30 Day Project – Nature Dwellers

The capstone! It is complete! To be honest, I’ll probably keep working at it after I graduate because a couple of my subjects dropped out last minute and I’d like to expand the project a bit more.

I chose to do a photo essay, which is new territory for me, but I think as a first attempt I’ve done alright. I was particularly worried about cohesiveness because being disjointed is usually what causes photo essays to fail. It’s hard when you have many subjects and many locations to get the images to blend together naturally but still be unique. It’s a balance I struggled with, but I tried to keep it simple using shapes and framing to keep the essay from derailing.

To really tell the story I decided to include extended captions. My essay was about people who still enjoy the outdoors, either in work situations or hobbies, even in the modern age when there are more and more gadgets to distract people from exploring nature. I interviewed each subject to get a sense of why they enjoyed the outdoors so much, how they came to understand this passion, and how it has changed their lives. A few of my subjects also commented on the changing global landscape and how they think less time spent outdoors will affect future generations.

Enjoy!

Susan Hazelwood has been birding since 1980. Susan explained the difference between bird watching and birding is that birders have more expertise on the birds whereas bird watchers just appreciate looks.  She wears the title Birder with the utmost respect. But birding wasn’t always a great interest of hers, “Birding was something my husband did. I tried to ignore it, but it wouldn’t go away, so here I am!” Susan could only avoid it for so long; eventually the lure of travel and being outdoors convinced her to take it up as a hobby of her own. The farthest she’s traveled is Alaska, but she likes to go on many birding vacations with other birders around the United States. Her favorite bird is a Trogon, found in the southwest, which she proudly displays it on her license plate.

Susan Hazelwood has been birding since 1980. Susan explained the difference between bird watching and birding is that birders have more expertise on the birds whereas bird watchers just appreciate looks. She wears the title Birder with the utmost respect. But birding wasn’t always a great interest of hers, “Birding was something my husband did. I tried to ignore it, but it wouldn’t go away, so here I am!” Susan could only avoid it for so long; eventually the lure of travel and being outdoors convinced her to take it up as a hobby of her own. The farthest she’s traveled is Alaska, but she likes to go on many birding vacations with other birders around the United States. Her favorite bird is a Trogon, found in the southwest, which she proudly displays it on her license plate.

Ducks fly after being startled at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area in McBaine, Mo. Eagle Bluffs is a destination for migaratory waterfowl birds, such as ducks and geese. There are many reasons why ducks and other birds form flocks. Being in a flock allows the birds extra protection, easier foraging, and better aerodynamic efficiency while they fly. Ducks also form family units and like staying together.

Ducks fly after being startled at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area in McBaine, Mo. Eagle Bluffs is a destination for
migaratory waterfowl birds, such as ducks and geese. There are many reasons why ducks and other birds form
flocks. Being in a flock allows the birds extra protection, easier foraging, and better aerodynamic efficiency while
they fly. Ducks also form family units and like staying together.

Susan Hazelwood with her trusty binoculars.

Susan Hazelwood with her trusty binoculars.

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Deb Schultehenrich is a quail, pheasant, and duck hunter. Always trailing behind her is her dog, Gus, a German Shorthair pointer. Her family passed the hunting enthusiasm on to her at a young age. “Hunting is something I have always done,” says Deb. But her passion for the outdoors goes beyond hunting birds. “I like the fact that every time you go outdoors you experience something different than the last time you were outdoors,” says Deb. “Maybe there’s a turkey gobbling, or the first Dutchman’s Breeches are blooming, or the prairies have turned bright gold, or the snow is piled high on the cedar trees, or maybe it’s just the smell of fresh hay being cut. It’s the place I am most comfortable.” Deb’s noticed a decrease in environmental enthusiasm in the community however. “I am concerned this lack of interest in participating in outdoor activities is having an affect on the public’s relationship with the environment,” says Deb. “This disconnect with the natural environment makes them less likely to advocate for environmental causes or public land acquisition and protection.” Deb attributes this decrease in interest with the changing global landscape. Fewer and fewer people are growing up on ranches or farms, and therefore have less association with the land than people have had in the past.

Deb Schultehenrich is a quail, pheasant, and duck hunter. Always trailing behind her is her dog, Gus, a German Shorthair pointer. Her family passed the hunting enthusiasm on to her at a young age. “Hunting is something I have always done,” says Deb. But her passion for the outdoors goes beyond hunting birds. “I like the fact that every time you go outdoors you experience something different than the last time you were outdoors,” says Deb. “Maybe there’s a turkey gobbling, or the first Dutchman’s Breeches are blooming, or the prairies have turned bright gold, or the snow is piled high on the cedar trees, or maybe it’s just the smell of fresh hay being cut. It’s the place I am most comfortable.” Deb’s noticed a decrease in environmental enthusiasm in the community however. “I am concerned this lack of interest in participating in outdoor activities is having an affect on the public’s relationship with the environment,” says Deb. “This disconnect with the natural environment makes them less likely to advocate for environmental causes or public land acquisition and protection.” Deb attributes this decrease in interest with the changing global landscape. Fewer and fewer people are growing up on ranches or farms, and therefore have less association with the land than people have had in the past.

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Bradford Farm is a part of MU Extension that conducts research in agricultural and wildlife studies. They also offer educational opportunities to the community about how to manage their crops and land, and how to be as sustainable as possible. Tim Reinbott is the superintendent of Bradford Farm, and wants to help educate the public as much as possible about incorporating wildlife into their agriculture.  Tim came from an outdoorsy family with a father who taught him to appreciate the outdoors for what it is: our livelihood as citizens of the planet. Reinbott says he’d like to encourage farmers and landowners to be more accepting of wildlife and plant more diversified crops and grasses so that they offer better protection for certain kinds of wildlife that aren’t damaging to their land. “Wildlife is much more than pests to farmers,” says Reinbott. He thinks the best way to share this with the community is to hold workshops at the farm, particularly with 4-H clubs and their families.

Bradford Farm is a part of MU Extension that conducts research in agricultural and wildlife studies. They also offer educational opportunities to the community about how to manage their crops and land, and how to be as sustainable as possible. Tim Reinbott is the superintendent of Bradford Farm, and wants to help educate the public as much as possible about incorporating wildlife into their agriculture. Tim came from an outdoorsy family with a father who taught him to appreciate the outdoors for what it is: our livelihood as citizens of the planet. Reinbott says he’d like to encourage farmers and landowners to be more accepting of wildlife and plant more diversified crops and grasses so that they offer better protection for certain kinds of wildlife that aren’t damaging to their land. “Wildlife is much more than pests to farmers,” says Reinbott. He thinks the best way to share this with the community is to hold workshops at the farm, particularly with 4-H clubs and their families.

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Virgil decided from a young age that being outside and fishing was what he wanted to do with his life. It was almost everyone’s way of life in his rural, farming community.  But with age came more complications and distractions. “I went through the stages of schooling, and kind of forgot what fishing was about. Then came an opportunity for me to go fishing with mentors along the way,” says Virgil. His father died when he was six, so he had to find other adult figures to take him fishing. As an adult, Virgil would take friends fishing, and one of them suggested making a business out of it.  Virgil then became a fishing guide and outfitter, traveling through Canada and Alaska with small groups. His business eventually led to him traveling abroad, which he thanks fishing for every time he goes.  But what really matters to Virgil is camaraderie. “The fellowship people have when they’re hunting and fishing has lent itself to be the best thing that has happened to me.” His favorite job is to take families on trips, which to him makes it a special outing.  Virgil says there’s more opportunities now to get families out and fishing together, but people are involved in many things in the modern age, so trying to find time is hard for younger generations to get out into nature and explore it. “A lot of people find other things to do with their time than fishing, which in my opinion is not good, because any outing you do with your family and friends is pretty hard to beat.”

Virgil decided from a young age that being outside and fishing was what he wanted to do with his life. It was almost everyone’s way of life in his rural, farming community. But with age came more complications and distractions. “I went through the stages of schooling, and kind of forgot what fishing was about. Then came an opportunity for me to go fishing with mentors
along the way,” says Virgil. His father died when he was six, so he had to find other adult figures to take him fishing. As an adult, Virgil would take friends fishing, and one of them suggested making a business out of it. Virgil then became a fishing guide and outfitter, traveling through Canada and Alaska with small groups. His business eventually led to him traveling abroad, which he thanks fishing for every time he goes. But what really matters to Virgil is camaraderie. “The fellowship people have when they’re hunting and fishing has lent itself to be the best thing that has happened to me.” His favorite job is to take families on trips, which to him makes it a special outing. Virgil says there’s more opportunities now to get families out and fishing together, but people are involved in many things in the modern age, so trying to find time is hard for younger generations to get out into nature and explore it. “A lot of people find other things to do with their time than fishing, which in my opinion is not good, because any outing you do with your family and friends is pretty hard to beat.”

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One walk over 35 years ago led to Mike Jenner’s passion for rock climbing. Mike was a student at Mizzou at the time, hiking around Capen Park when he saw a couple of guys rock climbing. Curious, he stepped over to them and asked them about it. They were generous enough to let him make his first climb that day. Now Mike travels all over North America for climbing. He thinks that Boone County is a great place to practice his hobby, but his all time favorite is in the Sierras in California. Mike spends many resources and tolerates the injuries from rock climbing because it’s a great mix of skills. “Rock climbing allows you to focus, to drive everything else out. It takes strength, but it’s also a mental sport,” Mike says. You may be strapped into a harness but there’s a lot of courage involved in rock climbing according to Mike. Unlike many other outdoor activities, Mike believes that rock climbing is on the rise. He attributes this to indoor climbing gyms, but he thinks it’s a lot harder of a transition from inside to the great outdoors than most people think. “It’s a good thing that people are climbing more, but I also hate to be climbing in a crowd,” says Mike. Even though Mike wants some quiet when climbing, he usually climbs with friends that he’s met around the country. It’s a good idea for safety reasons, but he also just enjoys the company.

One walk over 35 years ago led to Mike Jenner’s passion for rock climbing. Mike was a student at Mizzou at the time, hiking around Capen Park when he saw a couple of guys rock climbing. Curious, he stepped over to them and asked them about it. They were generous enough to let him make his first climb that day. Now Mike travels all over North America for climbing. He thinks that Boone County is a great place to practice his hobby, but his all time favorite is in the Sierras in California. Mike spends many resources and tolerates the injuries from rock climbing because it’s a great mix of skills. “Rock climbing allows you to focus, to drive everything else out. It takes strength, but it’s also a mental sport,” Mike says. You may be strapped into a harness but there’s a lot of courage involved in rock climbing according to Mike. Unlike many other outdoor activities, Mike believes that rock climbing is on the rise. He attributes this to indoor climbing gyms, but he thinks it’s a lot harder of a transition from inside to the great outdoors than most people think. “It’s a good thing that people are climbing more, but I also hate to be climbing in a crowd,” says Mike. Even though Mike wants some quiet when climbing, he usually climbs with friends that he’s met around the country. It’s a good idea for safety reasons, but he also just enjoys the company.

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Jim Karpowicz got his start in filming from his family. His dad and brother were both in the television business and Jim spent a lot of time learning the ropes and fumbling with cameras. “As a little kid I was always drawn to the creeks and the woods, and I realized as an adult I’d have to cobble together some sort of career that paid money that would have something to do with the outdoors.” He decided that with his basic knowledge of TV equipment he could start his own business as a nature videographer and filmmaker. “I was able to take the skills I learned at the TV station and concentrate on the outdoors,” says Jim. He continues with a laugh, “I guess it sort of worked, I was able to put a few kids through college, pay a mortgage.” He takes his job seriously though, spending a lot of time while out on the job thinking about frames and setting up equipment, but he says even in that process he has to look up at his surroundings sometimes and admire the career he’s built for himself. He’s been able to travel all over from Nevada to Nicaragua, and is amazed every time that he’s paid to do something he enjoys so much.

Jim Karpowicz got his start in filming from his family. His dad and brother were both in the television business and Jim spent a lot of time learning the ropes and fumbling with cameras. “As a little kid I was always drawn to the creeks and the woods, and I realized as an adult I’d have to cobble together some sort of career that paid money that would have something to do with the outdoors.” He decided that with his basic knowledge of TV equipment he could start his own business as a nature videographer and filmmaker. “I was able to take the skills I learned at the TV station and concentrate on the outdoors,” says Jim. He continues with a laugh, “I guess it sort of worked, I was able to put a few kids through college, pay a mortgage.” He takes his job seriously though, spending a lot of time while out on the job thinking about frames and setting up equipment, but he says even in that process he has to look up at his surroundings sometimes and admire the career he’s built for himself. He’s been able to travel all over from Nevada to Nicaragua, and is amazed every time that he’s paid to do something he enjoys so much.

False Starts

The Lamott chapter on false starts particularly spoke to me. I thought it was very true that people who are in a creative field, such as writing or photography, try and plan out everything in advance, and think they know exactly where their vision and story is going. It’s good to be prepared and do some brainstorming before they make the first stab at their project, but limiting themselves to their initial idea can blind them to other possibilities that can make the story more complex or finished. The coverage can turn into a falsity if the photographer tries to make a story something it’s not, just because it fits their framework. The photos in this type of situation usually end up looking forced and not genuine. Photojournalism is all about showing the truth, so this defeats the purpose. Opening your eyes up to every possibility can allow you to see some cool details you may have ignored before.

Another thing I really appreciated in this chapter was when she said it’s important to get to know your characters “beyond all the things they aren’t.” She said we basically have to plop down and spend time with our subjects, get to know them inside and out. Their quirks and beliefs, their habits, all of these things are a part of their humanity, and including them will only enhance the storytelling.

I really related to the chapter “How Do You Know When You’re Done?” Lamott very simply states, “You just do.” Creative people are often their hardest critics, and sometimes you’ll never be completely happy with how your story or essay turns out, but there comes a point when you just have to say there’s nothing more to do. I did my best with what was there. The mantra, “You just do”, also applies to when you know you need more. There’s just this itching feeling at the back of your brain saying, “but you need something else!” Follow that feeling until you know what it is you need. If it’s attainable, go for it! Or you’ll never forgive yourself.

Battle Rising

It is the fourth day of the first week of classes. And I am still trying to get my schedule in order. I’m trying to figure out when I’ll fit my paying jobs in around my time at the Missourian and studying. And of course I had an oil change and had to replace two tires this week for my beloved vehicle. That makes two trips to the car doctor in one week. But hopefully I’ll get my schedule set for the next coming weeks, because I need to start writing articles. I don’t like being behind, but that’s usually my luck for the first week of school.

Today however I learned that I’m going to be working extensively on Battle High School. I’m excited about this since I went to Columbia Public Schools, and it’s the new school in town. If I were in high school now I’d be attending Battle, so I’m very interested in how it shapes out to be.

Having gone to CPS I also know a few of the faculty and staff over at Battle after they were shuffled around to cover the new school. Thankfully I was a good student, so this won’t burn any bridges between the Missourian and Battle.

The staff photo class for the Missourian is currently working on a big photo project called Battle Rising, which is obviously about Battle High School. So I think it will be easier to get visuals to go with the story. Not to mention I’m in the photojournalism emphasis and know quite a few of the photographers and photo editors. And if need be I’ll always have my D-SLR with me to snap some images to go with my text. Overall I think the situation will work out in my favor, as long as I embrace it.

Like a Rolling Stone

It seems I’m everywhere and nowhere at once recently. How does that work out? It doesn’t. I say this because I’ve really only been in Missouri for the past 14 years of my life, but these past 14 years have contained the most defining periods of my life.

I feel as if I’ve been nonstop since I entered college, more specifically the Mizzou J-school. I’m particularly invested in the Missourian at the moment, since I’m taking the dreaded News Reporting class. Usually dark clouds form over people’s heads as they talk of it. I can’t say I’m any different. I’m in the photojournalism sequence, and therefore I am not particularly interested in covering daily news with a pen and paper at length, or with a laptop nowadays. My strength is in the visuals. I like writing, but only as long as I can express my opinion. I know, I’m picky and childish that way, but it’s hard for me to be objective. My parents have instilled too much confidence in me.

Dreaded or no, I’m required to take the class before Staff Photojournalism so here I am! I’ll be reporting about my various moods and experiences through this dear blog, which has been repurposed many a time with patience. I spent my summer at Missouri Life and blogged about my experience there on this blog as well. When I went into my internship, I thought that keeping busy over the summer would prepare me for the Missourian. I think I was quite wrong in that assessment.

Missouri Life’s deadlines aren’t nearly as strict since they only publish every other month and plan out their stories practically a year in advance. I also did less immediate news reporting and more photo gathering and long story forming. It was a set up I liked, but alas it has ended. I just hope I don’t have to cry miserably every week, because it seems a strong possibility with all of the obligations I have. Keep me in your thoughts throughout this semester, because I’m probably going to need it.

So Long! Farewell! Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye!

Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you! Okay, I’m done singing…for now. Yes, another semester has come to a close, the final projects are in and the final study sessions crammed with snacks, late night slap-happies and notes upon notes have commenced. As with all journalism classes, there is no final test, just a project that makes us apply what we learned to a real story. There’s a practicality in it, considering this is probably what we’ll be doing in our future professions (unless if you’re strategic communication and don’t plan on reporting at all). Plus, it makes the classes a lot more interesting. I would much rather be out in the field collecting audio and taking photos than studying a textbook about the ethics of journalism. (Does it make me a bad person to say that?) The hands on aspect of this course (J2150) really appealed to me. I also got to choose the stories I did, for the most part, and got to choose them based on their visual appeal as well as their story worthiness. As excited as I am to end the semester and have a carefree, sunny summer, I will miss this class.

Now for those of you that think I’m just typing these praises because I’m trying to get a better grade, you are sadly mistaken. If I don’t think something is right, I have the stubborn ability to dig my heels in and shout, “B.S.!” Just ask my parents, I’m far too opinionated for the general public to think that I’d suck up to anyone, just because they’re in a position of power. But moving on from my character analysis, I actually enjoyed this class. Being a visual person who wants to go into photojournalism, this class was a godsend after J2100, which focused entirely on writing without opinion and going to meetings about things that I honestly didn’t care much for. They certainly weren’t aesthetically pleasing stories where it would take a major natural disaster to pry me away from taking more photos. But in this class, visual appeal was key. It was all about how certain angles and framing works better for some situations rather than others, how lighting could make or break a shot, and what kind of mood different visuals with audio would create. That is right up my alley.

I’ve stated in a previous post that I wanted to have a job where I could take photos, video, audio, and just post it on my blog with my own opinion or viewpoint involved. This obviously works well with my desire to ramble about my take on the world without anyone telling me I’m being too personal. I like to be personal, I like that people can get a feel for who I am and comment on what I’ve done either with contradictions, alterations, or agreements. I’m a big fan of discussion about the world and its issues, and I think there needs to be more of it. If I were to have a job where I could foster debate, state my opinion (politely) and take all kinds of photos/videos/audio (and on top of all that travel!), I would be incredibly satisfied.

I wouldn’t know how to create and edit videos/audio without the help of this class, so I’m incredibly thankful that this class has helped me with what could be my potential career. That’s what I love most about my major, I learn all of the things I could ever need to know about my future job before I graduate. This practical knowledge will stay with me forever. And even though they taught  a certain way of doing things, I still have room to be innovative. It’s a great relationship, and I’m sad to see it end.

Schooling…Necessary?

I overheard my science major (and incredibly loud) roommate on the phone saying to one of her friends that Mizzou had nothing to offer her, because we were known for journalism, and not science. She went on to say that going to school for journalism was ridiculous. It is a type of job that doesn’t need a degree, she claimed. And it sounded as if her friend wholeheartedly agreed. (I promise I was not eavesdropping, I’m forced to listen to the majority of her conversations due to the volume of her abrasive voice.)

But this got me thinking, do journalists really need a degree? Often times, they do not. This blog for instance, I did not need a license to obtain it. I do not have to submit reports about the status of my blog to a higher authority for evaluation. I simply go online, and blog. It’s as simple as that. The majority of the journalism education I’m going to receive will also be obtained through real world models. I will work at a newspaper, that puts out a real live publication daily for all of Columbia, Missouri. Not just my fellow students. Even now, I am doing stories on actual events that are occurring, and they are newsworthy and relevant. Basically, here at the J-school we learn by doing. We’re practically interns our last two years of our degree. But is there really any other way to do it?

In theory, we could just study what the pros do already, examine their work and compare it to not-so-good counterparts. And we can write 5 paragraph papers with a thesis stating how a piece of journalism is or is not excellent, but would that really be beneficial in the long run? Methinks no.

If we were to just analyze pre-exisiting journalism, we would be forever stuck in one model. Our stories would always be written the same way, the same five formulaic camera angles would be used for every news video, and all thoughts of expansion into the digital world would be kaput.

The reason why Mizzou is considered a great journalism school is because it puts us students in real-world situations. We have more than a standard student newspaper, we have a newspaper that is essentially a community paper, along with a radio station, magazine, and TV broadcasting station that all report on and belong to Columbia, Missouri as a community. The intermixing of professionals and students means a lot of good examples are set, and while students are expected to be as professional as well, the pros, there’s more room for critique and learning without say, getting fired.

So our education may look different from some other degrees on campus, but I think it’s just as valuable as a lecture hall, if not more so. We learn to adapt to current events and changes within the journalism community while we’re at school. With a profession as adaptable as ours, that’s a good lesson to learn. Not to mention all of the good contacts and opportunities we’re offered at the j-school are reason enough to pay tuition. A lot of the job hiring out there will be made by recruiters that are familiar with the University of Missouri and the high standards placed on the students there. It’s always a good conversation starter when a recruiter says, “I’m an MU grad too….”

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