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The Free Lance-Star Photography Department shares the stories behind the photos.

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Field to Table

With the help from Multimedia Editor, Becky Sell, my first video was published today on fredericksburg.com! After I shot the video of Jo Miller and her heirloom pumpkins at Miller Farm in Orange, Becky produced the video.

As a photojournalist for The Free Lance-Star for nearly 25 years, I’ve expierenced many changes in photography and the way we do our jobs. At each every step, our publisher, Josiah Rowe, has pushed and lead us through the changes.

When I started we were still shooting black and white film and hand processing it in the sink. By making our own prints, we had alot of control over how the final image appeared in the newspaper. We even rolled our own film into the canisters. I still miss seeing the first fate images appear through the developer. 

The next change came with the use of color slide film. When we started using color slide film, our world changed. The challenges with slide film was that it was much less forgiving in exposure. Exposures had to be dead on in all kinds of shooting situations -a dark room or a bright, sunny afternoon outside. It took an hour to process with concerns about water temperature changes that can cause color shifts. We started using lighting equipment more often to get better exposures. It was much harder to get black and white prints for the newspaper. We trained ourselves to color correct in the camera by using filters and different film types. Photographers and drum scanner techs had discussions on what the true colors were in a photograph. This is before Photoshop and the unlimited control you have with that software. 

Then we started using color negative film. And again our world changed. We gained flexibility again. Color negative film was much more forgiving than color slide film in exposure. We gained back our ability to print black and white pictures of the newspaper. Color correction was a bit more flexiable, but it was still important to color correct in camera as much as possible. We shot color negative for over 10 years. We processed the film in house, we could use a machine to view your images in positive. We started using Photoshop, which was the beginning of a new era – digital. 

Change happened again around 2001 when we began using digital cameras. Slowly, all the photographers were issued and trained to use the digital. And again our world changed. In many ways, it was like shooting slides again. Color correction in camera was again important.  We learned how to use the correct white balance in different lighting situations- going from outside daylight to flouresent. We could now use different ASA/ISO on the same shoot without changing a roll of film. Exposures were again important to have dead on. But this time we had a quick view of the image to check the exposure. It was like having a polaroid camera. 

Now it’s the world of multimedia and the web. We are learning to take audio recordings to use in slide shows on the web as well as shooting video in addition to stills to be used on the web. I’m currently learning video and all its challenges. Moving images to tell as story instead of a still moment. I’m still getting used to the video camera and the concern to get great audio. Not only do we have to be looking for great moments to tell our stories, but we need to make sure the audio is recording at the right levels and we’re getting the interviews on camera. This is the latest change in photography I have gone through. I like being able to hear someone’s voice behind the picture and hear the emotion and the sound of their voice. That is a great addition to our new ‘world’. Even video is nice to tell stories, it’s just different.

But my heart right now remains in the the power of a still photograph. In this world of Ipods, cell phones, high-def tvs, 24-hour television – our fast paced lives- there’s something REALLY powerful about a great still image. It makes me slow down, pause for a moment and take in all the subtle aspects that photograph can communicate. 

 

suzanne carr rossi 

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