Archive for December, 2012

What’s my age again?

In a fit of narcissism (okay, maybe nostalgia) I was reading through some of my old blog posts the other day, specifically the one I wrote when I first made the decision to leave Winnipeg and move to Fort McMurray.

It was only eight months ago but, no exaggeration, it feels like years — multiple years — since I wrote that. You may be wondering whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but just don’t ask me, because I don’t even know.

I was leaving my hometown for my first post-college job, and had no idea what was in store in for me, if I’d like it here, or even if I would be moderately successful at this whole journalism thing.

I mentioned to someone just the other day that I really only started to feel officially comfortable in my position at the paper about a couple of months ago. I probably felt like I was comfortable two months or so in, but around month six I realized I wasn’t even really comfortable back then, because now I feel this whole new level of comfort. So I suppose around the one year mark, I’ll renege on these comments as well, and say NOW I’m comfortable here…

There’s still no question that if I plan to stay in journalism (of the print or photo variety) I’ll need to make the move over to sports eventually. I had the opportunity to cover two Fort McMurray Oil Barons games over the weekend, and the difference in my passion and enthusiasm between that and the regular, day-to-day news can’t even be properly measured. To this day, covering hockey, be it university, AJHL or NHL, remains the only work I’ve ever done in my life that I can truly say didn’t feel like a job. And, to Darren Dreger’s dismay, I fully intend to pursue sports journalism as a long-term career.

By far what has surprised me the most since coming up here is my relatively new-found love of photography.

Fun fact: I didn’t touch a DSLR camera in my entire two years in CreComm. I even had assignments that required me to take my own photos with a professional camera, so… you do the math, just don’t tell my instructor. Thanks.

Fact is, professional photography was just one of those things that intimidated the crap out of me. I’m not really sure why, since I spent probably over 100 hours of second-year college with a professional camcorder, shooting a video documentary for my final project of the year.

Even once I was at the paper, I was pretty afraid of picking up a DSLR camera. And it goes without saying that the dial was pretty consistently set to Automatic every time I went out with it. 593079185

Then I went out to an Ellis Hall concert on June 3, and snapped this photo —————————————————————–>

And I think I can pretty honestly pinpoint that as the moment I got the “bug” for photography.

As someone who hasn’t studied for a damn thing in his life, when I begin to independently research something on my own time, that’s a pretty good indicator that I have a genuine, and pretty strong, interest in something. I started reading up on the manual shooting modes, trying to learn the terminology, techniques to make my photos look better, but most of all, I just tried to get in as much “practice” shooting photos as possible.

I also think a “good photo” can only be 50% (at the MOST) credited to the photographer who took it. Are there great photographers out there? Of course. They know exactly what settings to have their camera set to in a given situation, but at the end of the day, what did they do to capture the moment? They moved their index finger a fraction of a centimeter and pushed a button. The great photos that exist today, wouldn’t if it wasn’t for their subjects just happening to be doing whatever it was they were doing. The photographer was just there to capture it.

I did get my first real taste of shooting a hockey game over the weekend though, and listen, I’ve never tried crack, but I would hazard a guess that photographing hockey, for me, is a very similar sensation to doing crack.

Over the two hockey games I worked, I shot more than 1,000 photos, which were ultimately narrowed down to about 30 or 40 that I kept.


At at a smaller newspaper like the Fort McMurray Today, we don’t have the luxury of being able to send two or three reporters to a hockey game, meaning I had to stay on top of tweeting, and write the game story for both games on top of taking photos. I can only imagine the level of enjoyment I would find in only being responsible for the photographs.

Some of my other personal favourites can be found on my Flickr Photostream.

But as much fun as I have here doing some of these things and keeping busy, I’m ready for a vacation, and looking forward to going home for almost two weeks on Dec. 28. My brain may not know how to properly react when the combination of no work, being home, and World Junior Championship all comes together at the same time. I just shivered.

I suppose what I’m trying to say that I’m beginning to feel like I’m accomplishing things I wanted to come out here to do, and even things I had no intention of conquering when I decided to move here eight months ago. It’s been a great, educational, sometimes very tiring, experience thus far, and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2013 has in store.

(Assuming we all make it past Dec. 21.)