I have known Jay York for years. We met at the Southwestern Photojournalism Seminar in Fort Worth, Texas. Jay was using his vacations to photograph for the ABWE.
Many years ago photographers volunteered their time to help ABWE missionaries by taking photos of work around the world that went into a database. During the film years missionaries would have to go to Harrisburg, PA offices and look through all the 35mm slides and get copies to use in their slide shows that they showed to churches and supporters when they were on furlough.
During our week in Lima, Peru Jay worked on a story about Elvira Cuevas Bolívar. Here is the package that Jay produced.
Jay worked methodically not only in being sure he understood Elvira’s story, which is much bigger than told in this package, but to work with three instructors Pat Davison, James Dockery and myself.
Jay wanted to understand every aspect of the storytelling process.
Just a couple months before the trip Jay switched camera systems to the Fuji mirrorless system. Jay shot most of this project on the Fuji X-T3.
If you want to learn how to tell a missions story like Jay join us this June in Romania with Storytellers Abroad.
Mr. Positivity is how I would describe Josh Hart. He was the first person to introduce himself to me when I first met the group in Lima, Peru. He was eager to learn and had a wonderful smile.
We spent time sitting by his computer and talking about his story on Darwin and Azucena Diaz. He went out and interviewed them and then the next day I was able to go with Josh as he spent more time getting B-Roll.
In film and television production, B-roll, B roll, B-reel or B reel is supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot.
Here is the story that Josh produced during his week in Lima, Peru.
Each student had time with their subjects at a meal with everyone when we arrived. The the following day they hung out with them again getting to know them better.
Josh loves technology and shot his interviews in 4k. If you are not a geek that just means he shot them video with a very high resolution camera. This way he could shoot the couple side by side and then just zoom in on one person at a time. This made it possible to shoot with one camera but get some variety our of the interview.
While working together shooting his B-Roll I just hung back and watched. Since he had told me what he was wanting to capture I would just add suggestion when he ran out of ideas.
The one thing I was helping with Josh on was how to put into words his direction to the couple and translator what he needed next. He could tell them he needed them to walk in a direction, but he was having a hard time to tell them what they should be thinking about when they were being filmed.
“We are capturing you when you come to the church and have to take the taxi and unlock the building. I need you to do this a few times so I can film you from your front, back and side. Just do what you do every day when you make this trip.”
“I want to capture the two of you doing a bible study together that you talked about in the interview. Find a passage you guys have been working on together. I need you both to talk back and forth.”
If you want to learn how to tell a missions story like Josh join us this June in Romania with Storytellers Abroad.
So I was working on my resume which some clients were wanting when I was asked by a friend about my blog. I had not really put this into my resume.
He pointed out that I had a pretty wide reach. So I started to dig into the Google Analytics. My Analytics includes my website & blog. Most of the traffic is going to the blog since that is new content.
The map above just shows the past couple of years of the countries that have visited my blog. I think the reach is greater if I go back to when I started in 2006, but I changed from blogger to wordpress and lost some of those stats.
192 countries I had visiting the blog over the last two years.
I had over 81,000 new users. WOW! I was shocked. On average when they visited they went to about 4 different pages.
They were translating my page into 151 different languages.
My top ten posts tend to be where people are looking for camera settings or technical blogs. Users were spending about 5:44 on “Nikon D5 Sports Settings”. I can understand why. That camera has a menu that resembles the cockpit of a jetliner.
Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
How do you toot your own horn without coming off as cocky? You want to showcase your best accomplishments on your resume so that they are right there in black and white. If you do this right then they will pop out and really help to separate you from the pack. This isn’t bragging but rather helping to show that you truly are the right candidate for the job.
What I discovered in polishing my resume was to find someone who really knows you to review it. It helps if they are good in communications.
What I am discovering is that I have been hurting myself because I was taking for granted some of my biggest accomplishments.
Another huge thing I learned is I was thinking too much about the details and not enough about broad brush strokes of what my skills were beyond just photography.
After a lot of self examination this week I recommend you do the same. Revising your resume is a good exercise to help you know what value to bring to the table. It is a good thing to do to start off the year. It helps you celebrate your accomplishments and evaluate your weaknesses that you might want to work on this year.
When you first begin your journey into becoming a storyteller you start with a story. When I am teaching Intro to Photojournalism at the University of Georgia the students find something that interests them.
I started my career professionally at East Carolina University where the photo staff of the newspaper was paid to do stories. After college I went on to the Hickory Daily Record where I continued to focus on finding stories.
I continued to look for stories as I went to work for The Commission Magazine and then on to Georgia Tech working in communications.
In 2008 Greg Thompson, Director of Corporate Communications, Chick-fil-A proposed a crazy idea that I work with his team a couple days a week where I would sit in on meetings and listen. He and I would get together and discuss my thoughts and if I thought the timing was good I would speak in the meetings to give some of my opinions.
Greg said lets evaluate this after six months. Well now 10 years later we are doing the same thing. In those years I have learned a lot as well as helped them a great deal with visual communication and storytelling.
Greg taught me a great deal about the in’s and out’s of strategy. What I discovered over the years is I really had a gift for strategy and Greg helped me to understand how to navigate some of the politics of working with an organization.
Biggest Take Away from Chick-fil-A
Greg was leading the team not to focus on the content, but rather the audience. The answers to better storytelling were in better questions.
Why is this content important to the audience? In case you haven’t noticed in the time I started working with Chick-fil-A in 2008 they celebrated 2-Billion in sales. This past December they celebrated 10 Billion in sales. That is a 500% increase.
This commercial from a few years ago for UPS sums up it pretty well from my perspective.
Try communicating with an audience that is so busy they have no time for interruptions.
In this environment you should be very aware of your audience. We worked with departments helping them understand why the audience doesn’t have time for their information and also helping the audience get information that would help them with the business to run more efficiently.
I have so many friends and organizations that basically want people to take notice of something important to them. What I have learned these past ten years with the help of Greg Thompson and his team is that understanding your audience helps you know how to tell a story so that it is relevant to the audience.
Servant First – A Servant of the Heart
Here is my tip for those who want to be successful. You must be focused on making others successful, not yourself.
I believe there are basically two types of stories – 1) Entertainment Only & 2) Call to Action Stories.
Most movies and TV shows are great stories that move us to laughter and/or tears. They move our heart and souls. They bring out emotions in our bodies.
The Call to Action Stories do the same thing, but they are told with the purpose of getting the audience to be involved in some way.
Advertising is a Call to Action. Non-profits use storytelling also as a call to action to get their audience involved in their mission.
The best storytellers for nonprofits is the person who cares so much for the subject and the audience they see how using a story to connect the two is a way that serves them both. The audience sees a way that they can use their gifts to serve an audience in need of them. The subject is uplifted and is also able to serve the audience.
When storytelling is done at it’s very best the audience is understood and helps in the shaping of how the subject’s story is told so that a partnership is formed where they can serve one another.
Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works.
This was a packed week for the team in Lima, Peru. We were getting up around 7 am and going to bed around midnight or later every day.
We had a big group of 18 people. Jeff Raymond organized all of us. We had three instructors, four administrative staff [one of those a translator] and 10 workshop participants working on 9 stories. Two of the team worked together on one story.
Eight of the nine stories were done in Spanish with subtitles in English.
One of the first thing that the first timers noticed was how long it took to do an interview when you must work with a translator.
We taught what a storyline includes and how to do a better job interviewing people to improve the quality of that story.
Every story we did was about a person impacted by a ministry.
Life Before & After
What was the difference this ministry made in your life? Due to the ministry what is it now that is different than before?
The Inciting Moment
What was the moment that you realized you needed some help and how did you find this ministry to help you?
Call to Action
Unlike going to a movie where the primary purpose of the movie is only to entertain, all of our stories had a call to action. After hearing this story would you like to support this ministry in some way?
There are basically two parts to the finished projects. There is the interview and then there is all the B-roll which is shown while they are talking that compliments what they are saying.
The students learned how to shoot a series of photos from a scene and then would put these in an order to help move the story along visually.
Josh Hart shot a lot of video of the subjects getting in and out of a cab, walking to the church, opening the door and walking in. He shot this from their front, their back and from the side. That was just one scene. He had scenes of the pastor walking from the back of the church to the pulpit and then another series on him preaching.
After doing many more scenes he had enough b-roll to help compliment the interview so that you felt like you saw and well as heard the story.
Our next trip is June 18th to July 4th to Romania. If you are interested and want to learn more then go here and learn more StorytellersAbroad.com.
In data driven decision making, data is at the center of the decision making. It’s the primary (and sometimes, the only) input. You rely on data alone to decide the best path forward. In data informed decision making, data is a key input among many other variables. You use the data to build a deeper understanding of what value you are providing to your users.
I have sat in many meetings hearing about analytics. When I first learned about analytics I was thrilled. You see one of the things that is very frustrating is how the content you create is seen but no one clicks the LIKE button.
However, analytics doesn’t rely on the audience to “LIKE” your content to know if they have been to it or even shared it. It can record if someone came to the page and how long they were on the page as well as many other tidbits.
Are you aware of “Blind Spots” in your analytics such as images?
Images are increasingly taking over social media and becoming a major way of engaging and talking about your brand. Images are generally more memorable and shareable than text.
There are over 300 million active daily users on Instagram alone, it’s clear images are a huge social commodity. But why is the intent behind sharing images such a big deal? For starters, not all images are accompanied by text. Sometimes the whole point is that words can’t adequately convey the emotion or event, so it’s shared in image form. If your social media listening is all about text, these posts and users aren’t accounted for in your analytics. This is your “Blind Spot”.
What this means is there is really no way to get accurate analytics about photos, unless you could employ eye tracking technology. Most people are not going to allow for their cameras on their phones and computers to be turned on to watch how they are behaving while looking at your content.
Why are clickbaity headlines working? Content that piques users’ curiosity does well. Instead of writing clickbaity headlines, can we integrate this insight it into our content strategy. Write about topics that people are curious about, but may not know enough.
I think Henry Ford once said, ‘If I‘d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, “A faster horse!”’ People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”
Editorial judgment is still needed alongside analysis of quantitative data. Each newspaper and station adopts its own news values. Having good “news judgement” means you understand your audience and your organizations principles and values.
Being a good storyteller/journalist is very much akin to being a good parent/teacher. You do rely on data to help you know what is working and at the same time you are looking out for them and distill information into a digestable form for them.
Photo Above Data [NIKON Z 6, Sigma 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0 ART, ISO 16000, ƒ/6.3, 1/200, Focal Length = 95]
I have owned the Fuji X-E series cameras a few years. I love them. Then I bought the Nikon Z6 to be able to shoot mirrorless with some of my Nikon glass.
I think the Fuji X-E3 compares pretty good to the Nikon Z6. I like that the Fuji X-E3 when you are close to someone will not only find their face but their eyes as well.
Now the Nikon Z6 camera automatically detects the subject and selects the focus area. At default settings, the camera gives priority to portrait subjects; if a portrait subject is detected, the selected subject will be indicated by a yellow border (if multiple faces are detected, you can choose your subject using the multi selector).
Just so I could get some photos to use from the service I left the 55-200mm on the Fuji X-E3 and the 24-105mm on the Nikon Z6.
No question that the larger full-frame sensor on the Nikon Z6 had less noise. However I was pretty happy with the noise on the Fuji X-E3 as well.
I think that the dynamic range is better with the Nikon Z6. You can see some of that comparison here.
I love the smaller size and weight of the Fuji system. I think the quality is excellent.
I do think that the quality of the images and higher ISO is definitely in favor of the Nikon Z6.
Top photo specs [NIKON D5, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 20000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000, Focal Length = 17]
I was able to do some testing of the Nikon Z6 at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl game of Florida vs. Michigan. For those interested in the score the final was Florida 41 and Michigan 15.
I can say that the Nikon Z6 sensor gives you great dynamic range and very little noise at high ISO numbers.
The mirrorless Nikon Z6 was using electronic shutter at 1/4000, which gave some lines if the LED signage was in the photo at those shutter speeds. At the slower speed of 1/100 the jumbotron came out just fine.
I found that when it came to the fast action on the field that my Nikon D5 did a superior job of focusing. I do not think the Nikon Z6 is in the same league for sports as the Nikon Flagship D5.
Due to the performance not being equal to the Nikon D5 I put the Nikon 28-300mm on the Nikon Z6 and shot some with it in the Red Zone.
When you compare the image quality the Nikon Z6 is awesome. Good dynamic range.
The big difference to me was whenever the LED boards are in the photos the Z6 gave those lines and the D5 didn’t at the 1/4000 shutter-speed.
I am still very pleased with the Nikon D5 for sports, however I do love seeing what you will get with the EVF of the Nikon Z6.
So for sports I will continue to rely on the Nikon D6, but for most everything else I think the Nikon Z6 is much more fun to shoot.
I love walking around with the Nikon Z6. It is a lot lighter than the Nikon D5.
Another thing that the Nikon Z6 is great about, but not really a factor at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is how quiet the camera is when clicking the shutter.
By the way many people would think that I should lower the ISO and shoot at a slower shutter speed of 1/1000. I can tell you that for me I can see the sharpness go up with the higher shutter-speed.
Hope you enjoyed seeing the results from the the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. In summary buy the Nikon D5 for shooting sports and for most everything else the Nikon Z6 is just perfect.
When shoot wide open aperture and then also get as close as a lens will let you get to the subject you will get the shallowest depth-of-field possible with that lens.
Take a look at the photo above shot at ƒ/4 and then this is the same photo zoomed in closer.
Now the only way to really see what I am talking about is to shoot the same photo with different apertures.
Now here is a closeup of that ƒ/16 photo.
Now I shot this at a variety of apertures. Here it is at ƒ/8.
Here is a closeup of that photo.
What I have discovered with all my lenses is that the depth-of-field at the widest aperture and focusing as close as the lens can will produce what looks to be an out of focus photo, but what is really happening is the depth-of-field is so shallow that it looks soft.
When getting this close to a subject I recommend starting with an aperture of ƒ/11.
Here I shot this at ƒ/11. I also changed my ISO from 100 to Auto ISO which gave me ISO 51200 because I have the shutter speed set to 1/100. As you might notice the shutter dropped to actually 1/50. That is because I had capped at ISO 51200.
Here is a closeup of that photo, which you will notice some noise.
When it comes to still life photos like the ones here there is really no reason not to experiment. Shoot on a tripod, as I have done here, at different apertures. Shoot at ISO 100, ƒ/16 and for 20 seconds. Then shoot as many apertures as you can to the widest aperture.
When you have the photos on your computer zoom in and find the photo that works the best to make your object appear sharp and in focus as well as the soft BOKEH.
Hopefully you also see that there is such a thing as TOO MUCH BOKEH.