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Work and school are still in full force, but Drake and I are over. The weather sure is lovely, though.

Funny how a beautiful day makes you appreciate the small things. Like never regretting a dramatic green wall.

Or that flowers are even better through a macro filter.

Or a belief that everyone should enjoy the flora.

Or that we should enjoy ourselves regardless of weather.

Also check out what I did with The Capital last week… photo story of 2nd annual Homeless Resource Day in Annapolis. The slideshow is here. I hope to be working more frequently with them in the near future, but everything is super-busy.

The Good, the Bad, and the Hopeful

GOOD: Yesterday I received my first check from The Capital. $35 for one published assignment. Its not a Pulitzer, but it officially launches me into the realm of professional photojournalism. Barely, but technically.

Also, I got an e-mail from a videographer I met in Photoshop last semester saying he needed a photographer for a wedding in May. I responded, hopefully not too enthusiastically, and we’ll soon find if the bride accepts.

BAD: My hours at the castle keep getting cut, which is interesting considering my manager will be out of town for at least part of the next several weeks and Im supposed to pick up her shifts… and still stay under the 37-hour threshold that will earn me health insurance. The Capital has no assignments for me lately, but it has nothing to do with me… winter is just a dry spell for people who basically live off of public events.

My parents are retiring in May and hopefully (for them) moving by December so I’ll need my own health insurance, car insurance, and phone soon enough. Considering I barely cover rent/food as it is, I’m having a minor(major) freak out.

HOPEFUL: I’ve updated my portfolio, put a public profile on Monster and LinkedIn, and an ad on the Resume/Job Wanted portion of Craigslist (that I’ve already lost the URL to). Sarah sent my resume to the recuiter who found her current job and to her manager, who is also a recruiter. I just need something reliable to earn me insurance while I freelance my way to what I need for personal fulfillment.

CAT Career Panel

Usually I don’t go to these kinds of things, and when I do, I find the people trite or the message useless. This time, however, was completely different. So here’s a panel that 1) is relevant to my life 2) is required for class 3) I have to photograph 4) one of my internship mentors will be panel-ing. No pressure.

Free food aside, the panel was actually amazingly insightful. Those panelists didn’t give me enough time between revelations to get bored or to take stunning photos. The nerd in me even appreciated anecdotes from the video game producers and web developers of whose positions I understand little to nothing.

Most importantly, I learned that I have not screwed up my life yet. I learned that my existing degrees can only help me (a fact that seems obvious but I really do doubt it sometimes), my instinct to get out and shoot is completely correct, and that my internship will help me more than I know. I learned that all experience is good experience, and that the five years I spent at Medieval Times saying “taller in the back, shorter in the front, squeeze in real close…” like a robot has only helped me. Every time I get bored and try to take a stunning photograph of dirty dishes has only helped me. Every time I talked a guest out of calling customer service has only helped me.

I will say though, that the only panelist who mentioned income was Josh, and I’m very curious to know if these other artistic venues are extremely lucrative… Everyone mentioned that specialization was key, but how you need to be able to do everything, which really calls my attention (and fear) to how newspapers (and thus, photojournalism) are dying, thus lowering the possibility of me ever being able to do what I want and have a roof over my head. While game development and web design are exploding into the limelight, photojournalism is slowly fading away. Of course no one wanted to talk about that in an uplifting, you-can-do-this career panel.

Although, as most of the panelists mentioned, continuing education is highly important (which is what I’m already doing, right?). I just fear that for us journalists, our education is going to be learning how to juggle a video camera, still camera, notepad, and probably some other things that haven’t been invented yet at the same time and then editing it all into a story that is ready for web and press in just 60 seconds. Or something ridiculous like that. But at least I know I’m on the right path for that, or whatever it is that awaits me in photojournalism.

I just feel like… it took me so long to figure out what I want to do with my life, and then start to do it and realize yes, I was right, that the last thing I need is for my career field to disappear.

Don’t get me wrong, the career panel was highly motivating, very awesome, and thought provoking. Its just that the thoughts went in a more negative direction after the lights were turned off and assignments were turned in.

But I have this internship. One Sunday at a time.

Moving Right Along

After a summer as Senior Assistant at The Picture People, going through three Studio Managers, several employees and thousands of customers… I quit. I can’t work for a company that discourages me from attending college and encourages me to demote myself rather than attend management training. I woke up every morning sick to my stomach, worrying about work with this new boss, I returned home each night too tired and worried to talk, eat, or even move. I dreamed EVERY NIGHT about the horrors of a 100% customer satisfaction policy with untrained/uncaring associates. I quit. And since then, the job has been awesome. Once unfriendly bosses are great, low sales numbers no longer matter, and useless employees can be ignored rather than retrained in futility. As for the useful employees, we can have dance parties and picnics in studio after our work is done.

Seriously though, the conflict with school is huge. I’m taking an internship (for credit) this semester with The Capital in Annapolis. this is amazingly cool on many levels: 1) I will seriously work as a photojournalist for a local paper 2) I prefer small/local papers to larger ones 3) Their office is close to school and the travel from there won’t be much 4) My brother used to work for The Capital, not that it actually matters, but will be a fun fact if we are ever super-famous.

Now its off to pay the bills, hit the elliptical, finish written homework, fix lunch, and prepare for SEVEN straight hours of class. Am I a real adult, a young adult, a working professional, a student, all, or none of the above?

Whoo!

After a period of faulty databases and having absolutely no idea what my password was, I have once again gotten myself into wordpress.

Anything new? I have a promotion around the corner from The Picture People, probably right around the time spring semester ends. In June I photograph two weddings, and in July Matt and I will hit our three years. So things are looking up, it seems. I may have graduated from Susquehanna a year ago and still be struggling, but very shortly, my hard work/dedication (but not my education/degrees) will have paid off.

I’ve updated my portfolio here, and you can see the ridiculousness I created for my online class here, here, and here.

skool

This semester I’m enrolled in Photography II: Color, Techniques of Photographic Lighting, and History of Photography. I had better not figure out, halfway through the semester, that photography isn’t actually that cool. So far this is pretty much the most exciting semester ever, despite that classes don’t start until 2pm, meaning I don’t have quite enough time to work in the morning, and must therefore run around trying to work 3 jobs after 3pm.

But back to classes. Photo II focuses on color correction on the enlarger and playing with color filters on the camera and the enlarger rather than Photo I where we pretty much just explored depth of field and contrast with different techniques. Lighting seems like its going to a free-for-all where Kneessi sets up lights, explains what the lights are doing today, and then the class forces someone to model and paparazzi-ies them to death. We’re allowed to shot film or digital for either class, but I figure I’ll learn more shooting film, especially since I only bought the required filters for my 50mm lens. I’ll be forcing myself to do a lot more work for the same effects, and that should making shooting digital even more of a breeze when I go back to journalism-y things.

I’m also taking the online version of Media Materials and Processes in which we do three presentations: one each with PowerPoint, iMovie, and Flash. My hidden agenda is that next semester I’ll be able to take QuarkXpress, thus making it one step further toward industry-standard journalism skills.

October WHAT

Finally, I installed Akismet and my life is so much cleaner now. I don’t get as many e-mails, but the lack of spam here is beyond delightful. Why didn’t anyone recommend this to me before?

Let me try and expand on my last entry, which was entirely too long ago. Working 2.5 jobs (Picture People, Medieval Times, violin teacher) on top of taking 12 credits (Photoshop, Photography, Color, Journalism) is a tad bit beyond hectic, mainly because I spend so much time in my car trying to get from place to place. Nothing I do is stressful persey, and for the most part I’m paid to sit around do what I love. Things will theoretically calm down next semester, when I’m down to 1.5 jobs and living a tad closer to work & school.

Sarah and I are (one again, theoretically) moving into a house by the end of the month. The place just needs a good coat of paint and internet access before becoming perfectly cosy. We have lofty decorating plans including making our own curtains, stripping the carpet, and refinishing the basement, but what else are boyfriends (in addition to being handy ourselves) for? Please believe there will be bountiful before/after photos of our work once we get to it.

As for updates around the domain(s) here, I know that they’ve been few and far between. What with the working, the schooling, and the trying to (and for the most part succeeding in) maintain a social life, this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down with the internet outside of Photoshop class. All is neither lost nor forgotten. There will be more.

Quick Update

Picture People is pretty awesome, having paintings for homework is not. Moving out soon; haven’t seen the new house though. LOVE Ugly Betty.

Almost Forgot to Add a Title

After a second interview with Picture People, I finally have a job there, starting on the 24th. The plan as far as I understand it, has me working there as a photographer and training as a manager this semester while I wrap up things at Medieval Times, and working as a manager close to full time next semester after I quit the castle. We’ll see how things actually turn out, as we haven’t discussed pay/hours or what I would be managing, not to mention me not actually wanting to quit the castle. I just don’t want it to be my main job anymore, because Medieval Times is really more like a side-job for everyone who’s not management.

School is going rather well, I would say. I have at least 100% in all of my classes, but it’s still weird going to community college after a university. I feel like I’m the most intelligent person in all (four) of my classes, which is more acceptable in the field and less so in the classroom.

Really I just wish I didn’t have to leave 45 minutes before class started just to get there, and then only be allowed ONE absence in each of my classes to save for the days I don’t feel like getting there. Though somehow there’s usually around half the correct number of people in each of my classes each day, so either that policy isn’t true, or there are a lot of people who just don’t mind failing.

Either way, I’ve learned that art homework is simultaneously easier and harder than regular homework, though doubtlessly more rewarding even without a grade on it. And so I’m off to make a masterpiece out of paint swatches, and other such things.

Oh My…

Its official: one of the courses I’ve enrolled in this fall (Color) is being taught by the mother of one of my violin students, who also lives just down the street from me. This could get awkward very quickly.

In other news, I had quite a lovely interview with Picture People in Annapolis on Monday and understand fully that they need to contact my references and their district manager before hiring me. Honestly, I expect a call back by the end of this week, but who knows. The place certainly looked swamped and in need of some love when I went in. And I thought the photo lab in the castle was gross…

Also, the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival was absolutely amazing. I was too enthralled (and sweaty) to take any pictures, but Matt and I have resolved to go every year from now on, so photos will be coming eventually. We saw performances (all wonderful) from Shemekia Copeland, Junkyard Saints, The Bernard Allison Band, Catfish Hodge, Three Dog Night, The Melanie Mason Band, and Robert Randolph and The Family Band, not to mention a harmonica workshop. Everyone there was friendly, etc etc. I bought some beautiful jewelry from these guys, and we ate the best Gyros either of us had ever tasted. All in all: success.