On Monday afternoon, I had the pleasure of going to shoot photos of the Mizzou gymnastics practice. 75 minutes and 815 photos later, I was done.
Here’s the thing about the gymnastics practice facility: you have to “stay on the yellow.” This simply means that I am not allowed to climb all over the mats, get on top of the beam or go up in the balcony area. Previously, this had been an annoyance. Lugging a tripod around, trying to angle it correctly to catch action sequences while staying on the yellow made me feel awkward and in the way. With a Nikon D7000 around my neck and some beat-up Vans on my feet, however, I had 10 times more mobility.
I could crouch down in the yellow right next to the bars and get a really cool backlit action shot. I felt as if I could utilize all of the yellow space rather than wherever my tripod could fit comfortably.
Another discovery was how much I enjoyed shooting photos. A lot. It was a fun game to me: how do I angle, zoom, focus so that this photo can tell a story? Do I focus on a gymnast’s feet during a skill? Her whole body? The entire team? What’s important and what isn’t? It felt almost like visual editing – cropping out the superfluous in order to make room for what was most important.
It also satisfied the artistic, creative side of me that gets a little squashed under the strict, sometimes formulaic style of news writing. Of course, there is always room for creativity in writing (and sometimes you have to get very creative to make a piece worth reading), but there is nothing quite as great as visual art. After two years without an art class, I sometimes forget how much pleasure it brings me to actually make something.
Photography is an avenue of journalism I would love to cultivate and pursue during my time in the JSchool. Knowing how to properly take photos – find, frame, focus – can be a wonderful addition to any journalist’s repertoire, especially in the Print & Digital area.
My ultimate dream job is to write for National Geographic. If I can write and report as well as take photos, I can only imagine I would be a lot more useful resource.
Check out some of my favorite shots. Hopefully there will be more in the future!