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Archive for the ‘Mizzou’ 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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© 2008. The sign outside The Maneater's door in the old offices. Taken in Feb. 2008 on Fuji 800 film.

The Maneater – the official student newspaper of the University of Missouri — has deservedly encountered a lot of heat recently because of poor decisions made in the publication of its annual April Fool’s issue.

A lot of heat.

For those unfamiliar with background information, The Maneater is a student-run campus newspaper that’s (almost) financially independent of the university. Because journalism-major upperclassmen are usually engrossed in their sequence work and in the journalism school’s various affiliated newsrooms, the majority of the Maneater staff is underclassmen.

© 2008. News editor Elliot works in the newsroom in Feb. 2008. Taken on Fuji 800 film.

As a former Maneater photographer (2006-07) and photo editor (2007-08), I’m now reviving a belated defense that I drafted almost exactly two years ago, albeit for different reasons. I am also writing this as my own, personal response to a letter another former Maneater editor wrote in support not of the current editors or their decisions but, rather, in support of the newspaper’s status as an independent entity from the university.

Because the aforementioned letter, written by Derek Kravitz, will be submitted as a letter to the Maneater editors, I won’t re-publish large chunks of it here. So for now, I’d like to expound upon this statement:

But we would not be where we are today without The Maneater and we echo the sentiments of Maneater alumni who continue to support the paper and the best university in the country.

I’m not proud of the language used and decisions made by the editors who have since resigned. But I’m proud to have been a staffer and editor at The Maneater. What’s more, I count myself lucky for it: True to Derek’s words, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for that paper.

I came to Missouri in 2006 fully intending to pursue reporting and joined the paper as a designer and reporter, but — to the chagrin of my parents — began picking up photo assignments. My editor Rae couldn’t have been more patient or helpful. I can say with absolute certainty that I was among the least technically proficient photographers on staff, but Rae challenged and encouraged me. I picked up more and more assignments; learned from fellow staffers about exposure, techniques, gear, composition and more; and eventually was hired to take Rae’s place as photo editor the next year.

If not for The Maneater , it might have been years before I picked up a DSLR camera or learned anything tangible about photojournalism or storytelling. If not for The Maneater, I wouldn’t have been offered my first internship. Who knows where I’d be now, had I not landed that first berth of professional experience?

© 2007. Ryan - Rae's predecessor as photo editor - takes over the photo desk as former copy chief Jamie peers over his shoulder during production night.

The Maneater has had its moments, good and bad, and most recently, it certainly crossed the line. But let’s not overlook the Maneater‘s inherent value as a learning, student-run newspaper:

  • As unprofessional as others — including journalism school faculty — may perceive the Maneater to be throughout the years, that was not at all my experience. Rae and the other editors were strict about staffers’ behaving professionally and respectfully in the field, and we were always expected to come back with a story or photos, no matter how difficult the circumstances or subjects were. When the 2007-2008 editorial board took the reins, we did our absolute best to carry that torch of professionalism.
  • The Maneater trains and helps underclassman journalism students in a way that no pre-sequence class did, at least when I was still in school. Even if it’s “just” a story about a student organization’s barbeque, staffers are learning how to report, interview, write, take photos, produce multimedia and more. They are learning all these things by doing them for public consumption (not just a class) — an incredible opportunity that the journalism school doesn’t afford most students until their third year of college.
  • Speaking from a photojournalism perspective, I believe that former Maneater photographers constitute the majority of in-sequence photojournalism students who are already good or above-average storytellers and who are technically proficient. Of course, many students are good at what they do without having worked at The Maneater. But my observation is that most of the students who enter the sequence already comfortable with themselves as proficient photographers are those who’ve worked as Maneater staff at some point.

I’m not saying that we at the ‘eater were always all business. There were impromptu wrestling matches in the newsroom, the copy desk kept a near-sacred toy dinosaur and I tortured my photographers by opening every production night in the photo cave with Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel.” Maneater people worked together, lived together, studied together and went on adventures together. It was college.

© 2008. News editors Michael, Anna, Elliot and Roseann take a break during one of the 2007-2008 staff's last production nights in May 2008.

To the current Maneater staff, and other student journalists: You are still young, so make your mistakes now and learn from them. (I did.) You’ve got a lot of years ahead of you, so buckle up, take the wheel and enjoy the ride.

To everyone who’s jeering at and judging The Maneater: Stop. The editors who resigned have learned their lessons. They weren’t the first (student) journalists to err, but they won’t be the last. Life goes on.

This, from my prospective, is the ultimate takeaway: Maneater staffers and editors mess up sometimes. But more often than not, they get it right when it comes to helping along the next generation of student journalists and upholding the newspaper’s reputation as a passionate, forward-thinking place to work and learn.

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Shelby

Oct. 15, 2009: I came home to find my roommates Shelby, left, and Chelsea dancing the Thriller. Typical.

Shelby, my college dormmate of one year and roommate of two years, passed away on Saturday.

Shelby was the quiet type who, when you walked to class with her and another friend, was the one who listened. You wouldn’t get to know her very well unless you happened to spend a lot of time with her. If you did know her fairly well, you’d know that she was a natural writer and editor, had a huge soft spot for babies and weirdly cute animals and had lofty expectations of the man she’d one day marry. But even if you barely knew her, you’d know that she cheered for the Ravens, was a Pepsi-loving vegetarian and was one of the nicest people you’d ever meet.

Together, we walked to and suffered through journalism classes, celebrated our 21st (and 22nd) birthdays in style and watched the Kentucky Derby three years in a row. We experienced not-unusual roommate tension, but we nevertheless bonded as we despaired over frustrating assignments, screamed at our football team when it lost and stayed up late watching bad television.

Our paths drifted after I graduated in May 2010 and as Shelby completed her degree in the following fall semester. But we met again in Columbia over lunch, and then at karaoke night at a favorite watering hole, when I visited town during that fall semester. On her birthday last month, I promised her and myself that once I was more settled in my new full-time job in York, we’d meet again over lunch. This lunch meeting would have happened this week or next.

Instead, earlier today, I attended Shelby’s service outside of Baltimore. For the first time in almost a week, I now have a sense of closure, and I can only hope the same of Shelby’s family and other friends.

From the program.

Rest in peace, Shelby. We miss you so much.

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I’m pretty excited that I’ve now shot college football on Texas soil. (Apart from last year’s Texas Bowl game…)

Members of the Missouri football team take the field for some pre-game drills at Kyle Field in College Station on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010.

Jeff and I shot Missouri’s game against Texas A&M in College Station on Saturday. It was only my second time on A&M’s campus — my younger brother is a sophomore there — but I was looking forward to witnessing the Aggie spirit.

Also for the first time:

  • I used my new full-frame camera.

Texas A&M junior wide receiver Jeff Fuller catches the ball for A&M's first and only touchdown against Missouri on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, at Kyle Field. Note: This photo has been highly sharpened, due to some backfocusing.

  • I didn’t have a lens longer than my 70-200/2.8.
  • Which meant I shot a lot more features than I have ever before at a football game.

Will Lowe of Houston, right, is reflected on the side of a car as he watches the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets -- the university's student military organization of 2,002 members -- marching to Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010. Texas A&M is one of five U.S. colleges classified as a senior military college and, apart from the service academies, produces the most military officers of all U.S. schools.

  • It was a sunny, clear day. (With the exception of a cloudy daytime game, every other football game I’ve shot has been at night and/or indoors.)

Travis Nault, center, stands ready to sing the Aggie War Hymn as Wendell Nault, left of center, and Kevin Kenefic, right of center, remove their hats before the Texas A&M-Missouri football game at Kyle Field in College Station on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010.

Largely because of all of the above, I had a blast photographing the game — but mostly, the game outside of the game.

(more…)

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I forgot to mention this earlier… but I’m done.

Medal in my mouth.

I may not have walked alongside my fellow seniors in the Missouri School of Journalism commencement ceremony and received my fake diploma (the real one gets mailed out in mid-summer), but I’m done.

I did walk in the honors convocation on Saturday morning, since that still allowed me enough time to drive to Florida and arrive at Poynter on time. Yes, that’s right — honors convocation. Somehow, I graduated cum laude even though I was kicked out of the journalism school two and a half years ago for having an unsatisfactory GPA.

I’m not sure how that happened. The “cum laude” thing, not the “unsatisfactory GPA” thing. But it appears to be legit, and now I have a medal to show for it. I just don’t have a fake diploma and a lot of photos of my fellow seniors and me mugging for the camera with our tassels hanging from the left side of our graduation caps.

But — I’m done.

That is, I’m done with college.

I’m not done learning.

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I’m pleased to present my final capstone project — my last project as an undergraduate here at the University of Missouri.

In the House of Representatives press gallery.

You can view my video/photo project in one of two places:

My website

or

My Vimeo page

What exactly is this project, anyway?

As I’ve hinted previously in this blog, the scene is the Missouri state capitol building, and the characters are various statehouse newspaper reporters. As for the story — well, let’s just say that as the economy takes its toll and the journalism industry continues to shrink, state capitol bureaus are suffering.

Last spring, The American Journalism Review published a survey whose results showed a more than 30 percent decrease in the number of newspaper reporters covering state capitols full-time over a period of six years. This survey was released while I myself was reporting in Jefferson City, the capital city of Missouri, so it seized my attention and I kept reading similar reports (such as this March 2009 article in The New Republic). A month ago, as I was searching for a story idea for my capstone project, I remembered the survey and reports — and contacted a few reporters and asked if I could follow and interview them.

I’d like to thank Chad Livengood of The Springfield News-Leader, Virginia Young and Tony Messenger of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jason Noble of The Kansas City Star and Phill Brooks of Missouri Digital News for their immense help with this project.

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Scene:

The Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City.

Here’s a (kinda) sneak peek at my final capstone project. It’s my last undertaking in the Missouri School of Journalism since, in exactly one week,  I’ll be graduating and hightailing it to the Poynter Institute as one of its 2010 College Fellows. So — what exactly am I doing for my project?

Well… I won’t disclose everything right now. But here’s the cast of characters.

Chad Livengood, a Springfield News-Leader reporter who is currently reporting on his third legislative session in Jefferson City.

Virginia Young, who directs the Jefferson City bureau for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and who's been reporting there for 20ish years.

Phill Brooks, director of Missouri Digital News...

(more…)

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To be honest — I’ve lost track of this second 30-day challenge. One of the downsides of shooting film is that the date and time of the exposure aren’t recorded in the metadata, since there is no metadata.

Therefore, because I’ve been shooting on film since before spring break, I’ve lost track. But I think I’ve safely covered my bases for the 30-day challenge. Here are some film exposures I made before spring break. I’ll post the spring break film shortly. (Not all of it is ready yet — I still have about half a roll on both the OM-1 and Mamiya before they can be developed.)

Also, I feel horrible that this is my first post in almost a month. I was off the grid for spring break, and since then, projects and work have taken over my life. In fact, they are still taking over my life, but I’m fighting to take my life back — especially since I graduate in less than a month.

Without further ado, some snaps from the medium-format:

The first exposure on this roll of BW400CN. This is the sunset over the golf course near University Field (the Missouri softball stadium).

Stairwell in the Arts & Sciences building.

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I’ve fallen a bit behind in blogging this second 30-day challenge. Rest assured, I’ve been making pictures! They just haven’t gone on-line yet, mostly because I’ve been busy on a project for capstone. But here are last Wednesday and Thursday.

XIII

Wednesday was St. Patrick’s Day, and Jeff and I attempted to get into a free show at The Blue Note. When the men at the door told us no SLR cameras were allowed, we had no choice but to leave, since we weren’t going to hand our cameras over to anyone else. So we meandered around a bit before going home.

At Broadway and Ninth.

For one week every year — Engineers Week — the lights on Jesse Hall shine green.

Francis Quadrangle.

Engineering students at Mizzou and elsewhere claim St. Patrick as their patron saint, so they mark the week of St. Patrick’s Day with celebrations and other events. On an unrelated note, I wish there were a patron saint of journalism — and if there were, who would it be?

XIV

On Thursday, Jakob came in to develop a roll of Ilford HP5 for me — the same roll that I shot on the Mamiya 645. I accidentally ran it through a full laundry cycle and then exposed part of it when I discovered it in my jacket pocket. So there are laundry fibers stuck to the emulsion, and there’s not a single frame that escaped my accidental exposure. Only about two exposures remain somewhat intact.

These are the most complete exposures remaining on the entire roll of 15 exposures.

I’ll scan the roll later this week when I have a spare moment! In the meantime, I’m shooting another test roll, since this test roll didn’t quite come out.

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Friday night photo-editing shifts at The Columbia Missourian always seem like the longest ones, even if they’re not. I don’t know if that’s because it’s the Friday-night mentality or because assignments actually do tend to run later.

Stephanie in barefeet, Jeff in muddy shoes with ridiculous shoelaces. This is how we roll.

The completion of a Friday shift, though, calls for celebration in multiple forms.

A quick - and our first - stop at Yogoluv, a frozen yogurt bar that's struck a chord among especially high school and college students.

I’m borrowing Nick‘s Mamiya 645 1000S for the next few weeks, and Erin gave me a roll of Ilford 400 to use as a test roll. I’m pretty excited — I haven’t shot medium-format film in years, and this is my first time using a waist-level viewfinder. It’ll take a while to get used to, especially since I feel like it takes an entirely different perspective and visual eye from an SLR-esque viewfinder.

A borrowed camera with borrowed film. That's how I roll.

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Okay, so I’ve fallen a few days behind in blogging for the new 30-day photo challenge. But here’s a two-day blog post!

Day IV

I was taking photos of a church window on the way home from work on Monday when Jeff alerted me to the puppy in the car behind us.

I want a puppy so, so badly.

Check out a few more photos from Monday!

Day V

Yesterday, I went to Townsend Hall to deliver some photos to Carolyn.

The side entrance to Townsend Hall.

Townsend used to be a K-12 school building, as Elliot told me in freshman year. I’m not sure how he knew that, but if you look at an overall photo of the building, it’s pretty easy to see that.

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I have a big, fat radical idea for the MU School of Journalism:

Start early.

Do more journalism.


In other words: Instead of only one or two required semesters for students at any given newsroom  — how about three full years?

Click on the image to view/download the full PDF file.

In light of recent discussions and in anticipation of tomorrow’s forum (flier above), here are the facts, the problems and my totally radical ideas.

The facts

Don’t know how the MU School of Journalism works? Here’s a fast run-down:

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This afternoon, my capstone class decided to start another 30-day challenge. This will take us through to the end of spring break.

So, what better way to kick off this new 30-day period than with a food photo?

Jeff's heart attack of a spinach-mushroom-cheese-bacon, three-egg omelette.

Better yet, these photos were all taken with a 10.5/2.8 fisheye lens.

The omelette looks almost normal in this one. But nothing else does.

David Rees does not like wide-angle distortion. (Feel free to pick apart my word choice, DK.) Therefore, I hope everyone appreciates my using a fisheye for a food photo as a doubly snarky way to start this new 30-day challenge.

Jeff needed two spatulas to flip the omelette. Healthy late-night dinner, indeed.

Note: To reduce any confusion between this new challenge (effective today) and the first one, I’m using Roman numerals in the entry titles for the second set of 30 days.

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Today, I bought my cap and gown for May graduation.

Oh, and my journalism school tassel.

I’d like to say that today’s acquisitions constitute the last of my financial contributions to the school — but we all know that’s not true.

I’d like to say that my college education has helped me secure a stable, well-paying, with-benefits job following my graduation — but we all know that’s not true (yet).

Terrified? Yes, I am.

Thrilled? That, too.

But mostly terrified.

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More than two weeks ago, I spent my entire weekend at the Mizzou Aquatics Center, where the fourth annual Missouri Grand Prix was going on for four days.

Eric Shanteau swims the championship heat of the 200-meter individual medley finals on the second day of the fourth annual Missouri Grand Prix.

I was there to help the assigned Columbia Missourian photographers — most of whom had never before shot swimming, which I think is one of the more technical, difficult sports to photograph — and edit and submit their photos to the newsroom. But I also had plenty of time to make pictures, so I made full use of this opportunity.

Unfortunately, my portable hard drive crashed just 10 minutes after I’d submitted the photographer’s photos in my last editing shift on Feb. 14. This meant I lost all these photos, and more — until I sent the drive to the data recovery company. Hence, the delay in posting these Grand Prix photos.

View from the diving tower.

Of course, there were many other photographers there, so trying to find angles and content that nobody else was getting was practically impossible. But it was a good challenge, and considering this was my first time at a big swim meet, I’m pleased with how my photos turned out.

This year was also the first year — in my memory — that Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff and a few other big names were not in competition. Due to the snowstorms that were pummeling the east coast at the time, the North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmers scheduled to compete (including Phelps and Hoff) were unable to attend. Almost every other photographer I know was disappointed about this, but I frankly didn’t mind. I even tweeted, “Oh boo hoo, no Michael Phelps at the MO Grand Prix. There will still be incredible swimmers in the pool too, you know.”

So I, for one, enjoyed not having to stress about getting Michael Phelps photos. And I had fun. Enjoy some photos:

Missouri swimmer Jowan Qupty prepares to compete in the second heat of the 200-meter breakstroke finals.

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MANHATTAN, Kan. — I’m in the Bramlage Coliseum media room after the Missouri Tigers lost 63-53 to the Kansas State Wildcats.

Kansas State senior forward Luis Colon shoots against Missouri sophomore center Steve Moore during the first half at Kansas State on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010.

Two points of interest. The first: It’s unusual for a Columbia Missourian photo editor to cover a basketball game, but none of the staff photographers could or would volunteer to travel with the writers to Manhattan.

The second: I shouldn’t have worn a purple top for a game at/against Kansas State.

During the final 30 seconds of the game — which lasted about five minutes of real time — I was bored at my place at the endline. One of my camera batteries had died, so I was switching between lenses on the other camera, and I was pretty dissatisfied with my situation in general.

So I went into the stands, where I saw a young boy whose emotions were very much invested in the game: He was crying, shouting and, at some points, turning away from the court as if he didn’t want to watch the Tigers lose. I started making some pictures.

Ten-year-old Jack Kropf of St. Joseph, Mo., watches the Tigers lose to the Wildcats during the last 30 seconds of play at Kansas State.

Then I heard, nearby, voices shouting: “She’s taking pictures of their son, and they don’t want her to!”

(more…)

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Today, I have been sick and went to only one class. I’ve spent the rest of the day sleeping, consuming the healthiest foods I have in my meager pantry and watching the Olympics.

That is why I have no photo for today.

Yesterday, I had classes, work and a group project nearly back-to-back-to-back.

But when I left work at 5:45 p.m., I saw something unexpected: Daylight.

I don't remember the last time I saw natural light while walking home from work.

Then the group project. For our photo-editing class, Laura, Jessica and I were to edit a short video using raw clips provided by the Columbia Missourian director of photography.

It was… an interesting exercise.

The best part is, this was near the beginning of our working together on the group project.

Fortunately, we know Final Cut reasonably well and completed work more quickly than we'd anticipated.

Anyway. It’s been a long 48 hours, and I’m not quite feeling better yet.

But I have good news: the data recovery company was able to recover all but about 1 percent of my data, and I’ll have everything back by Friday!

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It has been a long week.

That's 10:15ish p.m., mind you.

I spent my entire last weekend photo-editing for The Columbia Missourian — Friday night, all day Saturday and then Sunday morning at the rec center for the Missouri Grand Prix, and then Sunday afternoon and night in the newsroom for a regular shift.

Then there was my regular shift on Tuesday afternoon. Which lasted until almost midnight.

And now there’s today, which has turned into late tonight.

All told, it’s about 47 hours of photo-editing, from last Friday afternoon through this Friday night.

That’s a lot.

But now it’s time to go home, drink a Woodchuck and veg in front of the Olympic ice-dancing reruns.

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This is where I work:

David and I serve our fellow photojournalism students by manning the department’s equipment locker, which houses more than $100,000 worth of photo, video and audio equipment (much of it is donated). It’s fun to help other students get acquainted with and appreciate quality gear, and it’s just as fun to tease those who are already gearheads when they come with a shopping list of exactly what they need to work on a project for a few days.

It’s also a bit stressful at times. Especially Mondays. This semester, I’m the only one working on Mondays, which means I get to check in and reshelf all the gear that was checked out over the weekends.

Today — as you can see by the photo — it got a bit out of hand. Students kept coming around to check in more gear or make reservations, so I didn’t get a chance to remove and charge batteries, detach lenses from cameras, replace back lens caps and camera body caps, or anything… until thirty minutes remained in my shift.

The contents within my photo for today represents probably half of the photo inventory and a third of the entire locker’s invenory.

It is a good job.

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I’m spending this weekend at the Student Recreation Complex, where swimmers have gathered to compete in the fourth annual Missouri Grand Prix.

The Columbia Missourian photographers are photographing. I’m there to edit — but between card dumps and transmissions to the photo desk, I have the opportunity to roam and make pictures, too.

So that’s what I did tonight.

I’ve shot dual-team meets at the rec center before, but never a full-blown, multi-day tournament whose roster includes Olympic swimmers. Tonight, I fiddled around a bit and tried not to resort to just the “one swimmer per frame” kind of shooting. Tomorrow and Sunday morning, because I know what to expect and where I can go, I’ll do better with this.

That’s right. I volunteered to live-edit during almost my entire weekend. But I made a point not to volunteer for the Sunday evening shift — because I’m sure as hell not missing the pairs short program for the Winter Olympics.

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