Photojournalism: Learning Technical Standards with Technical Difficulty.

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I’m collecting my thoughts after several days of photojournalism course reading, writing, and photo shooting.     Photojournalism can be defined as the combination of using techniques of both subtlety and swiftness to capture emotion.

I’ve quickly realized how challenging it is to not only be at the right place at the right moment but to capture the right moment at exactly the right time.  I’ve been taking photos off and on for years.  I’ve always taken the “let pictures happen” approach.  I now realize that photography is an art and science.

You must be quick on your feet and mindful of the elements surrounding you to effectively capture an image at just the right moment. I know the only way to get better as a photojournalist is practice, practice, practice.  The photojournalist is always juggling a hand of wild cards and unanticipated circumstances.  You must plan to be well prepared for those unanticipated events. You should stay organized with equipment, time frames, weather, etc.    I have a lot of respect now for photojournalists.  I think the practice allows you to not only be creative but more importantly gives you the opportunity to be a powerful storyteller.

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I must say that learning the camera is like learning math.  You have several different equations when it comes to photography.  It requires a careful step by step analysis of settings, the environment, story and time constraints to capture the moment.   The process was frustrating for me at times.  I felt that taking photos was always a fairly easy process but now learning on a digital camera with no prior experience was something that has become a challenge and source of frustration at times.  I’m learning a lot through trial and error.  I’m interested in the learning process so it’s easy for me to stay engaged even at times that I want to give up.  I think it helps to know that photojournalism is a work in progress much like many other areas of life.

I hope to learn a baseline from this first photo assignment and more importantly learn from my mistakes.  I’m sure I’ve made a few with but I also understand that is the best way to learn.   The most challenging shot was panning.  For some reason, it took a bit of time for me to understand the technique on a basic level.  I know from talking with some classmates that we are all feeling the same frustrations at times.  It helps to know that this is just part of the learning curve. Each of us learning our strengths and weaknesses and sharing those with each other.  In the meantime, I wait in stillness to capture the next moment, standing with one foot in front of the other while my hand hugs the underside of the lens.

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