming to visitors as they walked by. He was one of many, since the theme of the evening was “Jazz Stroll at Santa Monica”, but I decided to feature him because he was the oldest, he was alone, and he was playing the most interesting instrument.
I liked taking these pictures with my smartphone better than taking pictures with my camera, just for ease and convenience. However, my android camera (the standard one on the galaxy s7) doesn’t handle motion and quick action as well as my camera does on the right settings. Regardless of different apps that can make a smartphone function and behave like a manual camera, there are some things that even paid apps can’t fix, like aperture width. My phone has a fixed aperture on the lens that I can not change, point blank, period. If I were ever in a situation where a perfect shot depended on aperture, I would be essentially at a loss. Focusing on a subject is easier on a smartphone though, and I don’t have to worry about ISO making pictures grainy or loud because ISO and white balance adjust automatically for most recent tier phones.
This assignment was probably the easiest to date.
Sports reflection essay
This assignment was both easier and harder than the last one, for various reasons. To begin, I’ll explain why it was easier. I understand the functions, settings and reciprocity needs for my camera much more now after the last assignment, which made getting better pictures that look more professional in the long run a little simpler and also meant that there was less I had to edit out and fix later in photoshop.
The lighting was better since I was outside, and all the pictures were taken at the same event, which meant less fiddling with the settings for each one. I also didn’t have a lot of difficulty with the shutter speed and aperture for capturing fast motion. Most of my action shots came out pretty clear.
However, this assignment was harder than the last due to one very prevalent thing- the weather. At the baseball game I was shooting, the weather was wet and icy. It started raining midway through the second inning, which is when the fan feature was taken of the two people with blankets and umbrellas. The picture is grainier than I would like due to the influence of steady rain buildup on my lens and the lighting changing with the clouds overhead getting thicker, messing with my ISO. Also, because of the weather being so awful, the spectators and coaches weren’t as active or excitable with their reaction to the game.
I understand why sports would be more difficult to shoot just on the weather factor alone. It was cold and miserable at the game, and afterwards my fingers were aching and frozen, but I still needed to complete the assignment. The natural lighting was nice, but the near-frostbite was less so.
Overall, it was easier than I expected, but still challenging. I would have enjoyed it a lot more of the weather had cooperated.
Ten Best Essay: What I learned
In this block of instruction, I learned to better use the controls of my camera, what my camera can and cannot handle in terms of taking pictures in certain environments, and how much I need to work on my own inhibitions and shyness to take the best pictures that I can.
Firstly, I learned camera controls better. I had a basic recall and knowledge of the controls from studying for our test, but actually using them in the field and experimenting with them to get the best combinations for photographs helped embed them more deeply in my mind. Looking back on how lost I was in the beginning of the course as to the function of the different camera controls- aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc., it’s almost humorous.
Secondly, I learned what my camera can and cannot handle. I realized that in the expense range that my camera is in and the level of professionalism that it may or may not have, I cannot take clear pictures above a 50, 100, or 150 level ISO reading. Any higher than that, like at 1600 or above in any lit situation, and my pictures will come out blurry, streaked, and pixelized. They were embarrassingly grainy to the point that I could barely adjust the coloring and contrast to matter- specifically, with the “rule of thirds” and “perspective” photos. Once I adjusted the light sensitivity, the pictures were much clearer, to the point where I almost couldn’t tell that they came from the same camera. They looked a lot more professional and I was very happy with the way my later photos came out. To recap, “Perspective”, “Silhouette” and “Rule of Thirds” were taken on the first day of the assignment, when I still didn’t understand reciprocity well on my camera. As such, they look horrid. The others, as I mentioned, are so clear because I drastically lowered the ISO from that point on.
Finally, I realized that I have a long way to go before I overcome my shyness with taking pictures in public and with human subjects. With “Rule of thirds”, I was so embarrassed and felt highly intrusive for asking to take his picture. It was mortifying because I felt like I was invading his personal space and interrupting his day, even though he said it was fine and didn’t act angry at all. It was scary.
I still don’t want to be just strictly a photographer, but I do want to focus my print major in feature and magazine writing, which means that I have to know how to take photos to go along with my stories. That means knowing how to interact with people that I want to take pictures of and not being afraid of the practice. That still might take some time- the thought and act of stepping from behind the lens knots my stomach up. But if it becomes part of my job, I’ll deal with it. Employers want well rounded journalists increasingly, and I don’t want to get passed over for a job because I’m shutter-shy.
First Amendment Essay
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
To me, the First Amendment means that as long as I am being truthful in the things I report and the photos that I take, I have the right to distribute the facts and present reality to the general public without fear of legal hostility, punitive action and unlawful censorship. Regardless of what might come out of the mouth of our current president regarding press rights and libel laws and what he believes he should be able to do to people who present facts through both writing and pictures, a foundation in truth protects journalists.
The First Amendment says to me that it will protect me, for example, if I take an unflattering picture of a government official or capture something that needs to be seen. But it also serves as a warning to me, that it will protect me if and only if I am in the right, not the wrong. If I edit a photo, grievously or not, so that it appears to be something different than what I shot just to get a spot on the front page, and I get caught, I am not protected.
As a photojournalist, I think that the laws regarding truth and ethics are even more important than for print journalists. We don't use words. Our stories are told through images. If anything is wrong with that image, then the entire "story" is rendered false and the public can't trust what's in front of their own eyes. We are photographers, not magicians, and not graphic artists. Our job isn't to make things pretty, it's to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
The NPAA Code of Ethics states that "Visual journalists operate as trustees of the public. Our primary role is to report visually on the significant events and varied viewpoints in our common world. Our primary goal is the faithful and comprehensive depiction of the subject at hand. As visual journalists, we have the responsibility to document society and to preserve its history through images" (NPAA, https://nppa.org/code-ethics).
I think that this quote best exemplifies the points I explained above. In terms of which foundation of ethical decision making referenced in our textbook, I ascribe most closely to the Golden Rule school of ethics, in which you treat subjects and stories the way you would wish to be treated. I want to be truthful and informative, but not cruel and callously unnecessary. I don't want to cause harm to the common person as I work to spread the truth.