Archive for the Photo lesson Category

Kickin’ it with Smooth

Posted in basketball, Kernel, Photo lesson, photography, photojournalism, University of Kentucky on April 2, 2008 by lenscapremoved

It was one of those assignments that you see and instantly call dibs.

Beat writer Travis Waldron told me he would be hanging out with UK basketball star Ramel Bradley while he polished off his single before releasing it and I knew this was an assignment I wanted. I spent all of my days in high school recording music and I still love music studios. The whole process is very similar to writing a story in that you take time fixing all the little details until it’s as far as you can take it.

I ‘m also a Ramel fan. He plays with a lot of heart and I admire that about him. Also, if you have ever seen his news conferences then you know how well he handles himself. So the chance to combine music, Ramel and photography was an obvious choice.


The challenging part of assignments like this one is to find a shot that is different from what everyone else is going to have. Everyone you see in the photo above besides Ramel is with the media. I shot this frame only to show the setting. Former Kernel photo adviser Dave LaBelle always told me not to just get caught up in the subject, but to take a step back and look at the media madness your subject draws. I think that’s good advice.


The only problem with some of the photos you pull from one of these shoots is that they’re basically completely staged for the media. I doubt Ramel would have been in this situation if it weren’t for the half a dozen media outlets who were covering this one song recording. But that’s part of what our audience wants to see with this story, Ramel off the court. I just try to keep in mind what my goals are. To show the audience a true representation of a scenario they can’t get to themselves.

Please check out the mixed media piece to get the full experience.

While the opinions on this blog are the best, they do not represent that of the Kentucky Kernel. All photos are property of the Kentucky Kernel. If you’re interested in purchasing photos comment and let me know.


I could do that for a while

Posted in Diary, friends, Kernel, Photo lesson, photography, photojournalism on March 31, 2008 by lenscapremoved

New technology

For the past month I have been putting much of my photography emphasis on learning video.

To some I suppose it’s not even the same thing, but I see them to be very similar. What I’m quickly learning though is all the ways they are not similar, and possibly why many photojournalists are not happy with trying to do both.

On Saturday when Hillary Clinton came to Louisville, I new this was a great opportunity to truly test out my new found abilities. I was very excited to use all of the Kernel’s new gear. What I had only thought about for a few short moments was how hard it would be to carry all of this gear.

Walking into the high school gymnasium, I looked at Juliann, the reporter for the story, and said, “It’s really here. That whole convergence thing is real. A newspaper photographer looks just like a broadcast cameraman.” It was a feeling I thought I wouldn’t experience for several years. But after only a few seconds of the feeling of awe, I was back into storytelling mode and not caring what my appearance was.

I am not ashamed to admit that most of my video did not turn out nearly as good as I had hoped. I felt like a new photographer when I was having focusing problems. But I toughed it out and managed to get enough to make a three minute mixed media piece for us out of what I shot.

Being in the presence of a presidential candidate

I was actually surprised at the liberty the media had at this event. After going through a security checkpoint that is only a bit tighter than what I go through to get into Rupp Arena, we basically had free reign. For the three hours I was in the gym waiting for Hillary to come out, I was beginning to feel as anxious as the crowd. Not because I just wanted to shoot the assignment, but because I realized the significance of the event I was covering.

I enjoy the challenge of trying to make a photograph that is different from the one everyone else is going to make. I really worked this situation below, but just didn’t have a long enough lens to get the moment. I thought the younger child’s facial expression was so great and his body language was screaming that he was uninterested. I also really wanted to catch Hillary’s feet at the perfect moment when you could tell that this speaker was a woman. I think it’s even better that you can see the mom making eye contact with Hillary. But this is generally the type of photograph that just doesn’t work with the story, and never makes it to print. It did make it to our slideshow though. Check it out at the mixed media page.


Thinking about the future

If I ever worked for a bureau and was asked to follow a political campaign across the country, I decided yesterday that it’s something I would like to do. Maybe it’s because I have only recently truly started caring about politics, but I saw so many photographs that I wanted to take and think I could work better, now knowing what one of these events can be. This was so different from governor and mayor elections.

I think being behind-the-curtain with such a big name as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John McCain could produce some really great photographs that you only get the chance to do if you’re assigned to that candidate. Pete Souza’s photographs of Ronald Reagan are fantastic.

I just can’t see myself being able to turn an opportunity like that down.

Yes it was

Posted in Kernel, Louisville, Photo lesson, photography, photojournalism on March 30, 2008 by lenscapremoved

Blogger Note: I’m not going to keep going for so long without posting. I don’t learn as much when I’m not blogging. You guys teach me so much about my own work and what it should be. I promise to resume my blog full speed this week. If I don’t let me know. I will be letting you know.

This was the best assignment I have gotten to shoot in a long time.

Hillary Clinton came to Louisville yesterday to pick up where her husband and former president, Bill Clinton, had left off last week. Instead of a thoughtful essay that’s written well about what I learned, I thought I would just bullet it so you don’t have to pick through all of my b.s. ideas.

  • An apparent local photographer grossed me out yesterday. He walked down from the media platform and into the pit where all of the supporters were cheering and throwing signs in the air. He asked a supporter to move from one side to the other so he could get his shot. He told the guy he was in the way of the media.This is unacceptable folks! The media are there because this matters to the people we’re communicating to. The supporters are not there to make our pictures better. We are documenting this event. If you can’t see because of a supporter, that’s your fault. You shouldn’t have picked that spot.
  • Julie and I were talking and we both agree we would love to follow a campaign across the country. It would be so great to be a campaign photographer or reporter. The challenge of trying to find what makes each speech different, or where the new photo is would be tremendous. If I ever get this opportunity I will surely jump on it.
  • Another broadcast photographer was kind enough to move his whole set up about a foot to the right so I would have room to stand on the press area. In no way did he need to do that, because he had spent an hour and a half setting up and I hadn’t. This was all too kind, and he is the guy that keeps me from being pissed off at the entire broadcast media.
  • In general I have found through three years of shooting events where media flock that newspaper photographers in Kentucky have a similar outlook to the one that I have. Let’s help each other out and not be jerks about the information we have. Mark Cornelison and the rest of the H-L staff prove that idea every time I see them. That’s appreciated.

Anyways, here are the photos. Which of these first two do you like more?




The opinions expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Kentucky Kernel. What is that of the Kernel are the photos on here, so don’t take them.

15 seconds of swirls

Posted in Mary Margaret, Photo lesson, photography, photojournalism, PJ class on March 17, 2008 by lenscapremoved


I didn’t want to just do a lame portrait. By a portrait’s nature they are easily simple. But I wanted to add depth.

This is a technique I have tried before when I first started to explore when I got into photography. It’s fun, and can add a mysterious layer to your photo that makes people think. It’s the same technique that Sprint is using to make its commercials. The top photo was one of the first that I shot and I like it the most.


Mary Margaret thankfully complied to letting me shoot photos of her in the dark for nearly half an hour. I just sat a camera on the top of my TV, composed and exposed for what I thought the exposure would be. With no lights in the room, I bounced a flash and then used a flashlight to draw the lines. A normal flashlight gives way more size to the light, so I taped it down to a small hole about as wide as a pen.


These aren’t amazing. They’re just kind of fun to shoot and learn how light works. I was covering the strobe with a blue shirt, when the shirt fell off and the flash fired full blast into the room, giving me the terrible photograph below. But it does show you how it was shot, so I threw it in.


Camera settings:

Shutter: 15 seconds
Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 80
Off Camera flash: 430 EX @ 1/32 on first photo, 1/1 on others
Orange light source: Mag-Lite w/ gaffers
Top it all off: Camera – Canon G9

I don’t care to look lame

Posted in basketball, Photo lesson, photography, photojournalism, University of Kentucky on February 19, 2008 by lenscapremoved

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Tonight was the first night that I actually used my G9 for my job.

We covered the UK vs. Georgia mens basketball game. Long before tip off (as in weeks before) I knew I wanted to use this camera. I snapped it on a monopod to steady my video.


Warning: If you purchase a camera go ahead and prepare for the ridicule you’re going to get from not only your friends but every other photographer at any event you’re covering. I had 6 photographers make comments and about half of those were negative.


Dear old timers, times are a changin’. While video is a bit shaky because I’m still new at this, it will get better. Just because I’m using something that fits in my palm and didn’t cost $7,000 doesn’t mean it sucks. Technology is always growing. So keep snickering. I will eventually out pace your fancy camera-mixed media pieces. Partly because this camera has a lot of quality in a little body, but mostly because I am determined to.


Little Mexico = not the ghetto

Posted in Bowling Green, Photo lesson, photography, photojournalism on February 18, 2008 by lenscapremoved


This was an assignment I had with Wes Yonts at our Spring Workshop. I was assigned to get audio, but had my camera. I snagged a few good friends, including Wes at the end.

Coming soon: why Little Mexico is not a ghetto and its story of cleaning up.





Technology just keeps getting smaller

Posted in Kernel, Photo lesson, photography, photojournalism on February 12, 2008 by lenscapremoved

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After upgrading to all of the expensive glass and finally thinking I could call myself a real photographer (you know, one of those guys who lugs around 50 pounds of gear to make a good picture), I bought a point-and-shoot consumer camera.

Not a professional this-thing-is-so-heavy-I-need-an-assistant-just-to-help-shoot- a-football-game camera, but just a point, and shoot. Without all of the weight and complications of a professional body, this thing is made to perform.

The Kernel’s adviser, Chris Poore, introduced me to the Canon G9 a few weeks ago, then Keith Smiley bought one. I was super impressed by the camera’s versatility. Photojournalists do use all of the high performance gear for a reason and in no way is this thing a replacement for my 20D and Mark II. The question is how much do we actually need all of that expensive gear?

For only 450 dollars I picked up a camera that shoots 4 megapixel video, 12.1 megapixel stills, has an image stabilizer, 3″LCD screen, a hot shoe and the ability to shoot in RAW (a larger and more versatile format for photographs). And, it fits in my pocket.

I have already told Ed that I can’t wait for the day when the Kernel will run a picture that came from a camera I had in my pocket. It may take the presence that a photojournalist has away, and I believe there are times when having that is important. But I can imagine plenty of times when I would actually need a camera that isn’t so huge and noticeably loud.I think on K[mm] you will start seeing video pop up, and if you’ve read about what we’re using, you will know. But for most people, they will have no clue that the quality video that they’re experiencing was shot on a piece of machinery I pulled from my pocket.