2012-02-01 Free t-shirts

(02/01/2012) RIT students scramble to grab free t-shirts given away for Freeze Fest, RIT's annual winter festival. All t-shirts were given away in less than 10 minutes.

I was walking to class today when I noticed a rather large group of people walking across the quarter mile. I thought I overheard a conversation that went something like this:

“What’s going on?”
“It’s a protest.”
“What are they protesting?”
“T-shirts.”

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2011-10-02 Lots o’ sports

I’m taking a sports photo class with William Snyder, former DOP of The Dallas Morning News. I was hesitant to take the class, since I’ve never been that interested in sports. However, I figured that since my timing is crap and my backgrounds are lacking, taking the class could help. And there is the fact that I knew I would get my butt kicked, but at the time that wasn’t in the “pros” column for taking the class.

Turns out I love photographing sports. It’s a game. It’s fun and fast paced. But, there is some predictability to it. You start figuring out ways of doing things, and you get to fine tune them. This isn’t to say that you should get into a rut/routine when doing sports. It’s important to constantly be trying to do new things, but there is certainly some order. I prefer a fine line between order and chaos.

Anyway, here are several assignments I’ve done. Two football games and three hockey games. All of the hockey took place this weekend.

(10/02/2011) Capital District's Alex O'Dea and Rochester Stars' Jason Suvak fall during the first period. The Rochester Stars played their second back to back game against Capital District in a junior hockey game on Sunday, October 2, 2011. The teams played at the Sports Centre at Monroe Community College, in Brighton, NY. The Rochester Stars swept Capital District 4-1 on Saturday and 5-4 on Sunday.

(10/02/2011) Frederick Freeze's goalie Daniyal Hannan reacts after letting in a goal in the third period. Frederick Freeze played against Maksymum Junior Hockey in a junior hockey game on Sunday, October 2, 2011. The teams played at the Sports Centre at Monroe Community College, in Brighton, NY. Frederick Freeze lost 6-3.

(10/02/2011) Capital District's Joe Ditizio is escorted to the penalty box by linesman Erik Geller in the second period. He received a 2 minute penalty for holding. The Rochester Stars played their second back to back game against Capital District in a junior hockey game on Sunday, October 2, 2011. The teams played at the Sports Centre at Monroe Community College, in Brighton, NY. The Rochester Stars swept Capital District 4-1 on Saturday and 5-4 on Sunday.

(10/01/2011) Linesman Richard Jebo breaks up a fight between Rochester Stars' James Poston and Capital District's Sean Spero in the third period. The Rochester Stars play against Capital District in a junior hockey game on Saturday, October 1, 2011. The teams played at the Sports Centre at Monroe Community College, in Brighton, NY. The Rochester Stars beat Capital District 4-1.

(09/24/2011) The referee tries to break up a fight during the first quarter. Three unsportsman like conduct penalties were called against Aquinas. Aquinas Institute beat McQuaid Jesuit 42-0 at McQuaid's Tom Seymour Field in Brighton, New York.

(09/24/2011) McQuaid's Seery Donnan is tackled by Aquinas' Alonzo Turney in the first quarter.

(09/24/2011) John VandenBrul, McQuaid quarterback, stands injured on the sideline during the second quarter.

(09/16/2011) Victor's Mitch Ford blocks a punt from Canandaigua's Tyler Crudele. The Victor Blue Devils beat the Canandaigua Braves 21-0 in an easy win on Victor's home turf in Victor, NY.

(09/16/2011) Quarterback Mike Wagner tries to make a pass. The Victor Blue Devils beat the Canandaigua Braves 21-0 in an easy win on Victor's home turf in Victor, NY.

(09/16/2011) A Canandaigua player looks toward the field after a crushing defeat. "It's supposed to hurt," says head coach Geoff Mandile. The Victor Blue Devils beat the Canandaigua Braves 21-0 in an easy win on Victor's home turf in Victor, NY.

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Washington, DC PJ trip wrap

It’s a wrap.

I’d have to say that the DC trip was more productive than the NYC trip last spring. I think one of the biggest reasons for that is the experience that I’ve had since the NYC trip. I’ve made it out of third year alive and rocked at an editing internship at Life.com. With that working experience, I’ve been able to understand more of what everyone we meet with says. I can only learn so much in the classroom before I have to experience what I’ve been learning in a working environment. I was hoping that both this summer and this trip would help me know for sure what I want to do career wise. Of course they didn’t. I really do enjoy photo editing, but I couldn’t work in an office all week. At the same time, I need some level of order. I enjoy getting my coffee, going and sitting down, at least for a little while. That way I know what part of my morning will be like. At the same time, some of the best mornings involve waking up crazy early and going on a shoot or on some adventure.

One of the main ideas I took away from the trip was repeated multiple times by the people we met with. Editors should spend at least some time shooting. Then they understand the demands they are making of the shooters. This obviously makes sense. During the summer, I was thinking that I can just let my shooting slide because I’m just going to edit. I realize now, and I did before too, that I have to bust my butt with shooting as much as editing. Really, I need to try to push both as much as I can this year. The sports class I’m taking is part of this need to improve shooting. I know my timing sucks, and this, as well as numerous other aspects, is something that can be fixed if I become decent with sports. I’ve never been interested in sports, but photographing them is quite enjoyable.

Most people we met with also emphasized the importance of knowing multimedia/audio. I’m taking a MM 1 class now, as well as a sound recording class based in the School of Film and Animation (ie, they know their stuff).

Two final things that stuck out the most…

“NO.” Get used to it. Those two letters come with the job, and, really, with life in general. No is an easy answer. But it doesn’t make for good photos or stories. It’s also OK to fail. But don’t do it twice.

And lastly, work work work. There aren’t short cuts. I just have to do the work. Practice. Repeat. That’s the only way to get better. Now it’s time to stop asking for advice and do the work.

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2011-09-23 Washington, DC Day 5

(09/23/2011) NPR Staff Photographer David Gilkey talks with NPR Supervising Senior Producer Keith Jenkins.

(09/23/2011) NPR Staff Photographer David Gilkey talks with NPR Supervising Senior Producer Keith Jenkins.

On Friday, we met with the last several groups on our trip. We talked with people from NPR, Reuters, and The Washington Post.

NPR is certainly an interesting place to go to for photography. We met with Keith Jenkins, Supervising Senior Producer. David Gilkey, one of two staff photographers also joined us part way through our visit. The photographs are obviously displayed on the NPR website. However, Gilkey, one of their staff photographers, previously said that if you listen really close to the radio, you can here the photos on there too. NPR does primarily use its two staff photographers and the news wires for its photographic coverage. Occasionally, NPR will use freelancers, but that is typically rather limited and sporadic. Another interesting tidbit is that NPR prefers to have reporters and photographers work separately. Typically, the reporter will go and do his coverage. After he are finished, the photographer will go in and make the necessary photographs. One of the reasons they do is is because the shutter sound from the camera would sound terrible in the audio that the reporter is collecting. We also talked with Emily Bogle, an RIT graduate from last year’s class. She did an internship with NPR over the summer and is currently working there as a temp. It was great to see her at a company she absolutely loves.

(09/23/2011) Mitch Koppelman speaks with Rochester Institute of Technology photojournalism students.

Early in the afternoon we went to visit Mitch Koppelman at Reuters. Reuters is partially at fault for getting me into photojournalism. When I was in high school and just starting to think photojournalism might be my thing, I would constantly check the Reuters online galleries and their photography blog. At that moment in time, I thought they never updated it enough. I’d consume it and then want more. The breadth and the beauty of their images and subjects amazed me. Obviously, it was fantastic to finally meet the people who had a hand in the photography I held to such high esteem.

Koppelman had many things to say to us. One of the key things that Koppelman said was that the “key is to be noticed by the people you want to notice you.” When he was climbing the photojournalism ladder, he made sure to impress the people who would be crucial in his success down the road. I’d say it certainly worked. He also stressed the importance of not being bashful in self-promotion. Ask to meet with editors and other people. The worst they can say is no, and that is a very common word in photojournalism. He also said that failing is okay. He once finished shooting a huge assignment, only to get back to the lab to discover he hadn’t loaded film. That was the last time he made that mistake. Failing is okay if you learn from it and don’t repeat the mistake.

Finally, The Washington Post was the grand finale of the week. We met with Megan Rossman, RIT 2008. She’s the Multimedia Photo Editor at The Washington Post. It’s incredible just how quickly she worked her way up to her current position. A large part of the swift climbing was due to her hard work and persistence. She would come up with pitches. While in a previous position, she kept trying to do multimedia pieces outside of her job description, which helped lead her to her current job. Rossman said that pitching and shooting series is important because it forces you to stay active in shooting. She also said that having your ideas thoroughly researched is critical before you even make a pitch.

While it’s hard to believe that the week is already over, it has been one incredible, packed week. I’ve learned a great deal, but I’ve gained even more material to mull over for a while. Lots to think about. And even more to do. Look for a wrap up of the week soon…

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2011-09-22 Washington, DC Day 4

(09/22/2011) Daniel Loh, RIT '95, talks to RIT photojournalism student Rob Shook on the balcony of the Newseum, in Washington, DC. Seven RIT alumni were honored with the Isaiah Thomas Award in Publishing for winning the Pulitzer Prize at a ceremony at the Newseum, in Washington, DC.

Thursday we went to the Newseum, where the Isaiah Thomas award in Publishing was awarded to the Pulitzer Prize winning RIT alumni. As part of the event, a panel was put on regarding citizen journalism. Professionals in the journalism community talked about how they used “citizen journalism.” Some said they used it a lot for their local sections. Another use the panel found for citizen journalism was for finding story leads. Seeing a decent photo by a citizen gave them ideas to have staff photographers go out and shoot the same subjects better than the citizen. It was good to see our professor, William Snyder being honored with the Isaiah Thomas Award. Now, he will be reading this and I promise I’m not sucking up. Though my class (myself included) gives him a lot of crap, events like today remind me that it is truly an honor to be studying under him.

(09/22/2011) RIT photojournalism students pose for pictures in an elevator with mirror walls at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

We were given a ticket to see the rest of the museum after the awards program was completed. I was only able to spend time on two floors in the maybe two hours I was there. The Newseum has six floors. Clearly I could have spent more time there. The Pulitzer Prize section was incredible. Of course it was great to see pictures and video of Professor Snyder with a goatee as well. He always tells us we are our own worst editor.

I spent quite some time in the Pulitzer section alone. We heard earlier in the week from Garrett of USA Today (I believe) that the why for photographing is really important. The why is something I don’t have for me personally photographing. I often don’t know the why, and this really bothers me. I am still frequently caught up in an internal intellectual debate about why I am/should be allowed to photograph things. If someone told me I couldn’t photograph somethig, I don’t think I could answer. If I did, I don’t think I would believe it. Today, while I was being moved by the Pulitzer photographs, I was trying to dissect what about them drew me in and seemed so powerful. I wanted to understand their why. Though I considered this for a while, I couldn’t come up with an answer yet. But, I did write down the thought, and if something Is written down, it exists for me. I’ll be spending more time pondering these questions.

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2011-09-21 Washington, DC Day 3

(09/21/2011) Ken Geiger of National Geographic Magazine talks with RIT photojournalism students.

Wednesday started off at the land of the yellow border (National Geographic). Suffice it to say that we were all in awe. We met with Ken Geiger, an RIT graduate. Any project Geographic does takes a long time, with many projects taking over a year from pitch to publication. While resources have certainly shrunk, photographers still go on assignments for several weeks. Walking around the office was interesting as well, since there were many incredible photos up along the hallways. We also got to see the tool shop where they design devices to aid in assignments and scientific research. Some pictures are impossible with normal equipment, so they will create devices that will allow photographers to take photos in extreme circumstances.

(09/21/2011) David Ake, Assistant Chief of Bureau for photo in AP's Washington Bureau, reviews Josh Kuckens' portfolio.

Next we went to the Associated Press where we met with David Ake. He talked about how important it is to be good at sports since wire photographers have to shoot a ton of sports. He also emphasized how important passion and dedication are for photography. He said one of the photographers he ended up hiring was always annoyingly present. His persistence, and of course his skill, got him hired. Another one of the big topics in DC is politics. A part of covering this is that you must know who the senators are, you’ve got to know what’s going on politically so you can make intelligent photos and also so you can understand why you are given a certain assignment. Another thing Mr. Ake said was that knowing your gear is critical. If you don’t know it inside and out, you won’t be ready when news happens. You have to be a journalist too. You have to do the research and have the ethics.

Also at the AP, we talked to an RIT grad. After she was laid off at a small paper, she spent a year applying to literally 100 different jobs before she finally got one. The passion and dedication to her craft was what got her through rough times. Mr. Ake also said we should expect to starve and/or eat tomato soup for the first five years. Great.

Next on the list was a visit to AARP.  At first I was really confused as to why we were going here, but we found out that they love photography and multimedia in the photojournalistic vein. We talked with MaryAnne Golon, the consulting DOP and multimedia at AARP. She and others talked about their use of photography and what they look for in younger photographers. We also saw several multimedia pieces from the AARP website. They like to use authentic subjects and stories to convey issues, which is where photojournalists come in.

Finally, we ended the day with a big alumni bash/reception for the Pulitzer prize winning RIT alumni. People whom we met on the trip were there as well as many other alumni.

Tomorrow we will be going to the Newseum for the Isaiah Thomas Award in Publishing, which will honor the Pulitzer prize winning RIT alumni. We’ll also get to wander around the Newseum for a good while, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

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2011-09-20 Washington, DC Day 2

(09/20/2011) The exterior of the Gannett building is seen. Rochester Institute of Technology students met with Andy Scott, Sports Photo Editor at USA Today, and other USA Today Staffers.

The second day of the DC trip kept on trucking. We started off meeting with Andy Scott, Sports Editor at USA Today. We also met with several other great staffers there. Next we headed to Education Week to see Charlie Borst. Finally, we ended the night with dinner and photos with Louie Palu, Chip Somodevilla, and Brendan Hoffman.

At USA Today, there was again an emphasis on attention to detail for freelancers and staffers. Good grammar and over communication are two very important things. They said that, especially when dealing with PR, good grammar is essential. Over communication also solves so many problems. They would be much happier for shooters to ftp something and then follow up with a phone call or an email to confirm that the file was transferred. Detail was also important on location. Getting the names of everyone and everything involved is critical, including pets if they are important in a picture. They also said that it is really important to enjoy the people you are working with. If you work with miserable people, there is no point.

(09/20/2011) Garrett Hubbard, Video Journalist at USA Today, talks with Rochester Institute of Technology photojournalism students.

Probably the biggest point that I heard was confirmation of what I had come to realize within the past couple years. Why is more important than how. Sure, your camera, lenses, ISO and software knowledge are all important things, but if you don’t know why you are doing something, nothing really matters. You’ve got to know why you are doing something. This is especially critical in difficult times when you question why you are trying to keep going.

I got to sit right next to Andy Scott and Garrett Hubbard, Video Journalist for USA Today for lunch. Along with my fellow classmates on the trip, we all had some really great, honest conversations about life and photography and how it all works (sometimes) together.

Next off we went to Education Week.

(09/20/2011) Charles Borst, Director of Photography for Education Week, reviews Lauren Rock's portfolio.

Talking with Charlie Borst was incredible. To paraphrase, Mr. Borst said that Education Week was one of the best newspapers that you’ve never heard of. The publication is in a position quite different from so many other people. The publisher gets that good photography is really important. I noticed that Mr. Borst wasn’t talking about how his budget was constantly restricting him from doing things like so many other people talk about. He doesn’t give many assignments per issue, but the ones that are assigned are well thought out. It is expected that the photographer will spend time with the subject and bring back something great. It seemed that things were more relaxed, or, at the very least, there seemed to be some space for reflecting and truly thinking about stories. I wanted to know what their secret for success was. Part of it seemed to be the publisher who loved photography. Another part seemed to be that the publication was a must read for anyone in education. What major national newspaper is really a must read anymore? Education Week has paywalls that people seem more than willing to pay because there is a high value on the information and material that they provide. I’ll be thinking about how can I take some of these aspects and transfer it to other situations. I do not want to go into a business whose main goal is to just make it to tomorrow. I do not want to go into a business where the goal is how can we stretch ourselves even more with no manpower and no budget. I do want to work for a place that realizes that old methods no longer work and that radical changes need to be made. The thing is I’m not sure that Education Week is so radical in that sense. Have they really changed over the past few years? At least to the extent that everyone else has? I don’t think so.

I ended this visit with lots of excitement and encouragement that there are bright spots out there.

(09/20/2011) Louie Palu talks with Rochester Institute of Technology photojournalism students.

Finally, we had dinner with some Getty folks. We got to see Louie Palu, Chip Somodevilla, and Brendan Hoffman and hear them talk about their work. It was a lot of fun hearing about their projects and how they ended up where they are now in photography. Mr. Palu had lots to say about some of the things photographers don’t necessarily like to talk about. He had advice that his father gave him: The amount of money you keep is more important than the amount you make. He also talked about the importance of building an archive that will eventually help sustain you through good and bad financial times. It was also critical to be ready for things at a moment’s notice. A Bio, biz card, portfolio, notepad, etc are all important things to always have at the ready.

Tuesday was definitely another great day. Tomorrow is Nat Geo, AP, and AARP. I don’t think that’ll be too shabby either…

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