December 23, 2007

Pastor Dempsey

A multimedia project by some folks at the Free Lance-Star, photographer Peter Cihelka and producer Reza Marvashti.


So Millie is a year-old now.
We've been working on training her.

She's more of a golden go-and-see-er than a golden retriever right now.

She takes a little taunting well.

But all in all, she's a good dog and a good companion.

December 17, 2007

Nieces and Nephews

There are a lot of little ones running around this holiday season...




And soon a new one will be introduced! (Jodie at her shower)

November 26, 2007

Editing Video

For a group project in a class, Documentary Production, we are working on a short film about a local gentleman named Beut. The three of us spent a lot of time getting to know Beut, learning his story, understanding him... This week is editing week (we are using Avid... a learning process unto itself is all I'll say there). I've learned a few things in this process (mostly through mistakes, others from other people, and all random for now):

- Start off with a vision of the story you want to tell.

- Getting to know the subjects and getting the footage is not all that different from still photography, just different content is gathered (more interviews, etc.).

- Set up your shots thinking about framing and composition and let the action move through the frame.

- Always check the batteries on your external mic and your audio levels.

- Use headphones.

- When shooting with two cameras, having the same type of two cameras is helpful. One with HD and one that is not looks different when editing.

- Stick to the three second rule when interviewing: wait for three seconds of silence before you ask your next question. People may say the best stuff in those seconds, or, if nothing else, you get a clean break for editing.

- Know the story you want to tell, change the way you want to tell it, be willing to continue changing it.

- Let things in that story be discovered by the audience... not everything has to be stated, or stated upfront for that matter.

- Again for emphasis... always check your audio levels.
- And we shot too much.

November 20, 2007


November 8, 2007

New Media and Newspapers

It has been an interesting semester being a photojournalist and learning "New Media". I've been gathering the skills of web development and design, audio, video, etc., and also looking at where it is all going in the growing web content environment.

There as so many ways to present news... photo, video, slideshows, audio pieces, combination of still, video and audio, interactive informational graphics, informational graphics, text, etc. etc. etc. Then you have links, comments, rankings, blogs, etc. etc. etc. But what to use, how to get the manpower to create them, and how to use them well/when to use them is the tricky part.

Larry Kramer, President of CBS Digital Media, came to one of our classes. In discussing new media, the conversation led to what this new environment poses for newspapers and news organizations. One of the key points that struck me was that news organizations have a brand, and with the online world need to work to preserve that brand. People get their news in more than one way and the news organization needs respect that. Some are layering local news online with immediacy. In 10 years, newsrooms will be built around News Gathering: there will still be a commitment to coverage, but there will also be work done in all the possible ways to get that news out there. This does not mean that a story needs to be held for the video, but that there is a recognition that the video enhances the story. Someone in that news gathering workplace will be good at each of the forms, and editors will be there to know how to disseminate the news out. Even though news is everywhere online... blogs, newspaper sites, television sites, etc... it is not a commodity. You can do it, and you can do it better. To pay for it, advertisers will go where the people go.

This to me does not seem far different from the way newsrooms currently operate. It's just changing the system, some of the skill-sets, and the ways of presentation. In the end, I still feel that the quality of work produced will win out. Right now, "everyone" can do it... but it is the ones that do it well that will thrive and set the standard in the online news world.

October 16, 2007

The Fall Workshop

Here's one image from The Fall Workshop here at SU. I had a great time at this Country Kitchen, though I direct story was hard to find. It was a good place to make some photos, including of these two characters. The place had great pie.

The workshop was an experience where I learned a lot and had the chance to talk a lot of photo talk. I valued the new opinions and views and will take them with me. For example, stop thinking with the camera. See, think, look and make a picture.

October 11, 2007

Coming back to it

It's different how the images stand out when you come back to a take later...

October 4, 2007

New Documentary

So I'm starting, as a group project, a new documentary. The subject is a Sudanese refugee who is deaf and will focus on his adaptation to learning both the culture and being a part of the deaf community. That second dimension is a challenge as not only did he have to learn American Sign Language, he also had to learn English, as well as the concept of money, etc.
Now the process involved getting proper waivers signed so we can get access to him through a local organization. It is not that they are not being helpful... they are being incredible, providing interpreters, subjects, resources and so on. So we're giving it that time and moving forward as we are able, hoping it will pay off.
I'm hoping along the way to shoot some still images along with the video. It could be an experiment in combining the two well, while our focus for the project will be on the video. That will be a shift for my thinking. I believe that video, audio and still images done well seperately and combined well to tell the story can be powerful multimedia. This is a plan. We'll see how it goes.
Along with that, I came into school thinking I would have all of this time to shoot and do projects. Now I'm realizing and remembering the value in what it was to have a job where that was my day every day. There is not as much time to work on that as I thought, especially with a lot of energy being put into learning new skills. I get out to shoot when I can and carry a camera with me, and know the skills and new knowledge will be an asset when I'm done. I am enjoying going full force in each part of my day. Makes for some long ones, but I try to keep each day full, whether specifically shooting or not. I guess I'm reinvigorated.

September 26, 2007

EWaste Documentary

This is my first documentary! The project was under the umbrella of The Digital Age and its Underpinnings. I decided to focus on EWaste. It was interesting learning to use the camera and think in motion, sound and still framing. It still needs some tweaking, but here's a basic edit.
One of the things I learned, that made a lot of sense to me at least, is that when making a documentary and shooting it in the verite style (what I compare to shooting as a photojournalist), it's as if your right hand is doing the shooting and your left hand is doing the editing. Go out and shoot the footage, getting everything. Think on the side about where you want to documentary to go. Once both are done, put the two hands together.

September 13, 2007

August 15, 2007

Too Long

So it's been awhile since I've posted, and now that the summer is done I can get back on top of things.
"Bootcamp" is over, and what an intense 6 weeks it turned out to be. It was a long road from not having a clue to finding one, though by the end I think my brain was just one long strand of code. The final product of the class?
It actually works too!
I handled the design and with my group did the implementation of that design and got it up and running.
Photos from the summer coming soon...

July 17, 2007


A little girl named China at the day camp decided I needed my hair redone. After a few minutes I had a fab side-ponytail. Not too shabby for someone so young.

It's been interesting working around a group of kids with such diverse ages. They're always honest, many times shy, and occasionally chaotic. It's refreshing, in a way, though it has taken time for them to get really used to me and each day I come is a bit of starting over with the group constantly changing. It is also a lot different depending on the age group. I've found that either everyone wants to have their picture taken, or they want to run away because it's not cool. I'm probably shy too.

Later on in the day...
"What are those spots all over your face?"
"They're freckles."
"Can't you just rub them off?"
"Nope, it's just the way I am. Sometimes I wish I could though."
"That's too bad. I like your face."

July 12, 2007

My Very First Website

It's a work in progress, that's for sure. And there's a lot of photos to post. But with learning it in a few days, I'm sure I'll grow and it will get better.

July 8, 2007

Slideshow Programs

So here are a couple of inexpensive programs to put slideshows into Flash or slideshows into Dreamweaver.
For this one you can put the slideshow into your Flash production, but then make changes and update it without having to go through your Flash file and make changes that way. Seems to have some production options as well.
This one you can add slideshows to your Dreamweave productions... it's an extension.

July 6, 2007


July 4, 2007

A Start.

Here are a few pictures from a project I'm starting. It's going to take time and be built over a series of different stories, so for now I'm getting going with a day camp.

July 1, 2007

14 days and over 6,000 miles

So I'm jumping on the bandwagon and starting a blog. In between finishing up work at The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, VA and starting school at Syracuse University, we took a quick cross-country road trip that got us all the way to Seattle. Here are a few pictures from our trip.

It rained a good chunk of the drive out.


The plains.

Luxury Accomodations in Yellowstone thanks to the snow.

Seeing sea lions.

Millie hits the Pacific in Oregon.