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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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March 21, 2008 1:34 PM

Change of Seasons.

Posted by Rod Mar

"You know...chillaxin', which is chilling and relaxing at the same time."
-- Evan, "Superbad".

I'd like to be able to tell you that I've spent the past week chillaxin', but I really haven't. I just haven't been blogging much.

This is that odd time of year between sports seasons where I seem to be doing plenty of work, just none of it is getting published right away, and so I can't blog about it. Much of what I've been working on is for our baseball preview section, which doesn't publish for another week or so.

Also, I've been preparing to help out at a photography conference.

Got back from Arizona, where I spent a week shooting spring training.

While I was tempted to go out and sample the fine desert nightlife, I instead chose to stay in my hotel room and geek out, sharpening my multimedia skills.

"Sharpening" might be a stretch, since I really had no multimedia skills to begin with.

For photojournalists, the word "multimedia" is a blessing and a curse.

It's curse because when we don our black berets and turtlenecks, sling a camera around our necks and stare thoughtfully around, we think of ourselves as "artists".

Artists don't carry around camcorders and audio recorders. They clash with our berets.

It's a blessing because for visual journalists, utilizing more ways to tell stories can only help us communicate. Obviously, our world is more visual than ever, and video has joined film and still photography as powerful ways to show images.

More importantly, the multimedia train has come to the journalism station. Those who don't jump on will be left standing.

Another reason I'm embracing these tools is that it allows me to retain creative control of my stories. I don't mind editing help, or production help, but in the same way that I shoot, edit and caption my own photographs, I want to be able to control the process when using multimedia tools. It's not a matter of not trusting anyone else, it's more a matter of knowing what I want and doing my best to bring that vision to the viewer.

I created an audio slideshow while at spring training. I won't go into all the details, but I recorded audio on a digital recorder with an external mic, then edited the audio and put it together with still images in a program called Soundslides.

Mariners reporter Geoff Baker was writing about a class where minor leaguers from the Dominican Republic are taught English lessons and American culture. It was a good subject for audio and still.

The teacher's name is Becky Schnakenberg, and you can read about her here.

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm/f2.8 lens @ 100mm, ISO 1600, 1/100sec.,f2.8)

You can see the final project here, entitled "Baseball School".

I'd be interested to know what you think.

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