The web has changed how our photo staff documents subjects. A single photograph used to be the goal of every assignment slated to run in the newspaper. With the availability of unlimited space online, documentation of some subjects and events can be extended to include multiple photos, audio, video and text. What photographers refer to as the “decisive moment” — a picture of a single point in time, capturing the essence of a subject or event — can now unfold into a two-minute, multimedia piece.
This requires new skills and equipment. I carry a small digital audio recorder in my camera bag to grab quick interviews or capture ambient sound of an event. With a flick of a switch my digital still camera can record hi-definition video. Using software on my laptop, I can edit these pieces together into a story told with additional visual and auditory information not possible in a standard newsprint story.
My recent coverage of the annual burning of Flint Hills pastures and the Baker Wetlands, resulted in expanded content presented both in print and online. I used my audio recorder to capture ambient sounds of the burning grass fires and interviews with farmers. In the middle of shooting dozens of still images, I switched to video to capture a rancher setting fire to his pasture. When I found myself without my usual digital audio recorder I used my cell phone’s recorder to gather quotes from a subject for the text story. And to alert readers of a morning Baker Wetlands burn, I took a snapshot with my cell phone and e-mailed it back to editors at the newspaper to post immediately online.
The Flint Hills content consisted of a text story with two photographs in the newspaper. Online, the piece expanded to a 3-minute audio/visual slide show. If you enjoy the visual content provided daily by our photo staff, remember to check out expanded coverage for some subjects online. Here are a few staff favorites you may have missed.
A papal journey by Nick Krug
A true taste of NFL workout by Kevin Anderson
Cowboy church by Richard Gwin
Annual burning of Flint Hills
— Photo editor Mike Yoder can be reached at 832-7141.