Monthly Assignment #3: Get the story!

NikolaiNikolai Darth SLRPosts: 19,034Registered Users Major grins
edited June 30, 2009 in Assignments
We have already trained on the indoor lighting with Ken and using natural light and mind tricks to get a good portrait with Yuri. Now it's time to get the whole story.

This month we're going to try to be our own PJ (photo journalist). It's refreshing, challenging and a lots of fun. Sure, it sounds scary, but have no fear for we have a guide: John "Rutt" Ruttenberg hisself! :bow

He'll share his knowledge, his vision and his experience on how to make this possible and, actually, rather interesting. Word of advice: you may become addicted... :wink

To graduate from this class, you must come out with a full-featured story published here at dgrin. For the extra credit I would try to get it published in the local newspaper (or, what the heck, Times would do, too:-). Afterwards, that's how I myself ended up being enlisted as a stringer with a local newspaper.

And now, it's up to you and Rutt to see if you can go out and get the story!


About Rutt:


Name: John Ruttenberg
Location: Boston, MA
Occupation: computer programmer


John Ruttenberg has been a member of and frequent contributor to dgrin and a
customer of smugmug almost since their beginnings. He is a moderator of Dan
Margulis' Color Theory discussion group, and was a beta-reader of Dan's
Professional Photoshop, 5th edition. He has a contract as a photographer for
Boston Ballet which has used his work for it's stock archive and for publicity
releases. He is the winner of a Fred Miranda Monthly Assignment ("Candid")
and has had seven Kodak Pictures of the Day (but never managed to win a dgrin
challenge in spite of being a finalist numerous times.)

In spite of being a passionate photographer, John has has a day job as a
computer programmer. But even so, he is an all around good guy.
"May the f/stop be with you!"
«1

Comments

  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 14, 2007
    MA 3.1 -- Introduction
    This month's assignment is about going out with your camera and shooting a story. Professional photojournalists do this every day to put bread on the table. But you don't have to be a professional to get started with this. I've done it plenty, had a blast, and learned a lot about photography and more importantly about what's going on all the time around me.

    Photojournalism has always been an inspiration to me. At its very best, it's at once the most difficult and powerful off all forms of photography.

    My favorite photograph of all time. (I wish I could show it inline, but due to copyright restrictions you'll have to follow the link.)

    With apologies to nature photographers and others who think that what they do is difficult, I think this is an example of the very most challenging form of photography. There was only one chance to get this shot. Gandhi won't die again. Getting to the front of that huge crowd that attended the funeral was a big deal. It documents a pivotal moment in 20th century history, shows Nehru's despair just from his body language. And all with such interesting and powerful composition. Well, I hope you'll agree that it's a special picture.

    Photojournalism can have a profound impact on both society and on the photographer himself. Think of how the Vietnam war photography helped to change the world's perceptions of that conflict. Think of the influence of photography on the civil rights movement. Again, I don't want to violate anyone's copyright, but just search on google images for such pharses as Vietnam war, civil rights, Berlin wall, Iraq war, &etc.

    This month's assignment doesn't require you to travel back in time, go to India, get to the front of that huge crowd, crawl on the ground in front of the funeral pyre, and get that shot with a manual film camera. But it does require that you think about taking pictures in a special way. Don't look for single great shots out of context (though great shots are always great!) Think about the story that is unfolding before you. How are you going to tell it? How are you going to share it with others?
    If not now, when?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 14, 2007
    MA 3.2 -- The newshound
    41947728-M.jpg
    [size=-1]A Getty Images stringer covers a production of
    The Laramie Project at Newton South High School,
    22 October 2005[/size]


    To get started, you need to pick a story to cover. There is a huge range here from large scale and public to personal. Be aware of what's going on in your life and community.

    Look at the local papers on Thursday and Friday. Is there anything going on in your town? Talk to the people you know and ask them. Here are some things I've heard about recently which I think would make good opportunities:
    1. A dog show
    2. Hang gliding intro classes
    3. Ballroom dancing competition
    4. Tall ships in the Boston harbor
    5. High school sports (best if you have a child involved so people feel comfortable with you.)
    6. Baseball playoff series
    7. Weekly antiwar demonstration
    8. Town meeting
    9. Moving a house
    10. Renaissance fair
    11. Country fair (4H competitions, perhaps?)

    I like to think of these outings as fun adventures. I want to learn, see something happen, get out and get our of my rut (don't you know.) I've gotten my best shots and had the most fun when I didn't really know what to expect or when my expectations turned out to be wrong.
    If not now, when?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 14, 2007
    MA 3.3 -- Is it OK to take pictures of people in public?
    42397240-M.jpg
    Protesting Rev. James. Dobson in Boston, 22 October 2005

    You are going as a photojournalist, but you have no press card. You are afraid people are going to challenge your right to take their pictures. Maybe you'll get into some sort of legal trouble?

    The short answer is, no, you can't get into legal trouble unless you are trespassing or surpassingly stupid and rude. And even then... There are no laws in the US against Paparazzi. The famous NY photojournalist, Weegee, gave these guidelines and as far as I know they still hold:
    On news stories, neither permissions nor releases are needed except when photographs are used to advertise commercial products. Pictures of houses or buildings can be published without consent of the owner, but if a man objects to your taking a picture of his property, he can order you and your camera off it -- that's trespassing -- but he cannot stop you from taking a picture providing you are standing on the street or sidewalk which is public property and belongs to everyone.

    The long answer is that really you don't want any kind of trouble. That's not the point of the exercise. I like to have a good time and I like to have the people I shoot feel good about it (if they care at all.)

    I was just watching a baseball playoff game on Fox TV, and couldn't help but notice the numerous candid shots of people in the crowd, especially children (very cute children.) Apparently, the network's lawyers don't think permissions or releases are required even for this basically commercial situation. Take notice next time you watch live coverage of a public event on TV.

    So here is a list of guidelines to keep things positive:
    1. People participating at public events (dog shows, athletic competitions, political protests) are almost always glad to have their pictures taken. They are there to publicize themselves, their causes, &etc. In fact, the worst thing you can do in this case is NOT to get their names right. So bring along a notepad and do try to get this right.
    2. I have often been asked "What are you going to do with these pictures" or "Are you shooting for a newspaper." And I have often answered that I am a student of photography and I am shooting for a course assignment. Sometimes when I have said this it was a a little bit of a stretch, but for this month it is 100% true. You are a student of photojournalism and you are shooting for a course assignment.
    3. If you have one, a photographer's business card is incredibly valuable in these situations. It will completely defuse all but the most unreasonable people.
    4. The presence of professional photojournalists is a green light to shoot at will. If they are there, you have found a public event and have joined the press corps. People may ask who you are shooting for, but it will be a friendly question, asked out of professional curiosity. Nobody will question your right to shoot if you blend are in the company of the press.
    If not now, when?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 14, 2007
    MA 3.4 -- Equipment
    There are two important questions to ask yourself before you go out on assignment:
    1. Will it be dark? Inside or outside? Day or night?
    2. How close will I be allowed to work? How far back can I get?

    Should you use a flash? I was going to say that I have never used a flash for these personal PJ outings, but looking back at some of my older shots, I found that isn't true. I used a flash to shoot inside Newton city hall to get this:

    4303442-M.jpg
    17 May 2004, Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Massachusetts.
    Maureen Brodoff and Ellen Wade, plaintiffs in the landmark Goodridge Case, sign their marriage license.


    In fact, it worked well. It helped that I was only one of a number of photographers using a flash at a very public event.

    These days, I try to avoid using a flash if at all possible. Shooting without a flash lessens your impact on the scene you are shooting. Ideally, you'll be invisible so that the scene will play out as if you weren't there at all. And shooting without a flash gives you one less thing to worry about, so you can concentrate on what's actually happening.

    41947610-M.jpg
    Students hand out yellow ribbons at a production
    of The Laramie Project at Newton South High School.
    22 October 2005


    I've had great luck with a fast 50mm lens and Canon 5D, a combo that works in all but the darkest situations and is about as wide as, say, a 35mm on a 1.6 crop factor camera such as a Canon 40D. F/1.4 50mm lenses are much less expensive and smaller than other fast lenses and really are a great investment. The more you use one of these lenses, the more you will like it, I predict.

    44187978-M.jpg
    Participants at a Professional Eating Contest,Boston, 11 November 2005

    Using a wide lens increases the chances of getting the crucial shot. You can always crop, but what if the scene you want to catch is wider than your lens can capture? And often it will be wide. Many of the best PJ images show context, people responding to one another. You'll miss that with a longer lens.

    65822560-M.jpg
    Jane Goodall speaking on Earth Day at the Frankln Zoo,
    Boston, 22 April 2006


    Of course, these are just suggestions and different situations may call for very different approaches. For example, if you are shooting a famous speaker, you may want a longer lens to capture portrait. In bright daylight, you won't need a fast lens and your favorite widish zoom may work just fine. So try to think it through before you go. Your guesses will improve with experience.
    If not now, when?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 14, 2007
    MA 3.5 -- Examples
    Do yourself a favor. Go out and buy The New York Times each morning for a week. Look at the pictures they use. Most days you'll find at least a half dozen wonderful examples of fine photojournalism. Today (8 October 2007), there is a striking picture from a Swiss political demonstration on the front page and quite an amazing picture from a memorial service in Moscow on page A3. And that doesn't even count the sports or style pages which are usually rich sources of good images. What can you use in your own shots. Think about what went into the shots.

    Don't be daunted. That's a high mark to hit. So I am going to tell the story of how I got into this and use my own work to show how much involved I became with this kind of photography. But I am by no means the only person on dgrin who has worked on photojournalism. And my work is by no means the best photojournalism I've seen on dgrin. Just search of "political" or "candidate" or "protest" and you'll find plenty. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

    So, please if you have examples you are particularly proud of or that illustrate important points, PM me and I'll edit them into this very post so they will be easy to find and differentiate from people's coursework.

    5019072-M.jpg
    Safe at Third, Pivotal Play in Newton Little League
    10 June 2004


    I got started doing this by taking pictures at my son's little league games. At first I was just trying to get a few good shots. Then I started to try to get at least one good shot of each kid. But then my goals evolved and I wanted to tell the story of the game in pictures and words:

    This was very hard. Baseball photography is demanding. Nothing happens for a long time and then there is a lot of action fast. The great shots can be anywhere in a rather large area. A whole game may really have only a few good moments of action. Big league games are covered by multiple photographers and the sports journalists draw from a large number of shots to get just the ones they need to illustrate the game. So, sometimes, my stories were not "the whole truth and nothing but the truth" as I needed to fit them to the pictures I actually had.

    Then there was a genuine news story in my town. Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage. So I took my camera to town hall on the first day when same-sex couples were allowed to get marriage licenses.

    I figured this was an opportunity to capture something unique, something that was only going to happen once. And it was just a few minutes from my house. I took my camera with flash attached and just went. There where plenty of pros there and I learned from watching them. There was no requirement that I have some sort of credentials.

    Subsequently, I decided to follow up on this and shoot the first same-sex wedding in Newton. That led to this outing:
    This turned into a true mixed metaphor. I ended up being more of a wedding photographer (albeit a lousy one) than a photojournalist while I was there, but afterwards I pulled what I had together into a story which (to be honest) was more about me than anything else. Still it was a story and I told it with pictures.

    33081634-M.jpg
    Judging the Demolition Derby,
    Nantucket, 22 August 2005


    After that, I was an addict. I'd study the local newspapers and bulletin boards looking for events to cover:

    One I got into the right frame of mind, I often happened upon good stories:

    With the right attitude, there are feature opportunities everywhere. One day, I had to go to the Apple Store and I knew I'd have to wait a long time. So I brought my camera to keep myself entertained, asked permission to shoot while I wanted, and produced this:
    If not now, when?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 14, 2007
    MA 3.6 -- A few guidlines
    Controversy Good photojournalism is thought provoking and can spark heated debate. That's a good thing. But the main point of this particular M.A. is to learn, practice, and improve in the vocabulary of photographic story telling. We'd like not to get distracted into political ranting, at least not here. So I am making a policy:
    1. If it's your story, you should say what you want to say, even if it's controversial.
    2. In this thread, commentary on other people's stories should be limited to technical points. How could the pictures have been better. How could the story have been told more effectively. What worked and what didn't.
    3. If someone else's story gets your juices flowing and you find that you must comment on the content, feel free to do so. But suck it up and don't do it here. You have various options for this, in particular, a personal blog, a separate thread, perhaps in the Wide Angle forum (but the moderators will moderate it, no doubt.) Go ahead and add a link to such discussions here so people can find them. But leave it there.

    Learning on Assignment Keep an open mind when you go out to shoot. What you find won't necessarily be what you expected to find. The story you wanted may not be there. But perhaps another different story is.

    Respect your subjects, even if you disagree with them When I went to Planned Parenthood to find the Operation Rescue people, I was expecting to find anger and indignation. That might have been there 10 years ago, but it just wasn't there anymore. It had faded through the years and been replaced with a kind of religious persistence. This might not have made for as good a photographic opportunity, but it made for its own story. I'm glad I met these people. I don't agree with them. But I feel I understand them and their point of view a little better. If you try to understand to get inside of your subjects' heads, you'll take better pictures.
    If not now, when?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 14, 2007
    MA 3.7 -- Getting started
    To be honest, work has been a distraction this last year and I'm rusty. So let's take a first simple step together. We'll each pick a local event (the more local the better.) Is there a controversy of some sort in your town? In my town there is a controversy about dogs without leashes in the public parks. Twice a day, the dog owners congregate in a field and let their dogs off the leash. I'm going to bring my camera and notepad and get their side of the story. No big deal. It happens every day. The dog run is just an example, but look for a simple nonthreatening situation where you won't feel uncomfortable and where it's likely that people will know you.

    Now try to tell the story in just a few pictures and words. Be straightforward. When you are shooting try to think about how the shots will tell the story. Try to be open to what is really happening instead of just seeing what you expect. Your story will be better if you learn something while covering it and manage to convey it.

    When you are done try to think about telling the story efficiently, with your best shots and just a few words. People should be able to glance at the shots, skim the captions, and know what was going on. I'm going out today to do this. Let's see what we can do.
    If not now, when?
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,034Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 17, 2007
    Sooo, no stories?
    Looks like getting out with the agenda in mind is too much of a task mwink.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 19, 2007
    Yes, it's hard to get started doing this. I did go to the dog run and got some shots and interviewed some people. Unfortunately:
    1. I think I aimed too low. There really was no drama. The dog owners were there, but nobody who disagreed with them. So all in all there wasn't much story there.
    2. I've had multiple infrastructure disasters and I couldn't get the shots online until Tuesday earliest if I wanted to.

    There is a lot more potential for the coming weekend, and I'm going to be trying:
    1. Head of the Charles Regatta
    2. Pennant series returns to Boston
    3. Son home from college wants to climb mountain in Southern New Hampshire
    4. On Tuesday, new puppy comes home.
    If not now, when?
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,034Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 19, 2007
    Oops, sorry about that, John! :cry
    Oh well, looks like you have a plan to get something else. thumb.gif

    Come on guys, I can't beleive only Boston has something to offer for an aspiring photographer mwink.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalPosts: 6,183Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 19, 2007
    When Nikolai announces an assignment I - most of the times - read it at 100 miles/hour and post errors or, less suitable pictures.:cry

    At this moment of the day - late afternoon, dinner time - I won't have the time to read all the post because it is a long one.

    This time (?) I was going to read the hole of it. headscratch.gif Am I ?

    Tomorrow I am going to Estoril to the World Series .

    I am going to shoot a great amount of pictures and, after reading the post, I hope to be able to show you my story.

    thumb.gif
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,034Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 19, 2007
    When Nikolai announces an assignment I - most of the times - read it at 100 miles/hour...
    Here's a hint: pour yourself a glass of a good port (yum!) and read sloooooowly :-) mwink.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalPosts: 6,183Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 19, 2007
    Nikolai wrote:
    Here's a hint: pour yourself a glass of a good port (yum!) and read sloooooowly :-) mwink.gif

    I rather drink Moscatel from Setúbal than Port from Porto...
    :D
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,034Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 19, 2007
    I rather drink Moscatel from Setúbal than Port from Porto...
    :D
    You lucky dog you... Portuguese wines happen to be my favorite: port, muscat, jerez, amontillado... deal.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • kenlynekenlyne Big grins Posts: 53Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 19, 2007
    Nikolai wrote:
    Oops, sorry about that, John! :cry
    Oh well, looks like you have a plan to get something else. thumb.gif

    Come on guys, I can't beleive only Boston has something to offer for an aspiring photographer mwink.gif

    I would love to join in on this assignment if I may?? Just came out of lurkdom for LPS#13 and have not done either of the previous two assignments--is it all right if I start in here?? ne_nau.gif
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,034Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 19, 2007
    kenlyne wrote:
    I would love to join in on this assignment if I may?? Just came out of lurkdom for LPS#13 and have not done either of the previous two assignments--is it all right if I start in here?? ne_nau.gif
    Absolutely! It would be pretty outrageous requirement for any public forum to request the prior participation:-)
    So, please, don't worry and start now! thumb.gif
    BTW, Weekly Assignments also do not require any former participation:-) mwink.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalPosts: 6,183Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 20, 2007
    Let's see if I do everything right.:D
    The story is about my 3 hours visit to the Word Series in Estoril.

    Racing cars under rather harsh light.
    May be breaking too late can cause this effect. And everybody was watching.
    1. 210515353-L.jpg
    And a large crop to show the effect
    2. 210514492-L.jpg
    I got a nice panning shot
    3. 210513977-L.jpg
    There was some photographers standing by. As a matter of fact the Nikon guy is who came along with me ...
    4 210512972-L.jpg
    With good positions and big lens
    5. 210515692-L.jpg
    While others pose for the shot before the race begins
    6. 210522617-L.jpg
    The public waiting for the training race
    7. 210513529-L.jpg
    Some technicians take their time...
    8. 210511276-L.jpg
    While the security stands by
    9. 210521977-L.jpg
    There was some amusements for the people.
    10. 210521072-L.jpg 11. 210514877-L.jpg
    and even a band was playing around (they had the sound like Blood Sweat and Tears or Chicago)
    12. 210517462-L.jpg 13. 210509661-L.jpg
    Old cars no to be touched
    14. 210519976-L.jpg
    because there was some eyes watching you
    15. 210506404-L.jpg
    But a door could always be opened
    16. 210522214-L.jpg
    to go and have a look at the paddocks
    17. 210520731-L.jpg 18. 210523474-L.jpg 19. 210510608-L.jpg
    There was also some very young people around
    20. 210507146-L.jpg 21. 210509161-L-1.jpg
    And finally the access tunnel under the racing road
    22. 210519092-L.jpg

    This photo itself is not a must and I am sorry for it.
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,034Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 20, 2007
    Antonio,
    Thank you for going out and shooting!
    I'm sure John will provide more thoughts on this, I'll just pitch in ...
    The "technicians take thier time" shot is hilarious (US race tracks are slightly more explicit in this sense lol3.gif)

    I really like the bass player shot deal.gif thumb.gif

    And I have already commented on the last one separately mwink.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalPosts: 6,183Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 20, 2007
    Nikolai wrote:
    Thank you for going out and shooting!
    I'm sure John will provide more thoughts on this, I'll just pitch in ...
    The "technicians take thier time" shot is hilarious (US race tracks are slightly more explicit in this sense lol3.gif)

    I really like the bass player shot deal.gif thumb.gif

    And I have already commented on the last one separately mwink.gif

    I don't know if inside it was a techninian or a pilot ! rolleyes1.gif
    Anyway, it was a nice position to be: in the lap of the girl ! mwink.gif
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • MooreDrivenMooreDriven Major grins Posts: 260Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 25, 2007
    Touring by Motorcycle in Arkansas
    Here is my submission for this assignment. I enjoy long distance motorcycle riding. I like to combine it with my photography. This submission is about my trip last weekend through northern Arkansas.

    A link to the blog: Touring by Motorcycle in Arkansas

    Links to the photo gallery: Mooredriven SmugMug

    Note: There is another story regarding my trip this past July through the Grand Teton's, Yellowstone, and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Feel free to read it as well, but it is not part of this submission.

    Thanks,
    Dale
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,034Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 26, 2007
    Here is my submission for this assignment. I enjoy long distance motorcycle riding. I like to combine it with my photography. This submission is about my trip last weekend through northern Arkansas.

    A link to the blog: Touring by Motorcycle in Arkansas

    Links to the photo gallery: Mooredriven SmugMug

    Note: There is another story regarding my trip this past July through the Grand Teton's, Yellowstone, and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Feel free to read it as well, but it is not part of this submission.

    Thanks,
    Dale

    Dale,
    it looks like you had a great trip and tok some very nice pictures! thumb.gif

    However, I don't think this is the story we were looking for in this Class. ne_nau.gif

    Here's the acid test for you: do you think your blog article as a whole or your gallery as a whole would be printed as is in your local weekly newspaper? I honestly don't think so, unless you're editor-in-chief's buddy:-).
    Please read the lead posts of this assignment carefully. deal.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • MooreDrivenMooreDriven Major grins Posts: 260Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 26, 2007
    Nikolai wrote:
    Here's the acid test for you: do you think your blog article as a whole or your gallery as a whole would be printed as is in your local weekly newspaper? I honestly don't think so, unless you're editor-in-chief's buddy:-).
    I guess this depends on your point of view. I currently read several motorcycling magazines like, Rider, BMW Owners Network and Ride Texas, which feature articles every month from their members. Would my blog be published, maybe, maybe not. Maybe it needs to be polished before being published, but I felt it met the criteria of the assignment. Otherwise I would not have posted it!
    Please read the lead posts of this assignment carefully. deal.gif
    I thought I understood the requirements, but maybe I missed something. Here are some of the quotes from Rutt with the guidelines.
    rutt wrote:
    the main point of this particular M.A. is to learn, practice, and improve in the vocabulary of photographic story telling.
    I guess I need improvement based on your feedback.
    rutt wrote:
    Now try to tell the story in just a few pictures and words. Be straightforward. When you are shooting try to think about how the shots will tell the story. Try to be open to what is really happening instead of just seeing what you expect. Your story will be better if you learn something while covering it and manage to convey it.

    When you are done try to think about telling the story efficiently, with your best shots and just a few words. People should be able to glance at the shots, skim the captions, and know what was going on.
    Maybe you were expecting a controversial topic? If the story does not cause a debate does that make it any less "photojournalistic".

    Sorry to be so defensive. Maybe I'm just being hard headed.
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,034Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 26, 2007
    Dale,

    I can be totally wrong, but here's what I thought when we were planning this with Rutt (and John can have a totally different line of thoughts, too rolleyes1.gif ).

    The idea was to take maybe a special niche (like a motorcycle ride), yet make a story for a general public. Pleasing specialty crowd is easy, because they are eager to accept anything from that area, and then some. General audience, OTOH, will lose interest on the first paragraph if it feels too "special", and hence, "boring".

    Just my thoughts...
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 27, 2007
    Dale:

    Some really nice shots, and it sounds like a great trip. But I couldn't finish the story. It was just too long and repetitive. Count the number of times you used "twists and turns" for example. A good editor would cut this narrative to just a handful of sentences, maybe add a map with some points of interest marked, and it wouldn't lose anything and be better for it. This would also make a better blog entry.

    I really missed some shots of "us", the motorcycle riders who made the trip on or with their bikes with those big smiles on their faces. You were getting there with that road with the switchback.

    Is there one shot here that you would use to sum up the whole trip? If it were a newspaper article, what would you put at the top of the column?

    I can see there is some great scenery. But I want more variation in the kinds of shots. I think one shot of the participants, the inside of the drugstore, and maybe two very different drop dead landscape shots. Caption those shots. Add a map. And then pull it all together with just a few words about what a great place it is to ride and the time of year, &etc. Then people will actually read the whole thing.
    If not now, when?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 27, 2007
    Antonio:

    Great pix, but what's the story? I want a plot of some sort. Did you find out something you didn't know beforehand? Was there suspense about who would win the race? Did you get to meet any of the participants? The people you did shoot, did you talk to them? What was their story?

    Pull it together somehow into a whole. As I said to Dale, less is more here. You want to cull your shots down to just what you need to tell the story.

    Here's a suggestion. Write the story first without the shots. Then pick out maybe 4 shots to illustrate what you wrote. That's probably the opposite of what you are used to.
    If not now, when?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 27, 2007
    Climbing Monadnock
    213612101-M.jpg[

    Mt. Monadnock in southern New Hampshire is the most climbed mountain in the Northeast U.S. In fact, it attracts about 125,000 climbers a year. Only Mt. Fuji logs more climbs to the summit (about 200,000).

    My son, Robert, came home from college for a long weekend and said to me, "Dad, I want to hike up a mountain. Maybe Monadnock?" Sounded good to me. So we drove up there on a beautiful October afternoon.

    213611798-M.jpg

    And guess what? There were a lot of people climbing it. Robert said it was more of a "pilgrimage than a hike."

    I was surprised how rugged the trail was given the number of visitors and their average age and fitness. We scrabbled over piles of boulders most of the way up and down. Most often overheard quote: "Think Grandma should turn around?" "Naw, she might as well just go on up." We New Englanders are a hardy crew.

    213722966-M.jpg

    OK, it was crowded. But there was a reason. What a great 100 mile view from the top!
    If not now, when?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 28, 2007
    Self criticism of "Climbing Mt. Monadnock"
    Not my best work for sure. But that isn't really the point. I went out to "get the story" of this climb. What I found wasn't exactly what I expected. So I centered the story around three points:
    1. There were even more people there than I expected,
    2. The climb was quite a bit more rugged than I expected, and
    3. The view was beautiful so it was worth it anyway.
    From the shots I did have, I chose the ones that best supported this story.
    I had some better shots and I really wanted to use them, but I didn't see how without complicating the story. Let's face it, there wasn't that much to this story, so brevity in the telling is essential. Adding details without making the story more interesting risks turning it into a shaggy dog story.

    Perhaps the most admirable quality of working photojournalists is that they bring home the shots that tell the story they were sent to cover. Sometimes these are spectacular; sometimes not. But they are always better for the context of the story they tell.
    If not now, when?
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalPosts: 6,183Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 28, 2007
    A friend of mines, invited me to go and meet him.
    He was with some more people who owned old cars.
    213478542-M.jpg
    He was very happy to be there with his old VW
    213444412-M.jpg
    But there was other older cars. This one for example.
    I remember my father had one. It was green and I even now I remember it's licence number.
    213549905-M.jpg
    But there was more interestind cars to show.
    213498634-M.jpg
    With beautifull interiors
    213609713-M.jpg
    Beautiful red painting
    213497003-M.jpg
    An american beauty was also there.
    213500448-M.jpg
    With nice interiors
    213500804-M.jpg
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,034Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 28, 2007
    A friend of mines, invited me to go and meet him.
    He was with some more people who owned old cars.
    Much better, Antonio! Thank you very much! thumb.gif
    What is missing, I think, is a WA shot that would show a lot of cars, where they are located, etc.
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • MooreDrivenMooreDriven Major grins Posts: 260Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 30, 2007
    Rutt,

    Thanks for the feedback. After reading your comments, as well as Nikolai's, I decided to read my post again in a more critical way. As with any assignment, we see things in a different way than they may acutally appear. For example, I was surprised how many times I used the phrase "twists and turns", as you pointed out.

    I think a better story would have been to focus just on the state and national parks. I primarily took photographs in those parks, and virtually none of the roads I mentioned. The story really became bogged down with all of the roads, directions and adjectives used to explain the roads.

    Unfortunately, I don't have time this week to re-write my story. I guess I'll have to live with what I've written for now. On a side note, I posted the trip to the BMWSportTouring forum, and recieved several positive comments. This of course, reinforces Nikolai's statement about the ease of pleasing a speciality crowd versus the general public.

    Thanks for the challenging assignment. I look forward to the next one.
Sign In or Register to comment.