Digital Journalism

COM466 – University of Washington

Digital Photography Assignment

Summary of photography assignment:

Blog post with three examples of excellent news photos and three examples of not-so-good ones. (Stills, not slideshows. One step at a time.)

  1. Aaron (not in the round-up below because formatting prevents copy-and-paste)
  2. Brian
  3. Brianna
  4. Emma
  5. Fereshta (not in the round-up below because of formatting – no links in descriptions)
  6. Ganelle
  7. Gwen
  8. Janelle (not in round-up below because images are not hyperlinked)
  9. Katie (not in the round-up below because formatting prevents copy-and-paste)
  10. Keala
  11. Krista
  12. Liz
  13. Nate
  14. Tom (not in the round-up below because formatting prevents copy-and-paste)
  15. Wilhelmina (“bad” and one “good” not in the round-up below because formatting prevents copy-and-paste)

The Good:

  1. A story in the Dallas Morning News about popular trails in the area. Good use of still photos because they have three photos of three different locations and they draw the reader in.
  2. piece on National Geographic on a new species of fish discovered in Greenland. The photos are simply amazing.
  3. This story was in the Tacoma News Tribune. It is about the difficulty of selling homes no matter how nice they are. There are very good photos of a specific house to accompany the story.
  4. The Stranger- “Why Do You Hate Them, Rob?”. Relates directly to the story, and adds a crucial human element that puts a face to the writing.
  5. National Geographic- “Iceland Volcano Pictures”. Some really amazing and beautifully taken shots. They really add something to the story that words never could.
  6. “Cold Comforts: Antarctic Research Bases are Seriously Self Sustaining”. The photos are very interesting and make an otherwise boring story more engaging.
  7. NFFTY Draws Moviemakers 22 and Under– This picture from the Seattle Times is near perfect for me. It tells the entire story just by looking at it. Excellent rule of thirds and strong leading lines make the subject pop. Miscellaneous background items help tell the story as well. Very good picture.
  8. Sounders FC Suffers Antoher Late Game Disappointment, Ties FC Dallas 2-2–  The picture tells a lot about how the game went. The struggle is visible in both teams faces which speaks well to the headlining game tie. Of course sports photos always offer up great snap shots of adversity. (LOOOOOOOONG HEADLINE SEATTLE TIMES!)
  9. ‘Dirty Thunderstorm’: Lightning in a Volcano– Sometimes things happen that are just awe-inspiring. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to capture that thing in a photo (in this case msnbc). Lightning mixed with fire bursting out of the ground with black ash that looks like its on fire is just cool to see. This will probably go down as one of the great pics of the century. Why its a good picture I’m unable to fully articulate, sometimes your gut just knows, and this is one of them times.
  10. Miracle on the Hudson: This photo says it all . . . A plane in the water (not where it should be) and survivors on a raft in life vest next to the wrecked, sinking plane. Very successful use of a photo and a text story.
  11. Earth Shaking Images: First of all, these are amazing photos. Each one of these stories is enhance by an image that has been taken. A photo that accompanies any story should contribute to the overall understanding of the piece and I think that is what these do.
  12. Chaos on the Water: This is just that, and image that is reiterating the idea that chaos has ensued on the water. I think it’s great.
  13. Obama Eulogizes Victims of Mine Accident
    -The rule of thirds is well utilized in this photo. Lines (the line of the helmets) are used to direct the eye and there is a nice contrast of dark and light. The picture helps give emotion to the story.
  14. Hundreds protest immigration law in Arizona
    -The subject of the photo is aligned following the rule of thirds and the photo helps bring emotion to the story.
  15. Poulet Chalets
    -This photo is taken from a unique perspective (the eye level of the rooster) and utilizes the rule of thirds as well as an interesting (but not too cluttered) background.
  16. This photo is from the Boston Globe, view it here. Zachariah Sutton (right) and other members of the crew raised the sails on the Peacemaker as it headed toward Plymouth. The boat’s crew consists primarily of young men from the community.
  17. New York Times Photography Blog: LENS . There isn’t a way for me to copy the photos directly from that site, but I think most of the photos posted there are very impacting and commands the attention of the viewer.
  18. Photo link to story “Herzlich ready for next challenge” on by Ivan Maisel. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images. If I was a stickler for the rules, I would perhaps point out that the vertical rule-of-thirds was ignored here. But I can’t be a stickler when the rest of the photo is so textbook for “how to do a great sports shot.” The arms are in the upper third of the photo, the focus gives emphasis on Herzlich–victorious after his bout with cancer and returning to the game–and keeps the sense of place (the football field) despite the softened background. The photographer also got a photo story in one photo: victory. Don’t they say victory is sweet?
  19. Tornado, storms kill 12 in southern states.” From AP, on CBS News. Photo from Associated Press. Emotional and powerful, this photo clearly tells a personal story about the storm devastation in Yazzo0  City, Mississippi. The photo compels you to read the story and find more information about Sharron Moore, who was to move into this new home the next week. The background has angular dynamics, and Moore stands a third into the photo frame. The colors are stark, and fit the mood of the photo. We are able to experience this disaster as Moore did, with a vision of destruction before her
  20. Growing split in Arizona over immigration.” By Randal C. Archibold. New York Times. Photo by Monica Almeida. Photographers are often given the task of documenting the interviewees for a story. This can be mundane, or it can be an opportunity to flex some photographer muscle, as was done by Monica Almeida here. Immediately striking are the dark shadows on a lighter pavement–perhaps the luck of the day. But Almeida created a great deal of interest on her own, using an interesting angle and camera placement (can you figure out where it is relative to the subject?). With straight columns made angled, we have a faked sense of excitement and movement. The sense of the “everyday-ness,” perfect for a public opinion story, may have been the journalist’s call; however, it takes the right timing to get all the background elements to work so well with the subject (not distracting, but adding). Obviously, Almeida has that timing.

The Bad:

1. This was a story in the L.A. Times about a teenage girl attempting to sail around the world solo having to stop and port in South Africa. There is only one picture of the girl where you can’t even see the boat.

2. A story about trout season getting under way in Washington. There is one picture of a trout. Lame. They could have had pictures of the fishers, or different lakes.

3. This piece was on the winner of the London Marathon ending Kenya’s six year win streak. There should have been a ton of photo oppurtunities, but they ran one photo that is fuzzy, and boring in my opinion.

4. The Seattle Weekly- “New Tattoo and Piercing Law a Product of Machiavellian Tactics”. While pretty funny, this image is loosely related to the written story. Also, I know for a fact that this image was taken from a blog about horrible tattoos (that I frequent now and then), not even from stock photos!

5. Seattle PI- “Getting There: Orca card frustrates some transit riders”. There’s nothing interesting about this photo and it hardly adds anything to the story.

6. New York Times- “Pressure is Building on Disputed Wind Farm”. Considering the topic, there are many more interesting photo opportunities than just a image of the guy talking.

7. Armed Man Arrested at Airport as Obama Departs– Our first bad one comes from (I know, I know, how cliche.) In a story about a possible assassination attempt on the Nation’s president, the most exciting photo they could come up with is of Obama waving as he gets on Air Force One. The picture doesn’t help tell a story, and is like every other photo of the president getting on an airplane. The story could have been just fine without a pic, it seems like it was tacked on as an afterthought and nothing more.

8. Toilet Paper Wipes Out 27,000 Trees a Day– Clever title aside, National Geographic’s accompanying photo was just a picture of a roll of toilet paper. It looked like it came from a backlog of clip art. Coming from the forerunner in excellent photography, seems like something a little bit better could have been used.

9. Oil Industry Vs. California’s Climate Bill– The Planet Green web page brings us the generic piece of crap. The California state flag waves in the wind. Boring. Generic. Useless. Nuff’ said.

10. Entertainment Stories: Many times, entertainment stories like the ones found on Eonline post images that correspond with the article only in the sense that they identify the subject. However, the photo does nothing to enhance the story itself.

11. Misleading Images? This one just irritated me based on the simple notion that the headline reads “Hundres Protest . . .” Well these images aren’t showing me t-shirts and just a few angry people, I am not getting the vibe of hundreds.

12. Seriously CNN? I mean these are the images they chose to run . . . I think this one is self explanatory as far as the quality.

13. What’s Chicago’s sex IQ?
-I feel that the picture is not framed very well and there is not a clear focus of the photo. The photo is very busy.

14. Lebanese demonstrators march for seclusion
-Although the picture utilizes some aspects of the rule of thirds, I wish the top of the poster would be included so that the viewer could read the sign and know what the protest was about. I understand that the photographer was probably going for a more artistic approach, but I do not feel the picture is the best suited for a news photo.

15. Five Ballard projects awarded city funds
-This photo doesn’t have much going for it, it looks like the photographer just pointed and shot the image without much thought.

16. “A life without fear.” NPR. Photo by Jesse Naider.
At first glance, this photo has some definite good points, such as lighting contrasts, multi-level blocking, and success in preventing face recognition of the subject. The point that should be made however (and the reason for giving it a “bad” categorization) is that the photo fails to add to the article and podcast that accompany it. Often, news photography aids the story by giving a personal connection–a face to associate with the story. But if the subject is a child and the face cannot be shown, what does one do? Illustrate some aspect of the story. Unfortunately, this photo does not interpret the themes of distrust (the story is about a little girl without the psychological ability for emotional intimacy) or even about what is unique about this child. It is just a reporter visiting a kid. We can do better.

17. “Psychedelic trips aid anxiety treatments in study.” From AP Science, on Seattle Komo News 4. Photo unattributed. If you need a stock photo for drugs, it is understandable you might turn to this one. The lighting effect with the grill is nice, though the spacing is odd. Overall it leaves me thinking, “There is room for creativity here.” Stock photos can also have some artistry. What about a super close-up? What about playing more with those focus elements?What do the pills look like (great opportunity for a pop of color)? Essentially, this picture is an assignment that was carried out–a perfect reminder to always work with a photographer’s ey

18. “Behind the scenes with homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano.” By Pierre Thomas. Good Morning America/ABC News. Photo unattributed. With the light coming through venetian blinds and the possibility for an interesting low angle, this photo from ABC News disappoints. Creative framing would have helped, such as playing with the scale of the desk items. Overall the photo is poorly lit and lacks emphasis–two things which are necessary for photo storytelling. While points are earned for off-centering the subject and keeping a rule of thirds for the desk/space ratio, it fails to make the topic seem any more newsworthy than a filler story.


Filed under: Assignments

One Response

  1. […] Summary post: today’s photo assignment; assignment for Friday based on this summary at the bottom of the page […]

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