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Archive for September, 2009

90ish days of summer

Just a short and sweet post with some more photos from the summer!

Rehoboth Bay, just out of Dewey, Del.

Rehoboth Bay, just out of Dewey, Del.

Jeff and I spent three days in mid-July in the Delaware beach area — specifically, we went to the beach at Dewey, the boardwalk at Rehoboth and the state park in Lewes.

We didn’t take that many photos. The point of the three-day getaway was just that. To get away from the hubbub of the nation’s capital, from long hours editing photos, from hour-long commutes.

Just taking it easy and not worrying about getting really great shots — that was a new concept for me. Of course, I’ve shot photos for fun before (spring break, anyone?). But for the first time in a very long time, I was someplace new for more than a day and I wasn’t there specifically to take photos. So that was nice.

But, of course, Jeff and I brought our cameras anyway.

On the first night, after spending the afternoon at the beach, we went to Rehoboth Bay just outside or near Dewey. Which is where we caught a gorgeous bayside sunset.

You can view more photos here, of course.

I’m still behind on blogging all my photos from the summer and our three-day photo adventure in New York City. But I’ll post the rest of the beach weekend photos soon, and I hope to get everything else up within due time.

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As we’ve already established, I’m not a great — or even a good — football photographer.

So, to practice for the Oct. 8 home game against Nebraska, I went to Hickman High School last night to shoot some junior varsity football.

High school JV football is definitely a lot different from college football. I’d never been to a JV game, even at my own high school. As Jeff explained to me while we kneeled on the sidelines and took photos, high school teams will do a lot of plays differently than college teams would. And, unlike those I’ve seen at college games, the cops at this game were cheering on one of the teams.

The light at the game quickly went from beautiful evening sunlight to pretty bad stadium lights.

The Hickman Kewpies defeated the Rock Bridge Bruins in overtime.

To help with my comfort level, I shot the game with the same arsenal of Nikon equipment that I’ll be using at the Nebraska game. I’m now a lot more comfortable with football and the equipment, but as you can see, these are pretty mediocre shots. I still have a long way to go.

Next week, I’m shooting another JV game at Hickman, three days before the Nebraska game. I can only hope that all this practice will show for something in my Nebraska shots.

Please view a few more shots here.

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I really love Roots ‘N Blues ‘N BBQ.

Ben Moore performs as one of the Blind Boys of Alabama at the Peace Park stage on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009.

Ben Moore performs as one of the Blind Boys of Alabama at the Peace Park stage on Saturday.

Oops. As a journalist who covered the festival wherein music and barbecue took over downtown Columbia for two days, am I allowed to say that?

Oh well. I have loved Roots ‘N Blues since the 2007 festival, which was supposed to be a one-time thing. And then the powers that be decided to give it a second go. And then a third. And who knows if there’ll be a fourth?

If you don’t know what Roots ‘N Blues is — well, it’s a lot of things.

There’s music:

Ana Popovic shreds her guitar as bassist Ronald Zonker plays along at the Peace Park stage during the third annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009. Popovic hails from Yugoslavia and learned to play the guitar at age 15.

Ana Popovic shreds her guitar as bassist Ronald Zonker plays along at the Peace Park stage during the third annual Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ Festival on Saturday. Popovic hails from Yugoslavia and learned to play the guitar at age 15.

There’s barbecue:

Hole Shot BBQ team member Kevin Henderson arranges smoked pork at his teams station on Sixth Street in preparation for the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival barbecue judging on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009. The team, hailing from Wentzville, also prepared ribs and chicken for the barbecue contest.

Hole Shot BBQ team member Kevin Henderson arranges smoked pork at his team's station on Sixth Street in preparation for the Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ Festival barbecue judging on Saturday. The team, hailing from Wentzville, also prepared ribs and chicken for the barbecue contest.

There’re the fans from all over:

Music reviewer "Beatle Bob" - real name Robert Matonis - dances to Ana Popovics music at the Peace Park stage during the third annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009. Matonis, who is the subject of an upcoming documentary called "Superfan: The Lies, Life and Legend of Beatle Bob," is known as a regular at live music events and for his active dancing to the music.

Music reviewer "Beatle Bob" - real name Robert Matonis - dances to Ana Popovic's music at the Peace Park stage during the third annual Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ Festival on Saturday. Matonis, who is the subject of an upcoming documentary called "Superfan: The Lies, Life and Legend of Beatle Bob," is known as a regular at live music events and for his active dancing to the music.

There’re the kids:

Four-year-old Reid Boyd of Columbia plays his guitar while listening to James Hand on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, at the stage at Seventh and Locust Steets. Boyd, who doesnt know chords yet but can pick out tunes by watching others, is on his third guitar.

Four-year-old Reid Boyd of Columbia plays his guitar while listening to James Hand on Saturday at the stage at Seventh and Locust Steets. Boyd, who doesn't know chords yet but can pick out tunes by watching others, is on his third guitar.

There’re the activities for kids:

Balloon artist Mike Martin and Columbia resident Beverly Bell  help place a balloon hat on 8-year-old Nikki Williams head on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, outside of Flat Branch Park during the third annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival. Bell said the wait for balloon creations was an hour long.

Balloon artist Mike Martin and Columbia resident Beverly Bell help place a balloon hat on 8-year-old Nikki Williams' head on Saturday outside of Flat Branch Park during the third annual Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ Festival. Bell said the wait for balloon creations was an hour long.

There’s peace:

Festivalgoers form peace signs with their hands in Peace Park while listening to the Itals performance on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009. The Itals, a reggae group hailing from Jamaica, asked the crowd, Give us some peace!

Festivalgoers form peace signs with their hands in Peace Park while listening to the Itals' performance on Saturday. The Itals, a reggae group hailing from Jamaica, asked the crowd, "Give us some peace!"

And there’s more music:

Texas country singer James Hand tips his hat at the end of his performance on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, at the stage at Seventh and Locust Streets during the third annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival. Hand, who has appeared on Nashvilles Grand Ole Opry, also played at the Whole Hog Lounge for the VIP guests.

Texas country singer James Hand tips his hat at the end of his performance on Saturday at the stage at Seventh and Locust Streets during the third annual Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ Festival. Hand, who has appeared on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, also played at the Whole Hog Lounge for the VIP guests.

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Almost everything I’ve shot for The Missourian in the past two and a half weeks has been sports.

Hickman High School football practice, the day before playing against Wentzville. Junior wide receiver Anthony Oetting, left, dislocated his hip last season but is returning to play for the Kewpies as a starter.

Hickman High School football practice, the day before playing against Wentzville. Junior wide receiver Anthony Oetting, left, dislocated his hip last season but is returning to play for the Kewpies as a starter.

I don’t really mind.

Since I shot the Sept. 5 football game pitting Illinois against MU, I’ve shot a high school soccer game, MU volleyball practice, high school football practice and private gymnastics training. The only non-sports assignments I’ve had are a three-day field reporting trip for agriculture journalism professor Bill Allen’s class (not affiliated with The Missourian) and a fairly odd portrait assignment I completed yesterday.

Hickman High School junior forward Connor Hollrah drives the ball past Jefferson City High School senior midfielder Gavin Juckette on Sept. 8 at the Soccer Park in Jefferson City.

Hickman High School junior forward Connor Hollrah drives the ball past Jefferson City High School senior midfielder Gavin Juckette on Sept. 8 at the Soccer Park in Jefferson City.

It’s as if something or someone told the editors that I want to practice more sports shooting. I’ve had a lot of experience shooting basketball, and I’m pretty comfortable with baseball, gymnastics and swimming. But fall sports — like everything I’ve shot in these few weeks — are not my strength. And that includes not just shooting to get the moment or the game shot but also shooting for features.

MU freshman middle blocker Lindsey Petrick watches for the ball during practice at the Hearnes Center on Sept. 15, the day before the Dig for the Curematch. Petricks grandmother is a breast cancer survivor.

MU freshman middle blocker Lindsey Petrick watches for the ball during practice at the Hearnes Center on Sept. 15, the day before the "Dig for the Cure"match. Petrick's grandmother is a breast cancer survivor.

Anthony Oetting. Again. High school football is so epic, and I mean that seriously.

Anthony Oetting. Again. High school football is so epic, and I mean that seriously.

The big lessons I learned:

  • Shooting soccer with just a 400mm lens is pretty tough. (more…)

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I’ve always been a little critical of my hometown paper.

chron.com

The Houston Chronicle is Texas’ largest daily paper and has bureaus in the state capital of Austin and Washington, D.C. Established in 1901, the Chronicle beat out the other city newspaper — the Houston Post — in 1995 and has since become the Hearst Corporation’s largest daily newspaper. More than 2,000 people work for the Chronicle, including more than 300 reporters, photographers and editors.

The Chronicle is also the only one of the 10 biggest U.S. papers that hasn’t won a Pulitzer.

But I’m not here to blast the Chronicle for its shortcomings. Rather, for part of my Electronic Photojournalism class, I’ve chosen to review the Chronicle’s Web site, chron.com.

Let’s start with the homepage.

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90ish days of summer

After much agony, introspection and discussion, I am finally at peace with the fact that there are some things I just can’t understand at this point in my life.

Nothing heavy-handed here, folks. I’m just talking about a public fresh-food market. But that comes later in this entry.

On June 28, Jeff and I met my brother’s fiancee and one of the other bridesmaids at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. After we wandered around the largest Roman Catholic church in North America, we hopped on the Metro and explored Eastern Market, which had just reopened for the first time in more than two years.

But first, here’s the basilica, which is a short walk from the Brookland-Catholic University Metro stop on the red line.

The exterior of the basilica. Quite impressive.

The exterior of the basilica. Quite impressive.

Religious architecture has always bewildered me, but it sure is pretty.

I was surprised about access within the building. Jeff and I just walked right in and ambled around. I had the feeling that as long as we didn’t disrupt any of the ongoing services in a few of the sanctuaries or enter any private offices, we had free reign of the place. It was a Sunday, for goodness’ sake, and we were wandering the upper church and clicking our DSLRs.

blah

View from the altar. I would be more descriptive, but religious architecture terminology is beyond me.

After taking a few photos, we went to Eastern Market, which is D.C.’s oldest and longest-running public fresh-food market. And here’s where I’m afraid I might get a lot of flak: I’m honestly not entirely sure what draws people there. (Forgive the superfluous use of adverbs.)

Opening weekend at Eastern Market. Photo by Jeff.

Opening weekend at Eastern Market. Photo by Jeff.

I don’t mean to come off as a non-native/bright-eyed intern who comes to town and tries to ingratiate herself with the locals (or, worse yet, poke fun at them). Nor do I want to seem like a blissful ignoramus whose mantra is “I don’t get it.” Rather, I relish learning, trying to understand and passing on knowledge and information. That’s just what I aim to do as a (photo)journalist.

But sometimes, I just don’t understand things as completely as I’d like.

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It’s football season.

The Missouri Tigers take the field at the Edward Jones Dome.

For many people, football season means ordering pizza and wings, kicking back with buddies and beers and watching the TV in the living room. For many other people, football season means suiting up in team colors, tailgating in parking lots and screaming alongside thousands of others in the stands.

Six-year-old Liam Hampton of Springfield shouts the M-I-Z cheer during a rally in the alumni association area outside the Edward Jones Dome before the Missouri-Illinois game.

Six-year-old Liam Hampton of Springfield shouts the "M-I-Z" cheer during a rally in the alumni association area outside the Edward Jones Dome before the Missouri-Illinois game.

For Missourian photographers, football season means you’ve got one Missouri home game to shoot for the paper. So you’d better make the most of it. At least, that’s how I see it.

This season, I have two football games lined up for me. The first — yesterday’s Arch Rivalry game against Illinois in St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome — was a special opportunity that I seized. The second is the Oct. 8 game against Nebraska.

On the sidelines. Photo by Jeff.

Me on the sidelines. Photo by Jeff.

Thing is, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not very good at shooting football.

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To say that I love young children and small animals is a vast understatement.

Jing Han and 2-year-old Kevin Han at Rhymes and Rhythms for Pre-Walkers in the Columbia Public Library on Tuesday.

Jing Han and 2-year-old Kevin Han at Rhymes and Rhythms for Pre-Walkers in the Columbia Public Library on Tuesday.

For the past year, “I want a puppy” has been my favorite mantra. When I was the Maneater photo editor during my sophomore year, all my photographers knew to go out of their way to capture “aww”-inducing photos of young children and/or small animals while on assignment. Granted, we rarely actually used those over-the-top cutesy photos, but that didn’t stop the photographers from going the extra mile to make me fawn over their photos.

So, on Tuesday when there were absolutely no assignments available, I leaped on the chance to do some enterprise at the Columbia Public Library: a children’s music-and-dance program designed for parents and babies who haven’t yet reached the walking stage.

Rebecca Sanders and 8-month-old Jaden.

Rebecca Sanders and 8-month-old Jaden.

One thing I learned quickly: babies have EXTREMELY short attention spans.

The library aide, Hilary, told me as much when I asked why the program was only 30 minutes long. But I didn’t see this for myself until I started taking photos. I thought I’d start out discreetly by using my 70-200/2.8 and maintaining my distance before starting to inch closer and use my shorter lenses. But my first shot — the one of Jaden, above — clearly shows that babies are easily distracted. I was probably 10 feet away to the side when I aimed my lens at Jaden, and she still saw me and started mugging for the camera.

Freakin’ adorable.

The downside of this? I knew right then and there that using my flash would be a completely futile effort. The light in the room was pretty bad, but popping a strobe would have created a madhouse of crying or maniacally fidgeting babies.

Oh well.

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