Sunday, February 28, 2010

The bubble taunts us

Arzola wonders why the bubble hates her.
As we move into our second week of EJC (Electronic Journalism Course), we're learning all sorts of new things. One area that has been "fun" is keeping the camera straight and level as it sits on the tripod. Simple in theory. Aiding us in this task are what I call Bubble Buddies. The tripod's BBs rest in liquid and must be maneuvered into a tiny little circle of "levelness" before shooting. This is done by adjusting the length of the tripod's legs. Over...and..over...and...over.
After our school day ends, we come back to the detachment to shoot practice assignments. Here Jandik helps Wray white balance using a white piece of paper. The assignment for him was to create a 60 second news story about the importance of Navy students balancing school work with proper uniform appearance.
MC2 Vernon reviews footage from a practice assignment I've just edited on Adobe Premier.
He's looking for proper exposure, focus, camera stability, sound levels, time constraint,
voiceover quality, and more.
Wray shoots a wall of WWII photos for a news package.

Chief Shavers goes over final instructions at the end of the day.

Our first graded assignment is tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No harm no foul!

One of the great things about MC 'A' school is there's always something going on.  Imagine being in a family with 70 brothers and sisters around all the time.  We have a huge pool of bodies to draw on for all sorts of events.  From Ultimate Frisbee and football (when it's warmer) to chess and ping pong tournaments, we're always finding ways to stay active.

Right now it's all about basketball.  Corbin, one of the senior class members, put together a two-week long tourney featuring teams of 3 battling it out during morning PT.

My team lost in the first round but I was able to get some shots of our Sailors in action.  Chief Shavers, our head Electronic Journalism instructor came out to grind out pushups, situps, and jump shots.  I'll be adding photos to this entry as the tournament progresses.

For the record, I'm damn good at racquetball.

 Meineke takes his opponents to the house.

 Chief Shavers contemplates how best to bring the pain.

Meineke watches as his layup hits its mark.

Corbin pauses after a hard-won victory.

 Day two brought emotional highs...

 and lows.

Melkus shoots a jumper as the defense can only watch in awe.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Not just breakfast...

Our class, the senior class, had to go to school Saturday to make up for lost snow days.  Arzola, Grimnes and Thomas made breakfast for everyone to ease the pain.  Some of our instructors joined us in enjoying some delicious egg sandwiches.  They told us they liked our display of team spirit.  Hooyah!
Our detachment has a full service kitchen for those who enjoy cooking.
Grimnes serves up eggs to Cotter, who enjoys them with cheese.
Thomas eats her egg sandwich with the pinky of approval raised high. Arzola is mesmerized by the camera.
Many of us choose to eat cereal to save time in the morning, so this was a real treat.
The good food made the day a little easier, and we were happy to see the instructors there. Thanks Arzola, Grimnes and Thomas!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

EJC - Electronic Journalism Course

I have to say what I realized on the first day of class, back in September. The instructors here are top notch. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Electronic Media & Film. I've logged a lot of class time. The men and women of the Defense and Information School are the best I've ever seen. Why are they great? They care about what they do, and they know what they're talking about. Sometimes I can't believe I get paid to learn under them. Currently my class is in EJC, or Electronic Journalism Course. We're using Sony Mini-DV video cameras to learn to shoot news stories. Here's some shots from the last few days. Some are from today, Saturday, which is why the instructors are in civvies. (civilian clothes) Disclaimer: We're out of the photo section, so I have to use a crappy point & shoot camera.
The class is split into small groups overseen by an instructor. Here MC2 Vernon watches as students practice taping a chess game sequence.
Chief Shavers reviews footage with students. This is when tips for improvement are given.
It's all about mobility in this business. Johndro gets low for the perfect angle.
Snow checks her LCD screen for proper white balance, exposure, and focus.
MC1 Simoes reviews footage with his team. Small groups mean closer instructor/student interaction. This is imperative in a course that does in two weeks what would take a college months.
Melchor sits in the hot seat while her group sets up a 3-point lighting scheme. A key light (on the left) acts as the main light source while lamps on the right and behind fill in shadows and make the subject stand out from the background.
Bell starts to melt under the lights in our studio. He's wearing safety gloves issued to students who must handle lights that reach several thousand degrees.
Chief Shavers gives a student interviewing tips. As an MC it's not all about proper camera technique. Frequently operating alone, Mass Communication specialists must act as interviewer as well as camera operator and lighting technician. The ability to put a subject at ease is key to getting the story we need.

You WILL shoot these as an MC

A big part of our jobs as Mass Communication specialists is shooting awards ceremonies, reenlistments, promotions, and standups. I need some practice at these, but here's a couple of examples.
Grimnes & Jones pose for a mock award ceremony. We are taught to treat each ceremony with the utmost respect. Although an MC may shoot ten in a day, each event is special to the recipient.
Jones looking good in his dress blues. Standups can be a big aid in a Sailor's promotion, since it shows the promotion board how "squared away", or neat they look.
We have to get these right.

A picture is worth...classes, Intermediate Photo, photo story, photography,

Here's my final graded photo layout for Intermediate Photo. I went sledding with a few Sailors after the big snow last week. This was shot with a Nikon D200 and edited with Photoshop CS3.
(Click on the layouts to enlarge. Hit your browser's back button to return to the blog.)

Many thanks to Gonzalvo, Wade, and Young!

A practice layout, Faces Of D.C.

Another practice layout. It's me!


The snow is still here but we were able to go to school all week. To make up for the days we lost last week, we went to school from 0600 to 1800. That's 12 hours baby! And we went most of the day today. No worries, I've worked overtime at jobs before. I've mentioned in previous posts that we PT (physical training) Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 0500 to 0545. It's not too strenuous but it is EARLY. It's the lack of sleep that kills me. I have to be in bed at 2100 (9pm) to get 7 hours sleep. That never happens. Like many other students, I go to bed between 2200 and and 2300, get up at 0430 the next morning and PT. so: On PT days, I go to class for 8 hours on 5-6 hours sleep. {insert massive frowny face}
This is us at 0445 about to head to the gym a few blocks away. It's too cold to run outside. Running outside is cool because we run in formation and sing cadence. Yeah!!
Most Sailors look exactly like Wray this early.
At the gym, Sailors wake up.
Carey, although a bit of a nerd, is a motivational beast during PT. As assistant student leader, his place is on the front line with the section leaders to show the others how it's done.
Pre-stretching decreases chance of injury.
Squat jumps increase EXPLOSIVE POWER!
After pushups and situps, we run around the gym a bunch of times.
Carey gasps out a few more pushups before the session ends with stretching.
Then we all go back to the detachment to get ready for morning quarters (meeting) and school.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Shoveling their way into history

During the storms, section 2 ended up shoveling the majority of the snow off of our walkway. I encouraged them to feel good about being a part of a historic event! I don't think it helped.
See the frozen warriors in action below.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Macro photography - Leaving CSI in the dust

Part of our job is to take photos of damaged equipment and crime scenes. Training in close-up, or macro, photography is facilitated with some really cool gear.

Seaman Recruit Jandik lends Seaman Cheek a hand as she practices shooting with the ring light attachment.

<--------- The lighter next to the circuit board gives size perspective. It's tough to focus on that stuff!

The incense sticks from a foot... and from a couple of inches.
(click photos to see the detail)

Seaman Wray doesn't really smoke. He held very still for me to get this shot.