Archive for the ‘Capstone’ Category

Yesterday was a pretty atypical Tuesday, since on Tuesdays I go straight from my last class to my photo-editing shift at The Columbia Missourian — and I’m in the newsroom until the last assignment comes in.

But yesterday, the Avett Brothers were in town. And Jeff had given me tickets for my birthday. So I arranged not to have to edit at The Missourian all night.

The Missourian at dusk.

Instead, Jeff and I went down the alleyway between the Tin Can and the Missouri Theatre (where the Avetts were to perform)…

Graffiti in the alley.

…and ate for the first time at Ingredient, which features gourmet, customizable salads and burgers.

Waiting for our food at Ingredient. Yes, the light above our table was that harsh/stark.

Then we went to the concert. I didn’t take my camera — because frankly, I was there to enjoy the music.

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I’m a little embarrassed/ashamed about how many of my entries for the 30-day challenge are of food that Jeff and/or I have made.

Homemade nachos pollo. You know you want some. (Should've taken the photo after we topped this with green onions.)

But honestly, food and the making thereof are a huge part of our lives, especially since we pride ourselves in making our meals from scratch. So while I’ve indulged/cheated by taking probably too many photos of the food we’ve made, I would be grossly misrepresenting our lives if I didn’t include this culinary element in some respect.

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More than two weeks ago, I spent my entire weekend at the Mizzou Aquatics Center, where the fourth annual Missouri Grand Prix was going on for four days.

Eric Shanteau swims the championship heat of the 200-meter individual medley finals on the second day of the fourth annual Missouri Grand Prix.

I was there to help the assigned Columbia Missourian photographers — most of whom had never before shot swimming, which I think is one of the more technical, difficult sports to photograph — and edit and submit their photos to the newsroom. But I also had plenty of time to make pictures, so I made full use of this opportunity.

Unfortunately, my portable hard drive crashed just 10 minutes after I’d submitted the photographer’s photos in my last editing shift on Feb. 14. This meant I lost all these photos, and more — until I sent the drive to the data recovery company. Hence, the delay in posting these Grand Prix photos.

View from the diving tower.

Of course, there were many other photographers there, so trying to find angles and content that nobody else was getting was practically impossible. But it was a good challenge, and considering this was my first time at a big swim meet, I’m pleased with how my photos turned out.

This year was also the first year — in my memory — that Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff and a few other big names were not in competition. Due to the snowstorms that were pummeling the east coast at the time, the North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmers scheduled to compete (including Phelps and Hoff) were unable to attend. Almost every other photographer I know was disappointed about this, but I frankly didn’t mind. I even tweeted, “Oh boo hoo, no Michael Phelps at the MO Grand Prix. There will still be incredible swimmers in the pool too, you know.”

So I, for one, enjoyed not having to stress about getting Michael Phelps photos. And I had fun. Enjoy some photos:

Missouri swimmer Jowan Qupty prepares to compete in the second heat of the 200-meter breakstroke finals.


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DAY 26: Hung fish

I like to make fun of Jeff for slowly but surely turning into the human equivalent of a camera store. Since he started working for MU Athletics as a photographer, he’s purchased one piece of equipment after another, and it’s always a guessing game as to what he’ll think to buy next.

A few weeks ago, Jeff purchased safety cables with which to secure remote cameras. I’ve never actually seen him use the cables. For all I know, they’re used to unnecessarily torture a stuffed fish abandoned by his old roommate Dann.

Another of Jeff’s recent purchases? A 35/2 lens, which I used to take a photo of his newly-bought safety cables and the poor fish:

Some of the decor in Jeff's room.

In other news — the data recovery company was able to recover all but a few JPG files on my dead portable hard drive. I received the recovered data on Friday after my shift at The Columbia Missourian. So, besides shoot the Kansas State game, all I’ve done this weekend are back up all my files to my desktop external drive; match and confirm the duplicate copies between my portable, desktop and laptop drives; and reconcile all copies to ensure that no data was lost when I eventually formatted the new portable hard drive.

It’s been a chore.

It also means that I have all my working project folders and this semester’s photos back. So I can finally blog Days 11 and 12, which I missed because those photos were on the drive, as well as resume work on various other projects.

But all in good time.

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MANHATTAN, Kan. — I’m in the Bramlage Coliseum media room after the Missouri Tigers lost 63-53 to the Kansas State Wildcats.

Kansas State senior forward Luis Colon shoots against Missouri sophomore center Steve Moore during the first half at Kansas State on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010.

Two points of interest. The first: It’s unusual for a Columbia Missourian photo editor to cover a basketball game, but none of the staff photographers could or would volunteer to travel with the writers to Manhattan.

The second: I shouldn’t have worn a purple top for a game at/against Kansas State.

During the final 30 seconds of the game — which lasted about five minutes of real time — I was bored at my place at the endline. One of my camera batteries had died, so I was switching between lenses on the other camera, and I was pretty dissatisfied with my situation in general.

So I went into the stands, where I saw a young boy whose emotions were very much invested in the game: He was crying, shouting and, at some points, turning away from the court as if he didn’t want to watch the Tigers lose. I started making some pictures.

Ten-year-old Jack Kropf of St. Joseph, Mo., watches the Tigers lose to the Wildcats during the last 30 seconds of play at Kansas State.

Then I heard, nearby, voices shouting: “She’s taking pictures of their son, and they don’t want her to!”


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This evening, a few hundred bicyclists, unicyclists, hipsters, musicians and more marched through downtown Columbia to kick off the seventh annual True/False Film Fest.

It was the March March parade.

March March participants and onlookers gather in front of the parade's destination, the Missouri Theatre on Ninth Street.

Erin and I were editing at The Columbia Missourian when we decided to take a break and make some pictures of the parade. Accompanied by David and every other photographer in town, we went downtown and, I’m confident, had a great, fun time.

David (left) looks a little too happy to see a Teletubby at the corner of Locust and Ninth Streets.

For those of you who may not know, True/False is a three-day documentary film festival that showcases dozens of pieces and that has steadily developed a reputation as a solid film event. The festival attracts visitors from all over the nation and the world, and it tends to bring out even the more reclusive residents of Columbia.


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A few days ago, David Rees spotted Jeff in the photo lab and asked, “So, what’s for dinner?”

I’m guessing his question had something to do with my three or four entries detailing the various meals Jeff and I have concocted over the past 20 or so days.

Well, David, I’ve now got a response to your query. We haven’t had a chance to cook together since you asked Jeff — until tonight.


When we were at my house in Houston over winter break, my mother prepared pork stew with carrots and a brew of Chinese sauces and cooking wine. It is delicious, but I didn’t ask her for the recipe until we’d already returned to Columbia. So my mother e-mailed an approximate recipe and mailed up a few ingredients we wouldn’t be able to find in Columbia.

So tonight, we attempted to replicate my mother’s success.



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DAY 22: Jeff

Let’s just face it: This was going to happen.

By “this,” I mean “Jeff’s face eventually appearing in this 30-day challenge.”

Today, I was still sick, so I missed classes and work and ventured outside only to attend the weekly sports beat meeting at The Columbia Missourian at 5 p.m.

But apparently, being sick is no excuse for not taking a photo for the 30-day challenge (thanks, Erin), so when Jeff came over late tonight to return my camera that he borrowed… well, I didn’t mean to have him model for me.

But that’s inevitably what happened.

The set-up: We were sitting up, opposite each other, on my bed, and I had my legs drawn up with my sheets over my knees. He was leaning forward with his chin nestled on the sheets between my knees — and I snapped a few photos.



By no means are these the most journalistic images in this 30-day challenge. But like I said — this was just bound to happen.

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One of the projects in David’s capstone class is the one-day/five-points-of-view story. This is a picture story that must be told in five pictures and that happened over a relatively short period of time (no more than a few days).

As you might have gathered from my blog, I chose to do a light exploration of backyard chickens in Columbia as a result of the recently-passed “chicken ordinance.” But now I’ll let the photos — and their captions — tell the story.

The chickens have escaped from their greenhouse home on St. Joseph Road, and it's up to Adam Saunders to chase them back inside. Saunders and other members of the non-profit Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture own six hens, which is the maximum number allowed by a Columbia city ordinance that permits urban residents to keep chickens in their backyard.

Five of CCUA's six hens stare each other down inside the greenhouse on Feb. 17. CCUA owns three Rhode Island Reds, one Buff Orpington, one Australorp-Rhode Island Red mix and one Dominic. Roosters are not allowed under the city ordinance, largely because of their crowing.


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Today, I have been sick and went to only one class. I’ve spent the rest of the day sleeping, consuming the healthiest foods I have in my meager pantry and watching the Olympics.

That is why I have no photo for today.

Yesterday, I had classes, work and a group project nearly back-to-back-to-back.

But when I left work at 5:45 p.m., I saw something unexpected: Daylight.

I don't remember the last time I saw natural light while walking home from work.

Then the group project. For our photo-editing class, Laura, Jessica and I were to edit a short video using raw clips provided by the Columbia Missourian director of photography.

It was… an interesting exercise.

The best part is, this was near the beginning of our working together on the group project.

Fortunately, we know Final Cut reasonably well and completed work more quickly than we'd anticipated.

Anyway. It’s been a long 48 hours, and I’m not quite feeling better yet.

But I have good news: the data recovery company was able to recover all but about 1 percent of my data, and I’ll have everything back by Friday!

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This, my friends, is what mornings were made for:

Smoked mid-Atlantic salmon on mini bagels with cream cheese and green onions.

Although, it was about 1 p.m. today when Jeff and I each had three fully-loaded mini bagels. So really, the bliss that is bagels-and-lox is what any time of day was made for.

That said, I wouldn’t recommend eating three fully-loaded mini bagels at any time of day: after consuming that much food all at once, I spent the next three or four hours sleeping very soundly.

But that’s what Sundays were made for.

(Excuse the abundance of end-of-sentence prepositions.)

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This afternoon, I returned to the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture‘s office/house to make more pictures for my one-day/five-points-of-view story.

Adam talks about how CCUA is keeping its six hens in a greenhouse until the weather is warmer and the coop is built.

Another photographer was taking photos of the hens inside the greenhouse while everyone was out in back to look at CCUA’s chicken tractor. The photographer must have left, because a few minutes later, someone said, “Hey — are the chickens supposed to be outside?”

The chickens were on the run!

And they almost made it to the road.

Adam herds the chickens away from the road and back toward the greenhouse.

So why did the chickens (almost) cross the road? — Because they were tired of being cooped up!

Ha. Ha. Ha?

I’m really loving how I can milk all these old chicken jokes and references. And I think I’m good for my one-day/five-points-of-view story for capstone… I think.

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It has been a long week.

That's 10:15ish p.m., mind you.

I spent my entire last weekend photo-editing for The Columbia Missourian — Friday night, all day Saturday and then Sunday morning at the rec center for the Missouri Grand Prix, and then Sunday afternoon and night in the newsroom for a regular shift.

Then there was my regular shift on Tuesday afternoon. Which lasted until almost midnight.

And now there’s today, which has turned into late tonight.

All told, it’s about 47 hours of photo-editing, from last Friday afternoon through this Friday night.

That’s a lot.

But now it’s time to go home, drink a Woodchuck and veg in front of the Olympic ice-dancing reruns.

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Last September, my camera and I followed 11 agricultural journalism students into woods, prairies, caves and other pockets of southeastern Missouri. I emerged with plenty of photos from the trip, as well as a rash of chigger bites all over my ankles, waist area and, oddly, shoulders.

Over the past five months, I’ve visited my general practitioner three times and a dermatologist four times. Four packs of prednisone and a number of other prescriptions later, the final diagnosis? The bites have been aggravated into dermatitis, and the only way they’re going away is if I stop scratching them.

That’s the problem — they itch like nothing else.

Yesterday, I began to apply a prescription of Cordran Tape.

Self-portrait. Chigger bites on my right shoulder.

The tape is medicated on the underside, and it prevents me from scratching and protects the bites from being irritated by my clothing. After five months of nothing working or helping except the prednisone — which is not a drug anyone should take often — this tape is a godsend.

I’m really hoping these bites clear up before spring arrives and I should start retiring long sleeves and footed tights.

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Chickens are really funny animals. And they are, surprisingly, pretty fun to photograph.

The way they strut around and interact with each other (there’s a reason why it’s called “pecking order”) is totally erratic and unpredictable. At least, that’s how it seemed to me — your everyday girl from suburbia — when I visited the chickens owned by the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture.

Columbia recently passed a city ordinance that allows residents to keep up to six hens in their backyards, with some restrictions on coops, waste management and etc. CCUA and its members currently keep six hens — three Rhode Island Reds, one Buff Orpington, one Australorp-Rhode Island Red mix and one Dominic — in a greenhouse across the street from its office/house, at least until they finish constructing the coop in the backyard.

Flight of the... chicken.


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Jeff made these:

Before. (Photo by Jeff)

He brought them over to Lee Hills, where photographers ate the majority of them. But I ate at least six or seven. And I wiped the plate clean:

After. (Photo by me)

Jeff knows how to do things right. And so do I.

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This is where I work:

David and I serve our fellow photojournalism students by manning the department’s equipment locker, which houses more than $100,000 worth of photo, video and audio equipment (much of it is donated). It’s fun to help other students get acquainted with and appreciate quality gear, and it’s just as fun to tease those who are already gearheads when they come with a shopping list of exactly what they need to work on a project for a few days.

It’s also a bit stressful at times. Especially Mondays. This semester, I’m the only one working on Mondays, which means I get to check in and reshelf all the gear that was checked out over the weekends.

Today — as you can see by the photo — it got a bit out of hand. Students kept coming around to check in more gear or make reservations, so I didn’t get a chance to remove and charge batteries, detach lenses from cameras, replace back lens caps and camera body caps, or anything… until thirty minutes remained in my shift.

The contents within my photo for today represents probably half of the photo inventory and a third of the entire locker’s invenory.

It is a good job.

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By now, I would have blogged my Day 11 entry, and would be writing up my Day 12 entry, for the 30-day challenge.

But because my portable hard drive crashed 15 minutes after I finished editing and submitting Missouri Grand Prix photos for The Columbia Missourian early this afternoon, those blog entries will have to wait. The photos for those entries — and for many, many other projects — are stored only on that hard drive, since it functioned as my scratch/working disk.

In the meantime, I am:

  • trying not to cry;
  • doing what I can to recover my data;
  • learning, the hard way, that I should back up my data much more often (I have another external hard drive that I use for backup);
  • trying not to cry;
  • working one of my Sunday shifts at The Missourian, which qualifies the past three days as a full weekend of photo-editing; and
  • trying not to cry.

If I can get those files recovered, I’ll blog Day 11 and Day 12.

If not — oh, well.

My chief concern is not that I might have lost two days of the 30-day challenge but rather that I regain the photos I’ve taken this semester and ensure that working files of several projects are still intact. None of the data I’ve lost has extremely personal information or constitutes a security concern — it’s just a lot of work that might be lost forever.

We’ll see what happens.

Let this be a lesson to anyone and everyone who doesn’t back up data on a weekly basis.

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I’m spending this weekend at the Student Recreation Complex, where swimmers have gathered to compete in the fourth annual Missouri Grand Prix.

The Columbia Missourian photographers are photographing. I’m there to edit — but between card dumps and transmissions to the photo desk, I have the opportunity to roam and make pictures, too.

So that’s what I did tonight.

I’ve shot dual-team meets at the rec center before, but never a full-blown, multi-day tournament whose roster includes Olympic swimmers. Tonight, I fiddled around a bit and tried not to resort to just the “one swimmer per frame” kind of shooting. Tomorrow and Sunday morning, because I know what to expect and where I can go, I’ll do better with this.

That’s right. I volunteered to live-edit during almost my entire weekend. But I made a point not to volunteer for the Sunday evening shift — because I’m sure as hell not missing the pairs short program for the Winter Olympics.

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DAY 9: Thaw

Columbia is supposed to get some snowfall again tomorrow evening, but right now, everything is generally thawing out a bit. Although, some big fat flakes were falling earlier while the sun was out.

I caught at least a dozen snowflakes on my tongue. I almost choked on one of them.

Anyway. Earlier, I wrote in two tweets:

  1. It’s only Day 9 of the 30-day challenge, and I’m already bored with my life / staggered over how boring my life is.
  2. I need to break my routine and get out more, or I need to examine more closely that same routine. Or – I need to do both. #visualagony

I decided to break my routine. So Jeff and I went to the Green Valley Drive bridge over Hinkson Creek — just off of Broadway near Old 63 — and took some photos there.

Hinkson Creek. That overpass bridge is Broadway.

Detail of the icemelt on top of the creekwater's surface.

Then, as Jeff and I were walking from my apartment building to the journalism school, we both spotted this pipe at about the same time:


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