Saturday, November 24, 2007

Availability: back ordered

"Visitors gaze at jelly fish as they swim past a circular window at Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, S.C. July 20. Known as South Carolina's most visited attraction, Ripley's is home to thousands of other marine animals and creatures including sharks and stingrays."

Black Friday. The official mark of the holiday season.

Christmas music is now acceptable everywhere, except in my car, and traffic now congests daily commutes everywhere, especially in my car.

Having the day off, I spent my time doing anything but shopping. I never understood waking up at sunrise to save $10. Time is money.

I don't spend much money though. I am sort of a miser, but I do manage my money well and I do buy items I really want.

Too bad everything I want right now is back ordered.

I ordered the new Nikon D300 (I can't afford the new D3) a couple weeks ago knowing new technology and Internet reviews showed it being better, especially at high ISO, than the D2X.

Although the camera was finally shipped to stores Nov.21, I still have yet to see my order pass the "processing" stage. Also, the additional grip, extra batteries and a new charger (mine is dead) are all back ordered, too.

Back ordered items 4, me 0.

I'll try and be patient until the friendly UPS man drops my gear off, but that hasn't stopped me from calling every photo store within a 60 mile radius to see if they have any in stock. Only having one camera body is driving me crazy!

Now, the phone. I've always been the simple cell phone guy. But with changing technologies and my obsessive habit of checking my e-mail (I check my e-mail if I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom) I decided to pick up a web based cell phone. More specifically the Verizon Voyager.

I had originally wanted a iPhone, but I do not have AT&T. So then I opted for a Blackberry. Oh, what is that you say? It costs $40 for the web a month? No, thanks! Small towns provide free wifi. I will not pay $40 for web on a phone.

Luckily the Voyager looks pretty cool and web is about $10 a month. However, it's back ordered.

Back ordered items 5, me 0.

With that, I think instead of drowning my Black Friday sorrows with a couple cold beverages, I think I'll comb through my resume and portfolio for internship season.

Thus is where I found this image, looking over photos from this past summer.

I shall return Monday or Tuesday. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

"Cleveland Browns running back Jamal Lewis celebrates his one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, Sunday, Nov.18, 2007."

Before I forget, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. What better what to show it than with more football images, specifically former Baltimore Raven Jamal Lewis.

Assignments will most likely be slow over the holiday. However, I do know I have two tomorrow followed by some delicious sushi, which replaces my weekly Japanese class. Maybe I'll throw some fun images from that up.

If not, stay tuned for a really cool portrait (if all goes well). Here is a little hint. I'll also have another little update tomorrow night.

If you get bored, you can always scope out my friends pages in the side bar on the right until I return.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving and don't eat too much turkey. I know I will.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Replay comeback

"Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson celebrates his 33-yard game-winning overtime field goal against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, Sunday, Nov.18, 2007. Dawson kicked four of five field goals; one which sent the Browns to overtime, and one which won the game. The Browns won 33-30."

Sunday's NFL game between the Ravens and the Cleveland Browns was anything but a bore. Unlike last week's game, all I wanted was some action and touchdowns scored. No more field goals, please.

I got my wish... well, sorta.

An eventful first half led me to editing many images that would depict the Ravens winning or losing. At this point in the game I was just moving images that will go either way.

As I made my way back on the field late in the third quarter, I found myself shooting Kyle Boller getting hit and tossing a sloppy pass to no one. No one expect a Cleveland Browns defender whom returned the catch for a 100-yard touchdown.

Things did not look good for the home town favorite Ravens. Now down at this point 27-14.

As the game progressed, Ravens kicker Matt Stover would come on to knock down six points on two fields goals. Ugh, more field goals. These brought the game within one score. The Ravens, who had been trailing the entire game, would finally tie up the game late in the fourth quarter.

Some plays go by, and yep, another Stover field goal to put the Ravens ahead.

After firing the what would have been the game game winning point, a fellow photographer whispered to me.

"As a non-basis journalist, yet a local and Ravens fan deep down inside, I think it's safe to say the game is over."

I thought the game was done, too.

However, trailing 30-27, the Browns marched down the field to attempt a tying 51-yard kick. This is where things get screwy.

I had my lens aimed at Browns kicker Phil Dawson. The ball is kicked, he raises his hands, must be good. Then he drops his head. He missed. Game over.

I run to transmit my final images, but as I get into the photo room, I see a reply.

The ball hit the left upright, through the uprights and then bounced off the back support and back into the end zone.

The kick was good.

A surprise to me and everyone at the game, the game was headed for overtime.

From there, the game ended quickly and disappointing for the Ravens and their fans. Tough break, but the reply was right.

Good, exciting game aside from the controversy surrounding the call on the kick. Now I have a week off of Ravens coverage until the following Monday night football against the undefeated Patriots.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bouncing around ballet

"Students including freshman Rachel Cagiwa, a pre-dance performance major, perform a stretch and conditioning exercise during professor Sandra Perez's foundation of ballet class in Stephen's Hall Auditorium Tuesday afternoon. A flood caused by a pipe burst on July fourth in the CFA resulted in damage to 57 rooms, forcing three quarters of the dance department classes to relocate to Stephen’s Hall Auditorium."

Being an editor is not an easy task, but once you do any job for a certain amount of time you learn how to manage all aspects of it without many problems. Sure, it will still be stressful at times, but you'll have a better understanding of your task at hand after experiencing the ups and downs.

It is amusing when I read my other photographers blogs online and they say how busy they are. "I have had a lot of work thrown at me these last few weeks," is a direct quote from one of my photographers. I am not saying they aren't, but I just think of myself in relation.

I also get e-mails every once in awhile from other photographers who say they like my blog, but have no time to do one themselves.

In my opinion, managing time is crucial to success.

However, I won't get into that topic in this post. Maybe more on that later this week.

The above was a last minute assignment since the original cover story got cut. When a main story gets cut or changed, this generally complicates my day. Further meaning, I suddenly had drop everything I was doing to make time for the only ballet class before deadline.

The story surrounding the image is that there was a flood in the Center for Arts building earlier this year. Since damaging waters ruined many class rooms, most of the dance and ballet classes were forced to move into a different building without resources they normally use.

As I walked into the auditorium I tried to visualize how I would capture the students now having class in the old, dark theater like room as opposed to having class in their new, bright dance studio.

Despite the horrible lighting, I was surprised how many different angles I was able to shoot from.

The above image was my favorite. It was shot from the sketchy catwalk I climbed up and probably was not suppose to be on.

What I like about the image is the hands and feet coming into the frame. I shot many images during that streach trying to make everything line up nicely. Not perfect, but I still like it.

It will probably be the lead image, but one of the following will probably get the jump. I am not sure which on I like the best, so here they all are:

[Image 2]
[Image 3]
[Image 4]

Let me know what you think.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Seven for seven

"Baltimore Ravens running back Cory Ross returns a kick off during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium, Sunday, Nov.11, 2007. Bengals kicker Shayne Graham kicked a team-record seven field goals in the 21-7 victory over Baltimore."

Last night I shot the Ravens and had a blast even though there was not much action in the endzone.

I was hoping the Cincinnati Bengals and Ocho Cinco, other wise known as Chad Johnson, would run up the score with a lot of touchdowns. I was wrong. Insert field goals in that last sentence. Seven field goals.

I was also wishing that Ocho Cinco would score a couple touchdowns and pull some sort of crazy celebration antics. Nope. That didn't happen either. And no touchdowns were scored until late in the fourth quarter.

Nonetheless, the game was fun and I even got off a couple images that are different than the standard action images. I've uploaded some of them onto my SportsShooter page.

Well, I am keeping this post very short.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've shot nothing but sports in the last four days, and honestly, I just want to close my eyes and go to bed. Hopefully The Towerlight looks good tomorrow. I was in briefly before the Ravens game. I guess I'll see in the the morning.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Four sports in four days

"Loyola College head coach Jimmy Patsos celebrates a fourth quarter call against Towson University at the Towson Center, Friday, Nov.9. Patsos and the Greyhounds were defeated 83-69."

My past four days have been comprised of nothing but sports. It odd, but most of my shooting of recent tends to be more in one category than another. I'll still shoot all categories, but it will lean more toward features for a day or so, than sports, than news, etc.

Anyway, Thursday I shot the last Towson men's soccer game at home this season. But that has now changed as they will be back in action Tuesday since they clinched a playoff berth with a win.

The game made me realize that winter is here. I was freezing.

Following Thursday's cold game was the season opener for the men's basketball team versus local rival Loyola. As previously mentioned, I am not much of a basketball fan. Being confined to one spot all game, having to sit on a hard-wood and in a dull, dark lighting gymnasium in not my view of fun. But I am not going to complain because I love my job.

The game was close and exciting, but Loyola head coach, Jimmy Patsos, made the night for me. His passion, and style of coaching is the most entertaining in Baltimore. Sweating, jumping and screaming is his style. I loved every second of it.

As if I wasn't sick of sports at Towson already, Saturday afternoon was host the last home football game of the season. This time I was prepared for the cold.

First half action of play didn't lend it self to many points on the score board, but I made most of my images then. As second half rolled around I tried some fun stuff, but made sure to keep my insurance images saving to my memory card. And, as expected, Towson was defeated once again this season.

Now, as I lay here in bed, I will be waking up fairly early to shoot the Ravens game at 4p.m. I am pumped as always, hopefully Cinco Ocho, other wise known as Chad Johnson, will score and pull some sort of silly celebration.

I'll try and update with that tomorrow and maybe my favorite images from each game mentioned.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Personal pet peeve

"A student chats on the phone as she walks between Van Bokkelen Hall and the Media Center Wednesday afternoon. Students around campus are beginning to bundle up on their treks between classes. Many said they enjoy the change in temperature and scenery.

“I really like the fall and the cool weather,” junior, religious studies major Ricardo Silkworth said. “I’ve had to wait all of October for it. It took so long to get here, so it’s nice to feel the breeze in the air. I really like seeing all the leaves change color too.”"

Being subjected to find a feature image, often called a standalone here at The Towerlight, can sometimes be challenging.

Since our cover stories didn't lend themselves to visuals, today I was told I needed fill the space on the page with a fall foliage image. Not only was it to be bright, but needed to have people in it; those people hopefully being students.

The first image that came to mind was my photo from Saturday. However locating a place much as Rocks State Park would be tough to find around Towson University.

Campus doesn't lend itself to many colorful trees where students roam, so I was planning on driving around Towson trying to find some vibrant trees.

That was until I went to class this morning.

Between the two buildings I frequent the most on campus stands a beautiful tree. I don't know how I forgot about it since I pass it daily. I knew I wanted to use this tree as my focal point, but I still needed students to walk by.

Having been on the roof of the Media Center with Darnay before, I decided to venture back up. (Darnay is now a sports anchor in Kalispell, Mt. far left). I am glad I did because it provided a nice vantage point and placed me in front of the radiant tree.

I stood up on the roof for about an hour waiting for the perfect moment. Light was nice when not hiding behind clouds. The temperature was cold and the wind was strong.

Class change came and I had an abundance of students to work with.

But this is where my personal pet peeve comes into play: I couldn't identify my subjects.

While I could have tried yelling down to a student after making a picture, I doubt they could have heard me. Had they even been able to, I would have made a scene and other students would have began gazing up at me.

Why didn't I run down into the building they were entering to get names you say? Because by the time I walked across the roof to building which gained me access to my position, down the elevator, through the library and up a flight of stairs they, the students, would be gone or in class.

I know I beat myself up over something minor like this because its only happened maybe five times in my stint as photojournalist. I feel every assignment, including small ones like these, that it's vital to identify those in your images.

It's also something I stress to freshman photographers that come to the paper for the first time.

Hopefully they don't criticize me for my error and personal pet peeve.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Basketball preview: Part 1

"Towson University forward, Junior Hairston sits with one of his two sons Malachi, four months, in the Towson Center where he will start for the Tigers this season. A transfer from the College of Charleston last season, Hairston said raising his child and being there for his fiancée are atop of his priorities."

The past two days I've been compiling basketball images, action and portraits, for the annual Towerlight basketball preview. I figured I'd post up a portrait before posting the cover on Monday.

I really enjoy putting together images for any sports preview. However, I always have a hard time with basketball. I don't know what it is about shooting portraits of basketball players. Maybe it's because I am not a huge fan of basketball, the fact that they are hard to schedule, or the confinement of a gym. Nonetheless, I feel as I am always producing the same sort of portraits over and over.

So I had to change things up this time around. Last year we ran with this as cover and this portrait of Gary Neal along side action images.

My original plan was to get the players out of the gym, maybe off campus, but once I got the actual stories on them, I had to revert to plan B.

For cover, which I'll post on Monday, I kept simple. This will probably give it away in this test shot of Kris. I'll discuss that more later.

As for the above portrait, I had a totally different idea for him. But once I found out his story was more about his life and his son, I pulled an idea out day of. I wanted to show that his kid is more important than basketball. For what I had to work with, I think it tells the reader exactly that.

I had fun putting up all those chairs in the stadium, too. Probably could have put another row up. Oh, well.

For the second portrait, I again had to come up with an idea off the top of my head.

The girl is roughly 5 feet 5, the smallest on team. She also has a "swagger like Allen Iverson" according the writer, in which the story would loosely be surrounded on. My idea, have her standing between to of her tallest teammates, but cropping at the top of her head to show her height, and her sporting a cool, tough swagger like Iverson.

Two problems. She liked smiling in images for cover and there were no other players around.

I end up keeping it simple with this since I had a couple minutes before she had to jet over to practice.

Overall, I think the images turned out well. I am excited for the cover. Hopefully it looks as I planned in print.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Last lyme of defense

"Onlookers gaze over the edge of Rocks State Park's 190-foot king and queen seat in Harford County, Saturday, Nov.3. Fall foliage in Maryland is past its peak and leaves have begun falling at an accelerated pace."

I questioned posting this, because I am not much for shooting silhouettes and I just posted one. However it's fitting for today's post.

This morning I had planned to head down to the local Strobist meet, but I woke up an hour after it started. Sorry,guys. I figured since I had already overslept and had the day off that I'd just stay in bed.

After finally migrating out of my warm sheets, I procrastinated doing my homework. So I decided to head up to beautiful Rocks State Park.

Located in rural Harford County and conveniently five minutes from my house, it's a great place to spend an afternoon during the fall.

I love to go there and trek though the picturesque trails. Once at the top you can effortlessly climb a 190-foot rocky lookout point known as the king and queen seat, and gaze at the landscape in a way that a ground view can't provide.

It is especially scenic during this time of the year as the fall colors paint the skyline.

While I had a nice afternoon today, it was definitely the last place I should have gone. Littered with wildlife, and more leaves you can shake a stick at, I am sure there were thousands of ticks crawling around. In case you missed it, I had have Lyme Disease, which put me down for two weeks.

I say have because I am still on antibiotics, but feel normal now.

It's like when you eat a certain food and get ill. You never eat it again and can barely stand the sight or smell of it anymore.

One would think after being sick for two weeks straight from being bit by a tick, the woods would be the last place I wanted to be. Ha.

I look at it this way, I am not going to let an insect the size of a pin needle hold me back, and if I did get bit again, I am on antibiotics for just that.

Oh yeah. Don't forget to set your clocks back tonight.