Month: February 2013

The Water Station

Cast members of The Water Station stand around the pile of junk looking out during a run Feb. 20 at Strother Theatre.

Cast members of The Water Station stand around the pile of junk looking out during a run Feb. 20 at Strother Theatre.

I have a deep appreciation for theatre.  I enjoy shooting the shows at Ball State and it’s truly been in adventure. I got to experience The Water Station directed by Drew Vidal at Ball State in Strother Theatre.  The show was based on sixteen travelers who discover the water station and how they interact with it and with each other.

Meghan Conley plays with a parasol during a run of The Water Station. Actors communicated using only facial expressions and body language.

Meghan Conley plays with a parasol during a run of The Water Station. Actors communicated using only facial expressions and body language.

It was the first time I had ever seen a show without dialogue, and the first time I had ever watched a show with a slow tempo.  The show was performed in slow motion. I think it is safe to say that the first characters entrance took about five minutes just to get to center stage in a black box theatre in the round.

I am not normally a patient person. Regardless, I was fascinated by the concept. I became hyper aware of the way I live my life in such a hurry. Everything around me is always moving so quickly. I also became very aware of the talent it takes for an actor to have the patience for a show like this. I’m really proud of the entire cast. I know that my struggles as an actor certainly include physicality; I can’t stand the thought of having no dialogue to lean on.

When I walked in, I was very surprised to see a mound of junk against the entire back wall of the theatre.  The haze was very thick even before the rehearsal started.  I got a sort of post-apocalyptic vibe from the set.  Opposite the mound o

f junk, a broken water spout dripped at the same speed throughout the show. The monotony was only broken when the characters interacted with the water, giving the audience a break from the sound.

The fun thing about shooting this particular show is that I used a 50 mm lens that I don’t use very often. It’s not a lens that I’m comfortable using when the actors are up onstage, but it was fantastic to use when the actors were no more than ten feet from me at any given time. The lens doesn’t zoom so I had to rely on moving around and paying attention to get decent shots. I feel like I accomplished this without distracting the actors or upsetting the stage manager. Happy stage managers are always a plus.

The photos came out really well and I’ve decided to share then with you! It’s really fun to experiment with my different lenses and use them in situations I wouldn’t think to normally. I’m learning and improving everyday and it’s an amazing journey.

Dee Jordan carries a large pack on his back as he searches for something in the pile of things during a run of The Water Station in Strother Theatre Feb. 20.

Dee Jordan carries a large pack on his back as he searches for something in the pile of things during a run of The Water Station in Strother Theatre Feb. 20.

Demani Arnold lets the water fall into his hands while exploring the water station.

Demani Arnold lets the water fall into his hands while exploring the water station.

Katie Stofko fills a glass bottle during a run The Water Station.

Katie Stofko fills a glass bottle during a run The Water Station.

Evan Cullman, left, and Demani Arnold, right, look out. The script is communicated only through facial expression and body language.

Evan Cullman, left, and Demani Arnold, right, look out. The script is communicated only through facial expression and body language.

Katie Stofko unfolds a sheet as Nic Eastlund looks on. Behind them sits Cole Abell.

Katie Stofko unfolds a sheet as Nic Eastlund looks on. Behind them sits Cole Abell.

Brandon Merriweather catches Jessica Ervin as she leans backward upon being frightened during a run of The Water Station.

Brandon Merriweather catches Jessica Ervin as she leans backward upon being frightened during a run of The Water Station.

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INPA 2012 Contest

An audience member is sprayed with paint at the Life in Color event held at Worthen Arena on Saturday.  Life in Color is a concert event that included two Dj's and paint canons that drenched the audience.

An audience member is sprayed with paint at the Life in Color event held at Worthen Arena on Saturday. Life in Color is a concert event that included two Dj’s and paint canons that drenched the audience.

I spent the weekend at the Indiana News Photographers Association annual contest. At the contest, talented photographers are invited to judge entries in multiple photo categories.  The INPA event takes place over two days near the beginning of each year. On Friday this year, the judges assigned winners in the college categories and gave presentations of their own work. Each presentation was inspiring and made me realize that there are many ways one can make a living in photography. You have to choose what you’re passionate about and find a way to make it work for you. On Saturday, they judged the regular entries. There were more than 2,000 images entered and it makes for a long but interesting day.

The judging itself is valuable to watch. You get to see what three established photographers consider good work and what they don’t. Some photos are thrown out immediately, while others are discussed and scrutinized in order to pick a winner for each category. It’s really wonderful to see what the judges are discussing, and to gain an understanding for what makes the photo good or bad. I learned a lot about the way I should edit my own images and I’ve gained a better understanding for what makes a solid photo.

I was really nervous about entering photos. Presenting your work to someone for the sole purpose of judging it is terrifying. I’m really happy that I did though. I learned so much while I was there. I’m going to push myself to enter more contests, while continuing to improve my work every day.

I’m happy to announce that the image at the top of this post took second place in the features category of the college contest. I’m really happy with the photo, and I’m glad to know that others believe it is good as well. I’m really excited for next years INPA contest!

Adrenaline

A Hammond firefighter looks out into the crowd while on the scene of a fire in Whiting, Indiana Jan. 20th, 2013. The building was located at 119th and Sheridan Ave.

A Hammond firefighter looks out into the crowd while on the scene of a fire in Whiting, Indiana,  Jan. 20th, 2013. The building was located at 119th and Sheridan Ave.

I think one of my favorite things about being a photographer is being a fly on the wall in people’s lives or at certain events. My only problem is feeling like the biggest, loudest, most intrusive fly to ever exist. I understand that someone with a camera often makes people uneasy, especially in more tragic situations, and that knowledge tends to bother me while I’m shooting. There’s a balance between being a photojournalist and telling the story and understanding that you’re not what a person wants to see as they’re being loaded into an ambulance or watching their home burn to the ground.

A firefighter makes his way across the scene during the fire in Whiting, Indiana Jan. 20, 2013.

A firefighter makes his way across the scene during the fire in Whiting, Indiana, Jan. 20, 2013.

A few weeks ago on a very cold night in Whiting, Indiana, I found myself standing at the police line of a building that had been in flames a few hours before. By the time I arrived, three fire trucks from the Hammond force, the Whiting force and the East Chicago force were all there taking care of the hot spots that were still popping up. Everything was covered in ice from the hoses. The street was dangerous and slick, the cars that sat at the side of the building were nearly encased, and the side of the building had become a shiny sheet of ice. I’d never shot anything like that before.

All of my work for the Ball State Daily News is of people, safe events, and sports. I don’t usually work in breaking news like accidents and fires. So, that night was full of mixed emotions. I was filled with adrenaline and excited to try my hand at photographing something a bit more difficult. I was extremely sad for the multiple families that lived in the complex. I was also ashamed for being there at all, feeling as though I was not welcome by anyone working to control the flames. I suppose I wasn’t.  Feeling uncomfortable about making other people uncomfortable is something I’m battling as a photographer.

I also felt attachment to the building. I had seen it many times before. It was an old building and I found it beautiful. It had a dress shop downstairs that always had beautiful gowns on display that I would admire.  It’s apart of my landscape back home and it will be missed.

A Whiting firetruck on the scene on a fire in Whiting, Indiana on Jan. 20, 2013.

A Whiting firetruck on the scene on a fire in Whiting, Indiana, Jan. 20, 2013.

My favorite photo from the night, featured at the top of this post, was a fleeting moment. I was actually shooting the firefighter only hoping for something that included the back of his helmet with the street sign and building in the background.  I’m not entirely sure what made him turn around. Maybe it was me clicking away. Maybe he was surveying the crowd gathered around me.  I guess I’ll never know. What I do know is that we were separated by a police line and as he walked away, I realized that I didn’t have his name.  I’m going to consider it the top frustrating moment of 2013. I have plans to try and acquire his name, though.  I’m going to go to the nearest fire station when I get home and ask if they can identify the firefighter in the photograph. I sincerely hope that they can.

Firefighters attempt to control the fire from above the building. The roof had collapsed, making it difficult for firefighters to access the hot spots within the apartment complex.

Firefighters attempt to control the fire from above the building. The roof had collapsed, making it difficult for firefighters to access the hot spots within the apartment complex.