Looking back at 2015

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*this post was written in January, but an error while upgrading WordPress corrupted my blog. after much trial and error, I was finally able to resurrect the blog and hope to keep it going now thats its back.

I returned to The News Journal at the beginning of 2015, after a brief hiatus while working as a multimedia specialist at Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey. In my five years at The News Journal, I’ve always been pleasantly surprised with the passion with which our executive editor pursues stories that matter, and 2015 was no different.

In April, a 7.8M earthquake struck Nepal 50 miles northwest of the capital Kathmandu. Two weeks later, myself and a reporter were on a plane headed to Kathmandu with a group of doctors and nurses to help assist with medical aid efforts.

Workers salvage a desk from a collapsed building in Kathmandu, Nepal Monday, May 11, 2015.

The year also saw the vice president’s son, Beau Biden, die of cancer, the Pope visit Philadelphia, local football player turned cancer advocate Devon Still and his daughter Leah use their story to inspire people across the country and the usual assortment of local flavor, high school sports and quick and dirty portraits.

The Biden family arrive for the funeral service for Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington Saturday.

Priests travel down the parkway to give communion to the faithful lining the streets to witness Pope Francis' mass Sunday.

#iphoneonly

To some photographers, the simple thought of Instagram brings about a look of disgust. When I let them know that I’ve reposted one of their photos on our staff Instagram account, I am treated to a roll of the eye and a scoff. Now I know, my iPhone will never replace my DSLR or my HD video camera, but I ALWAYS have it on me … and it has led to some fun pictures that I would never have shot otherwise.

Below are a few of my favorite images shot with and edited on my iPhone.

NASCAR FedEx 400

One of the things that I love most about being a journalist is that I do things that I would never do under normal circumstances. Attending a NASCAR race is just such a thing, and yet, there I was at Dover International Speedway, running around from turn to turn trying to catch all of the action.

The level of noise definitely exceeded my expectations. The first time the door opened to the press room and I didn’t have my ear protection on, I was in shock. It is deafening. I had always assumed that NASCAR was like baseball in a way … that people went to hang out, eat some hot dogs and watch sporadic moments of action when they occur, but I learned that the sheer volume of the cars as they go around the track makes conversation pretty much impossible, and I imagine most make do with listening to radio chatter in their headsets as they watch the race.

We had three photographers at the race. One was stationed up high on turn one, looking down at the start/finish line, and two others (myself and a freelancer) who were free to roam the track. At around the three hundredth left turn I realized that NASCAR is much better on television, with multiple camera angles and that everyone at the event, myself included, was really just there to see a crash.

16sx.NASCAR

16sx.NASCAR

16sx.NASCAR

Making the 7D my everday video camera

A few months ago I purchased a Canon 7D with the intention of using it for work. I know, I know, I shouldn’t use my personal equipment for work, but considering we have no budget for business cards, I wasn’t going to wait for work to purchase an HDSLR.

While there have been both pros and cons to switching from the Sony HVR-A1U to the 7D, I have been mostly satisfied. Shooting with the 7D allows for a much shallower depth of field and better image quality in general and especially in low light. Also, because the 7D is a still camera, I feel as though people are less threatened by it. They don’t immediately assume that I am filming, especially if I am holding it at hip level. In comparison, when I shoot with the HVR-A1U, it is more easily recognized as a video camera, and I will often be asked not to shoot. The Sony remains superior in regards to audio controls and is still my go-to camera when shooting sports such as football where I need a reliable autofocus and the ability to zoom far down field.

I also enjoy shooting with the 7D because it allows me to stay at least partially connected with photography. I may not be shooting for the paper, but I can still switch out of video mode and grab a few stills if I see something worth capturing.

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Day 36 - On the streets

Day 29 - Spring scene in winter