Friday, 6 November 2009

NPAC Member's Blog - Day 5

Much of my morning was spent just getting to the office. It always amazes me how the people who commute to Toronto for work seem to lose brain function at the slightest hint of bad weather. Throw a tiny bit of precipitation onto the roads and windshields, and traffic nearly comes to a halt. I always figure my drive to work - 80km each way – to take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour longer if it’s wet out.
Once I got to 444 Front Street West I spent the first few hours doing some “house cleaning.” I filed photographs from a Wednesday shoot, burned a few DVDs to clear off some of my laptop’s hard drive, helped to arrange an afternoon shoot, and began to write a proposal for a story idea I’m investigating/pitching.
I’d like to mention a few things about story proposals and ideas. I regularly try to pitch stories that I think would make good visual pieces and I’d like to work on, so I’m always looking and listening for things that will lead me in the right direction. Many ideas I have get written down in my “little black book,” and include large story ideas and single feature ideas. Many of these ideas never go anywhere, but I’ll often refer back to it between assignments. The pages get turned more often when I feel I haven’t been productive or it’s an especially slow time. This book is very important to my regular routine. I even have a section called “colors” where I’ll jot down the locations of colorful landmarks things that can be used for fashion, features, etc.

I thought I wasn’t going to be able to discuss my afternoon shoot because it’s loosely scheduled to run this Saturday, or next. (Damn it’s hard to blog about your day when you can’t divulge “secrets.”)

However, my afternoon involved photographing a popular blogger, Raymi the Minx. The shoot, that started in a bar because she wasn’t comfortable having me take her photo at home, went fine, but I knew the photographs would be much better in her personal space. After meeting me, and the reporter, she decided it would be fine to do a shoot at her home, which was nearby.

But the problem with shooting a blogger, is that you are in danger of ending up on the blog. Within 30 minutes of having left her home she had a short video clip posted on her site. I find it so strange watching myself working. I’m not vain, but I can’t get used to my shaved head, and my in laws are right; I am developing a spare tire. Damn! My kids are having a great laugh at my expense, and now you can too.


I had a quick peek at a video that shows Louie Palu working away in Afghanistan. Somehow me standing on a bedside table just doesn’t compare. Sadly the social blogger’s website likely gets many, many more hits than anything Louie or I could ever post on the web.

But that’s the reality of working for a newspaper. The majority of jobs are generally run-of-the-mill, and you often have to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. Making something from nothing is what challenges all of us. Being consistent day to day is perhaps the most important asset to have, because when the great assignments do come along you want to be the one that gets the nod.

I’m not sure if I’ll be blogging following my Friday shift, so I want to mention one last thing. I haven’t spoken at all about anything related to multimedia which some may find strange. For several reasons, the photo department is taking a “break” from video for a period of time – hopefully a short one – and concentrating on still photography. I think we all understand the value added that we can get from quality video, and perhaps in time we will once again have the opportunity to produce more multimedia stories that incorporate video if and when it is effective. I know that personally, although I much prefer still photography, I have enjoyed the opportunities that multimedia video can provide, and I think that the kinds of stories we were producing at The Globe and Mail were key to any success our website has enjoyed.

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