Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Red Square

For my photos in Red Square I focused on two main topics.  The first story was inspired by a set of empty chairs that started me thinking about everything that passes by those chairs on any given day.  The second story looked at the physical evidence of the area’s popularity with skateboarders.  I trained my eye on damage caused by the boards, efforts to prevent it and also the harmless nature of a pair of longboarders cruising around.

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My photography experience is similar to the average person my age (i.e. pictures of friends, trips and cool landscapes) so it was a challenge to go out and look for subjects to shoot.  My goals were to get better at shooting close up, focusing on a single aspect, and searching out photos that were aesthetically pleasing and told a story.  It was both challenging and interesting to start changing the aperture and length of focus.  I quickly realized how much more I would be able to manipulate the shots with more complex camera and telephoto lens.

I think I definitely improved my knowledge of how to change the depth of the photo by focusing in on different parts of the same frame.  I’d like to get more experience manipulating the aperture settings.  During my shoot two skateboarders suddenly appeared.  I excitedly starting shooting pics without really thinking about the focus issues that I’d been practicing.  It made me realize how tough it is to shoot a quality photo that isn’t preconceived.  In the future, I would try to be more prepared with certain subjects/themes of what I wanted to shoot and  try to plan to be there at an optimum time.  I really wanted to get a series of midnight longboarding but bad weather got in the way.

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Use multimedia and use it well

“Blogs without art are lame.”

I couldn’t agree more with this statement from Journalism 2.0.  Technology allows even the most amateur blogger to post good quality multimedia content.  Both audio and video are fairly easy to capture and can add emotion and depth to a story far beyond text.  Briggs offers a few key considerations before incorporating audio or photos into a blog.

Audio

  • Record and edit in a loss-less format (.wav)
  • If it’s for the web, convert to .mp3 before publishing
  • It’s important to choose the most appropriate mic for the story (lav for individuals or to limit ambient sound)
  • Record natural sound! It helps bring the listener to the place
  • Be wary of excess natural sound so it doesn’t detract from subject
  • Use a standard file naming format to stay organized
  • Make sure files are in stereo
  • Note time points during an interview for quick access to a good quote
  • Podcasts are a great tool for beat reporters
  • Never edit an original file!

Photo

  • Pixel = visual data
  • Digital cameras mean you can take lots of photos to try to get one good one
  • Move around to experiment with different angles
  • Most computer monitors work with 72 ppi
  • If you need to print a photo it should be 300 dpi
  • 3.2 megapixels translates to a good 5×7 photo
  • Just like audio it’s best to capture and edit in loss-less formats and then compress before web publishing.
  • Be aware of lighting! Too much sun often leads to poor photos
  • Focus on what the picture needs to tell.  Eliminate extraneous details.
  • Never edit an original file!

Worth 1,000 words

As a travel-enthusiast I can fully appreciate the amazing ability of a photo to whisk the viewer to a foreign land.  Here are just a few examples of good uses of photos in different kinds of stories.

Slideshows

  • I’m not a big fan of the layout of this site but the photos speak for themselves.  This is a series from the L.A. Times detailing the effects of Mexican President Felipe Caleron’s war on drugs.
  • Great combination of audio and photos to form a slideshow on the recovery process after Hurricane Katrina
  • Photo slideshow with simple but informative captions on the cocaine trade in Peru.

Individual photos

  • This shows how one photo can captivate the attention of the world. Steve McCurry shot this portrait for 1984 story in National Geographic  and Gula’ face (rather, eyes) became a symbol of the conflict.  She even inspired a follow up search and article in 2002.
  • This picture was featured in over 100 newspapers and led to later stories.  It created a character for millions of readers.
  • On a less serious note, this photo from The Seattle Times is fun and well-suited to the story.