December 28, 2008

Charlie Brown


For some reason the weather feature today reminds me of Charlie Brown when Lucy would hold the ball for him... And that being in Virginia in winter isn't so bad sometimes...

December 24, 2008

Lil' Different


So we've got this series of very short audio slideshows running over the next week or so. What I'm trying to do is start off with just the first one, then continue adding to it as each runs, but you can still see the ones from previous days. Hopefully it will keep people coming back, or give them a chance to see ones that are gone, plus by tying together the multimedia in a simple way I'm hoping it will give it more oomph. Check it out over the next week here.

December 18, 2008

Surprisingly Accurate Predictions


This was made by the Museum of Media History in 2004. I've seen it a few times, and it amazes me how surprisingly accurate it is given it is now almost the end of 2008. The more reading I do, the more I wonder if customization is where it is at for the future of presentation in our industry.

December 11, 2008

Who Wouldn't Love It?


It's like a big treasure hunt. May take you 5 hours to find the 5 houses you're looking for, but once you turn the corner and see the glow of inflatable Santa Clauses on motorcycles and trees blinking to the beat of carols playing through your car radio and snowmen blinking so bright the image stays on the back of your eyelids when you blink, I ask you: who wouldn't love the annual Holiday Lights Tour?

December 7, 2008

Parade Fun

It's the time of year again...

Tried to have a little fun with the parades yesterday. I don't think videos always need to be shots and voices and interviews. This is all ambient audio, but I thought it would be a different way to give the flavor of the holiday parades.

video

December 2, 2008

Response to Post

This is a response to the Multimedia Muse email by Angela Grant on News Videographer that I also think has a key point.

I received an email today from Multimedia Muse, a new web site that highlights inspiring works of multimedia. It’s basically a promotional email trying to get people to use the site. But it contains an inherent thought that I believe damages journalism, and is one of the reasons why our craft is going through hard times.

I’m all about good, quality journalism. But the inherent thought in this message is, “We [journalists] know what is best for you [audience], and we don’t care what you want.”

I think it’s important that we get past this old-timey idea. People do know what they want, and they know how to go out and find it. If we’re not willing to give it to them, because we have a high-and-mighty view of ourselves and the importance of our work … They will find it elsewhere, and totally ignore us.

If a great work of journalism drops on the Internet, and no one is watching, does it still have an impact?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t do great journalism because of that. I’m saying we have to work it in within the framework of giving people what they’re looking for. If it’s necessary to rework some of our quality standards (putting cameras in the hands of writers, soliciting reader’s pictures for their homepages, littering our multimedia pages with TV news videos) in order to fit the bill, we have to do it.

This is not about us!

December 1, 2008

Email with a valuable point

Got this email from Multimedia Muse, a website that displays a variety of multimedia to give a venue for the work we do. I thought it had a meaningful point, and one that put into words what I think, from discussions I've had with photographers at my own newspaper and other photographers out in the field, many of us are feeling and gives a thought on what we should continue to strive to do in these hard times. I've really enjoyed checking out the work on the site, and Well Said!


Two months. Seventy five stories. A ton of hits. If we didn’t have bags over our heads you’d see tears of gratitude in our eyes.

And yet these are dark days, my fellow photogs; our industry is sinking, being pulled below the surface by all those newspapers and magazines that can’t get their act together.

To borrow a phrase first coined by Thomas Kean of the 9/11 Commission, much of our nation’s print media suffers from a “failure of imagination.” At least in relation to their photo departments. The Web is bursting with visual potential. And yet major publications are selling our craft short: putting cameras in the hands of writers, soliciting reader’s pictures for their homepages, littering our multimedia pages with TV news videos.

We at the Muse don’t believe that what works for TV works for the Web. We don’t believe in the inclination to make multimedia bigger and more flashy, but rather smaller and more personal. More precise. With craft. We also don’t believe that posting amateurish imagery, no matter how cheap to obtain, is going to help publications to balance their books. Readers have a high degree of visually literacy; it’s the pictures that are going to sell a story. If you agree, and if your hard-earned project isn’t getting the play you think it deserves, don’t allow it to go under-noticed. Fight the power. Stick it to The Man. Send it to the Muse: www.multimediamuse.org

New Camera

The next version of the D3, the D3X from Nikon . Not quite an answer to the Canon with its video capabilities, and the main difference seems to be a bump up in the megapixels at 24.5.

November 26, 2008

A Good Cause

This year Operation Photo Rescue lost its annual funding due to the economic times we are in. If you have a couple of extra bucks and want to help the organization, it would be used well! Every little bit helps. For those of you who don't know, OPR is an organization that restores damaged photographs for victims of disasters such as hurricanes, fires and floods. You can read about its origins in the OPR Blog.

Donate Here!

November 24, 2008

What Ya Love

I never take enough photos of family members, but I think it's important to shoot what and who you love! Catchin' up with 3 of the 4 nieces and nephews:


Jacob becoming all boy


Must be nice to still fit in the sink.


Dan the Man

November 21, 2008

Jail Tour


So I got to go on a tour of a new addition to the jail yesterday.

November 18, 2008

Recycling



I really do enjoy shooting, even something like recycling. I got to follow around two workers who pick up the recycling in the city for a few minutes, and enjoyed the hustle that it was running after them.

November 9, 2008

The Election through multimedia storytelling

A great wrap-up by The New York Times.

Last Regular Season Game

There will be something both sad and not sad about the regular football season ending. The paper did some good coverage and got a lot of hits through the High School Football page this season (each team got its own page. But there is still so much room to grow for next season. Would it be better to do just one video of the game of the week each week? Could we do a sports wrap-up video previewing the games that week? Maybe add a blog for each team or a notes from the coach section? And so much more.

November 5, 2008

The Big Day

Well, election day has come and kind of gone. We blew it out on the Free Lance-Star's website, which was great to see. The web team really pulled it off, and 17 reporters and photographers contributed to the Live Blog throughout the day, editors got everything together for print, and designers pulled off a re-plate for the newspaper no problem.

My day started at 5:30 a.m. with the polls opening.



From there it was back to the office to get things up online for a slideshow and the Voices of Voters videos that would be posted all day. Each photographer went to vote when they caught a break. My precinct was pretty slow in the afternoon.


In the evening, I booked it over to the surprisingly slow polling station nearby and caught them emptying the tabulator. They definitely didn't get the rush they were expecting.


The photographers did a great job throughout the day covering the region, and Suzanne and Pete helped gather footage to put together the wrap-up video.

All in all, for a relatively small staff, they all rocked it!

November 1, 2008

Election Coverage



The Election coverage coming from the Free Lance-Star Tuesday is going to be a first-time for the newspaper. It's going to involved photos and slideshows updated throughout the day, video voices being updated from morning to evening, live blogging, changing headlines from national and local stories at the polls, interactive result map, a wrap-up video and more. For a small newspaper, it hopes to be some extensive coverage, both online and in print, from words to photos. And what's better than that? There is a bit of excitement about doing it, too. Stop by fredericksburg.com to check out more on Tuesday!

October 31, 2008

Fall pics



October 29, 2008

Crowded

I have to admit, I don't like shooting in large crowds much, but covering pieces of history like the Obama rally and Palin rally that happened in Fredericksburg makes it worth it. Here are a couple of photos from Palin's rally on Monday, and the video is online as well too.


October 28, 2008

A half a game

Something for the paper...


And something just because...

October 12, 2008

Hodgson-Rigsbee

My good friend, Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee just posted some new work recently. He's found his own style and lifestyle that I envy.

Online Presentation

So I've been trying to give a kick to some online presentation by building simple Flash interfaces. The way I see it, we have always put effort into some stories to make packages in the paper... why not every now and again online when it fits? Some are my work, some are the work of the fab FLS photogs. Unfortunately, once they run they're hard to find, but here are some links:

Point of Connection - An art show at a local art workshop center with studios and a gallery.

Local voices speak about the economy. There are videos done by Portsia Smith, who can get anyone to talk.

College students talk about the drinking age.

High School Football team pages

Redskins slideshow Has a lot of photos from Mike Morones who goes the extra mile to cover every Skins game he gets the chance too, plus other photogs go every now and again.

Are they done for everything? Nope. But they don't take a long time to put together, and add something to presentation of things that have archive possibilities such as the football shows or combine different medias.

September 17, 2008

Drool in the Pool

Most of what I do now involves multimedia, including presentations of daily stories like this:
Montpelier Restoration Celebration
I enjoy doing the presentation of multimedia and slideshows. Just like we wouldn't throw stories and photos onto a newspaper's front page without putting some sort of thought into it, we can do the same with web, and try different things. Some have been more successful than others, but it's a chance to experiment and provide something extra for web users. Hopefully, eventually, this will increase the unique users coming to the site.

Every now and again, though, I do get to shoot some photos. For me, it's like taking a deep and much needed breath. I hope that eventually shooting video feels the same, but for now, shooting stills keeps me swimming.





September 14, 2008

Peru

For the last week in South America, we headed to Peru. In the matter of a few days we had the extra journey planned and headed our way out of Chile.

It was very different heading to Cusco, the starting point to get to Machu Picchu once in Peru. The city is about 20% tourists, and locals do not appreciate having their photograph taken, except for those who pose as part of their profession to earn tips. This I can totally understand in the sense that the people don't want a camera shoved in their face every two seconds, among other reasons. This was an interesting experience as a photographer. Some were friendly anyway, and regardless of whether or not I have pictures of it, the trip was outstanding. The people were welcoming to us, and the culture rich.

Machu Picchu is definitely the gem of the country, and one of the largest tourist destinations. The ruins around Cusco are also worth seeing, but once you are Macchu Picchu you begin to think of the You make your way to Cusco, and from there either pick up a hiking group (you can only hike with a guided group now) along the Inca Trail or the Peru Rail train. There is the backpacker's train, which is the way we traveled, but they also have a deluxe train with dining cars and a dome top. If you decide to trek, porters carry the supplies for the four-day journey. You can also get dropped off of the train at a couple of different points to do shorter versions of the hike, again with a group.

Machu Picchu is currently under major threat. With over 300,000 tourists visiting it each year, and over 60,000 who take the Inca Trail, the amount of use could contribute to the ruins tumbling down the mountain and the trail is littered with waste. The requirement of guides did not help this issue much. There are talks of putting a cable car up the side of the mountain to decrease bus traffic, but a project such as this could bring tourism up to 400,000 visitors a year, which would be unmanageable. It is hard when you do go as a foreigner to not feel like you are just another tourist visiting, but we did our best to hold ourselves to a standard, thinking of conservation and respect and picking up waste when we saw it.

Once in Aguas Calientes (named for the hot springs in the town and the destination for Machu Picchu), the streets are lined with restaurants and artisan's stores, through there is also a large church and a farmer's market near the town square.

The first day we were there, by the time we got off of the 3 hour train ride, we didn't have enough time to get to Macchu Picchu, but our Hospedaje manager suggested another hike across the valley. We were greeted with a mountainside of ladders to climb up, and then up the top of another mountain from there. Once at the top, we had our first glimpse of the ancient city. It must have been something to come across that place when it was in its full glory.





After having our dinner and trying Inca Kola (which tastes oddly like strawberry bubblegum), we got our tickets for the park the next day. If you ever go, get your tickets and bus tickets the night before. We opted for the bus to do the sunrise (which is totally worth the early hours), and when we got to the stop a half hour early there were already over 100 people in line! Bus after bus after bus loaded up and snaked their way down the river and up the mountain.

We found our spot and relaxed as the sun rose. It is like magic watching the city appear from beneath the clouds. A guide from a trekking group that arrived from the Inca Trail started playing a flute just as the sun cracked through the clouds to reveal the city. We spent all day in the city, making our way through the ruins, doing the hike up Wayanpicchu (which is way harder than it looks!) and seeing the city from high above, hiking our way to the Sun Gate (the last portion of the Inca Trail), and hiking our way back to Aguas Calientes. There are a ton of tourists visiting the city, but for whatever reason you kind of forget that anyone else is around you unless you take a moment to bond about what an experience it has been.


















After hiking back to the city, we had a dinner of alpaca and a dip in the thermal baths (as Phil found out, do NOT get any water in your mouth by accident or there is hell to pay the next day!). We used the second half of our bus trip to go to the top again the next day and hike back down, then caught the train back to Cusco. The Japanese tourists sitting around us definitely made the ride home worthwhile.



September 7, 2008

Recent Work

So here is some recent work! Eventually, I'll fill in the holes from the rest of the Chile/Peru adventure and actually finish the editing on the project. But let's be honest... it will probably take me awhile!
After finishing up some high school football swfs to add to the paper's site, and continuing with a LOT of planning and the regular old editing duties, I've been doing a lot of video lately. I have to admit, I still love still photography. I really enjoy the times when I get to shoot probably because I don't have the chance to do it as much. There's something unique about the work, and as one friend put it long ago, it's nice to "walk quietly through the universe." I'm hoping to to get started on more projects this fall that employ a variety of medias.
But I do what the job calls me to do, and have been enjoying video for the most part. Editing it on deadline, however, is by far a different story! There could always be something better, just as a lot of us feel about our daily still photography.
I've found that my system is to capture what I need, then cut down the interviews, then put together those in a storyline, adding the other footage as I go. I generally work in "chapters" throughout a video piece, and as I finish each section I go in and put the final touches on it. This helps me to know what the style will be from the beginning. Once done, I then decide whether or not still photos will add to the video, and how to fit them in.

Anyways, here are some recent projects:

Washington & Lee vs. Nandua I will be doing one of these each Friday night for the entire High School Football season, as will the Web video staff.

Not a bad way to spend a day. Plus I shot two days worth of photos for the print newspaper.

The Library of Congress opened this neat place near Fredericksburg.

August 27, 2008

Has been awhile...

So I've been lacking on the posts lately...
Soon I'll post the rest of the Chile story and photos from the last-minute trip to Peru and Machu Picchu (that's right... Machu Picchu! And let me tell you: it is everything it is cracked up to be!).
About two days after returning, I started work again at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Virginia as Multimedia Editor. It has been a process transitioning into the new role, and the work-load has been heavy! It won't lighten up any time soon, but things are growing and changing. Here are some recent projects from the photo staff:

Bob Martin's piece on a wheelchair racer

Splash & Dash

Historic Find at Ferry Farm

Fair Colors

June 18, 2008

back North... Chile up by 5.

So we´ve been away from internet for awhile, and are now back in Santiago, Chile. I have lots of pictures to post, which will be coming soon.

Chilean Patagonia was fantastic. I spent 2 and a half weeks there, and definitely feel like I could have spent more time.
About a week and a half ago we grabbed a bus to Cochrane, about a 9 hour ride into Patagonia. There is one road that goes the whole way, and is a beautiful ride.

Cochrane was cold and wet, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. I´ve never seen weather change like it does there. We climbed a hill overlooking the town (where there is a big COCHRANE sign that resembles the HOLLYWOOD sign), and when we looked one way, turned our heads, and then about 8 seconds later turned our heads back and could no longer see 30 feet in front of ourselves as a fog had settled in over the whole town.
The next day we grabbed a bus to La Confluenza to surprise the friend of a contact I had made and were greeted by 6 dogs and Juan Pablo. Spent the day there getting a really good look at the Baker, doing an interview, and grabbing the bus back to Cochrane from the side of the road.

From there it was on to Caleta Tortel, one of the coolest places we've been ever. It is a small city of 500 residents on the side of a mountain with no roads, only wooden boardwalks and stairs and walkways connecting everything. Needless to say, we got a workout! Met some really cool people, did a lot of walking and hiking (including a bog at the top of the mountain where when I would step, Phil (15 feet away) would move on the jello-like surface.

A few days later and back to Cochrane, then a bus to the small town of Puerto Bertrand which was next to empty, but beautiful, staying with a sweet woman in her hospedaje who picked us up when we seems stranded with no room. A lot of fly-fishermen visit here in the right season. Grabbed a bus from the side of the road back to Coyhaique from there, made travel arrangements for the rest of our trip, and flew back yesterday to Santiago.

As Phil would say, while I have loved Chile and Patagonia, it has definitely kicked my butt! A few good slips on falls on the winter ground and down a flight of stairs in, a solid dog-bite, and right through a plank in Tortel. Nothing but grace, that's for sure!

From here I have a bit more work to do in Santiago, visiting some fruit production factories, seeing the city and region, and hopefully getting an interview with the company working on the dams, HidroAysen. They have not been willing to go on video yet for an interview, or even just audio, at the places that I have tried in Patagonia. So I'm going to try again here, though my hopes are not high. You never know.

Saturday we fly to Cusco and Sunday it's on up to Machu Picchu, taking a detour the last few days for another stamp in the Passport.

June 5, 2008

more photos

I'm staying in Coyhaique for the week, continuing to study Spanish and take lessons, reach contacts, see the area and plan for the next week! there is currently a trucker strike in the country, and this region may run out of diesel, so there is a chance that my travel plans could be stalled for the long run... such is life, I guess. Hopefully it does not shut down the country.
Regardless, some more photos:

The view from the hospedaje's backyard I'm not in.




bus terminal


gotta love wires mixed with la vista.




she and i bonded on the ice in the street.




not a lot of daylight these days.


tonight: film about the dams and patagonia. tomorrow: hopefully the weather will be nice and i'll go for a hike. saturday: last spanish lesson and phil arrives. sunday: hopefully to cochrane by bus.

May 31, 2008

Coyhaique

Now I´m in Coyhaique, the center of the defense of the land in Patagonia. I´ll be spending the next week or two seeing what I can of the land and the people here (it is Winter, so not the height of outdoor season to say the least, but a good chance to get to know the people). Hopefully I´ll be able to get what I can of the outdoors.
Most people use the wood stove for heat, cooking, etc. since gas and electricity are increasing in price.

A teen juggles in the street to earn some extra money.

Signs and graffiti opposing the construction of the dams and power lines can be seen throughout the city.