Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blogging Photography, Journalism, and Harry Quin


Early on in my coursework as a journalism minor, I learned 2 powerful lessons.

The first dealt with writing the lead of any good story.

The key facts, the important information, are all front loaded so that it sort of tumbles out and reaches a calm end.

This makes for one of those impressive run-on sentences that tells you the whole story- right up front.

Some would say the purpose for this is to accurately inform the reader as quickly as you can because chances are, they are not going to read to the end.

What a shame.

(Please keep reading!)

In any event, I love writing leads.

They are what I like to call dice throwing sentences.


The second journalistic experience I had that was life changing was Harry Quin’s photography class, my senior year in college.

Mr. Quinn required us to complete a photo essay for our semester project, and we had to develop our own film, from a 35mm camera, in a darkroom.

I was terrified and exhilarated all at the same time.

There was something so down to earth, so demanding and exacting about Harry Quin, I didn’t want to disappoint him.

It occurs to me as I write this that his personality modeled what is the best of journalism-

the down to earth-the demand for high standards-and the unadorned.

Several years later I realized the magical mystery tour God had me on when I visited a church that would later become my church home, and lo and behold, there was Harry Quin and his wife Betsy.

In describing them, Pillars of the Church does not suffice.

Pillars of the Earth does.


And so , back to my current world of photography and blogging.

The photo above ( that you saw earlier this past week) is the top of this.


This ability, regardless of how simplistic, is so much fun for me.

I have a Canon Xsi and 3 lenses:

Canon 18-55 mm lens

(the stock lens that came with the camera)

Canon 55-250 mm lens

(that I purchased during my nephew’s basketball season- I should have purchased Scott Kelby’s book on photography first, and I would have realized my folly in trying to shoot live sports shots in a gym- I did however learn one important tip-

if you know where the athlete is headed- ie. the basket- aim there and wait)

and a

Sigma 17-70 mm lens

(that Kat from Low Tide High Style recommended to me)

I would also like to recommend the following as something new bloggers might want to try.

You DO NOT have to have a huge camera.

Just post larger sizes of your photos and


Larger photos make the viewing experience so much easier for the reading glasses ‘set’.

I use Windows Live Writer instead of Blogger,

and I use Picasa as my photo editing program.

All of these are free.

I never use flash, and I get as close as I can.

Every blogger handles their photos differently.

Right now my focus is on clean, accurate photos,sharp images (nowhere near tack sharp yet),

and clear color- all without too much editing or accessorizing.

It’s a blast!

Oh- and I ask other

blogger/photographers a lot of questions.



Blondie's Journal said...

I know nothing about photography. Point and shoot is a description of me, not a specific camera. I think I am doing okay since I never wanted to be a professional. Your pictures on the other hand are nicely done and I admire your skill.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend, Laura~


nanny said...

Thanks for the great information.....I agree...I want sharp images more than anything...I will look at Picasa Editing.
I usually use Pioneer Woman's Action Set....They are free also. I use the define and sharpen action and that's about all I do. I do love good clear pictures....I long to have some great ones! Your pictures are wonderful!

Loui♥ said...

Hi Laura..
Right on Sister! AMEN!
I have a simple Kodak EasyShare for those outings in retail as well as grocery shopping. Also have a Nikon D-40..both I love and use frequently... sometimes daily..
Picasa has been my choice for editing since it became available several years ago.
It is Free!
and so user friendly!
I do have several other editing programs..but still tend to use Picasa..
and finally Laura, I did not read any of the instruction books..the print is always so was simply easier to charge the batteries and start using the cameras..
practice makes perfect!
and like you..when I can't figure something out..I ask someone whom I think knowledgeable on the subject..
warm sandy hugs..
ps.. love your photos and blog!!

trash talk said...

Run on wouldn't be describing moi would you? I have a dandy in my latest post, but there was just no way to shorten...I tried, Teacher, I really did! I've said it before and I'll say it again...oh the places I might have gone if only you had been one of teachers instead of what I got!
Lordy, L.B....if it now takes me at least 2 hours to do a post, how long would it take me if I really tried to make my photos look decent?
Just how long does it take you? Seriously!

Marguerite said...

Thanks for the helpful tips! Your photos are always great! I use several editing programs, but need to get a new camera.

Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing this great information. I'm still on the learning curve about photos. I feel I've learned a great deal from you and other bloggers, but have miles to go. I'm considering a new camera, so thanks for the specifics. ~ Sarah

Olive said...

You know Laura, most of what I do on my blog I have learned from you! On an earlier post you spoke of Windows Live Writer and Picasa and I switched to them. My camera is terrible but I am doing what I can with it for now. I hardly ever take inside pics but my outside ones are okay mostly. Thanks and you get the credit for helping me understand all this when I was terribly lost. bighugs♥olive

CHERI said...

Your journalism training (and talent) show through in your writing! Teachers like Mr. Quin, who set high expectations and help you live up to them, seem to always be favorites, don't they? I am wanting to get more & more into photography now that I have my new camera. Thanks for these tips!

Karen said...

Great information, Laura. Wish I had more patience with photography. I just don't. Nancy told me what camera she uses to shoot pictures. It does especially well in low-light... which is good for me since to find me outdoors is a rarity. (That was embarrassing to admit!) Within an hour of her telling me about her camera I had one in my hand, purchased from Best Buy. It's always in my purse and I like that very much.
That little bird... he's just so sweet, balancing so delicately on the church. There is a huge story there, Laura.
Hope all is well with travels with, "Juan"!
Ladybug Creek

Brenda Pruitt said...

It's so nice of you to share all these tips. Wonderful that we can all learn and help one another on the journey of blogging as well!

Brenda Pruitt said...

Oh yeah, I graduated with a journalism degree myself. Forgot to say that.

Entertaining Women said...

Okay, this one inspires me. I have such a wonderful camera, Konica-Minolta A2 Dimage Viewer, and there is still so much that I don't know about it. I've gone back to read my instruction book recently. I've already tried out a few new things. Hey, do you read The Pioneer Woman's blog? She always has a great section with photography tips/tutorials. She would also be a neighbor to your north. Thanks for sharing your tips. Cherry Kay

Sue said...

I love learning from other bloggers. My camera is a simple Sony Cybershot, but sometimes...I get some really great pictures. I think that more than anything, practice and experimentation are key. Of course a bigger, better camera is on the wish list!

Lemon Lane Studio said...

Hi Laura, One of the things I've discovered through blogging and there are many (there's definitely a post in there somewhere) is that I love to write...and I love takig pictures. It is all a learning process and so exhilarating. I received a Nikon Coolpix last Christmas and just love it. Patty

Anonymous said...

Great post and I agree with all of it. Still waiting to get a macro lens and then I should be satisfied. *for a while anyway :-)*

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Wonderful post, Laura! Thanks so much for the tips about photography and the writing tips!

Theresa said...

Thanks for sharing these tips! I always enjoy your pictures and I CAN see them without my glasses:) Have a blessed day my friend! HUGS!

Lynn said...

And informative.
You are both!

Deb said...

great tips the photos...


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