Month: September 2012

A Beginning

Last Wednesday, I went to the weekly photo department meeting for The Ball State Daily News. During the meeting they announced that Beneficence, a statue on campus that was sculpted by Daniel Chester French, would be turning 75 this year! For you history geeks, that name is familiar because the artist also sculpted the Abraham Lincoln statue in the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Pretty cool! The Daily News needed a photo for the story and told the photo staff that they would have a department wide contest. The person that won would get to be featured in the paper with the story. I was really inspired by this. When I got outside to discover bright pink clouds, I decided to do my portrait immediately.

It was about twenty minutes before sunset and I thought about shooting Benny from the ground with the clouds behind her. Impossible. It took me about half an hour to grab my camera, talk my friend Dani into coming with me and run across campus. By the time I was standing in front of Benny, panting with camera in hand, the sun had already set. The clouds had turned gray, but the sky was a really pretty blue color. I noticed that the two lights that shine on Benny had been turned on so she wasn’t in complete darkness. I had missed the sunset, but that wasn’t going to keep me from shooting. I’ve always loved the blue of the sky just after sunset and was really excited to get to use it. In order to get the correct exposure, I really had to drag out my shutter speed.  I thought I’d be shooting in day light, so I didn’t bring my tripod with me. Instead of using a tripod, I did what any sane photographer would do and took my shoes off. Yep. Threw them on the ground, rested my camera on them and shot that way. I realized that I was a little too low to get the composition I was looking for so I ended up raising my ISO and choosing a shutter speed I could use while holding the camera in my hands.

It got really dark outside after a little while and Dani and I still had to walk all the way across campus to the dorm. When I got back I went through each photo and found my favorite. I decided I really liked composure and color in one specific photo. I toned it and sent it to the photo department, fingers crossed. Mind you, this was last week so I’ve sort of been on pins and needles about the whole contest thing. I really wanted to win.

Last night, I went to another all staff meeting for the paper and asked my editor who won the contest. He told me that the contest was cancelled because they were taking the story in an entirely different direction. Fortunately for me, he was wrong or playfully lying. I still haven’t decided which.

This morning, I absentmindedly picked up a paper not even realizing that the Benny story would be running today. In a sleepy haze I glanced down at the page and noticed my favorite blue color. BENNY!  It turns out my photo was chosen to be on the cover. Needless to say, my walk to my room was a combination of giggling, skipping and having a huge smile on my face. First front page photo! Of any publication! I couldn’t be happier. I’ve worked so hard for this, and I think it’s really a milestone for me at this point. I wanted to share the photo with you and express my excitement. It’s going to be a great year at the Ball State Daily News and I’m just getting started.

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Chirp Chirp!

Students went all out for our “white out” game! A student covers another fan in body paint during the tailgate.

I miss home. I mean, as much as anyone else misses home. I miss Hammond’s ten million annoying trains and the dogs in my neighborhood barking at night. I miss being less than an hour from Chicago. I miss my parents. I miss my friends and I miss the Academy. I’m weighing what I have against what I’m leaving behind and I’ve decided it’s not so bad. I’ll see my family again. I’ll get to come back to the 219 in the summer and enjoy it.

I have every opportunity in the world here. I’ve started to volunteer for Ball States’ Newspaper The Daily News. I’m already shooting and doing what I love. I’m more confident in my choice to major in photojournalism than I was before I got here. BOOM! Classes? Easy breezy for now. Social life? Developing. Slowly but surely.

I’ve survived my first shoot for the paper, which was the tailgate before the first football game of the season. I even managed to enjoy myself at the game. Considering I rarely ever attended games in high school, that’s an achievement in itself. I’ve only been home once, surprisingly. My room is pretty cozy (in a good way) and the girls in my hall are really sweet. I’m happy. I’m finding myself making healthier choices and not being so lazy.

Students toss a football at the tailgate before the first game of the season.

I think the most important part of my experience is that I’m shooting more. I shoot for myself quite a bit more than I did at home. I’ve already mastered things I was slow with in high school. I’m taking photo challenges from an organization I’m apart of and the newspaper and putting my all into taking images that fit into the categories. I’ve brought my point and shoot to school to carry on me when I don’t have my Canon Rebel around. I’m learning to acknowledge that my iPhone has a decent camera and that it is a legitimate tool for taking photos. I’m going to start sketching to understand light more. I’m learning to tone my photos so they are appropriate for print and I’m getting way better at writing my captions.  I feel that in my first three weeks of school I’m leaps and bounds closer to being a successful photojournalist four years from now.

I’m hopeful. I’m driven and I know that I can do well here as long as I choose to seek opportunity. I need to find the time to keep up this blog! I’m confident that I can do it. I’m excited to write and post pictures about homecoming! I want to thank everyone who is going to be following my journey and supporting me along the way. I appreciate every single person who pushed me to shoot in high school and I’ll never forget the people who have taught me.

A student cheers on Ball States football team at the first game of the season August 30, 2012.

Students enjoy the tailgate before the first football game at Ball State.