Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Western trombone players Hayden Lemaster and Casey Schwenk, both 18, enjoyed showing their school spirit to a Central fan at the televised Western vs. Central basketball game Feb. 16. “We yelled at them and we were louder too!” said Schwenk laughing.

Lemaster and Schwenk gear up before the game

Trent Spanger, 18, dances while he listens to music at the Valentine Day Flash Mob in Red Square.

My assignment for last week: taking a picture of action and stopping it.
It was my best assignment yet. I feel like I took somewhat decent pictures and gained confidence as a journalist.
My first idea was the “What is Love” Valentines Day Flashmob on campus. Between the passing period of 10:50 to 11, students simultaneously gathered and danced to the 1993 dance track by Haddaway. This felt like the perfect opportunity. Even though it was a cloudy day with some rain I showed up early, hiked up my camera ISO and got close to the crowd.
As entertaining as the event was, I had to try again. I only got one good motion picture. Trent Spanger, 18, had been excited to attend since he heard about the event. However I knew I could take better pictures. I knew I was capable of taking better quality pictures.
So off to the Western vs. Central game I went. As a former band geek I had major nostalgia. I was initially afraid of shooting games because my sports knowledge is almost nonexistant. I checked out a 5D camera and instantly fell in love. Better lenses, frames and zooming. I could have a higher ISO. My first challenge was finding a good seat. I luckily got the second row by the basket. By sheer dumb luck a female student informed me their friend was not coming. I didn't leave my seat once. I know I should've ran around the court but I had a great view. My only issue was people's heads sometimes. Aside from that there were several students lurking behind me like vultures waiting for a good seat.
Two Western band members and two Central fans started yelling at each other a few rows below me. Hayden Lemaster and Casey Schwenk, both 18, enjoyed showing their school spirit against their opponents. “We yelled at them and we were louder too!” said Schwenk laughing. By the end I was more comfortable with shooting games. Even though I don't keep up with sports I like following the excitement and action. 
The biggest mistake I took involved  the Western band members and Central fan. I took two pictures of them Only one has the Central fan. The problem? One picture also has a photographer right in the fan's face taking pictures. Needless to say it doesn't add to my picture at all. I decided to choose the picture of the Western band members only. It's not as good but there's still motion (and no additional photographers).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Human Emotion/Relationship

Jeffery Slack, 49, trains his four month old Presa-Canario in downtown Bellingham Tuesday afternoon. He runs into Brent Kuecker, 31, on the way to his car. The two friends talk about Jeffery’s dog as Kuecker pets her. “You’ll like me when you’re older,” Kuecker says.

Human Emotion/Relationship
This assignment was to shoot a picture showing human emotion and/or some kind of relationship, such as people reacting to a sports game or a couple kissing. It can't be a posted picture.
This was my hardest assignment yet. I hated it.
I am too used to posed pictures.
I couldn't grow a pair, get close and take pictures of people.
I tried. Monday I went to downtown Bellingham and the waterfront for a few hours with no luck. A guy and girl were talking while sitting on a rock. They were having a close moment together, I tried to find a good shooting spot and awkwardly got stuck and almost fell. That sort of announced my presence and made me look like a stalker.
On Tuesday I was in downtown Bellingham again, armed with my camera and another mocha. I noticed Jeffery Slack, 49, walking his Presa-Canario. People came up to pet his puppy and Slack started conversation. He was training his dog outside the police substation when a police officer opened the door and warned him to not leave his dog by the station. He explained the training and the police officer laughed. I knew this was a photo opportunity. I put my mocha down and got my camera ready. By the time I looked up Slack had already crossed the street and was about to cross another. I began to panic and went for it. It took me a few minutes but I was tailing Slack. I am eternally grateful to Bellingham residents for not thinking I am a stalker after these last few days. I caught up to Slack and he was up for pictures. He told me he knew a lot of locals and they'd compliment his puppy a lot so I had a good chance of getting some unplanned poses. Slack was right. As I followed him and his puppy he ran into a friend, Brent Kuecker. They talked about dog training and I went crazy with pictures.
The sun became my enemy. As the picture shows the background is washed out and backlit. My subjects are barely seen. I will reiterate my lessons: sun is not always my friend and I need to grow a pair and think beyond posed pictures.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Environmental/Personality Portait

 Photojournalism might actually be easier than I thought. Or not? I thought that until I printed out my pictures at Wilson Library today. I was already stressed and the black and white photos were darker and somewhat blurrier. I had not expected that. Good thing I already had caffeine in my system before I fiddled around on Photoshop and tried to edit my pictures as much as I could. There's only so much brightness/contrast and layers can do however.

The assignment was to shoot someone in their element. The subject had to be shown in their environment. I chose Matt Johnson, 25, a Western student who is also a U.S. soldier. He returned from Iraq in fall of 2009 and re-enrolled in Western. He now studies chemistry and also continues following military duties such as physical training.. I struggled with finding Johnson's environment. A military base/compound? His room? A work out room at his apartment? After talking to my professor I decided the best place would be on campus. I wanted Johnson to choose a place that he felt comfortable in, somewhere that portrayed him as a Western student and soldier. He chose a study room in Western's biology building. Facing a playing field and Rideway dormitories, trees and lush green show off a great view, which is why Johnson enjoys the study rooms so much. Now looking back I wish I had focused on the sunlight and dirty window spots more. They come out in a unflattering way in the pictures. However Johnson was a great subject and I personally love how you can see the WWU logo behind Johnson's Army cap. I feel like I captured his environment and personality well.

Matt Johnson, 25, poses in a study room on Western's campus. Johnson returned in fall 2009 after serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq. Johnson is a combat medic re-enrolled at Western to pursue a pre-med concentration/ The Biology Building holds study rooms Johnson frequents to study and relax. “The view is why I love this place the most,” Johnson says as he gestures to the sunlit windows facing a Western playing field and Ridgeway dormitories.