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Audio (Week 5 Summary)

It’s Audio Week!

Radio Bumper

This bumper was created using Audacity. I recorded my voice and then found a free source music track to place behind the talking. I used the Envelope Tool on Audacity to quiet the background music behind the speaking part, and used fade in and fade out effects to clean up the ends.

DS106 Audio Assignments

Assignment #1: Funny Voiceover

Eminem is really passionate about his McDonalds. For this assignment, I used iMovie to add clips together of an Eminem rap battle but instead of his usually angry singing, Eminem is rapping the Mcdonalds rap song.

Assignment #2: New vs. Old

For this assignment, I took the song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and remixed the original version with the Glee cover using Audacity.

Assignment #3: Tongue Twister

This assignment was to record yourself saying a tongue twister and layer a sound in the background. I recited a tongue twister about a woodchuck and then played nature sounds in the background to keep the theme consistent, and edited the tracks together using Audacity.

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Reading Movies (Week 10 Summary)

It’s Video Week!

Video Essay

This assignment tasked us to take a scene from a movie and analyze it stylistically, not by the plot. Our readings this week posed questions about why movie/video makers choose to shoot scenes the way they do. What effects do these choices create? What elements of the shot help create the desired effect? Personally, I found Roger Ebert’s approach to movie analysis most appealing because his process is to take a film shot by shot and delve deeply to discover what nuances each shot can reveal about the film. I think that breaking down the film this way helps to better focus the analysis rather than trying to glean something from the film in its entirety. Therefore, with Ebert’s article How to Read a Movie in mind, I analyzed a shot from the movie American Beauty and attempted to break it down as Ebert might. Below, I have embedded a video essay consisting of the shot I chose to look at with a voiceover analysis.

DS106 Video Assignments

Assignment #1: Period Piece Mashup

Assignment #2: Tik Tok It

The original assignment was to make a Vine video, but because Vine no longer exists I used Tik Tok.

Assignment #3: Put it in Reverse Terry

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Looking Back (Week 9 Summary)

This week, we were tasked with taking two of our old assignments and re-doing or remixing them in a new way. Below, you will see the results of that reflection and reinvention.

Revisited Work #1: Now Vogue

This visual assignment was to take a picture and turn it into a magazine cover. When I originally completed this assignment in Week 6, I used Instagram to edit a photo in order to create the magazine cover. This time around, I decided to use the photo editing website Pixlr to see how the two approaches compared. Overall, Pixlr had more options as far a design elements that could be added to the photo in making the magazine cover. I used a “Hello Summer” sticker from the bank and Pixlr had more extensive font choices. I think that Pixlr was the better tool to use for this assignment because you can create a more polished/professional looking final product compared to one created on Instagram. Here is the final work:

Revisited Work #2: Tell a Stellar Story

This web assignment was to create a story using the App Stellar. My original Stellar video detailed a vacation I took to Costa Rica, so for this remix assignment I decided to make a new Stellar project that detailed a one day long significant event in my life. I chose to make a commemorative video about my high school graduation. This time around, I used more of the features in Stellar like placing templates around each image so it looked like a digital photo album. I thought this was appropriate as the pictures within were ones I would put in a physical photo album, and it helped the Stellar to look more unique instead of an like an instagram story. Here is the final video:

Radio Reflection

While our radio show premiered on ds106 radio, my group members and I watched the tweets that came in throughout. Watching the live reaction was a really beneficial experience in that it gave us immediate feedback on the audience experience of our show, allowing us to see how it came across from the opposite perspective. The feedback we gleaned had a lot to do with what content engaged the viewers the most. Our radio show was about childhood memories, ranging from food memories, injuries, and childhood hopes and dreams. The audience response overwhelmingly showed that viewers resonated most with the stories about childhood injuries. Many of the Twitter responses had to do with people remembering their own childhood bike accidents and sharing them, as several of us talked about this in the radio show. With this in mind, if we had to revise the show I think we would focus it in more on childhood injuries in order to facilitate greater audience engagement. #radiolisten

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Mash-mixes and Re-ups (Week 12 Summary)

live look at my brain after remix & mashups week

Mashup Assignment #1 (4 stars)

For this assignment, I used Pixlr to do some photo editing mashups with different movie stills. Below, you will see Tom Ripley and Dickie Greenleaf from The Talented Mr. Ripley arguing in a boat while Jack and Rose from Titanic exchange their last, sweet parting words. Be nice if the Ripley crew let them onto their boat…

Mashup Assignment #2 (4.5 stars)

This assignment was to show the progression of an actor/actress throughout their years in the spotlight. I chose to highlight Lindsay Lohan’s progression, as I grew up watching her movies all throughout my childhood and early adulthood. Her transformation is definitely dramatic, but I chose to include more of her better moments before her last picture in an orange jumpsuit. Please watch and listen along for the poignant song choice. I used a video template in the Tik Tok app to complete this assignment, and selected and edited the audio to match with the pictures the way I wanted.

Daily Creates – Week 12

This week’s #dailycreates were fairly simple, and are embedded below for your viewing pleasure!

Remix Assignment #1

Per the brief for the week, one of our “remix it” assignments needed to incorporate something we had already completed for the class this semester. While I was scrolling through the mashup assignments for the week, I was inspired by the assignments that detailed changing the audio behind a video to create opposing effects. For last week’s blog, I created a travel documentary trailer and placed a happy, upbeat audio track behind it that matched the mood of the trailer. To mix it up this week however, I went into iMovie again and decided to place a horror movie-esque soundtrack that did not match the content of the trailer at all. The resulting new trailer, embedded below, more so resembles one of the documentaries about a family murder-mysteries that are so popular today… a little eerie. But regardless, the message of the trailer was definitely remixed to create a bit of unease and confusion, which I believe was the point of this week.

Remix Assignment #2

This remix portion of this assignment emphasized over the top editing and color choices – I hope that is obvious by the otherworldly coloring of Katniss and Tris. It said to make the final product bad, and not the good kind of bad. I do however think that the strange colors are kind of reminiscent of a hellfire laden dystopia. I chose to combine these two franchises because they have nearly identical themes: dystopian societies, female heroine, survival, love stories, tyrannical leadership etc. I don’t think the world is ready for this crossover yet but when it is, I have the movie poster ready. The Divergent Games: the ultimate display of feminine strength and power. In theaters Summer 2050.

Here we are again at the end of another week. This semester is flying by.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s work, and as always – stay tuned for more.

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Storytelling with iMovie (Week 11)

a glimpse at the terrifying state of my desktop in the process of completing this week’s assignments

This week has involved a bit of catching up and getting back on track. Speaking of tracks, for this weeks movie assignment I had to deal with audio tracks – muting tracks, deleting tracks, finding free tracks to use that somehow still got copyright claimed on Youtube… – but nevermind! This week’s assignment definitely taught me a lot about what I can do now and what I need to practice on, improve, and further explore.

For this weeks #storytelling movie assignment, I decided to make a Documentary Trailer highlighting a family trip I took back in 2018 to Europe to visit my sister who was studying abroad. I chose to do this assignment because I wanted to practice in iMovie and I wanted to do one long video assignment rather than multiple shorter ones. The finished product will be embedded below for your viewing pleasure:

Now that you’ve seen the final product, I’ll go into more detail about how it came together.

***DISCLAIMER*** I know this video might seem extremely simple to some more experienced iMovie gurus, however it was actually quite time consuming for me as someone learning and involved the application of skills I have learned earlier in this semester, as well as several Google searches for help. Sorry if it is underwhelming to anyone, but it was a valuable exercise for me in that it helped me practice creating with iMovie.

Thinking of an idea for this assignment was the most difficult part for me initially. I needed a story to tell and juggled a few ideas around before settling on this one, because I knew I had a sufficient amount of pictures and clips (content) to create a trailer. I started out using one of the trailer templates in iMovie, but as i’ll explain later I had to make some adjustments.

I chose the movie trailer template labeled “Travel” and set off to work. I first filled out an Outline that included things like Movie (or Documentary) name, group, release date, start and end location, cast list, studio name, and then the information for the ending credits. This stage was simple. Then came the storyboard stage. This stage was the most time consuming by far. However, the iMovie template contained pre-organized blocks for short clips or images to be inserted, as well as title slides in between that ran in order (like they do in a movie trailer). It took me a long time to select all the media I wanted to include, what I wanted to intermittent title slides to say, and what order I wanted each aspect to be in.

I used an assortment of personal videos, pictures, and free source video clips from the internet throughout the trailer.

Side Note: The website where I found the free source video clips (linked above) was very helpful and provided great quality short clips for my purposes in this project. Highly recommend.

Once I had every individual piece of media uploaded and placed in the desired order, I watched the trailer back and realized I absolutely hated the preset music, as well as how short some of the clip times were in the template. So I went on Google and researched how I could more freely edit this project, and subsequently converted the trailer into a movie (within iMovie). This allowed me greater creative liberty than the template, like the ability to change the background audio and adjust the clip times. The template did however provide a great organizational structure for creating the trailer in an order that made sense and looked semi-professional.

Once I had converted the template trailer into a movie, I deleted the preset audio track completely and found a free source track from the website I wanted a light hearted, upbeat track as the subject matter of this trailer was that vibe. Then I had to edit the length of the track to fit the length of the media that I had uploaded into the trailer. I adjusted it a few times to fit better with the content it played behind, but I really didn’t have to do anything too crazy on this step. Finally, I adjusted some of the title slides and clip times to last longer so that the words could be more easily read and clips that I wanted emphasized stood out more.

Once I was happy with how it all looked in iMovie, I saved the project to my laptop and then uploaded it to my YouTube channel. I was nervous at first when I saw a copyright flag on the video in the uploading stage, because I thought everything I had gotten from the internet was free source. It turns out the song I used came up as copyrighted, but it was still able to be used as long as I didn’t try to monetize the trailer (ha ha) and as long as the copyright owner could run ads before the trailer (fine by me lol). And with that, I uploaded the trailer to YouTube and previewed it there to make sure everything looked alright. Finally, I embedded it here in my blog.


This weeks assignment (and the impending deadline) really got me thinking more about the final project. After reading other’s ideas and contemplating the professor’s advice and comments from Week 10, I definitely think I want to do another movie/video format of sorts. I think it is an effective way to combine multiple mediums in one project. Of course, I plan to make something much longer than a 2 minute trailer, and something with a more complex idea/subject matter. But I want to keep experimenting with iMovie and Audacity as well to create audio with more depth and technique. I want to tell a bigger story than I have so far, one that focuses on more than my own life and experiences, although one that still has my voice. Perhaps doing something based on my local community (the Outer Banks of North Carolina) would be interesting, as I am not in Fredericksburg this semester. I think it would be interesting to do a documentary style video that talks about the history of a place and then transitions to modern day video that encapsulates what living there now looks like. I think that could produce an interesting story about comparison between eras, the evolution of society, etc.

As always, thanks for listening/watching/reading. Stay tuned for more next week.

Digital Storytelling Uncategorized

Lights, Camera, Radio!

Week 8 Daily Creates

This week, we only had 2 Daily Creates and I was very thankful because completing the radio show was very time consuming! However, they were entertaining as usual and my favorite one was recreating a childhood photo. I used a photo collage app for that daily create which was fairly simple, and for the other I simply looked up examples of Vogon poetry and wrote from the heart. Enjoy!

Radio Show – Operation Childhood

In this blog, I will be talking about the second half of the process in making our radio show. Firstly, we all texted to decide on a time that would work for everyone to actually record our show. We decided on a more relaxed, podcast style for the main content of our show, and a more scripted structure for the bumpers and commercials. On Wednesday at 3:30pm, we all got on the app Discord and decided we would record there because the sound quality is better than on Zoom. Initially, we ran into some problems on how to record our audio, because we couldn’t figure out how to use the digital assistant “Craig” who exists within Discord. We decided it was easiest to record the audio through the Voice Memo app on the iPhone. Because I was using Discord on my laptop, my iPhone was available to be used as the recorder. I set my phone a little distance from my laptop so the sound wouldn’t be muffled or altered from being too close to the speaker. We did a little test recording to make sure the quality was alright, and we were satisfied with it so we proceeded to record that way for the entire show. We all began to converse and tell our childhood stories, and it ended up going rather smoothly. We recorded our intro and outro during the take of our entire podcast so the editing process would be simpler. Once we finished talking, I uploaded the recording of our podcast into Google Drive and then shared it with my other group members so we would all have access to it. Our group member Jonah had the most audio editing experience, so he took the lead while we all met again to talk through the edits. We all emailed Jonah the audio files of our bumpers and commercials so he could put them all in one place with our podcast audio, and there it was! We had our completed radio show! I think for a first attempt, we did a fairly good job using audio editing techniques and creating a cohesive final product. I truly hope you all listen to our hard work, and I am looking forward to hearing the shows from the rest of the class.

Below, I am going to embed the link to our show for all enjoy!

As always, thanks for tuning in. More exciting things to come as the semester draws to a close! See you next week.

Digital Storytelling Uncategorized

Breaking into the Business (Week 7)

This week in DS106, we embarked on a group project to make our own radio show. This process overall was very insightful and taught me to learn and practice new skills, both technologically speaking and in group communication. This post is going up a little late, and I apologize for that, but sometimes you run into roadblocks when trying to communicate with partners when none of us are in the same place. COVID has caused all of us students to be living and learning in different places, so our only means of contact is really email or phone. Although I had difficulties initially getting in touch with my group, they were so gracious and helpful about getting me up to speed and working together to make sure we all got involved in creating the final project. We all posted our individual work on a google doc in order to see where everyone was in the process, as well as created a group message to talk, plan, and collaborate on how to realize our final show. The work I will be including here was supposed to be from last week, however it is the same work that was to be done.

*Stay tuned for later today when I will be updating my blog with our final project, and a description of the process that went into uniting all our group parts into a whole to produce our final show.

Work for the Week

First off, all the group members had to create our own logo, radio bumper, and radio commercial. This was the most individual effort of the whole project I’d say, although we talked about the theme for the show overall. Below, I’m going to post my logo, bumper, and commercial, and talk through the process of creating each.

Logo: DS106 Radio

Here is the logo I created for our show. The radio channel our show will be broadcast on is of course DS106 radio, so that is where the inspiration for this logo came from. I went online to free logo generator to create this logo. I inputted my desired name, then searched for a music theme to find an image that represented sound. Sound is the biggest element of radio because it is a totally audible form of media. Then, since our show is about childhood memories, I chose this image because it evokes the past through the picture of a cassette tape. I thought that this logo brought together all the elements I wanted to encapsulate for out show and I really liked the color scheme and font choice.

Radio Bumper: Don’t go anywhere

To create this bumper, I used the free editing app Audacity. After watching a few beginner videos, Audacity is easy to use and very user-friendly. Our group used the same track for all of our bumpers to create cohesion among the radio show as a whole. So first, I uploaded the bumper music track into Audacity. Then, I recorded myself saying the script for the bumper. These two steps were easy, but now I had to edit. There is a tool in Audacity called “envelop”, and you can use this tool to make one audio track quieter than another. I did this so that my voice wouldn’t be competing with or drowned out by the bumper music. Once I did this, I decided to add fade in and fade out effects to the beginning and ends of the bumper audio as a whole so it would create a smoother transition from whatever came before it in the show. Finally, I saved the finished audio then downloaded it as an MP3 file so that it was able to be sent via email/uploaded to my WordPress.

Radio Commercial: Go Go Squeeze Applesauce

To create this commercial, I followed nearly all the same steps I did when creating my bumper. The only difference here was I had to find my own unique background music to go in the back of my commercial. I went online and downloaded an open source music track that was an upbeat, acoustic guitar song. Because I would be speaking in my commercial, of course I wanted just an instrumental background song. I uploaded that song into Audacity, recorded my commercial, then used the envelope tool to make my voice audible over the music. The reason I chose to use Go Go Squeeze as the product for my commercial was because the theme of our radio show was childhood memories. I am really glad I feel more comfortable using audacity now so that I can implement it for my audio needs in the future.

Can’t wait to show everyone the final product of our show! Stay tuned.

Digital Storytelling Uncategorized


Make it simple, but significant

– Don Draper

Week 6 DesignBlitz

This week is all about design and the careful thought that goes behind it. In the readings and videos, I learned so much about the importance of the intention and clarity within designs, and the measurement of how effectively that intention is realized by the viewer. For this #designblitz challenge, we were tasked to take a look at some of our own pictures and explain how elements of design are shown in each. Below, I have included the photos of mine that I chose to examine through the lens of different design concepts. If you want to look at them via my class instagram, click the links below each photo to get there!

Element #1: Color

This picture employs the design concept of color. While there is a person (me) in the foreground of this photo, the background stands out more due to the vibrant, bold colors used in the posters. The bold black text, stark white background, and bright red detailing cause the poster to pop in the viewer’s eye. The clothing I am wearing in the picture is dark and muted, overshadowed by the colorful surroundings. The colors used in this poster definitely help to enhance the delivery of their message “have a good time”. Red is almost always a color used to draw the attention of the eye, especially a bright red like this. It demands to be looked at. The color red often literally represents an indication to STOP, like in a stop sign or a red light. In the same way, this sign is saying stop, look at me! Read my message before you continue on with your day.

Element #2: Form/Function/Message

This picture demonstrates the concept of form, function, and message in design. I took this photograph while engaging in the mundane task of getting a new light bulb. However, never before had I gone into a store to do this and saw light bulbs displayed in such a creative way. It was evening when I took this picture, which helped establish great contrast against the light bulbs themselves. They’re hanging at different lengths and reflected in the store-front window. This simple yet effective display reveals the function of the light bulbs in a whimsical manner. By displaying the light bulbs in their on position, the viewer experience is enhanced greatly. Looking at the lights strung up this way instead of nestled unlit inside a cardboard box gives new life to the usually humdrum task of finding a replacement bulb. Having the lights on allows the viewer to imagine the lights as they would be in their own space. It shows their subtle differences through the various brightnesses, lengths, and positions, making the display overall more effective.

Element #3: Typography

This photograph focuses on the element of typography in design. Typography deals heavily with the type of fonts used, the spacing of the words, and how those choices affect how one views an image, poster, sign, etc. With this picture I am specifically analyzing the fonts of the restaurant signs on this street in Detroit. I wanted to look at the fonts and overall designs of each sign to ascertain what type of fare and atmosphere each sign offers a passerby. The frontmost sign uses an all capital font, and different sizes for the words “small” and “plates”. The word “plates” appears larger and in icon form, presumably to emphasize the food of the establishment. The phrase in totality, “small plates” gives off a sense of comfort food found within. Now when looking at the second closest sign, it reads “Detroit Beer Co”. This sign appears to be designed to look aged and vintage, giving off a tavern feel. The common thread in both signs is the old-English spelling of Detroit, a style that is specific to the area. Adopted by the Detroit Free Press and then later to great fame by the Detroit Tigers, this old-English feel is indicative of detroit and lets patrons know that they are visiting businesses that are attempting to create the feel of “traditional” Detroit establishments.

Element #4: Unity

This photograph demonstrates the element of unity in design. As defined in the DesignBlitz Resource Article, β€œthe concept of unity describes the relationship between the individual parts and the whole of a composition. It investigates the aspects of a given design that are necessary to tie the composition together, to give it a sense of wholeness, or to break it apart and give it a sense of variety.” With this definition in mind, I believe that my chosen photo can be examined in various ways. Firstly, all of the different elements attached to this wall are different, but they share a common theme. They all have a carefree, traveler, beachy kind of vibe that helps draw them together into a cohesive display. The individual pieces of the wall could however be taken apart and put into more specifically categorized displays, such as “beach posters”, “license plates”, or “surfboards”. However, I think that the intermingling of the different pieces with similar themes creates an overall more effective and aesthetically pleasing wall space rather than just a wall made up of only one of the three parts of the whole. The combination of these individual pieces help create a recognizable feeling of ease/vacation time, and that message is achieved through design.


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Visualize With Me (Week 4 Summary)

Me analyzing pictures all week

Daily Creates: Week 4

Welcome back to this week’s edition of Weekly Summary! Starting off our show tonight are the one and only Daily Creates. In accordance with this unit, all of the Daily Creates this week were very focused on visual experiences. This weeks daily creates included kaleidoscope drawings, caption contests, and inserting ourselves (or our pets) into famous works of art. The kaleidoscope drawing create introduced me to a new website where all you do is draw funky patterns. It was interesting learning how moving the mouse in different ways allowed you to create new lines, shapes, and patterns. There was a bit of a learning curve as far as the mouse movements, but the assignment was so free flowing in both its creative process and final outcome. No matter how you chose to move your mouse, your kaleidoscope drawing was perfect as long as you did it! I found that I cleared my page over and over until it “looked right” to me, and once I had that I was ready to submit. That is one great aspect to art – its beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It was a very soothing exercise that produced many variations of digital, artistic expression.

The caption contest daily create was overall simple to produce. I screenshotted the image given to us on twitter, then uploaded it into instagram where I was able to type and overlay my desired text onto the image. I then fit the test inside the caption bubble and saved the updated image. I had to rotate the picture from portrait to landscape for the final product, then I uploaded the image to Twitter. I liked this create because we as the caption creator had to interpret the visual image and come up with a caption that would fit the scenario, adding wit or sarcasm at our leisure. I truly enjoyed reading the other submissions and found it unsurprising that several of the captions (mine included) referenced the chicken who crossed the road.

Finally, my absolute favorite create of the whole semester – life imitates art! Putting myself into a famous painting was something I had never thought of doing, but once I saw the create I was so excited. To accomplish this, first I screenshotted an image from Google of the famous painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer. Then, I opened my snapchat app and tried to angle my face the same way the girl was in the original painting, and took a picture. Snapchat has a feature where you can outline anything in a photo and create a sticker out of it, so I outlined my face and created my desired sticker. I then uploaded the image of the original painting into snapchat, and edited it by adding the sticker of my face onto the original girl. I had to touch the image up a bit with some drawing in snapchat, smoothing out edges and color correcting. Although the finished product wasn’t perfect, I loved my spoof image and thought it was very humorous. It’s probably going on my ds106 instagram.

*Yeah, I just uploaded it there. Here’s the link:

All Daily Creates completed by me this week are embedded below for your viewing pleasure πŸ™‚


Week 3: Assignments and Reflections

Assignment #1: Doggos in Paris – (original assignment post)

This assignment was interesting and piggybacked off of one of my daily creates this week. I know I could’ve and probably should’ve used photoshop or something with this assignment but I thought it was fine for my purposes to use stickers again to incorporate landmarks in this basic photo of my dog. I think it adds a comical sense to the picture and it is obviously unbelievable because the structures look out of place. I don’t know, I probably didn’t do this assignment right but I liked it enough to go forward with it. I liked the cartoon-ish aspect to the photo. I searched up a Paris location filter to add to the effect, and added a yellowish tint to try and emulate and older photo.

Assignment #2: Art Comes to Life – (original assignment post)

This assignment popped out at me because I had already done a daily create with a similar prompt! The assignment was to try and recreate a famous painting or print. Above you can see the barely discernible difference between these two paintings of “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. I think added the original image as comparison actually changes the assignment a bit when you are comparing a reflecting. You can more clearly see the difference between the facial expressions, even though I tried my best to recreate it accurately you really think it looks close when you don’t have the original image pulled up right next to it. I think overall though I tried my best to twist and change the size of the sticker of my face to fit the shape of the girl in the painting’s face. I had to shade the image in places to further shape it and overall I think it is a good/funny attempt at recreation because these assignments give you the opportunity to discover/refine your editing abilities.

Assignment #3: Who Me? Yeah, Me! – (original assignment post)

This picture was fun to make, but it required a partner. Up until today I didn’t have another person to do this assignment with. I had tried to do it weeks ago but I couldn’t, so I was really glad that I finally got to try it. The provided tutorial in the assignment made it very easy to recreate. What you do is start on one side of a panorama photo, then run behind your photographer and get on the other end of the picture before the camera swivels there. This random dog was also featured and it was funny because he also followed the rules of the assignment just by trailing behind me. This assignment only took me one try and I really like the end result. Anyone with a phone that has panoramic capabilities can do this assignment quickly and produce a cool result seeing yourself (and maybe your dog) twice in one picture!

Assignment #4: Creature of the Night – (original assignment post)

For this post, I knew I already had a blurry picture that would be funny for this assignment. It was blurred to begin with, but it wasn’t quite obscure enough yet. I put the photo into the facetune app and played with the background. I used a tool to blur the background more as well as the edges of the figure (me running outside in the rain in socks). I also applied filters to try and blur my face more so it would be more ambiguous and featureless. Is that the flash? It could be, she’s going fast. Facetune is a good app usually used for editing photos to give them more clarity or hide imperfections, however through this assignment I found that it could also be used to make the photo quality worse if that is the desired effect.

Check out my other blog posts from this week!

As always, thanks for tuning it. More next week.

Digital Storytelling Uncategorized

VSCO Made Me Think I was a Photographer

My previous experience with photography is probably pretty typical of other young people growing up in this generation inundated with technology. That being said, my skills and knowledge with photography definitely lean more towards the side of basic proficiency, and principally consist of pictures taken on my phone. Growing up during the era in which Apps such as Instagram and VSCO were growing in popularity influenced my interaction with photography. Personal photo taking and sharing was becoming not only trendy and popular, but the norm. And these applications have grown alongside improving technologies in cell phones, especially their cameras. These innovations have allowed the everyday user, perhaps without any photography experience, to have the access and ability to become photographers (to a degree). Today, most of my experience with photography still consists of taking pictures with my phone, however my skills have grown in the arena of editing photos. I mainly take pictures of my friends, pets, vacations, or aesthetic scenery. Like I said, pretty basic stuff. I used to think that I was really good at taking pictures, especially when I had the opportunity to travel to some incredible destinations like France, Italy, Costa Rica, and St. Maarten. But through the readings this week and reflection about photography as a whole, my perspective changed. I realized that I thought the pictures were great pictures because my subject matter was great – The Coliseum, The Eiffel Tower, tropical beaches and oceans – subjects that are inherently photogenic. My pictures of them didn’t become good just because I was taking a picture of something important or pretty. In my opinion, those pictures could have become great if I had put some more thought behind them.

My approach to taking photos is that I don’t have one. I have never been the kind of person to plan out a photo, to critically think about the composition, or to wonder about incorporating stylistic elements (except to a very minimal degree). I usually see a moment I want to remember or think is beautiful, and then just take out my phone and capture it. Of course, I try to make it look good in the best way I can, but that is usually confined to making sure the subject is in focus, the picture isn’t crooked, and that it if is dark outside – use flash. As I said, I don’t usually go into taking a photo with the mindset of capturing an emotion or story within it, but rather my mind makes that part up after the fact. When I see a photo, I attribute emotion and a story to it based on the way it makes me feel. At the time a photo was taken, there could be a completely different feeling attached to it compared to when I look at it weeks or months later. That’s why I found the article Becoming a Better Photographer: Telling Stories in Photos eye-opening and insightful.

As I mentioned previously, I think that the way I grew up with Instagram and phone technology maybe distracted me from how special creating a picture could be. Because it was always at my fingertips, maybe I didn’t consider it to be as special as it can be with some thinking behind it. I knew the difference between my amateur, personal photos and actual good pictures, but ultimately I never thought about how pictures go from okay to memorable. I think that the general guidance offered in the above article provides a great place to start. Paying attention to elements such as:

  • selection
  • contrast
  • perspective
  • depth
  • balance
  • moment
  • lighting
  • foreground/background

can really help elevate a photo. Ultimately, good photography requires a bit of thought and planning behind it. Sometimes, you are just in the right place at the right time, but more often I feel that you need to consider elements such as these in order for a photo be more impactful and successful in telling its intended story.

***Thankfully, through the Photoblitz exercise I completed this week, I got the opportunity to try and apply these principles to some of my own photos. I definitely feel like I have a deeper understanding of photography and its role in storytelling.

Photo Dump!

Even though I just criticized my photography skills, I’m still going to include some pictures I have taken just to show my style of photography. It’ll be nice to look back and see how my style has evolved at a later date!