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Archive for the ‘Internships/Careers’ Category

Five years ago, Bill Eppridge visited my university. He and his wife Adrienne had some time to visit with students, so I hastily threw together a portfolio for them to review. I was terrified and convinced that they’d tear it apart — Bill being a venerable visual journalist and Adrienne being a venerable visual editor — but they were completely kind and supportive in their criticism and suggestions.

Looking back now, I’m guessing they recognized that I didn’t really know what I was doing, and that prodding me along would be more productive than tearing me apart. (Related: I’ll never forget the only written comment that former Columbia Daily Tribune photo editor Gerik provided after reviewing my exit portfolio in May 2010: “Could be a newspaper photographer someday.”) I’ve since made conscious efforts, every time I’m in a position to encourage or review work with a younger photographer, to be just as considerate and supportive as Bill and Adrienne were to me.

. . .

I’ve just learned that Bill has died. His legacy includes a number of iconic images made in times of peace and war, and I’m certain he inspired and helped young photojournalists who are far more successful than I. But for my part, I’ll never forget the gentle, compassionate critique he and his wife gave me five years ago in the Missouri photo lab. My next portfolio iteration was much more restrained and well-edited enough to land me an internship at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the following summer, and I’m convinced that Bill and Adrienne gave me just the right push to get my internship applications rolling.

(With a wink in Adrienne’s direction, Bill also told me that the best advice he could ever give a young photographer is to marry a good editor. I’d like to think Jeff and I have edited each other’s work fairly thoroughly in our almost-five years together.)

Just for fun, I’m opening myself up to potential embarrassment by posting what I believe is the portfolio that I showed Bill and Adrienne on that Oct. 2009 evening:

Sgt. Curtis Webb moves forward to reinforce the line formation during the 1140th Military Police Company's riot control training on April 15, 2007. The company, which is a local division of the Missour National Guard, practiced blocks and movement patterns using wooden bats.

Sgt. Curtis Webb moves forward to reinforce the line formation during the 1140th Military Police Company’s riot control training on April 15, 2007. The company, which is a local division of the Missour National Guard, practiced blocks and movement patterns using wooden bats.

Columbia City Clerk Sheela Amin swears re-elected mayor Darwin Hindman into office on April 9, 2007. Winning more than 70 percent of the vote, Hindman won a record fifth term.

Columbia City Clerk Sheela Amin swears re-elected mayor Darwin Hindman into office on April 9, 2007. Winning more than 70 percent of the vote, Hindman won a record fifth term.

Oklahoma State junior shortstop Jordy Mercer slides home during the series finale against the Tigers on April 6, 2007, in Taylor Stadium. Mercer scored three runs in the game, which the Sooners won 8-6.

Oklahoma State junior shortstop Jordy Mercer slides home during the series finale against the Tigers on April 6, 2007, in Taylor Stadium. Mercer scored three runs in the game, which the Sooners won 8-6.

(No cutline, apparently, but this was from the first-ever Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Columbia, Mo.)

(No cutline, apparently, but this was from the first-ever Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Columbia, Mo.)

Andrea Molina and Maria delCarmen Reguera dance the flamenco during the Multicultural Dance Expo's opening act on March 19, 2007, at Memorial Union. Other dances featured at the expo highlighted Mexican, Indian and Southeast Asian cultures.

Andrea Molina and Maria delCarmen Reguera dance the flamenco during the Multicultural Dance Expo’s opening act on March 19, 2007, at Memorial Union. Other dances featured at the expo highlighted Mexican, Indian and Southeast Asian cultures.

Robert Ray places a rattlesnake's still-beating heart on his hand after skinning the snake in front of a small audience on April April 26, 2008, in Mangum, Okla., during the 43rd Annual Mangum Rattlesnake Derby. Ray, a Mangum native who now resides in Oklahoma City, has been butchering rattlesnakes at the derby for 32 years.

Robert Ray places a rattlesnake’s still-beating heart on his hand after skinning the snake in front of a small audience on April April 26, 2008, in Mangum, Okla., during the 43rd Annual Mangum Rattlesnake Derby. Ray, a Mangum native who now resides in Oklahoma City, has been butchering rattlesnakes at the derby for 32 years.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., concludes her speech to more than 5,000 supporters on Jan. 19, 2008, in the McCluer North High School gym in Florissant, Mo. Clinton had just won the Nevada primary and was beginning her campaign in Missouri and the other Super Tuesday states.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., concludes her speech to more than 5,000 supporters on Jan. 19, 2008, in the McCluer North High School gym in Florissant, Mo. Clinton had just won the Nevada primary and was beginning her campaign in Missouri and the other Super Tuesday states.

Elton John acknowledges the audience's screams and applause after making his entrance on Oct. 5, 2007, in Mizzou Arena. During an encore, John wore a headband with tiger ears, which a Missouri fan gave him in anticipation of the Tigers' football game against Nebraska on Oct. 6.

Elton John acknowledges the audience’s screams and applause after making his entrance on Oct. 5, 2007, in Mizzou Arena. During an encore, John wore a headband with tiger ears, which a Missouri fan gave him in anticipation of the Tigers’ football game against Nebraska on Oct. 6.

Missouri guard Kassie Drew scans the court to pass the ball away from Nebraska guard Ashly Ford's block during the game's second half on Jan. 20, 2007, at Mizzou Arena. The loss was the Tigers' fifth in conference play.

Missouri guard Kassie Drew scans the court to pass the ball away from Nebraska guard Ashly Ford’s block during the game’s second half on Jan. 20, 2007, at Mizzou Arena. The loss was the Tigers’ fifth in conference play.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reads aloud a quote he always carries with him, on Feb. 1, 2008, in the Spirit of St. Louis Airport. The quote, by George Washington in 1789, reads, "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars and how they were treated and appreciated by their nation."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reads aloud a quote he always carries with him, on Feb. 1, 2008, in the Spirit of St. Louis Airport. The quote, by George Washington in 1789, reads, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars and how they were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

A man holds up a sign to cheer on participants in the Disney World Marathon near Mile 2 on Jan. 13, 2008. The marathon course began and ended in Epcot, and went through each of the theme parks in the Disney World complex.

A man holds up a sign to cheer on participants in the Disney World Marathon near Mile 2 on Jan. 13, 2008. The marathon course began and ended in Epcot, and went through each of the theme parks in the Disney World complex.

Then-Missouri House of Representatives Minority Floor Leader Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, waits to be recognized by House Speaker Rod Jetton during the House's morning session on April 17, 2007, in Jefferson City. Harris has since resigned from his position as Minority Floor Leader to concentrate on his campaign for Attorney General.

Then-Missouri House of Representatives Minority Floor Leader Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, waits to be recognized by House Speaker Rod Jetton during the House’s morning session on April 17, 2007, in Jefferson City. Harris has since resigned from his position as Minority Floor Leader to concentrate on his campaign for Attorney General.

IndyGround LLC hip-hop artist Bustrip freestyles a song and a beat on March 5, 2007, at the Sapphire Lounge. Hailing from Tulsa, Okla., Bustrip has joined forces with seven other rappers to form a new record label in Columbia.

IndyGround LLC hip-hop artist Bustrip freestyles a song and a beat on March 5, 2007, at the Sapphire Lounge. Hailing from Tulsa, Okla., Bustrip has joined forces with seven other rappers to form a new record label in Columbia.

Byron Carlisle awaits instruction during swim practice in the Student Recreation Complex on Nov. 9, 2006. Carlisle, who is a competitive swimmer on the University of Missouri swim team, was diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia in the fourth grade.

Byron Carlisle awaits instruction during swim practice in the Student Recreation Complex on Nov. 9, 2006. Carlisle, who is a competitive swimmer on the University of Missouri swim team, was diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia in the fourth grade.

Missouri forward Leo Lyons tries to hold onto the ball as Kansas guards Sherron Collins and Brandon Rush grab at Lyons' forearm during the game's second half on Jan. 15, 2007, at Allen Fieldhouse. The Tigers attempted a failed three-point play in the game's final 11 seconds and lost 80-77 to the Jayhawks.

Missouri forward Leo Lyons tries to hold onto the ball as Kansas guards Sherron Collins and Brandon Rush grab at Lyons’ forearm during the game’s second half on Jan. 15, 2007, at Allen Fieldhouse. The Tigers attempted a failed three-point play in the game’s final 11 seconds and lost 80-77 to the Jayhawks.

Rest in peace, Bill, and thank you again.

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Today’s my last day as a photo intern at The York Dispatch.

Not gonna lie - I'm going to miss the Dispatch newsroom's downtown location.

Tomorrow, on Friday the 13th, I start as a photojournalist at the newsroom across town — The York Daily Record/Sunday News.

As I wrote in my cover letter, I really think I’ve grown as a photographer since I’ve come to York, and I hope that growth continues. I’m excited to start growing some roots here in Pennsylvania and to learn and contribute at the Record. And I’m grateful to the editors and staff at the Dispatch for offering me the opportunity to come here in the first place and for enabling my growth.

I’m fairly behind in blogging some Dispatch assignments — the past week has been a flurry of assignments and projects — but even as I begin working at the Record, I’ll be sure to get caught up and take care of the backlog.

Funnily enough, it’s been a year almost to the day since I graduated from college and began a new chapter in my life. Today, that chapter closes; tomorrow, a new one opens. I’m feeling some trepidation, but more than anything, I’m excited and ready to take on this challenge and opportunity.

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I have a few photos from Missouri and Thanksgiving I really should blog, but before that happens — I’m excited to announce I’ve accepted a six-month photo internship at The York Dispatch.

Front page courtesy of the Newseum.

So, after Christmas, I’ll be driving up to Pennsylvania via Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia and Maryland. Then I’ll spend the next six months photographing for one of two newspapers in York, Pa. (That’s right — the other daily is The York Daily Record, with which The Dispatch has a joint operating agreement.)

York is a small town. Population-wise, it’s less than half the size of Columbia, Mo., where I went to college. I’ll be there for six months, and I’ll be joining a staff of two photographers.

Needless to say, the next six months will be very different from this past summer in Atlanta, and I’m very excited and honored to have been offered this internship.

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The 2010 Poynter College Fellows disbanded more than 48 hours ago, and already I miss everybody.

That said, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, when I arrived in St. Petersburg a little more than two weeks ago.

Our official group photo.

  • I had driven almost 20 hours from Missouri to St. Petersburg, Fla. (with help from my parents, who drove down with me).
  • I also missed my own graduation ceremony to arrive at the Fellowship on time.
  • I had just completed a very rigorous final semester of college, during which I also had a part-time job and worked editing shifts at the paper.
  • I had just packed, moved and cleaned my apartment in almost exactly 24 hours, with help from Jeff and my roommate Shelby.
  • I was/am on the brink of beginning a summer photo internship at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in early June.
  • And — I will admit — I felt a little burned out on journalism.

In the trip from Missouri to Florida, I spent the majority of my waking hours wondering what the hell I was doing. Why couldn’t I have just taken a break during the three weeks between graduation and my internship? Why couldn’t I have actually walked in my graduation ceremony and mugged for the camera with my fellow graduates? Why did I want to apply for a fellowship that would mean an intensive two weeks of even more journalism after my intensive four-year collegiate experience?

But 24 hours into the fellowship, I knew why.

From bottom, clockwise: Megan, Charlotte, Isaac, me, Jaclyn and Nezile. Photo by Eli Francovich.

The fellowship brought together 32 young journalists from vastly different backgrounds, with vastly different experiences and with vastly different perspectives — and I couldn’t have asked for a better group. I would be lying if I said I didn’t learn something from every single person there. There was no cutthroat competitiveness or need to do better than everybody else.

(more…)

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Walking downtown.

Today, my Business Practices in Photojournalism class visited L.G. Patterson‘s studio in downtown. (His Web site either is down or won’t load on my computer, which is why I linked to his Twitter.)

L.G. — whom I’ve seen at various MU athletic events — is an Associated Press photographer who also does a lot of commercial and portraiture work. Among the tips he gave us:

  1. Meet people, and make it meaningful. Don’t just sit in front of a computer screen or hand out business cards because…
  2. …The business of photography — like many others — is often more about whom you know.
  3. We as students often undersell ourselves.

In other news, today was my last day with the 14-24/2.8, at least for a while. I shot the above image on our way back to the journalism school. Here’s an outtake:

BOO!

On our way out of L.G.’s studio, Jason kinda popped out at me and I snapped this frame. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have cut off his fingers or foot. If not for that, and if Jessica weren’t in the background, I think this would have been my designated photo for today.

Oh well.

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Being on winter break, I’ve had more time to patrol the Twittersphere than I do during the academic year. In the past day or so, I’ve noticed more tweets about unpaid internships and the dis/advantages thereof.

Earlier, @greglinch tweeted a link to a Christian Science Monitor opinion piece asking, “What if interns went on strike?” The author argues that hard-working interns are often not guaranteed or even tempted with employment with a company, despite their value in the workplace:

Interns are valuable. And as part of the workforce, they are expected to do many of the same tasks that professionals do (along with the menial jobs that no one cares to do).
Many people have, at some point in their lives, worked without pay. Some start businesses, others devote time to charities or nonprofits, and still more apprentice in lucrative mechanical fields. I am all for entrepreneurs, mechanics, and bleeding hearts.
However, conceiving of the unpaid internship as a means to secure paying jobs is as archaic as the corporate ladder model of employment itself. We no longer live in a society where hard work at one company ensures that we will someday reach the zenith of the American dream.

Greg also tweeted a link to a blog post with an internship opportunity offer from famed war photojournalist James Nachtwey‘s studio. Like so many other journalism internships out there, Nachtwey’s offer is unpaid. Unlike so many other journalism internships out there, Nachtwey is ultra-specific about what entry skills he wants his eventual intern to have. These include proficiency with particular scanning equipment and certain Photoshop tasks.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting a high standard for an incoming intern — but for those kinds of higher-end technical skills and know-how? For no pay? For at least three days a week for three months? In New York City?

Nachtwey is out of his mind.

But let’s back up and examine the general idea of unpaid internships altogether.

Many larger workplaces — such as big-name newspapers/magazines, law firms and more — don’t pay their interns for a variety of reasons. In many (or, I hope, in most) cases, these workplaces simply don’t have the budget for paid internships but still want to extend an offer so young people interested in that industry can still get good experience. In other cases, some workplaces justify not paying their interns by asserting that the internship experience is so valuable that the experience itself is payment.

(more…)

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Today, I accepted a summer photo internship at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

And got credentialed to photograph the Texas Bowl on Dec. 31 in Houston.

Today is a good day.

In other news, I’ve been working on various projects for the past few weeks. These include:

  • my final project for Staff Photo (about a brewery at the Texas Renaissance Festival),
  • my final project for Electronic Photojournalism (about a dairy farm) and
  • my portfolio Web site.

These projects are the main reason why I haven’t had much time to continue posting New York City photos and other photography expeditions I’ve recently had. Rest assured, these blog entries will come soon. I’m hoping to unveil my portfolio Web site and share my final projects in the middle of next week, and to pick up the NYC and other photos during winter break.

But in the meantime, I’m thrilled to spend the summer in Atlanta and honored to receive the internship offer. I really can’t wait to work in a larger newsroom and be in a new city. And I’m pumped to photograph the bowl game — I’ve come a long way in my football photography this semester, and I’m excited for the opportunity to cover a big game.

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Because it’s that time of year again — internship application season — I’ve completely redone my resume.

For two years or so, I’ve used a variation of the following format and style:

cdunn-resume

I’ve been pondering my new brand and style for several weeks. One thing that I knew I wanted to change was how regimented my old resume is. So last night, I played around, and here’s what I turned out:

ChrisDunn-resumeWeb

My actual new resume is a little different from the one I’m showing and have uploaded. Namely, I removed my mailing address and cell phone number for privacy reasons and, accordingly, shifted the top heading (“(photo)journalism by Chris L. Dunn”) a bit.

But I really like my new resume. The new format — two columns all the way down, indentations instead of bullets and no lines — is clean, airy and organized. To punch it up a bit for impact (and save on what would be excessive costs for color printing), I’ve introduced an 80-percent opacity on the body text. Finally, the new heading typeface gives the whole page some pizazz and a creative feel.

Now it’s time to whip up a letterhead that’s congruous with this resume — and pump those applications out before deadline! Wish me luck. And, as always, I’d love to know what you think about my new (or old) resume.

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Ever seen this photo?

Photo courtesy of Time Inc.

Photo courtesy of Time Inc.

The man who captured this tragic moment, this stunning blow and this iconic photo is an MU photojournalism alumnus.

His name is Bill Eppridge. He’s shot for LIFE, National Geographic and Sports Illustrated, and he was in town for the past three days. He gave a presentation to about 150 journalism students and faculty, received a Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism and talked to my staff photo class. He also reviewed my portfolio on Wednesday afternoon.

I’ll be honest here:

  • I haven’t seriously looked into summer internships/jobs (yet). Being in class 16 hours a week and working at The Missourian and the equipment locker for at least another 20 hours a week have stretched me thin on any other pursuits.
  • I haven’t given a good, long, hard look at my work over the past year. Plus, between photo editing at The Maneater in sophomore year, reporting in Jefferson City in junior year, working at Philmont for three summers and interning at washingtonpost.com this past summer, I haven’t had much time or many opportunities to be an actively shooting photojournalist until this semester.

But as soon as I heard that Bill Eppridge and his wife Adrienne — who is a photo editor — were volunteering to review students’ portfolios, I knew I couldn’t pass this opportunity up. So, in 10 minutes, I threw together a quick portfolio of single images (fortunately, I’ve been posting all of my best work from the past two years on my Flickr). And then I swallowed my nervousness as Bill and Adrienne looked over my work.

(more…)

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90ish days of summer

Today was my last day as a photo intern at washingtonpost.com.

wapo.com

Today, I fielded photo requests and built photo galleries, edited and submitted some photos I took for a real estate project, turned in my security badge and Metro card… and that’s that.

That’s the end of these 90ish days of summer and my first journalism internship.

This is my pouty face. In this photo by Jeff, I am pouting for probably no reason whatsoever at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Right now, Im not pouting so much as Im sad this summer and internship are over.

This is my pouty face. In this photo by Jeff, I am pouting for probably no reason whatsoever at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Right now, I'm not pouting so much as I'm sad this summer and internship are over.

As I’ve blogged before, much of what I involved prepping photos for on-line use — to accompany articles and WaPo blogs — and building the many photo galleries. In addition, I worked on a few longer-term projects and shot two assignments.

But the vast majority of the internship was definitely sitting in front of a Mac and a PC and doing a lot of editing. Which is something I’m used to, having been the photo editor of The Maneater student newspaper, but that doesn’t mean I learned nothing this summer.

What I learned:

  • As my fellow intern Channing put it, being an intern means you’re there to do what you’re told — which means you do what other people don’t want to do. I hadn’t been on the absolute bottom rung of the ladder in a long time, but being there was a good experience. I quickly realized that that’s just how real life works and that my experiences at The Maneater, Philmont Scout Ranch and The Columbia Missourian aren’t exactly  reflective of that kind of corporate reality. (That said, the photo editors at washingtonpost.com are so friendly and helpful.)
  • Being an intern also means you should have a fast learning curve.
  • Multitasking is key. I’d like to think I was already good at working on three or four to-do items simultaneously, but fielding photo requests, editing photos, building galleries and researching for projects definitely put a more extreme spin on the art of multitasking.
  • Correcting white balance in Photoshop used to be the photo editing task I hated the most — and I’d always thought that having a background in color film printing gave me an edge on speedy, accurate color-correction. But after having to correct white balance, constantly and every day, I am so much more confident at this task. And I don’t dread it as much.

In short, I’m happy with how my summer internship turned out, although I do hope that, in future endeavors, I’ll spend more time behind a camera than in front of a computer. But whatever happens, I’m grateful and glad I had the opportunity to intern at washingtonpost.com.

On Monday, Jeff and I are returning to Columbia, where I’ll begin my last year as a photojournalism major at MU. This semester, I’ll be a staff photographer for The Columbia Missourian, as well as taking two linguistics classes (that I’ve wanted since sophomore year) and working on a long-term investigative/reporting project with broadcast student Theo Keith. (More details on that in a future blog post!)

It’s going to be busy, and you can expect a lot more regular updates to this blog than have happened this summer.

With that, I formally conclude this 90ish days of summer series.

Although, true to form, I still have a ton of photos to edit. Jeff and I have seen and done a lot in the past two months, and I simply haven’t had the time yet to edit all the photos. Among those takes are…

In the next few weeks, I’ll be editing and blogging these photos. The 90ish days of summer title will headline those entries, but apart from these backlogged posts, the series is officially concluded.

And now, for a weekend of packing and editing!

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90ish days of summer

I assure you, this blog is not dead, despite the fact that I haven’t posted anything in about two weeks.

The fact of the matter is, my photo internship at washingtonpost.com consumes the working week, and I’ve kept myself busy during the weekends. The problem is not a shortage of material. I have, in fact, about six photo entries and five other entries in queue. The problem is, the majority of those photos are not yet edited (some of them date back to late June, eek). As for the other entries — well, I’ll get to them! Cross my heart. Some of them will happen this week.

In the meantime, I’ve been accumulating material for a big potpourri post — basically, items that aren’t substantial enough to merit their own blog entry but that I’d nevertheless like to share with you. (Some of these are pettier than others.)

So, here’s some potpourri!

  • Three weeks left, and lots still to do

I have about three weeks left in Washington, D.C. It’s amazing how quickly this summer has flown. Of course, there is still plenty of work to be done…

Namely, I have three somewhat large-scale projects I really need to complete. Two of them are in conjunction with the other photo-pod interns and other .com departments. Both require a lot of research, too. All I can say is, thank goodness for Google Docs.

The other project is more weather-dependent and not as urgent as the other two. It’s rather disconcerting to see that the weather forecast for the next two weeks involves some significant chance of thunderstorms — every single day.

  • Metro etiquette — and other Metro notes

The Metro is an amazing Washington, D.C., institution. Without venturing into the various frustrations and annoyances that have resulted from the fatal June 22 collision on the red line, here are my general observations and thoughts.

(more…)

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90ish days of summer

Two days later, I can now show you the photos I took for The Washington Post!

My supervisor Dee gave me permission to post my photos on Flickr and this blog (with some provisions). So, here are a few of my photos from Takoma Park’s 120th annual Independence Day parade. All photos are copyright 2009 by The Washington Post.

Takoma Park mayor Bruce Williams waves from the back of a 1903 Oldsmobile during Takoma Parks 120th annual Independence Day parade on July 4, 2009.

Takoma Park mayor Bruce Williams waves from the back of a 1903 Oldsmobile during Takoma Park's 120th annual Independence Day parade on July 4, 2009.

Maryland Governor Martin OMalley shakes hands with a shy five-year-old Jacob Petruzzelli of Silver Spring during Takoma Parks 120th annual Independence Day parade on July 4, 2009.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley shakes hands with a shy five-year-old Jacob Petruzzelli of Silver Spring during Takoma Park's 120th annual Independence Day parade on July 4, 2009.

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90ish days of summer

Happy Fourth of July!

Fireworks over the National Mall on July 4, 2009. Taken from a downtown D.C. rooftop.

Fireworks over the National Mall on July 4, 2009. Taken from a downtown D.C. rooftop.

Although, technically now it’s the fifth of July…

Quite honestly, my memory of Fourths of July extends to the days of bicycle-and-firetruck parades around the neighborhood and then skips ahead to 2006. 2006 was my first year on staff at Philmont Scout Ranch, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t have the day off. For a few other staffers in the News & Photo Department, Independence Day was just another working day.

As for the next summer — also spent at Philmont — I’m not quite sure what I did during the day. But at night, some friends and I went to Eagle Nest to watch the fireworks show over Eagle Nest Lake. That night was also my first attempt to shoot fireworks.

My gear included:

  • my Canon Digital Rebel XTi (which is now broken beyond repair… poor baby)
  • my friend Greg’s 90-300mm f/4.5-5.6
  • a teeny tripod with bendy legs (kinda like this one)
  • the wall of a truck bed as my steady surface for the tripod

I shot on the bulb exposure — meaning, the shutter is open for however long I depressed the shutter button (sans a remote shutter release, which I still don’t have). Given all those factors, I’m still surprised my photos came out without any camera blur.

Fireworks over Eagle Nest Lake on July 4, 2007.

Fireworks over Eagle Nest Lake on July 4, 2007. The mountain in the background is Wheeler, the highest in New Mexico.

In 2008, I finally got the Fourth of July off from work. So my friend Stephen and I shot the annual Maverick Club Rodeo in Cimarron, the small village three miles from Philmont.

I’d never shot a rodeo before. But based on my experience shooting the Maverick Club Rodeo, I’d gladly cover another one, as long as it’s outdoors.

Then, of course, at night we all went to Eagle Nest Lake to shoot fireworks. This time, I shot with an XTi, my 70-200/2.8 and a decent tripod.

Unfortunately, I seem not to have saved those photos on my hard drive. Because my XTi started giving me ceaseless Error 99’s in April 2007, I used Stephen’s XTi to shoot the rodeo and fireworks. I’m guessing I somehow didn’t save them on my hard drive before deleting them from my computer forever.

Oh well.

Now, for 2009. I still don’t know if I can post the photos I took of the Takoma Park parade today for The Washington Post, but you can check out two of those photos in this washingtonpost.com photo gallery. (My photos are now the 11th and 20th photos n the gallery.)

However, here are some National Mall fireworks photos I shot from a downtown D.C. rooftop! This time around, I shot with my 30D, a Manfrotto tripod (from the office) and every lens I own.

The fireworks are launched over the Reflection Pool in the National Mall. At left, you can see the Washington Monument. Taken with the 16-35/2.8.

The fireworks are launched over the Reflection Pool in the National Mall. At left, you can see the Washington Monument. Taken with the 16-35/2.8.

Taken with the 50/1.8.

Taken with the 50/1.8.

Taken with the 70-200/2.8.

As always, you can view more photos HERE.

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90ish days of summer

ARLINGTON, Va. — This morning, I shot my first photo assignment for The Washington Post.

Today is the Fourth of July, which means that 233 years ago, a group of colonial rebels signed a piece of parchment that confirmed their resolve to break from their parent country and create a new nation. This also means that today in the U.S. of A., people celebrate by eating as many German/Austrian hot dogs as they can stomach, setting off Chinese fireworks and watching (insert country of origin) parades.

So I shot Takoma Park’s 120th annual Independence Day parade for The Washington Post.

I originally thought about taking photos and recording sound so I could create an audio slideshow. Then I realized that maintaining consistent levels while recording a parade would be above my learning curve at this point. So instead, I asked my supervisor Dee if I could shoot the parade for a gallery. To ensure I wouldn’t be stepping on the Post‘s toes in doing so, she contacted the Post.

Before I knew it, I received an e-mail from one of the photo editors at the Post. Shooting the parade was a legitimate Post photo assignment.

Right now, I’m trying to figure out if posting photos (published and/or unpublished) on my Flickr and this blog would be within the Post‘s copyright and ownership policies, which is why you don’t see here any of the photos I took this morning.

But in the meantime, I can direct you to this washingtonpost.com photo gallery, which features my photos in the 9th and 18th spots (as of 8 p.m., at least — they’ll be adding more photos after the fireworks show tonight).

I hope I can share more photos with you on this blog and my Flickr! As it is, though, I’m so excited to have a photo byline again, and plan to pitch more photo ideas and hopefully get more opportunities and fieldwork this summer.

(Why the ARLINGTONG, Va. dateline? Because I’m in my last half-hour or so for the day in the washingtonpost.com newsroom.)

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90ish days of summer

I am home in Silver Spring, Md., safe and sound after almost three hours of transit. Had I left the washingtonpost.com office a half-hour earlier, I might not have been home yet.

At 5 p.m., when I was logging off my work computers and saying goodbye to my supervising editor, two trains collided on the Washington Metrorail’s red line, between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations.

A detail of part of the red line, where the two-train collision occurred at 5 p.m.

A detail of part of the red line, where the two-train collision occurred between Fort Totten and Takoma at 5 p.m. today.

As you can see in the above map, the Silver Spring station is two stops past Fort Totten on the red line. According to the broadcast news, the two trains were headed toward D.C. — the opposite direction from which the train I would have been on would have been coming.

So even if I had left the office early, I wouldn’t have been on the trains that collided. But I would still have had to evacuate whatever train I were on, since according to the radio news reports, the entire red line is shut down.

Nevertheless, when I first heard about the collision — at 5:45 p.m. when I left a very congested Metro Center out of frustration — I didn’t know which direction the trains had been heading. So my first thought was, “I could have been on either of those trains.”

My second thought was, “I wish I’d been on or near either of those trains, and uninjured and with a camera.”

I read once that while most humans run from a crisis, only three kinds of people run toward it: the police, medical workers and journalists. I can’t honestly say I’m proud of the way tragedy and disaster attract journalists like bees to honey, but really, it’s a knee-jerk reaction. And if journalists can’t be at the scene, they often feel some dredge of guilt or regret that they couldn’t make it there.

That’s kind of what I’m feeling now, and every other time I’ve been close to a breaking news scene.

What else am I feeling? A lot of frustration with the Metro’s inability to communicate with commuters in the stations. It wasn’t until I emerged from the Metro Center station and called Jeff that I found out a major accident with multiple fatalities had occurred. I’m not saying that Metro station managers should have told commuters exactly what happened — but commuters should have been informed that the entire red line was shut down.

As it is, we were instead told to expect “major delays” and that a “turning incident” had occurred.

But I’m by no means educated enough on the D.C. Metro system and its history to say anything else about its failure to communicate and coordinate.

That said, I’m glad I’m safe and home, and my thoughts and prayers go out toward all the families affected by a tragedy that should never have happened.

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90ish days of summer

Just a big ol’ dish of D.C. potpourri:

TODAY is my first sick day this summer. I’m not sure where I caught this minor bug, but I have a slight fever, my eyes hurt, my nose is runny, the back of my throat is tickly and I feel generally fatigued.

I think part of it has to do with the nature of my internship at washingtonpost.com: I spend almost entirely eight hours on the computer every day I’m in the office. Now, I am accustomed to spending inordinate numbers of hours on my laptop every day, but not eight hours at a time and day after day. So even though my monitor’s backlight is dimmed as I type this post, my eyes hurt just looking at it.

TODAY is also roughly the 20th anniversary of the crackdown in Tienanmen Square. I say “roughly” because the crackdown began on the evening of June 3 and ended sometime on June 5.

So much has already been said about how the Chinese government has deleted the crackdown out of its history books and shut down foreign news Web sites and other sites such as Flickr and Twitter, so I won’t add redundant noise to that conversation. Suffice it to say that of course, as a journalist in the Western hemisphere and a fan of the First Amendment, I think it’s despicable that the flow of information and the people’s inherent right to protest and free press are being disrupted and restricted.

Some interesting links relating to Tienanmen Square:

TOMORROW, I will be at the office at 8:30 a.m. to do a special gallery, but I’ll be getting out early. Some other interns — from the Post and other news outlets — and I will be going to the Sculpture Garden for wine and jazz during tomorrow’s happy hour!

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90ish days of summer

I’ve just completed my first week as a photo/multimedia intern at washingtonpost.com!

As I previously blogged, the .com newsroom is going to take some getting used to because it’s unlike any other I’ve worked in before. But I am definitely getting there and now am a lot more comfortable working with the different programs and processes the way the actual photo editors do.

On a somewhat related note, the whole eight-hours-a-day/40-hours-a-week, being-in-the-city-all-summer thing will also take some getting used to.

You’d think big cities wouldn’t be an issue. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, where I spent the first 18 years of my life — but ever since I graduated from high school three years ago, I haven’t been in Houston for more than three weeks at a time. The schoolyear is spent in Columbia, Mo. (population: 100,000ish, which to me is tiny), and the summers were spent in the New Mexico mountains… until now.

So for three summers, my office was 137,500 acres of rugged mountains, and in every job I’ve held except one, I was generally in charge of my own schedule and could determine what tasks I needed to accomplish on a day-by-day or week-by-week basis.

Now, the real world strikes, and I’m doing my best to keep up. I can’t lie — I’m a little homesick for mountains and trees. Those kinds of surroundings can’t be replaced by tall buildings or even the White House and Capitol Building. But I am learning a lot and slowly-but-surely getting used to working in an office for eight hours a day. And don’t get me wrong: I’m definitely glad I have this internship!

And now, TGIF!

I think Jeff and I are going to make strawberry shortcake tonight. Tomorrow, we’re going to hit up the Newseum. When we return from that, I will certainly be sure to qualify it as a failure or non-failure.

(That’s a joke. Laugh! Ha ha ha!)

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90ish days of summer

Today was my first day as a photo/multimedia intern at washingtonpost.com.

After the intern orientation wherein all 20-something interns for WP.com, Express and the Slate Group learned some basic facts about the company, etc., we split up and spent the rest of the day with our departments and supervisors.

I have worked in two newsrooms before — at the Maneater student newspaper and at the Missouri statehouse bureau for The Columbia Missourian — but was in for a surprise today when I got to know the WP.com newsroom a little more. For one thing, it’s very quiet, and only about half the chairs in the multimedia and metro sections of the newsroom were occupied.

For another, I learned pretty quickly that, as far as photo at the .com goes, they take what’s given to them (by other .com people or the print Post) and work to put it on-line. In the other newsrooms in which I’ve worked, the pace was almost always frenetic and frantic. Reporters and photographers alike were shuffling or rushing in and out: in to produce, submit or edit content and out to get that content. Unless it was a slow news day, the newsrooms were always a little loud and fast-paced.

But the WP.com newsroom — again — is quiet. And the photo editors wait to receive requests and content before they process anything. It’s unlike any newsroom I’ve encountered (to be fair, I haven’t encountered that many).

The bottom line is, unless I take my own initiative on projects and stories I want to pursue, my responsibilities would consist mostly of working on Faces of the Fallen, putting photo galleries together and fielding photo requests.

My plan for the summer? Get as much work and experience in the field as possible, but get some more experience at the desk and in the newsroom, as well.

My supervisor Dee seems very open to my both spending time in the newsroom and taking initiative with stories (as long as I don’t tread on the print Post‘s toes), which I definitely appreciate and am excited about.

Now I just need to figure out what I want to do!

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90ish days of summer

Tomorrow at 11 a.m., I begin my photo/multimedia internship at washingtonpost.com.

I can’t lie: I am excited, nervous and thrilled as all hell out.

At 10 a.m., I’m meeting Kourtney for coffee. Kourtney is also an MU journalism student interning in the Post‘s digital newsroom. We’ve never met, but it is nice knowing there will be another Tiger nearby, and hopefully having coffee and arriving together at the newsroom office will help calm our nerves!

Today — Memorial Day — Jeff’s family and I are going to Baltimore to visit the cemetery there and then eat crabs. (One of Jeff’s goals for the summer is to get me to eat soft-shelled crab — I’m squeamish about crustaceans still in their shells!) I’ll have photos and everything up tonight from that, and then get a good night’s sleep and be ready for my first day in the morning.

In the meantime, here are some photos from Friday!

A man jogs in front of the U.S. Capitol Building. As you can read in the post before the previous post, we didnt get to tour the building.

A man jogs in front of the U.S. Capitol Building. As you can read in the post before the previous post, we didn't get to tour the building.

We then went to the Library of Congress, where we also were unable to get a tour and see the rest of the building.

We then went to the Library of Congress, where we also were unable to get a tour and see the rest of the building.

The Library of Congress does not allow photography of the Gutenberg Bible or the Great Bible of Mainz. So, being sly, I took this photo instead.

The Library of Congress does not allow photography of the Gutenberg Bible or the Great Bible of Mainz. So, being sly, I took this photo instead.

After leaving the Library of Congress and briefly photographing the Supreme Court building, we ate dinner on the Hill and then walked to Nationals Stadium. This is on the way to the stadium.

After leaving the Library of Congress and briefly photographing the Supreme Court building, we ate dinner on the Hill and then walked to Nationals Stadium. This is on the way to the stadium.

At the Nationals game vs. the Orioles. This is some wonderful evening light over the stadium.

At the Nationals game vs. the Orioles. This is some wonderful evening light over the stadium.

As always, you can click HERE to view more photos from Friday and my stay in D.C. thus far.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — On Saturday noon, I will be in Washington, D.C., with ten days to spare before my internship at washingtonpost.com begins.

This means I have four-ish days to write two articles, do an audio slideshow, complete the final group project for Advanced Techniques in Photojournalism, take my sociology final exam and pack up everything in my room/kitchen. In addition, I’ve scheduled coffee and meetings with about four or five different people throughout the week.

But in five days, I’ll be in Washington, D.C., where I’ll begin 92-96 days of summer (depending on my end date). Hence, “90ish days of summer” will be the running title/motif.

I haven’t had time yet to determine specific goals for this summer. Right now, I’m waiting for the Missouri Senate to adjourn so I can report on a 6 p.m. Senate committee hearing. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t started thinking and daydreaming about Washington.

Things to look forward to on this blog in the next few days:

  • Reflection on the 95th Missouri General Assembly’s first regular session
  • Reflection on reporting on abovementioned legislative session
  • Goals for the summer

In the meantime, I’m going to do my best to keep my head above water in this final week in Missouri.

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