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02-20-2011, 10:06 PM   #1
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Just hired for the paper!

So I just got a phone call from the photo editor of my university's newspaper that I've been hired! I'm reaaaaalllly excited!

Of course, now I need to start thinking about having the right gear for the job, and not just shooting for fun. I've gotten pretty used to having my 18-50 f/2.8 zoom, and now I think I'll be needing a longer autofocus lens for sports assignments; I'll probably end up borrowing their nikon stuff for the time being, but I'd like to keep using my k20D/K-x. I barely make much in my other job, so budget is tight.

I'm leaning towards the tamron 70-300, since it's cheap and apparently works pretty well, plus newsprint is lenient. Anyone have any experience printing from that lens? Kinda an oddly specific question, I know...

Oh, and any good tips for photojournalism in general?

Here was my test assignment... apparently they kinda liked it, so I thought I'd share. My theme was Valentines Day.

DI top 5 - a set on Flickr

02-20-2011, 10:22 PM   #2
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The tamron 70-300 maybe a bit to slow for sporting assignments. The kx's high iso might be able to help there but since your the university photographer you should be able to get pretty close to the action so you can probably use a closer focal length. I'd look into something in the 200mm range or even a fast 135mm might be able to do it. The tamron 300mm range will be too slow (f5.6?) for indoor. I would think that you would be court side for the events not in the stands like the general public. soccer or football you will need 300mm or longer. That will be your problem.
02-21-2011, 06:59 AM   #3
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First off, congrats! Sounds like fun!

As you probably know, the K-x will be better than the K20 in low light and/or action settings. I've shot the K-x at ISO3200 without hesitation, so in indoor gyms you should be able stop down and get sufficient DOF. Here are some snaps I took at an indoor tennis exhibition - 2010-03-10 Caesars Tennis Classic hosted by Venus Williams @ Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall - a set on Flickr. There are some others here with a lot of sports experience as well. Hopefully they'll chime in, or just search for their work.

If you work with a friendly group, ask what settings they use and adjust accordingly.

Can't help with the lens choice. Good luck
02-21-2011, 10:14 AM   #4
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PP your stuff light and high contrast. 85 screen web press (I assume) on news stock muddies everything up real dark.

02-21-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
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@johnmflores: cool shots from the court, so clean! What lens did you use btw? (sorry, a bit off-topic)
02-21-2011, 07:42 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ameiji Quote
@johnmflores: cool shots from the court, so clean! What lens did you use btw? (sorry, a bit off-topic)
DA* 50-135 F2.8 I was probably 20 rows back, wish I had a longer lens. If you have press access, that may actually be long enough.
02-21-2011, 08:32 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by wshi Quote
So I just got a phone call from the photo editor of my university's newspaper that I've been hired! I'm reaaaaalllly excited!

Of course, now I need to start thinking about having the right gear for the job, and not just shooting for fun. I've gotten pretty used to having my 18-50 f/2.8 zoom, and now I think I'll be needing a longer autofocus lens for sports assignments; I'll probably end up borrowing their nikon stuff for the time being, but I'd like to keep using my k20D/K-x. I barely make much in my other job, so budget is tight.

I'm leaning towards the tamron 70-300, since it's cheap and apparently works pretty well, plus newsprint is lenient. Anyone have any experience printing from that lens? Kinda an oddly specific question, I know...

Oh, and any good tips for photojournalism in general?

Here was my test assignment... apparently they kinda liked it, so I thought I'd share. My theme was Valentines Day.

DI top 5 - a set on Flickr
Congrats William! Which part of Illinois are you at? I'm photo editor at the Chicago Maroon (of the University of Chicago) and I'm the only one shooting with non-Canikon gear. Good to see other Pentax shooters proving themselves in photojournalism.

I shoot primarily with Pentax DA12-24, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8 on K-5 (newly-acquired high ISO, high FPS magic) with a Metz 48 flash. Some tips I tell my staff photographers are:

1) Crank up the ISO because the noise and grain won't show on newsprint or on web, but motion blur will ruin shots

2) Especially for sports shoots, keep your eyes open and don't chimp as it'll waste battery and you'll miss shots.

3) Be hungry for photo opportunities, ask for them, never turn them down, and try to be different with each assignment. When you start to get bored and jaded, your photos will become sloppy and boring

4) Try to always have your gear/a camera with you, and make sure you have spare battery life and memory card space as you'll never know what will happen on campus. There was a fire on campus once and I almost lost the shoot when I ran out of battery juice midway. My gear sits in a Domke F-3x ready to go at a moment's notice and I keep a LX5 with me all the time

5) For sports shoots, shoot past the "decisive moment" so that you catch the players' number on their jerseys. For some football keeper shots, I had a huge problem trying to identify the player under the helmet because the number was obscured in all the photos I had of the sequence. Had to match cleats, wristbands, physique and other features in our game of "guess who" on production night

I'll try to think of more tips I can share with you and other aspiring PJs, but this will do for now.

Here's my page on the Chicago Maroon website which has some of the stuff I've shot. Some more memorable (Obama's rally in Hyde Park, campus fire, some of the lectures) others not so much.

Last edited by darrenleow; 02-22-2011 at 11:37 AM.
02-21-2011, 10:04 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by epqwerty Quote
The tamron 70-300 maybe a bit to slow for sporting assignments. The kx's high iso might be able to help there but since your the university photographer you should be able to get pretty close to the action so you can probably use a closer focal length. I'd look into something in the 200mm range or even a fast 135mm might be able to do it. The tamron 300mm range will be too slow (f5.6?) for indoor. I would think that you would be court side for the events not in the stands like the general public. soccer or football you will need 300mm or longer. That will be your problem.
I think I'll be able to get pretty close, so I think the 50-135 would be great to have eventually. Thanks for the advice!

QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
First off, congrats! Sounds like fun!

As you probably know, the K-x will be better than the K20 in low light and/or action settings. I've shot the K-x at ISO3200 without hesitation, so in indoor gyms you should be able stop down and get sufficient DOF. Here are some snaps I took at an indoor tennis exhibition - 2010-03-10 Caesars Tennis Classic hosted by Venus Williams @ Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall - a set on Flickr. There are some others here with a lot of sports experience as well. Hopefully they'll chime in, or just search for their work.

If you work with a friendly group, ask what settings they use and adjust accordingly.

Can't help with the lens choice. Good luck
The other photographers seem cool, but I haven't gotten to know many of them yet. I'll be sure to be generous with the iso from now on!

QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
PP your stuff light and high contrast. 85 screen web press (I assume) on news stock muddies everything up real dark.
If it muddies up dark, wouldn't it be beneficial to have less contrast? Just wondering if you could clarify

02-21-2011, 10:15 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by darrenleow Quote
Congrats William! Which part of Illinois are you at? I'm photo editor at the Chicago Maroon (of the University of Chicago) and I'm the only one shooting with non-Canikon gear. Good to see other Pentax shooters proving themselves in photojournalism.

I shoot primarily with Pentax DA12-24, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8 on K-5 (newly-acquired high ISO, high FPS magic) with a Metz 48 flash. Some tips I tell my staff photographers are:

1) Crank up the ISO because the noise and grain won't show on newsprint or on web, but motion blur will ruin shots

2) Especially for sports shoots, keep your eyes open and don't chimp as it'll waste battery and you'll miss shots.

3) Be hungry for photo opportunities, ask for them, never turn them down, and try to be different with each assignment. When you start to get bored and jaded, your photos will become sloppy and boring

4) Try to always have your gear/a camera with you, and make sure you have spare battery life and memory card space as you'll never know what will happen on campus. There was a fire on campus once and I almost lost the shoot when I ran out of battery juice midway. My gear sits in a Domke F-3x ready to go at a moment's notice and I keep a LX with me all the time

5) For sports shoots, shoot past the "decisive moment" so that you catch the players' number on their jerseys. For some football keeper shots, I had a huge problem trying to identify the player under the helmet because the number was obscured in all the photos I had of the sequence. Had to match cleats, wristbands, physique and other features in our game of "guess who" on production night

I'll try to think of more tips I can share with you and other aspiring PJs, but this will do for now.

Here's my page on the Chicago Maroon website which has some of the stuff I've shot. Some more memorable (Obama's rally in Hyde Park, campus fire, some of the lectures) others not so much.
Hey Darren, I'm located at UIUC in Champaign. You guys have a beautiful campus at U of C, although I've only been there once.

Thanks for the heads up on cranking up the ISO. I've pretty much gotten used to having the occasional blurry hand and such, but I'll definitely keep this bit of info in mind.

I pretty much carry my camera with me everywhere already, and on the few days that I don't, something interesting always happens. I've figured that to be a law of nature.

I'm going to be shadowing a few of the staff photographers first before I get sent off on my own assignments, so I'll be sure to update this thread with how things are going.
02-22-2011, 01:48 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by wshi Quote
Hey Darren, I'm located at UIUC in Champaign. You guys have a beautiful campus at U of C, although I've only been there once.

Thanks for the heads up on cranking up the ISO. I've pretty much gotten used to having the occasional blurry hand and such, but I'll definitely keep this bit of info in mind.

I pretty much carry my camera with me everywhere already, and on the few days that I don't, something interesting always happens. I've figured that to be a law of nature.

I'm going to be shadowing a few of the staff photographers first before I get sent off on my own assignments, so I'll be sure to update this thread with how things are going.
I haven't visited UIUC, but I do have friends there so I'm thinking it might happen eventually. If I'm headed there I'll let you know.

Yeah, I know the feeling of not being able to take a photo when a photo op presents itself or a last-minute shoot comes in. We don't do much of spot news but sometimes it happens. I used to live in a dorm but now that I've moved slightly off-campus, it's real trouble if I can't get to a camera immediately.

If you ever think about getting new gear for your new job (do you get paid for this?) I've tried the DA* 50-135 but sometimes it just wasn't long enough even with the freedom of movement I had, so I sold it and got the Tamron 70-200 to replace it. YMMV!
02-22-2011, 01:57 AM   #11
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Darren I wish I had found you before you sold off that lens. Great tips. I will use this when I apply to the few independent papers here in the burbs. the Oak leaves and the Austin voice. Hopefully I will get accepted. And it is nice to see more Pentax guys in Illinois
02-22-2011, 08:42 PM   #12
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Met a few of the other new photographers today. We filled out some paper work and talked about ethics- basically, very little photoshop is needed, and anything like cloning is absolutely forbidden. I think I can get used to this.

One girl I talked to, an avid canon shooter, gave me an interesting look when I told her I shoot pentax- "Oh, you use pentax... yeah their cameras just seem kinda flimsy." Of course, I wanted to pull out my K20D right then and there, but decided not to. She seemed nice enough, otherwise.

I'm shadowing a photographer tomorrow morning at 7:30 to cover the protest going on with all that stuff in Wisconsin. Should be interesting!

Edit: Also, I got to play with some of their equipment. Got to handle a Nikon D2H and AF-S 300mm f/4. I was surprised by how small the 300mm actually was, and how similar the D2H felt to my K20D. The viewfinder was also insanely dark... not sure if there was a problem with the camera. But, that kinda solves my lens problem... I'll probably just use that for any sports stuff.

Last edited by wshi; 02-22-2011 at 08:55 PM.
02-22-2011, 11:59 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by wshi Quote
Met a few of the other new photographers today. We filled out some paper work and talked about ethics- basically, very little photoshop is needed, and anything like cloning is absolutely forbidden. I think I can get used to this.

One girl I talked to, an avid canon shooter, gave me an interesting look when I told her I shoot pentax- "Oh, you use pentax... yeah their cameras just seem kinda flimsy." Of course, I wanted to pull out my K20D right then and there, but decided not to. She seemed nice enough, otherwise.

I'm shadowing a photographer tomorrow morning at 7:30 to cover the protest going on with all that stuff in Wisconsin. Should be interesting!

Edit: Also, I got to play with some of their equipment. Got to handle a Nikon D2H and AF-S 300mm f/4. I was surprised by how small the 300mm actually was, and how similar the D2H felt to my K20D. The viewfinder was also insanely dark... not sure if there was a problem with the camera. But, that kinda solves my lens problem... I'll probably just use that for any sports stuff.
She's probably never even touched a Pentax before.. When I got the K-5, I was quite underwhelmed by the magnesium-alloy body because the plastic K20D felt just as meaty and solid as the metal K-5. Anyway, the first time I turned in my shoot, I got laughed at because no one had seen .PEF files before. Good luck with the shoot, protests are always fun to photograph!
02-23-2011, 04:41 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by wshi Quote


If it muddies up dark, wouldn't it be beneficial to have less contrast? Just wondering if you could clarify
If you have low contrast, it becomes one blob of similar grey because the percentages are so close to each other. Higher contrast makes, for example, the red jersey on the quarterback pop better from the background of the people in the stands. And remember I said to lighten your stuff a bit too.

Basically, for low screen web press (and remember that I'm guessing this is how your paper is printed, probably 85 screen but maybe even 65), the normal rules of photography don't apply. A gorgeous sunrise with fine tones that you did in color is going to turn into a disgusting mass of grey blotches. You're not going to get Ansel Adams type reproduction. You just want the shot to be clear and sharp.

If you have a laser printer where you can set the screens/dot patterns in the print set-up window, do some tests yourself now:

Take an image and print it at 65, 85, 110 and 133--and look at the difference between them at normal, and then at upping copies with higher contrast. Of course, a lot of this is dependent on subject. And keep in mind that usually, 133 will appear very dark on a laser printout, but since it's the finest screen here, you know your safe:

Many laser printers just have a problem replicating 133, and the dots are so close together that they close up, making it much darker than it will actually appear for web or offset printing.

That's my explanation for this anyway, and my personal experience with my HP5000 and other printers.
02-23-2011, 04:43 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by wshi Quote
We filled out some paper work and talked about ethics- basically, very little photoshop is needed
Yeah, right!!!

I guess after they retouched OJ to make him look darker, they're scared sh*tless.

But meanwhile, that guy was working for a top-notch pub where the big bucks are..
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