Musings from a photographer

Friday night football with the Times

Middleton High School drum majors gather before the start of their game against Robinson High School.

Back at the Florida game against Charleston Southern, Chris Zuppa from the St. Petersburg Times offered me a ride along while he did a day of assignments. Of course, I jumped at the offer that he didn’t believe I would follow up on (He said so during a laugh at the Times office). I finally had the chance to head to Tampa on Friday to meet up with Chris and some of their multimedia staff.

Because Chris had a late workday for high school football, I met up with the Times’ multimedia coordinator Ted McLaren and a few others for long lunch at a Indian buffet a few blocks from the St. Petersburg office of the Times. We spoke some about the Times and the job market, but mostly had a fun wide-ranging conversation on current news.

iPhone photo of Ted showing me the photo studio that staff photographer Scott Keeler apparently spent months improving. It was very impressive.

After lunch, Ted took me around the multimedia and photo “caves” at the Times (Their version of a cave is actually open offices with a 4th-floor view of downtown St. Pete). Ted runs the All Eyes blog on the Times’ website. He also works with photographers on their multimedia projects. I sat with him for about thirty minutes as he showed me some of their projects before getting a full tour of their office. He was also kind enough to give a portfolio review.

I met up with Zuppa at the Tampa office of the Times, which is a large hub for the newspaper. While there was only one photographer at the St. Pete office when I went by, there were several at the Tampa office preparing to shoot Friday night high school football. Before this season, St. Pete launched their collection of high school media called Home Team. It’s a pretty clean way to keep all of their high school sports content live beyond the weekend it was created.

In case you were worried journalists had lost their sense of humor recently. This was described as the photo editing power ball. I guess you get good mojo sitting on it.

I met two of the photo editors for Tampa and a few other photographers. I sat in on an editing session with an editor and Chris while they went through his shoot of a rubber duck race. It was nice to see someone else’s work flow and compare choices.

A Robinson player begins a kickoff return during their game against Middleton

Chris and I headed to the Robinson vs Middleton football game, which turned out to be a bit boring even by high school standards. The small but lively Middleton band made for some good frames as Robinson ran over Middleton 47-0. I shot for fun and practice, but it was kind of fun to think the Advanced Photo 1 students back in Gainesville were out with the same assignment.

A Robinson player kneels for a moment before the game against Middleton.

After the game, Chris uploaded his photos to the Times system using a mobile wifi. From there, photos were selected by editors for print and the Home Team gallery.

A Robinson player comes down with a touchdown after a leaping catch.

In talking with some of the people at the Times, I learned that some journalists are looking to my generation for the answers. We’re coming out of college with the cross-training and will to change things. Some of our conversations were pretty gloomy,but it wasn’t all depressing, seeing some of their operation showed me that they are constantly working on fresh ideas, some of which may fail, some of which may greatly succeed. It’s a scary job market, but I’m alright with leaping into it.

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