Real People

Reporter Zak Brown told me a week or so ago that he was going to do a story about a rodeo event that used to take place in Boulder called the Boulder Pow Wow. He had a folder full of historical photos in tow and said he wanted to find some people to interview that took part in the 50 year event and gather audio to accompany the story. I thought it would make for a fun audio slide show.

In a episode of serendipity a freelance history columnist for the Camera, Silvia Pettem, was waiting for her daughter near a restaurant I was to shoot an assignment later that day. I told her about the story and asked if she knew of anyone who would be willing to talk about the Pow Wow. She told me about an 80-year-old man named Stan Johnson. She said he was an announcer for the rodeo and she had just talked with him recently.

Zak was able to contact and set up a time to meet Mr. Johnson at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. We decided that considering the former Pow Wow grounds are littered with retail stores the fairgrounds would make for a better background to make a portrait of Mr. Johnson. Upon arrival I learned that another gentleman, Lee Peters, would be there to talk with also.

What ensued was one of the most enjoyable story sessions I had been able to listen to in a very long time. I don't know what it is, but older generations have a knack for talking and telling stories much better than anyone. I still wish I had been able to record just one of the hundreds of stories that my grandfather, Bob Campbell, would tell every day when I visited. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Peters stood for a couple photos and then with seamless ease the pair slid into their role as audible historians. I hit the record button an tried to hang on for the next 20 minutes of journeys through Boulder's history.

Growing up in a small Wyoming town you take for granted the richness and trueness of rodeo people. Sure, everyone knows everyone and everyone's business, but those folks are real. Rodeo folks don't have to put on an act. They celebrate the rodeo family and each other. Now living in a metropolitan landscape with people trying to be things they are not to fit in and be trendy, I have missed talking with genuine people. This was a fun project, despite having to franticly finish on deadline because of this whole deal.

I also put a much longer clip together of the interview that explains the event in detail. But the link is broken on the Camera's website, so if you want to listen go here.


It's not a feature video

Embattled University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill was dismissed today by the Board of Regents. I was told to shoot video of the events with fellow staffer Mark Leffingwell.

We tried not to step on each other too much while roaming about with hundreds of other media members. But I feel like it adds a little layer of difficulty to produce a video with someone else. You don't know what they are getting for footage and their style of shooting may be vastly different from yours. Then each one has different thoughts on how to assemble the story in editing.

It was a long wait for the decision to finally be made on Churchill's future and then all the typical media frenzies ensued, as is always the case with this story. So here's the end result of my first news video.

All this video work is a ton of work. I'm actually really wishing for a couple still assignments just to get to be a photographer again and not a videographer, video editor, web master and IT support member all at the same time. I'm missing the clicks....



Last week I was supposed to shoot a video on University of Colorado quarterback Bernard Jackson. They are doing 7-on-7 drills on their own in the evenings, so the plan was to go shoot some footage of him practicing and then do a bit of an interview with Camera reporter Kyle Ringo.

So I had all kinds of ideas for ways I could put the video together. Before I continue I'll explain a little...you see, Bernard has had an adventurous trip through the Buffalo football program. He was recruited as a quarterback but was asked to play wide receiver after learning the offense as a quarterback. Then after a season as a receiver they had him return kicks and other random jobs. I think he may have had to take the trash out once or twice when the grounds crew was hurt. Just kidding. So last season he was asked to play quarterback once again, but under a new coaching staff. He was about the only thing that somewhat worked on the Buffs offensive side of the ball last year. So for all his trouble in the first few years, his gift is that he is listed as a quarterback still, but there are at least two other guys in front of him on the depth chart. One just happens to be the head coach's son, but it's not what you are thinking on that front. This season he might even end up playing defense just to get on the field.

Bernard is a really good guy and a gifted athlete. I made photos last year of him and his son playing for a story that Kyle did when it was learned that Bernard was finally going to get his shot at quarterback. He just needs to learn a bit of time management.

Back to the story behind the story behind the story...so the players decide to cancel the 7-on-7 drills. I learn of this from Kyle the moment I'm setting up my gear in the parking lot.

"OK, no practice to shoot. Just going to do an interview?" I have a pain run through my conceptual mind, it's described as seemingly endless minutes of a collegiate athlete talking to a reporter about something I don't have any footage of and won't happen again for another few days. Like coach said in high school, "Sit on a fastball, but be ready to adjust for the curveball and change up."

So I adjusted and shot a few things here an there while waiting, but mostly just shot the interview. In order for it to not be super boring I tried to move the camera position a little once in a while during the two talking and figured I would just use still photos from other practices and games. It's not going to be a homerun, but if you keep your weight on the back foot you can adjust and at least hit a single or double to opposite field.

I'll keep swinging. This video gig is a constant learning experience. It's been a challenge to adapt to all the learning of video and still try to capture good moments in stills. Sometimes though, I do feel like Adam Anderson. You get a pretty easy opportunity to end the game with a simple flip to second but try to do too much and throw late to first and let the other team back in the game. Just learn from it, that's hopefully what we all do from mistakes.


Confusion on confusion

After being given a completely wrong storyline idea for a video about Lolita's Market & Deli in Boulder and shooting footage for about 30 minutes, I talked to the owner and learned that I needed to change my approach. After recording most of the interviews based on the old premise during the busy lunch period of the day, I was forced to start over and create a "day in the life" video on the market. Only problem is that it was not busy anymore and I was struggling to re-frame a storyline in my head to have something to build around for the video.

A storyline is key to any project be it a photo series or story as well as multimedia presentations. But video is very difficult to pull off at all without a storyline. Luckily I was able to pull out some of an early interview I did with a longtime customer of the market. There are a few goofy editing aspects that I wish I could have not had to do, but you know the saying about excuses. So take a look and check back in a day or so for another production that I hope will be quite a bit more fun, concise and informational.


A year older, more technology to learn

Well, I made it. I made it another year in life. But in that year things have changed drastically in my field. This blog is one example.

So for this post I'm trying something new. Only problem is that I should have posted this right after I got back from my morning ride. We're not in the land of publishing about the same time everyday. All this new technology allows us to publish at any minute of the day.

It will be interesting to try and stay on my surfboard with this continually growing wave of new forms of publishing and technology.

What will be happening a year from now? That will be figured out I'm sure, but I better still be pedaling.....

This player allows for tagging and commenting inside the video. This may not be a great video to comment on but in the future I hope that the player will allow for more participation from you all. Try it out.


Happy Birthday America

What does the Fourth of July mean? Is it a celebration of our country's start? Is it a celebration of what our country has become? What does it mean to be an American in 2007? These were all questions I wanted to ask people while making photos and shooting video. Only problem was that between shooting all those stills and video and just talking with people about various topics, I wasn't able to get real answers in digital form to use. So now I have a project for next year. Just not enough time in the day.

But there was Italian immigrant Emiliano Ruscitti, of Frederick, Colo., competing in the annual bocce tournament in Louisville. Reminding me that, with some exceptions, nearly everyone in this country is an immigrant. One-year-old Lucas Holmberg, of Louisville, Colo., has eyes that are as bright as the future of our country and blue as our flag.

There were also thousands of folks gathered to watch the annual festivities of streaking balls of black powder exploding over Folsom Field. After shooting the Fourth of July over the past several years, I tend to forget what the night truly means and how excited kids get to see those fireworks lighting up the night sky. Sometimes the veil of a camera blocks the ability to see the world. There are times that photographers get so absorbed with manipulating a chunk of technology and composing an interesting view, we loose sight of what is really there. Endless possibilities and wonder.