My adventure at the Ferndale Catfe

For this assignment we were told to go out and capture a news story. I really liked this assignment because of how much freedom we had. We could pick whatever we wanted to do, so, I chose to cover the cat cafe, Catfe, in Ferndale, MI.

I had never been to a cat café before, so I went in scared as always. Scared of the new atmosphere, the judgement that I knew was sure to come and of asking some random person random questions. Our ultimate goal here was to turn our pictures into a video with an interview as the audio component. The people at the Catfe were super chill which made me calm down as well. The atmosphere in the café was very peaceful and playful and it made me excited to shoot these little cats. The cats were so damn cute. I fell in love with multiple of them and I wanted to take them all home, so I was treading dangerous waters here.

The interview could have gone a bit better. I recorded on my phone but because of all the background noises, it was hard to hear my subject speak. Jennifer Ross, the lady who graciously agreed to be harassed by me, was really nice and willing to tell all. She is a volunteer and most of the shelter was run by volunteers. She had good knowledge of the place, but I would do one thing differently. I did not prepare my questions in advance and I really wish I did because I was scrambling to come up with questions on the spot. I did not go in fully prepared and that is something I would change for next time. Nevertheless, I was able to get quite a bit of cool information about the Catfe that I think works well with the pictures I took. The whole experience was really cool, and I still cannot stop thinking about the cats!

Most of my posts are about how introverted I am and how scared I was to go do this or that and although that is true, I really enjoyed this class. As it is coming to an end, I realize that it did teach me to go out of my comfort zone and that sometimes it pays off. The anxiety I felt throughout the semester somehow made it easier to do this last assignment. The one thing I plan to continue is taking pictures and making videos. It brings me a lot of joy and now that I know how to actually work my camera, no one can stop me. I want to thank our professor, Lori King, for really teaching us her craft and with such a passion. I will miss going to class and dreading what she will make me do next.

Check out my YouTube video below and if you’re in Michigan, check out the Ferndale Catfe!

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Thinking about capturing sports? THINK AGAIN.

I have come to the conclusion that shooting sports is a nightmare.

I thought it would be difficult and it was. There are several reasons on why I came to this conclusion.

First off, my camera sucks.

The middle school I shot at was so incredibly dark and no matter how much ISO I used or opened my f-stop, the pictures just came out looking worse. Using such a high ISO left my pictures grainy and my camera wanted me to slow down my shutter speed, but if I were to do that, then I would just capture blurs. So, in order for my pictures to be clear I had to sacrifice quality. Professionals have such long lenses and those just work perfectly.

Second was the anxiety and restrictions. There was no room to move around and actually get a close up of the players. If I got close to them then I would be blocking the audience, many chose to sit on the front bleacher even though there were fifteen open behind them, and I could not move to the corners of the gym because then I would get the backs of the players. I was limited to a very small section from which I shot my pictures. It was the edge of the first bleacher by the net and I did not know they had a ref who would choose to get his ladder thing and stand right in front of me. I also hated the attention I received. I was so terrified of some parent coming up to me and asking, “who are you and why are you taking pictures of little girls, you perv!” and it stopped me from moving too much and bringing attention to myself. I wish I had not missed basketball season because I felt like basketball is much easier to shoot since you have a chance to be by one of the nets but that is not possible in volleyball.

I also did not enjoy how disorganized it was. Yes, it was just a middle school volleyball game but the coaches were all busy doing a million things and there were no other people around to help so when I asked for a roster, they told me to sit down and that they will give it to me later. I do not watch sports so I ended up sitting through two games, which I did not realize, and I just though more players were coming in or something. By the time the game was done and I was able to track down the lady who I had spoken to me earlier, she told me that she didn’t have the roster for the first game only the second one and it was in her binder and she let me just take a picture of it. I thought there was one roster that contains all the players information but I was wrong. You have to ask each coach for one and by the time I realized this, the other two coaches for the team had disappeared.

It was not a fun day.

One thing I did enjoy was the atmosphere of the game. I do not really go to sporting events so it was cool to see all these kids playing so well and their parents cheering them on. After a few minutes, I really got into the game and it was a cool experience. I think resources play such a big part in what you can do. If I had a better lens I could’ve captured some high-quality pictures and if I had a press pass, I would’ve felt much less creepy.

Check out the pictures I took:

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Smartphones & Journalism.

This week we were given an assignment to capture sporadic pictures of strangers. When I first read the assignment, I assumed it would be easy, but I was not quite right about that. There were two parts to this assignment and they consisted of capturing an event and an unplanned picture.

The event was very hard to do mostly because it was spring break and I went on vacation and spent most of my days being a tourist. I also did not have the guts to go up to some random event and ask to cover it nor did I have the time and freedom. I decided that I was going to create my own event and it would be around my trip to Indianapolis and Louisville. I shot a lot of snapchats and Instagram videos of the scenery and everyday life of these people. I decided to use the videos I made with snapchat to create a more diary looking feel to the video. The video includes my original captions and different filters and camera tricks. I thought it would be cool to capture my event in a very casual way and people get to follow me around and see what I felt in the exact moment I took the video or photograph. I avoided including pictures of anyone I know and just focused on the cities.

The second part consisted of taking an unplanned picture. This was also difficult to do because I was driving around and I did not see anything most of the time and even when I did, I was not sure how I should randomly start snapping people. Finally, I was driving around and saw this car crash, no one was hurt thankfully, but the cars were destroyed. I drove around for 10 minutes so I could build up my courage and get a close enough shot of the scene. I also felt like an awful person because these people were in pain and I wanted to capture it for a homework assignment. By the time I drove back around to the two cars for the 3rd time, ambulances have arrived and I was able to sneak a few pictures in. I was trying to be so sly and someone almost caught me and I sped out of there until I found the courage to come back again.

Being an introvert makes these assignments awfully hard and it really is a struggle to capture anything that requires me to be out of my comfort zone. But I had fun, even with the constant panic, and it was cool to drive around new places and to witness all the different things that were happening.

Thanks for reading and here is the picture I took and a link to my stellar story:

https://steller.co/laughaholic95/

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Afternoon accident in Detroit, Michigan. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

I Master My Camera

I will be forever thankful to my photojournalism class for forcing me to learn more about my camera. I was someone who only took pictures with the auto setting or the other fancy settings and was happy with the results. Too bad I did not know that there is a certain sense of pride that you receive when you set up all your settings from scratch and take a really good picture. Not going to lie, but getting a hang of the camera controls and figuring out what does what was difficult. I would stand for a while and think about what I would do for a certain situation or run towards my notes to see what feature I could use to better my picture. It definitely took a while to engrave the information into my brain and the more photos I took, the better I became at determining what setting to choose without a lot of thought.

I really enjoyed how there were certain shots that we had to do and it challenged me to change my settings drastically to fit the required shots. I took a whole bunch of pictures and was not really happy with them as I wished to be and I decided to reshoot over spring break and I went on vacation which provided me the perfect opportunity to better my pictures; and I do believe that they are much better than what I had originally shot.

My professor made us do a camera worksheet where we read the entire manual and it took ages but it really opened my eyes to all of my camera’s capabilities. I had no idea that there were so many things this little thing can do! This was probably my favorite assignment because we got to include people we knew and this decreased my anxiety by several notches.

This assignment made me want to get a better camera and lenses and to continue my curiosity. I have always loved photography and I feel like I am very skilled at taking pictures of buildings because they do not fidget and move around like people do and with my new skills, I am able to take better pictures. Maybe this time I will throw some people in there too.

Check out my beautiful pictures below and leave me your thoughts on whether I have a career in photography or if I should just stop now 🙂

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Do you know your First Amendment rights as a photojournalist?

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I never really looked deep into what my first amendment rights were. I knew it was freedom of speech and religion and that is where my knowledge ended. All those boring social studies classes taught me things that happened in history repeatedly but none really went into detail about what our basic rights are. To refresh your memory, the first amendment states that, basically, you have a right to speak freely, practice whatever religion you want and the government cannot take that away from you. I am not a journalism major but since I am taking this class, I realized that freedom of press is very important to me at this point as a collegiate photojournalism student. Did you know college journalists got arrested for exercising their right to free speech on multiple occasion? I certainly did not and now that I have to go out and write my own stories, it makes a bit apprehensive that something like that could happen to me. So, being ignorant in knowing my rights is not an option anymore. Knowing what you can and cannot do will help me when I am out on the field. If someone were to cause problems then I know who is in the right and who is not and what correct action to take.

According to my textbook, Photojournalism: The Professional’s’ Approach by Keneth Kobre, there are three different foundations of ethical decision-making and they include utilitarian, absolutist, and the golden rule. Utilitarian’s believe in the greater good and they are easily able to document anything because they see it as an opportunity for the world to learn from that situation. Absolutist’s believe everyone has the right to privacy and taking and publishing pictures that violate that privacy is not okay. The golden rule basically is a mix of the two and states to treat others how you would want to be treated and do what is right for the world.

Prior this class, I would say I am an absolutist. I respect people’s privacy because I want them to respect mine which also kind of ties into the golden rule. My professor told me that being an absolutist is not an option for a journalist. I really cannot see myself taking pictures of other people’s tragedies because it feels wrong to invade that moment and publish it to the world. I understand that tragedies can help others in avoiding them and it is for the greater good but it still makes me hesitate. But for the purposes of this class, I will have to be more open and willing to get in people’s business and take shots of them. I am also shy and kind of introverted so the concept of taking pictures of strangers and going up to them and actually talking to them is terrifying.

I think to be a journalist you need to have a utilitarian’s mindset because your job is to inform the truth to the public so you would need to do what it takes to make that message heard.

No matter what foundation you relate to, I think it is very important to use common sense and make the right and conscious decision that will benefit most. It is so easy to cross to line and journalists need to be aware of what is okay and what is not okay depending on the situation. I hope to put my brain to full use when I am capturing these stories and pictures and hopefully it all goes well. 

Wish me luck!