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Final Portfolio Essay

This past year, my dive into the world of photojournalism has been a whirlwind of discovery and growth. From the basics of snapping shots to the intricacies of editing, each class session has been a step forward in honing my skills and understanding the art of visual storytelling. Reflecting on this journey, it’s clear that the enjoyment I’ve found in this class stems from the new techniques I’ve learned and how they’ve helped me perform better.

At the start of the semester, I had a pretty limited view of photography. Sure, I knew how to point and shoot, but I hadn’t really thought about the different angles and perspectives that could make a photo stand out. That changed quickly as I learned to experiment with various angles. Whether it was getting low to the ground for a unique perspective or finding a higher vantage point for a wider view, playing with angles opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me.

Another game-changer was learning about cropping. It sounds simple, but mastering the art of cropping took my photos to the next level. Suddenly, I wasn’t just capturing scenes, I was crafting compositions. By cropping out distractions and focusing on key elements, I could guide the viewer’s eye and tell a more compelling story with each shot.

Editing was another major improvement for me and my work. At first, I was hesitant about messing with my photos too much. I didn’t want to lose the authenticity of the moment. But as I got more comfortable with editing software, I realized that it’s not about changing reality; it’s about enhancing it. Adjusting exposure, tweaking colors, and sharpening details, all of it helped me bring out the best in my photos while staying true to the essence of the moment.

As the semester progressed, I could see the impact of these new skills in my work. Assignments became less daunting as I gained confidence in my ability to frame shots creatively, crop them effectively, and polish them with editing. Whether I was documenting a campus event or telling a story through a series of photos, I felt more equipped to capture the essence of the moment and communicate it visually.

Throughout the semester, I noticed a big change in how my photos looked. At first, they were kind of messy and didn’t really stand out. But as I learned more about things like composition and balance, I started paying more attention to what was in my shots. I started thinking about things like lines and space, and it made a big difference. My photos started to look more dynamic and interesting.

I also got better at telling stories with my photos. At the beginning, I mostly just focused on making things look nice. But as I studied different photographers and their work, I realized that photos can say a lot more than just what’s in them. So I started paying more attention to the emotions and stories behind the scenes. It helped me connect more with my subjects and make my photos more meaningful.

Overall, this class has been a real eye-opener for me. I’ve learned so much about how to take better photos and tell better stories with them. I’m excited to keep improving and see where my photography journey takes me next.

In closing, my photojournalism class has been an unforgettable journey of learning and discovery. Through exploring different angles, mastering cropping techniques, and embracing the art of editing, I’ve not only improved my skills behind the lens but also developed a deeper appreciation for the power of visual storytelling. I’m grateful for the experiences and lessons gained along the way, and I look forward to continuing to explore the world through the lens of my camera. Thank you Ross, for guiding me making this class a lot of fun.

Photo Story Assignment: College Life – “A Walk Through Morningside”

The sun sets on Morningside University campus after a long Friday of work.
A Morningside University banner in front of the Library Center.
The Library Center glows as the sun sets on Morningside’s campus.
The Buhler Outdoor Performance Center awaits its next utilization.
The stone tables outside of Roadman Hall, are a great place to study with friends.
The big and beloved “M” logo sits near the center of campus.
The Elwood & Grace Olsen Student Center is a popular spot for Morningside students.
Dimmit Hall: A sought-after housing location for students.

Reflection Essay (750 words):

Hi, my name is Noa Phillips, and this is my Photo Story and my eight pictures of Morningside University’s campus. My theme for this Photo Story was “A walk through Morningside” and throughout my pictures, I tell the story of a relaxing walk through campus. I decided to shoot the quiet paths, the busy spots where students hang out, and the nice buildings. From sunrise to sunset, these photos give the audience a peek into our college life. It resembles a casual stroll through the Morningside University college grounds. Lastly, I took these pictures as part of my photojournalism class, where I learned how to capture moments and tell stories through photography. It’s been a fun way to explore our campus and share what makes it special.

I wanted to show how walking around a small college campus feels nice and peaceful, especially during sunset. Each of the eight pictures I took captures different parts of the campus bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun, like quiet paths and student areas. When the audience sees these pictures, I want them to feel like you’re taking a relaxing stroll through the college, feeling the warmth of the sun filtering through the trees and casting long shadows across the grass.

Looking at these pictures, I know people might see things differently based on what they like. Some might notice the buildings more, like the way they’re designed or how they catch the golden light of the sunset. And some might be drawn to the nature, like the way the trees’ leaves glow in the evening light or how the sun almost seems to sparkle. But I think my view of the campus as a calm and friendly place for learning is right because it captures what makes small colleges special, especially during this time of day.

I learned how to take these kinds of pictures in my photojournalism class. We talked about how to make photos look good and tell a story, like using different angles and lighting to capture the beauty of the sunset. Also, just being on different campuses helped me understand what makes a college look and feel welcoming, especially as the day transitions into night. I noticed things like how the buildings’ silhouettes stand out against the colorful sky, and how the peaceful atmosphere seems to intensify as the sun dips below the horizon. Putting it all together, I wanted to create images that show the vibe of a small college campus at sunset, capturing the essence of what it’s like to be there as the day comes to a close.

Moreover, this small campus is super picturesque, offering tons of cool spots for awesome pictures. From pretty buildings to green trees and cool paths, everywhere you look seems like it’s made for a photo. And when the sun sets, it gets even cooler—the way the light hits everything makes it all look even better. Whether you’re a pro photographer or just snapping pics on your phone, this campus is perfect for capturing cool moments and making memories. Plus, since the campus isn’t huge, it’s easy to explore and find new spots to take pictures. There’s always something different to see, from cozy spots for close-up shots to big open areas for wide shots. And the buildings also just look amazing in any picture, whether it’s daytime or nighttime. So, if you love taking pictures, Morningside University campus is the place to be!

I believe that I have improved a lot in photography since I have been a part of this class. When I first started this photojournalism class, my photos were not very good for many reasons. The lighting in my photos use to be not very good as well as the angles. I feel that I have greatly improve that area of my photography and I am satisfied with where I am now. This assignment challenged me because I had to think of a good topic to do my Photo Story on. It took me a while to figure one out and I finally landed on “A Walk Through Morningside”. I like this topic a lot because it really does show the beautiful campus and it shows it through a student’s own eyes. It was also challenging because even when I had my topic figured out, I still wanted to make sure I had the best pictures possible so that the campus could really be at its best. I decided to wait until sunset one evening and go walk through the campus to take pictures. This decision turned out to be a good one because I think I really grasped what the campus looks like, and the sunset really aided in that. In the end, I am happy with how my Photo Story turned out and I am happy with how I have improved as a photojournalist.

Photo Assignment 10-12

Weather: Morningside campus is cold and wet on a snowy Wednesday morning.
College life: An empty hallway in Dimmit Hall early in the morning.
Human Interest: Freshman, Carter Slagter, falls asleep on my couch after 3 minutes of being in my room.

Visual Journal

This is my Visual Journal and a small look into what my days usually look like. I chose to include what I normally see in a day and give the audience a cool perspective into my life.

            My day usually starts with getting ready in the morning and leaving Dimmitt Hall, so I took a picture of the empty hall before I left for class. Then throughout the day I took a few pictures in my actual classes to show the audience what my classes would typically look like and the kind of work that we do in class. I included professors, lectures, videos, and notes in my Visual Journal to tell that story.

            As I leave the Lincoln Center after a few morning classes, I decided to take a picture of the weather and the ground outside the center. This gives the audience more perspective as to how my day goes. I also chose to include a picture of my pencil because I started to notice that I don’t use it too much anymore. I captioned this picture, “A pencil awaiting it’s task” because of the heightened use of laptops and technology in and around the classroom.

            After all my classes, I come back to chill and relax for a little bit in my dorm and one of my friends, Carter Slagter, comes in my room and falls asleep, essentially immediately, on my couch. He is a funny guy, but he tends to not make the best decisions for his sleep schedule. And after studying and doing homework after dinner, I decided to take a picture of my glasses under my lamp, after taking them off.

            Finally, my last picture is a picture of the court in Allee Gymnasium. I try to go in and get some shots up at least a few times per week and I have found that it does help me kind of reset and relax for a while. It is one of the highlights of my day each week. This picture is the biggest one because I wanted the audience to understand that after days and days of schoolwork and studying, being able to reset and go play my sport is truly a big part of my day-to-day life.

            As my freshman year comes to an end, it is crazy to look back and see how far I’ve come. I wasn’t expecting college to be the way that it is and I’m happy with the way it turned out. It is crazy to me that I have finished almost two semesters of college already. It went by super fast, and I had a lot of fun with basketball, meeting people, and just hanging out. I am proud of the way this year has gone in terms of my grades too and I hope that I can continue to receive good grades and work hard for them. The thing that surprised me the most with college is all the down time you have. One of my problems with high school was procrastinating really bad. I would always leave things to the last minute and wouldn’t ever want to do any of my work. In college, I’ve developed the habit of finishing all of my homework and studying early in the day so that by dinner time and nighttime, I could relax and have the night to myself. Having so much down time in between classes was also a big change. It is very beneficial for me to try and finish all my homework during the day and treat the school days as workdays to get all my stuff done. That is one of my favorite things about college.

The overall story I wanted to tell with my Visual Journal is just the story of me. I wanted to portray my normal life through these pictures and captions. I like how my pictures turned out and I do believe that it correctly depicts what my normal school day life looks like. I chose to include pictures inside my classrooms and of my professors because I felt like it would really show the audience what I see and what I normally do in a day. I also decided to show the weather in an average day to also show the audience more context. Lastly, I added a picture of our gym and basketball hoops because this is a big part of my day and just a big part of my life in general. This was a cool assignment and I’m glad about the way that my Visual Journal turned out.

Photo Assignment 7-9

Human Interest: My girlfriend smiles at me as she eats a slice of pizza bigger than her face.
Night: The sun sets in Denver Colorado as the plane takes off.
Emotion: My girlfriend enjoys holding this cute puppy named Goose.

Sounds of Morningside

In the kitchen, the chef sizzles, flips, and stirs the food as they cook up a delicious dish.
The cafeteria buzzes on a Monday night after the weekend.
A quiet street in the evening on Morningside University’s campus.

4-6 Picture Assignment

Weather: A glaring red sunset over the tennis parking lots at Morningside University.
Sports: Allee Gymnasium at Morningside University before a big game for the Men’s Basketball team.
Food: The cafeteria serves beef enchiladas with veggies and a big omelet for dinner.

Portraits Reading Quiz

1. What does the image get right? Has it captured the “essence” of your personality? ( p.113) How does it do that? 2. What does the image get wrong? How could it be fixed?

– I think this picture of me is good because it portrays who I am as a person. I am holding a basketball with a hoop in the background and it is also shows that I don’t smile too much.
– I think this is a pretty good picture but if it had to be fixed in some way I would maybe make it just a little bit lighter.

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