Photographers' Blog

White House moments: A time lapse view

What does a typical day at the White House look like?

I set out to capture a sense of everyday life at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, armed with basic knowledge from a course in video editing at the Kalish workshop. Starting with a couple of early experiments of the Marine Guards at the West Wing and a daily press briefing, I was hooked on time-lapse sequences that came to life when they were played at high speed.

I began taking along extra cameras, tripods, clamps and pocket wizard radio remote triggers. This involved slightly more work as I had to start thinking of the best place for a time lapse sequence that may not make a good still image itself, but rather as part of a larger project.

From the East Room, where most official functions are held, to the Rose Garden, the South Lawn and the West Wing, I set the cameras up to fire one picture every 5 to 10 seconds before, during and after the events. Thousands of pictures were shot over the course of those weeks, and I slowly began to put together a narrative that follows what we typically photograph on any given day at the White House.

Shooting “a day in the life” would have been nice, but it was impossible to have cameras in all the locations on one particular day.

All of what you see in this project was made with just two cameras on the time lapse and one hand-held camera — it’s a very basic set up. Shooting handheld, I had to shoot major burst sequences with long lenses, all the while ensuring that I didn’t move the camera around too much. Even slight movements can render an entire sequence unusable. Tripods are too cumbersome to use at the White House and you have to stay mobile to make pictures, so I would innovate by propping myself against a ladder and holding my breath or putting the handheld cameras on the ground — whatever it takes to shoot a short burst without moving the camera at all.

Life with a “Quiverfull” Family – the story behind the story

Rick Wilking is a Reuters contract photojournalist based in Denver, Colorado who has been shooting for Reuters for almost 25 years based in Europe, Washington, D.C. and now in Colorado. Rick recently developed the idea of spending time documenting the lives of a Christian “Quiverfull” family who have 15 children due to their belief that all family planning is best left in the hands of God. Rick produced the following piece of multimedia video from his time spent with the Jeub family in Colorado and tells us about the experience below. -  Jim Bourg

I am convinced that the easiest part of my job is taking pictures. Coming up with story ideas, getting access and then producing the final results are MUCH tougher! That was very true with this story. I read about Christian Quiverfull-minded folks who closely follow and live by Christian scripture and biblical verses and decided to try to find one of these families to document. I begged my way into a Quiverfull forum on the web and was met there with much skepticism about letting me in. One family in Kansas said maybe and another back east said I could come by. But neither were enthused and I knew the travel budget was too tight for a trip that distant and long.

Then I found the Jeub family, only a 90 minute drive away from my home in Colorado. They too were tentative at first but let me in after seeing stories I had done recently in their area. My work documenting the headquarters of the “Focus on the Family” organization, portraying troops returning from Iraq at a nearby military base and covering “The Purity Ball”, a Christian father-daughter event all convinced them of my fairness and the integrity of my photojournalism. They said they prayed on it hard and were led to let me into their home to tell their story through pictures and sound.

Crashed ice: A woman’s sport

At the beginning of January, staff at Reuters and I had a discussion about creating a multimedia piece on the Red Bull Crashed Ice race, an event where competitors have to skate down an urban ice course in the middle of Old Quebec. After some discussion, the idea of doing a multimedia piece on the introduction of the woman’s category at the event was suggested, which I thought was a great idea.

On race day, the temperature was slightly below -30 Celsius in Quebec City, which is not unusual for that time of the year. One of my colleagues had the grease in his lens’ zoom barrel freeze during the race, so I had to be careful and keep my cameras, voice recorder and video camera warm.

It was my first time shooting pictures, videos and collecting audio to do a multimedia piece. My plan of attack was to shoot my pictures first and then film the videos. It’s always a good thing to have a plan when you’re out of your comfort zone. When I felt confident I had good pictures for the wire, I decided to switch to my video camera to shoot short video clips. This event was well suited for pictures and videos since there was more than thirty heats of four competitors. As always, if you’re filming video and something important happens, you will not be able to get the still image that the other agencies might have. I think photographers have to be careful not to spend too much time shooting video and concentrate on their primary job — taking pictures. Fortunately for me, nothing happened while I was capturing my video clips.

Live from Launch Pad 39A


KSC Photo Blog from Scott Audette on Vimeo.

Reuters photographer Scott Audette documents the Reuters crew braving alligators and snakes and long hot days as they prepare for the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Photographing the Beijing Olympics

Lucy Nicholson presents a multimedia blog on Reuters’ coverage of the Beijing Olympics.

Renaissance…

The term ‘multimedia’ is used quite liberally these days, and means different things to different people. In reality it is an opportunity to be grasped, and will probably be what we choose to make it.

To mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq conflict Reuters has produced a multimedia piece. It pulls together the combined expertise of stills photographers, video camera operators , graphic artists, text journalists, and the multimedia producers. The various professionals are given freedom within their own discipline, and the different formats are brought together in a unified medium. The still image has not been devalued, but its role has been transformed. If this piece is an example of the multimedia project of the future, the still image is there too, as powerful as ever.

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