college

2014 Wrap Up

2014 was quite the adventure. I went to the Olympics, and added two new countries to my list in the process. I completely totaled my first car. I spent spring break 2014 with some amazing people. Some have left. Some became a bigger part of my life. I successfully raised some fish from eggs through adulthood. (Pretty proud of that one.) I spent an excruciating amount of time at Indiana fairs. Actually, I spent every day of the Indiana State Fair in a tiny trailer with 20ish other young journalists. I even stalked the State Fair queen for two days. I photographed almost all of Ball State’s home football games. I’ve gathered some of my favorite images from the year, with some of the most important things I learned from them. Student enjoys fall sunset

There’s nothing wrong with cell phones. The best camera in this case was an IPhone, considering it was with me. I also realized I want to carry a DSLR more often.

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Midterms are excruciating when it’s 30 degrees and raining in an area that already doesn’t vote much.

Zombies takeover Ball State during food drive

Moment over makeup. I was waiting for the people with more impressive costume to show up when I spotted this really sweet hug between a grandmother and her grandson.

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My self portrait work needs help. That’s a sad Rembrandt. Also, I should take more notes about failed lighting schemes. I tend to struggle to remember what went wrong. That’s valuable, I suppose.

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You really, really have to go with the flow when blue meanie looking Russian band members almost roll you over at the Olympic Park. This was also a lesson in how much I’m terrible at self editing. I didn’t start loving this photo until three different masters of photography plucked it out.

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Rodeos apparently have sort of a nice color palette? Sports shot this year included rodeo, cheerleading, band competition, football, and poi. They were all a blast.

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Consider every angle. Always look for something new.

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Light. Light. Light. Light. Light. Light. Light. Light.

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Knowing the game is as valuable as knowing the camera.

I’m glad I can look back at this blog and realize the mistakes I’ve made and things I’ve learned in the past year. It’s enjoyable to see the holes in my work and be able to make a plan for the upcoming year.

I’m gearing up to do some more serious video in 2015 and I hope to do some documentary type work.  In March, it’s pretty certain I’ll be heading to Cuba to do some photography. I’m currently adding content to a website that will be launching. I’ll be working to improve my brand, as well as my lighting skills. I’m really excited to get started! Thank you for being on the journey.

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Reflection

 

Junior special education major Sam Hebe gets her head shaved to raise money for Riley Children's Hospital at Ball State's Dance Marathon on Feb. 22.

Junior special education major Sam Hebe gets her head shaved to raise money for Riley Children’s Hospital at Ball State’s Dance Marathon on Feb. 22.

 

Every story has a person. That’s right. For each and every tale you can tell, there is at least one human at the heart of it. Helping it grow and live on. One of the most important lessons for me this semester was that every story is so much more interesting when you let a a living, breathing, passionate person tell it. I realized recently that I’m in photography to discuss the human experience. This experience ranges from small victories, to big decisions, to little candid smiles. When I’m shooting events for the newspaper, I look for photos that capture a moment of time, a human emotion. I feel like this small collection of photos show my journey through other people’s moments and stories.

 

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Romeo and Juliet

Tybalt, Joe Lino, threatens Mercutio, Ethan Strimple during a rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet in University Theatre on Tuesday.

Tybalt, Joe Lino, threatens Mercutio, Ethan Strimple during a rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet in University Theatre on Tuesday.

I’m back working at The Daily News at Ball State. This semester we’re off to a pretty strong start. We’re pushing for a digital first framework and trying to add more multimedia to our website. We’re working on videos, photo galleries, and audio slideshows. It’s been pretty exciting to see everyone branch out into doing multimedia projects for the paper. I recently shot Romeo and Juliet, a Ball State University production hosted at University Theatre. I really enjoy shooting theatre and dance, and I’m glad I get so many opportunities to do so at school.

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End of the Year

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.

Confession time. I accidently left my entire camera bag in the back of a stranger’s car during an all day shoot. I needed to shoot in two different locations, so I grabbed a ride with a volunteer who’d be going between them. The bag included all of my lenses, my wallet containing about $60 dollars cash, my debit card, and my license, and all of my other gear including an external flash and my extra battery. Ouch. Lesson learned. I can say that I will never do it again. Things I will also never do again include having two dead batteries, leaving for a shoot without a memory card, forgetting to clear a card before my next shoot, and taking a dead laptop out of my room to edit. You have to make mistakes to learn your lessons and I’m quite good at mistakes. I’m glad for these experiences because I’m much better at remembering to charge batteries, clear cards, charge my laptop and always grabbing my bag when exiting strangers cars.

The sun shines through a decaying wall in City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana. The church was left abandoned about 40 years ago, and nature is taking the structure over.

The sun shines through a decaying wall in City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana. The church was left abandoned about 40 years ago, and nature is taking the structure over.

In the last year, I’ve improved rather quickly and easily. I’ve learned more efficient ways to handle photos when I’m done shooting, how to shoot lightning and fireworks and to approach a variety of situations. I’ve developed an eye for light and I’ve gotten much better at quickly adjusting my camera for whatever I’m looking at.

I’ve discovered how important it is to be proficient in different aspects of journalism. I’ve learned how to capture quality audio, how to edit it, and how to add it to an effective slideshow. I’ve created audio stories that included an introduction, interviews and a wrap up of the story. I will begin a video class next semester in which I will learn how to shoot quality video and how to edit it. I’ve gotten experience in writing for the Daily News, and I hope to continue practicing journalistic writing.

I began volunteering as a photographer for the Daily News at the beginning of my first semester of college, and I will be hired on for the next half of the school year. I’m very excited to begin working at Ball State’s Newspaper. Everyone who works there has been incredibly supportive and it’s a fantastic place to practice my crafts and make mistakes.

The moon rises above Union Station in Washington DC in Feb. 2012.

The moon rises above Union Station in Washington DC on Feb. 5, 2012.

I’ve developed a passion for creating really great captions. I like gathering the information and learning about people and events in the process. It’s fun to talk to people and understand them in the context of what I’m shooting. I’m glad that I enjoy something that is essential to my photos destined for the newspaper.

I’m very excited for 2013 and I’m very hopeful about the doors it will open for me. Everything seems to be going very well for me at this point and I have every reason to be very optimistic about the future! Here are my favorite photos from 2012, and I hope to have many more at the end of 2013!

Fireworks explode on Navy Pier on July 4, 2012. Spectators enjoyed picnics before the start of the show.

Fireworks explode on Navy Pier on July 4, 2012. Spectators enjoyed picnics before the start of the show.

The Aerostars Formation Aerobatic Team performs in the Gary Southshore Air Show on Friday, July 6, 2012 at Marquette Beach in Gary, Indiana.

The Aerostars Formation Aerobatic Team performs in the Gary Southshore Air Show on Friday, July 6, 2012 at Marquette Beach in Gary, Indiana.

The sun sets behind Indiana wind turbines on Sept 3, 2012. This is the backdrop to my drive to and from Ball State University.

The sun sets behind Indiana wind turbines on Sept 3, 2012. This is the backdrop of my drive to and from Ball State University.

Lightning strikes just outside of my window on July 6, 2012. For this image I used three books in my window as a tripod.

Lightning strikes just outside of my window on July 6, 2012. For this image I used three books in my window as a tripod.

The Beneficence Statue on the campus of Ball State University stands with one arm extended towards the Muncie community. She is nicknamed "Benny" on campus.

The Beneficence Statue on the campus of Ball State University stands with one arm extended towards the Muncie community. She is nicknamed “Benny” on campus.

Northeast Pacific Sea Nettles on display at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois. The "Jellies" exhibit includes twelve different species of Jelly Fish.

Northeast Pacific Sea Nettles on display at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois. The “Jellies” exhibit includes twelve different species of Jelly Fish.

A grasshopper clings to the fifth floor window of the Lafollette Dorm complex at Ball State Unversity on Aug. 21, 2012.

A grasshopper clings to the fifth floor window of the Lafollette Dorm complex at Ball State Unversity on Aug. 21, 2012.

Cloud Gate reflects light during an instillation called "Luminous Field" on Feb. 12, 2012.

Cloud Gate reflects light during an instillation called “Luminous Field” on Feb. 12, 2012.

Dancers perform in Aubergine Trails choreographed by Rachael Brown during the Senior Choreography Showcase at Ball State University.

Dancers perform in Aubergine Trails choreographed by Rachael Brown during the Senior Choreography Showcase at Ball State University.

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.

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.

The Beauty of Dance and Moving On.

Dancers in the Academy for the Performing Arts perform during the spring show. May 25th, 2012

As a recent graduate of high school, I can say that I won’t miss the cliques, the “busy work”, the cafeteria, or the noisy hallways.  I can, however, promise you that I will miss photographing events in high school, especially within our Academy for the Performing Arts. I don’t believe I will ever find such freedom in another venue. On any given show, I was usually allowed backstage, in the front row, in the balcony, in the wings, or pretty much anywhere else I could stand and shoot or rig a camera. Everyone was incredibly supportive of me and my work and I know that they will continue to be throughout my career.

My favorite thing to photograph was the dance shows. I was always willing to shoot dance even when I was exhausted or hungry. It

Dancers in the Academy for the Performing Arts perform in the spring show on May 25, 2012.

didn’t matter how long it was or how much traffic I would have to sit in afterward, it was always a good time.

 

In retrospect, I should have used the space more to my advantage. Many of my images are shot from the center of the first row or the balcony. Perhaps in the future, I’ll get to wait in the wings for an interesting shot, or abandon the show completely and focus on the dancers and their emotions outside of their performances.

 

The kind of freedom I found in that theatre was almost addicting. I could walk in with a camera during any bad mood and walk out feeling a sort of peace. I know that I will always chase that calm. I’ll always remember the friends dancing in my favorite images. I’ll remember how much the dancers appreciated my work. I’ll remember the dance director letting me know how much she appreciated me while I was there.  It will always hold a very special place in my heart, wherever my career may lead me.

I truly hope that I can someday give back to the program that allowed me to grow as an artist. I know that that the Academy will continue to grow and I am so lucky to have been a part of it from the very, very beginning.

Here’s to high school. Here’s to moving on to bigger things.

I slowed the shutter on these performers in the Academy’s spring show on May 25, 2012.