Tag Archives: Photography

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The Greene Beans team
The Greene Beans team

If anyone had asked me to accompany them to any sporting event two years ago, I probably would have laughed it off and rejected them. That is because it’s not my thing. However, going to the Ducks game last night opened my eyes to different things.

We arrived at the game an hour and half early with no story to write about. My teammates (Hanna, Dan and Madison) and I called ourselves “The Greene Beans.” We bonded to shoot videos, take pictures and interview people. Though it was nerve-racking to ask people their experience during the game since we didn’t want to be rejected—or get yelled at—it turned out to be experience that I could never forget.

I loved going to different places at the game and snapping pictures of the teams that were playing, the audience and the youth baseball leagues. Some children were so eager to be on the camera, which motivated me more. Unfortunately, we couldn’t interview all of them.

After nearly an hour and half walking around with our equipment in hand, we finally stopped to have some fun. We were later joined by Reid Rubio and Noelia Vazquez, bought tickets to go in the Ducks bouncy house and relax. This definitely made my night.  Overall, I enjoyed myself and I wish I could do it more often.

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An unforgettable week

I can’t believe the week is coming to an end. The days were certainly longer, and the nights shorter. But the experience was definitely one that will last forever. I am so grateful that I was chosen to be part of this program that cost me nothing, but taught everything; the different aspects of journalism, friendship, living the college life. I couldn’t have asked a better way to spend this last week of July. I wish it could have last longer.

Here at Stony Brook University, the Greene Gazette program is the first summer getaway I have ever experienced throughout my teenage life. I made great friends in the span of one week and we bonded as if we’ve been friends our whole lives. I enjoy having girl nights with them because we talked, laughed and joked about everything. My roommate, Kelly Colligan, was the best roommate I could have ever asked for.

YaYa, Kelly, Hanna, Reid
YaYa, Kelly, Hanna, Reid

Going to Newsday showed me that journalism is not simple and a lot of work has to be done. It also gave me a clearer picture of how diligently people work in the field. In addition, I enjoyed going to my first ball game ever, the Ducks. I took pictures and  jumped in the bouncing house with Hanna, Reid, Madison and Noelia.

Most importantly, I am thankful that the team and I had amazing and supportive professors who organized this program in honor of the late Bob Greene, who left them motivated enough to organize this institute. Wasim Ahmad for teaching us about blogging, Cathrine  Duffy  for her lessons and patience and Zachary Dowdy for his motivation and the other professors who also participated in the program.

Their teachings have changed our perspective on journalism for the better. I took what they had to offer in such a small amount of time and applied it to what I really want to do in life. I know for sure wherever life takes me, I will definitely take some type of photography and writing courses in college. They will both be an aspect in my life. This experience has really been a week to remember.

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No sleep

It’s day three. We wake-up at 6:30 a.m. each day and come back to our college housing at 9 p.m. It’s exhausting since we can’t really go to sleep until 11:30 p.m. since someone bangs on our dorm door for bed checks around that time. That leaves us with, at most, seven hours of sleep each day.

Monday we met with Shawn Heilbron, the new Director of Athletics at Stony Brook. He gave the Greene Team a rundown of his whole career. He started July 1st and plans on improving fundraising for the school. It was our first interview in the program.

I also learned how to work a camera from John Williams (A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist). He was, by far, the most interesting figure that came to talk to the Greene Team. He got us involved and motivated about the lesson (we even got to go outside and take our own photos!)

We also got the chance to talk to Sandra Peddie, an investigative journalist from Newsday. It’s great that we’re being exposed to the different subsections in journalism, and her storytelling was on-point. It must be a stressful job since you’re exposing corruption and people’s lies. Crazy.

Later we worked with Professor Rick Ricioppo about broadcasting. Nothing sparked my interest in particular, but he made it work. He had a cool ear piercing and sense of humor. Now I know how to set-up a tripod and work a video camera. Woohoo!

We worked with our teams on our designated stories. My team had to cover the new arena and get footage of the place. It was tiresome, but we got through. I just want to go to bed.

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Kayla Aponte

Kayla Aponte: Widening her lens

A girl who says she sees everything clearer from behind a camera lens, Kayla Aponte found her interest in photography two years ago, when she dug through some of her uncle’s old camera equipment.

“I just liked the look of the cameras,” said Aponte. “I liked that I found it easy to take beautiful pictures, but I think what really got me into it was getting my first canon DSLR for my 15th birthday.”

As Kayla delved deeper into photography, she took all the classes her school offered on the subject.

“I actually care about my pictures,” said Kayla. “I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my pictures.”

Kayla said she desired to earn new skills and saw photography as an opportunity to attain more knowledge in an area that interests her. She learned everything from taking photos in a dark room to developing film to using Photoshop.

Kayla said her photography teacher, Melissa Bussewitz, played a significant role in her development.

“She has a wonderful sense of humor, is thoughtful both as a person and as an artist, and is very clever,” said Bussewitz. “Her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn new things set her apart and I was happy to recommend her.”

Kayla said getting accepted to the Robert W. Greene Institute for High School Journalists was a game changer for her and her family. Growing up, her parents consistently tried getting her involved, from sports to clubs to camps, but she was always a tough nut to crack.

“I’m not very social,” said Kayla. “Sports or any of the clubs at school never sparked my interests; so settling for photography seemed like the only reasonable option.”

However, being the only student from Longwood High School, as well as one of the very few to be accepted into the program, Kayla’s family was instilled with a sense of pride.

“They were extremely proud of me,” said Kayla. “ My mom never shuts up when speaking about it to her friends.”

As Kayla reminisced about one of her pieces of work demonstrating selective toning, she described how a picture from her sweet sixteen was transformed and made black and white; drawing out the blue from her dress and pink from her brother’s shirt. “I like the simple things,” she said, “not destroying the picture.”

After graduation, Kayla plans to attend college – one of the first generations in her family to do so. She said she has a load of expectations on her back. After her brother decided to join the Marines, Kayla began to feel more pressure to attend college.

“All the focus is on me,” said Aponte. “After he left, I felt the need to live up to my parent’s expectations, but the pressure really roots from my parents desire for e to be successful.”

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There’s always time for Scattergories

The second day of the Greene Institute was much more eventful than the first. We started the day with an extremely early breakfast, utilizing the Student Activities Center for the first time, and then made our way to the newsroom for our first official lesson, which was probably the longest lesson I’ve ever attended. We then had the fortune of interviewing Shawn Heilbron, Stony Brook’s new Athletic Director, which was exciting and very informative.

Our photography lesson was taught by John Conrad Williams, who was kind and a great teacher. He informed us of the different settings in the cameras, and I was almost overwhelmed by all of the information I received in such a short amount of time. He then took us outside to practice shooting still pictures, profiles, and a technique called “panning.” I’ve always loved photography and especially the idea of it. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I had a great time.

Madison, Alejandro, Noelia
Madison, Alejandro, Noelia. Photo Cred: Hanna Da’Mes
After dinner, we went to our video lesson where we learned basic shooting skills and techniques. We also went outside for this, which was definitely a nice break from indoors. Separating in groups, we walked around campus and shot various videos of people walking from different angles.

After a long day, you’d think we would want to sleep. Well, you’d be right, because we were incredibly tired, but somehow our desire to spend even more time with each other overruled our fatigue. My roommate, Lisa Angell, and I went to Kayla Aponte and Sharon Ahmed’s room to play what is now becoming our nightly game of Scattergories. As we were getting ready to play, however, we decided that we would like to add others to play with us. Soon, almost all of the girls were piled into the little room, and the competition began. I became even closer with those girls, and as it has only been a couple of days I wonder exactly how close we’ll be by the end of the week.

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Monday madness for the Greene Team

panning your subject

Yesterday was full of photography, cartwheels, and Double Stuf Oreos. We started the day by blogging and interviewing the new Athletics Director here at Stony Brook, Shawn Heilbron. I’ve never interviewed a subject among eighteen others, so that was really interesting. Heilbron was very well spoken and enjoyable to listen to. He gave us exactly what we needed to write our article.

After lunch, we got the privilege to learn from a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, John Conrad Williams. After seeing what an incredible photographer he was, I was a bit intimidated. But after Williams showed us some basic skills of photography, I became more confident. We ventured out of the ice-cold newsroom, and out to take photos of the fountain, and then on to portraits. After experimenting with the camera’s ISO, shutter speed and aperture, we moved on to action shots. We jumped, cartwheeled, and leaped across the grass, while our partner tried their best to capture the shot. One of my shots came out really cool, so I inserted it into this blog post.

Following our photography lesson, we ate dinner. I decided to make instant mac & cheese in the cafeteria’s microwave. Solid choice. Once everyone had finished eating, we began our broadcast lesson. Rick Ricioppo was our instructor, and he helped us assemble the camera on the tripod, and get the most out of our videos. Towards the end of the lesson we got the chance to test out our new skills and tape some scenes outside. We filmed everything from footsteps to still nature. I’m excited to see how our (very random) movie comes out.

After a very long day, we situated into the dorms. All the girls gathered in one room to play a fun game called Scattergories. We laughed at every single response while shoveling down Double Stuf Oreos and Doritos. Party games and junk food is always a good time. After a few rounds of playing, my roommate Yaya and I went back to our room. I’m so glad Yaya is my roommate because we are so much alike. We will definitely keep in touch after this program ends. Let’s just say there’s never a dull moment in room C211.

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Motion in action

My first day here at Stony Brook University, with the Greene Team has been exhausting, but fun. Thanks to the wonderful John Williams, who devoted his time to teach the team about the aspects of photography, my day was fantastic. Photography has always been something I wanted to experience, but never pushed myself to do. The lesson that he taught us was long, but fairly educational. His sense of humor also made it entertaining.

IMG_0244I enjoyed the way he photographed pictures. It gave me a new perspective of what photography is really about. For many people (and me) using a camera has always been about taking a picture—and we would be lucky if they were good ones. But now, I think of it in a different way, as in changing the shutter speed of the camera to obtain a perfect shot, switching the ISO and knowing the difference when I’m taking picture inside and outside. Although I didn’t do so well in taking the pictures, I am looking forward to learn more about photography in today’s lesson.

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And so the work begins

This morning we met Sandra Peddie an investigative journalist for Newsday. Hearing her talk about her experiences with Bob Greene and watching how excited she was to share her stories truly made me realize that investigative journalism is my career goal. Photography is also on my mind, though yesterday was the first time I ever truly did photography other than vacation snapshots or the more-than-occasional-selfie.

Capturing Prof. Ahmad capturing students. Photo by Jason Reid.
Capturing Prof. Ahmad capturing students. Photo by Jason Reid.

Everything we started yesterday really does have me hungry to learn more. We had our first press conference and we practiced with video cameras later that day as well. Oddly enough, never once did I feel overwhelmed by a task. I even came out of my shell a bit and asked Shawn Heilbron, SBU’s new athletics director, a question during our press conference. Today is a new day, however, and apparently this is where the work truly begins.

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A jam-packed day with lots of lessons

Monday, the first full day of the Robert W. Greene program, was a really excellent experience. In my previous blog post I described the excellent breakfast here, and I finished before we had the interview with Shawn Heilbron.

Heilbron is the new addition to the Stony Brook staff. He is the new Athletic Director and has high hopes improving Stony Brook’s sports reputation as a whole. In the interview we got to listen to Heilbron’s story as to how he got to be where he is today, and then we proceeded by each asking questions, acting like a real reporter. Through the question and answers we discovered that he is interested in building up the football and basketball program, and then marketing them to get more of an audience at the games. He would then use these funds from the games to fund the other sports equally, and even has hopes of starting up a new women’s sports team.

After the interview with Heilbron we headed out to lunch. Lunch was pretty good, there was a various amount of options, but I can personally say that the pizza was really good.

John Williams Photography ClassJohn Conrad Williams then came in and taught us about the ISO, aperture and shutter speeds of the camera. We then took the cameras outside and practiced taking pictures of moving targets and of each other. This was one of the best parts of the day, going outside where it’s not  -20˚ like in the newsroom.

Kelly Colligan by Reid RubioAfter the photo lesson, we took a dinner break, which was basically the same food as lunch, which was fine by me as long as there is pizza. Next, Professor Rick Ricioppo came in and taught us about the topic I’m most interested in—broadcast journalism. We learned the basics, most of which I had already known from my class in school, but I did learn a few things about layering which was really nice.

Even though the day felt never-ending, I did learn some really exciting new things that I can’t wait to take back to my broadcast program in my school and share.

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