Author Topic: Results and Feedback for the "Photo Essay" Assignment  (Read 2787 times)


  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1407
Results and Feedback for the "Photo Essay" Assignment
« on: August 14, 2011, 04:01:17 PM »
The guidelines for this assignment were simply to use a series of images to tell a story.  The idea was to get you to think about what images might be needed to effectively tell a story while you still had an opportunity to capture those images (i.e., before you're putting the story together on the computer).  This assignment was a bit of an experiment, so thank you to all of you that were willing to experiment with me.  

Dave started out the assignment with his wonderful collage titled It's MY Rabbit!  Dave did an outstanding job capturing Zoro's "body language" and telling the story with his images.  The selective color in Zoro's eyes (and monochrome treatment of the rest of the image) was very effective at emphasizing Zorro's intense gaze and riveting the viewer to those eyes.

It's MY Rabbit!
Photo story by Dave Leiker (prairiedust)

it's MY rabbit!
First of all, we love bunnies. Well, the cats do too - just not in the same way. Zorro showed up at our front door with plans to bring the trophy inside. When the reception wasn't all he hoped for he moved back into the yard, protecting his catch from a very interested rival

Sue's story about Eating Ants was a fun little story.  The first image in the story was especially effective at showing the subject of the story, with the ant highlighted against the yellow M&M and the "handoff" of the ant from one hand to another.  The second image might have been a bit more effective if taken at Evan's eye level, and if Sue had captured more of the expression on Evan's face.  I think Sue was surprised when Evan actually popped the ant into his mouth. :)

Eating Ants:
Photos and story by Sue Pepin

Evan was bragging about eating ants.  Keith called his bluff and he ate the first ant himself.  We prepared the Ant-n-M and gave it to Evan.  We thought he was going to back out but he showed his true courage and ate the live ant.  Unfortuantely, I wans't fast enough to capture his picture while eating it.  Evan was quite proud of himself and actually, we were pretty proud of him too!

After the ants were eaten, Keith said he felt his ant crawling around in his stomach ( :D).  We asked Evan if he felt the same thing and after a pained look on Evan's face, he laughed and said no.

Dave shared a beautiful photo essay on the making of a traditional native American travois in his slideshow of the same name.  I REALLY liked the first image of the slideshow, with the beautiful soft warm light highlighting the tools and accentuating the rich colors in the scene.

Photos and story by Dave Leiker (prairiedust):  Travois

The beautiful introductory image impressed me with its artistry, and the images did such a wonderful job telling the story that I have selected this presentation as Editor's Choice for Artistic and Technical Merit.

Rick put together a great photo essay about Drilling a Well and I thought he did a great job capturing the chronology of events needed to tell the story (especially the "water witching").  The "perfect ending" to the story would have been an image of an ice-cold glass of water from the faucet...

Drilling a Well:
Photos and story by Rick Pepin

Drilling a well has really been a experience and we have learned alot including how to be a "Water Witcher"

Water Witching also known as Dowsing is how they find where to drill for water. You would think there would be a more scientific way to find water. The witching did not work the first time so we had to drill a second well.

The drilling trucks  
One truck has the drilling rig and the other holds the water and extra pipe.

Sam operating the drill.

Drilling the well  
It took about 2 days to drill the well to 400 feet and put the casing in. This photo shows the water and sand blowing out the pipe while they are drilling.  

Hit Water!  
Fineally hit water about 70 feet down. They ended up drilling down to 400 feet.  

Sue helping the guys check the water flow!

Ditch for the new water line  
They had to dig a 550 foot ditch to put the water line and power line in to connect to the home.

I enjoyed Marilyn's story of Ashlynn's Athletic Antics.  I had to smile at the way that Marilyn slipped in the information about the blue cover over the playset, which helped explain the blue cast to some of the images.  Marilyn did a great job capturing all of Ashlynn's animated expressions, with my favorite being her expression while hanging from the bars.

Ashlynn's Athletic Antics (Click on the link):  Ashlynn's Athletic Antics

I really enjoyed the visit to the Champagne region in France provided by Luc's Structures and Patterns photo essay.  I must admit that I didn't make the connection at first between the title (Structures and Patterns) and the compositions in the images. :)  The meaning finally sunk in when I viewed his 10 million bottles image, which was my favorite image from the series.  Thank you for sharing your holiday with us Luc.  I would have enjoyed seeing more images from the city of Sedan.  It looks like a fascinating place to explore with a camera.

Structures and Patterns - Champagne Region in France:

We spent our holidays in the North of France, in the Champagne area. Herein lies a knight's tale:

Comte de Champagne (1201-1253) and king of  Navarre, known as Thibaud le Posthume is the most renouned of the counts of  Champagne.

He represents the archetype of the mediaeval lord: valiant chevalier and gentleman poet.

He contributed to the art of poetry and song at the court of Louis IX, leaving to posterity a remarkable variety and quality of poetic work.  

He participated in the sixth crusade, leaving behind him his fortified town of Provins (this here is actually Sedan)

and well built castle

When he returned in 1239 he brought back with him the Damascene rose (still cultivated today) and a vine called 'Chardonnay' without which there would be no champagne.

The Benedictine monks of Saint Nicaise in Reims dug out the cellars below the abbey in XIII century (first used as a quarry by the Romans and as a shelter for persecuted Christians in IV century) in which to store the wine they developed from the Chardonnay grapes. To reach the lower levels the visitor descends first to 12 metres below ground (constant temperature 12įC) and to reach the quarry area to 20 metres (constant temperature 10įC).

10 millions bottles (ranging from 5dl to 15 litres in size!)

are stored in 4 km of passage ways

After the stiff climb back up, the opportunity to taste the precious drink

The end result of the crusades? is not likely to be refused. The remaining question: to buy or not to buy?!

Rebecca did a great job with the story of her Girl and Steed against the Heat, and her essay was selected as People's Choice.  I thought she did a great job capturing the action in the riding events and then presenting that action in the composites that she put together.  I had all the newer cameras with me for the Crested Butte workshop, so Rebecca had to dust off our "ancient" D2X  and find an older lens to use with it.  It was nice to see the D2X back in action again, and to be reminded that one doesn't need the newest technology to capture great images.

Pratt County Fair - Girl and Steed against the Heat:

The kids and I were very excited to finally get to see my niece, Tori, compete in what they call the 'horse games' at the Pratt County Fair.  It is a 4-H event where you compete in barrels, flags, poles, and keyhole.  We arrived in time to see Tori compete in poles and keyhole.  All the 4-H'ers and horses did an amazing job given it was about 104 degrees that afternoon.  Thankfully, they had a nice shady area to wait in and shaded areas for the spectators to watch from!  With a bit of a breeze, it really was not that bad.

I first must say a big thanks to Uncle Tom for providing great entertainment for McKenzie as she was not as captivated by the events as Evan and Grandma (below).

Tori's turn finally came up for poles - a slalom type event where the rider weaves the horse through poles, turns it and weaves back through then to turn and race for the finish line.

Tori was looking great, but then she clipped one pole, you could see the disappointment in her face.

With determination, Tori completed the poles event with a good time - unfortunately, the penalty for knocking the pole added to her time.  

Tori and Rebel charged toward the finish line after completing the poles.

The highlight of the day for Evan was getting to ride with Tori in the competitors' area between events.  
But, then it was back to work for Tori and Rebel.

Tori and Rebel race off toward the start line for the keyhole event  

Threading your horse through a keyhole is no easy task in this heat.

Tori got the horse to do a 180 pretty fast and headed back through the keyhole.

Tori and Rebel race for the finish line in the keyhole event.
With the keyhole event completed, it was finally time to relax and McKenzie's turn to ride Rebel.  

After some coaxing, Tori convinced Mac to ride with her -- Mac loved it.

Nice relaxing ride after a hard, hot day.

I have to admit that of all the submissions, the one I enjoyed the most, the one that made me smile and laugh, was Alan's essay titled Dog Day at the Pool.  Alan's commentary and images complemented each other wonderfully, and I found new appreciation for Alan's sense of humor.

Dog Day at the Pool;
Photographed by Alan Albrecht (Ribot)

School starts in Omaha next week.  When the schools start the public pools close.  The cool thing that happens here is that on the last day at some of the pools the last two hours dogs are allowed to swim.  We have a two year old yellow lab that weighs 95 pounds.  Well everyone knows that labs love water so we figured this would be great fun for him.  We decided to take him.  There was some discussion about how busy the pool would be.  My wife said busy.  My two sons and I thought it would not be bad.  This pool had a parking lot and we still had to park three blocks away and walk to it.

There were all kinds of dogs there.  Even a few pit bulls.  Leroy, that is my dogís name, was interested.  He walked up to the edge and stepped out into the water.  I think he thought it was shallow.  The lowest point in this pool was four feet deep so he went in over his head.  He wasnít expecting that.  It dampened his enthusiasm immediately.

It appeared to me that maybe two thirds of the dogs lacked enthusiasm.  Owners tried all kinds of approaches to coax their dog into swimming.

I am sure that this lady was reminding her Newfoundland of his water loving heritage and how his ancestors saved many people from watery graves.

And I am sure that this young boy was explaining to his dog that since he was wearing a life jacket he was safe and he had nothing to worry about.

I heard this man talking.  He was reasoning with his German Shepherd.  Talking to the dog like they were equals.  The dog didnít believe a word that he was saying.

Some people did meet with success.  I think this Rottweiler would have walked across hot coals to get his ball.  Favorite toys seemed to work for a number of people.

Some dogs truly disliked the water.  Some showed great resourcefulness.  Like this fellow.  She might have had him in five feet of water in the middle of the pool but that didnít mean he had to be in the water.        

Shee's Weekend Getaway was another great photo story, with beautiful images from their explorations around Crested Butte.  I thought it was interesting that the music she chose gave the impression of a classic film.

Weekend Getaway:
by Sheila "Shee" Ancheta (burzilai)

Weekend Getaway

Bruce's story of the Persistent Squirrel was another one that showcased a great sense of humor.  The squirrel "commentary" added a great bit to the enjoyment of the series, and encouraged our predisposition to anthropomorphize the squirrels actions and thoughts.  Bruce saved the best image for last, with his There's no stopping me now.

Persistent Squirrel:

I am a brand-new member.  Yesterday morning, I decided that I wouldn't be able to put together a photo essay for the contest, even with the additional week.  then, as we were watching the birds in our garden, a squirrel began playing.  I ran up and gabbed my camera.  Here is the essay from the squirrel's point of view"

Maybe if I go after this from the bottom, I can get to the seed:

Well, maybe from the back:

I wonder -  is there any help out there for me?

Well, that didn't work either.  Maybe there is help out on the street.

There's a feeder at the top of this pole.  a little tricky to get to, but I wonder....

This is challenging. Nothing like trying to climb a small steel pipe.  I sure hope this is worth it!

Need to stretch a bit here ....Wow!  There's no stopping me now!

Julie's amazing images of the Arizona Storm Moving In made another great story, with her #2 image titled Full Force being one of the most spectacular images of lightening that I have seen in a long time.    The Saguaro cactus in the distance helps provide a sense of place and scale to the image.  Amazing capture Julie!

Arizona Storm Moving In:
Photographed by Julie Schroeder (WriteHeart)

Arizona Storm Rolling In

Full Force

Thank you again to everyone that participated in this assignment.  I think you will agree that unless you think about what images might be needed to effectively tell a story before you start putting it together on the computer, you will probably come up short and wish you had taken a few more images needed to flesh out the story.  
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 03:24:15 PM by keithsnell »


  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 159
    • PrairieDust
Re: Results and Feedback for the "Photo Essay" Assignment
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2011, 04:02:57 PM »
Thank you Keith, and to Dr. Thierer for her depth of knowledge and the integrity of her process.  Thanks to the bunny rabbit who gave its life in path of art, though I'm if asked it would have chosen something else.
Dave Leiker (PrairieDust)
Exploring the Rural Midwest


  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 111
Re: Results and Feedback for the "Photo Essay" Assignment
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2011, 08:56:28 PM »
Thank you all for the very nice comments and voting for my essay.  It was such a treat to finally see my niece compete in horse and a bit of a challenge with the harsh light that day.  I must admit, I was not used to the D2X controls and fumbled a few things, but that is still such a good camera.  Amazing how quickly you forget where buttons, controls, etc. are on your camera when you don't use it for a while.  It was a super hot day, but the experience was definitely worth it and I love to watch our kids experience things like this too.    Thanks again.    Rebecca